Series: Thru the Bible
Message – Coming full circle
Coming full circle
Jeremiah Remains in Judah
“(1) This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD after Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, released him at Ramah when he had been bound in chains with all the exiles of Jerusalem and Judah who were being exiled to Babylon.
(2) The captain of the guard took Jeremiah and said to him, “The LORD your God decreed this disaster on this place, (3) and the LORD has fulfilled it. He has done just what He decreed. Because you people have sinned against the LORD and have not obeyed Him, this thing has happened.
(4) Now pay attention to what I say. Today I am setting you free from the chains that were on your hands. If it pleases you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will take care of you. But if it seems wrong to you to come with me to Babylon, go no farther. Look–the whole land is in front of you. Wherever it seems good and right for you to go, go there.”
(5) When Jeremiah had not yet turned to go, Nebuzaradan said to him: “Return to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed over the cities of Judah, and stay with him among the people or go wherever you want to go.”
So the captain of the guard gave him a ration and a gift and released him. (6) Jeremiah therefore went to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah, and he stayed with him among the people who remained in the land.
(7) When all the commanders of the armies in the field–they and their men–heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam over the land and that he had put him in charge of the men, women, and children, the poorest of the land who had not been deported to Babylon, (8) they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah.
The commanders included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah son of the Maacathite–they and their men.
(9) Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore an oath to them and their men, assuring them, “Don’t be afraid to serve the Chaldeans. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well for you. (10) As for me, I am going to live in Mizpah to represent you before the Chaldeans who come to us. As for you, gather wine, summer fruit, and oil, place them in your storage jars, and live in the cities you have captured.”
(11) When all the Judeans in Moab and among the Ammonites and in Edom and in all the other lands also heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, over them, (12) they all returned from all the places where they had been banished and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and harvested a great amount of wine and summer fruit.
(13) Meanwhile, Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies in the field came to Gedaliah at Mizpah (14) and warned him, “Don’t you realize that Baalis, king of the Ammonites, has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to strike you down?” But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them.
(15) Then Johanan son of Kareah suggested to Gedaliah in private at Mizpah, “Let me go kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah. No one will know it. Why should he strike you down and scatter all of Judah that has gathered to you so that the remnant of Judah would perish?”
(16) But Gedaliah son of Ahikam responded to Johanan son of Kareah, “Don’t do that! What you’re saying about Ishmael is a lie.”
Now in this situation we have an honest dilemma for us under the New Covenant. We are to believe the best of everyone, we are not to assume the worst or receive a defamatory slanderous word against a person without proof, but we are also not to foolishly place our lives in jeopardy either.
Clearly, Johanan’s offer to kill this man was something Gidaliah could not endorse even under the Old Covenant, but it was also unwise for him to ignore and treat lightly the warnings of those who came to him.
The only truly wise thing for Gidaliah to have done is ask of the Lord through Jeremiah.
Personally I believe I pick up a hint of both cowardice and denial coupled with a genuine desire to not begin his administration with killing a potentially innocent man.
“(1) In the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family and one of the king’s chief officers, came with 10 men to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. They ate a meal together there in Mizpah, (2) but then Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the 10 men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, with the sword; he killed the one the king of Babylon had appointed in the land. (3) Ishmael also struck down all the Judeans who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah, as well as the Chaldean soldiers who were there.
(4) On the second day after he had killed Gedaliah, when no one knew yet, (5) 80 men came from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria who had shaved their beards, torn their garments, and gashed themselves, and who were carrying grain and incense offerings to bring to the temple of the LORD.”
These were mourning practices – shaving the beard, tearing the clothes and wounding themselves.
“(6) Ishmael son of Nethaniah came out of Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he came. When he encountered them, he said: “Come to Gedaliah son of Ahikam!” (7) But when they came into the city, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the men with him slaughtered them and threw them into a cistern.
(8) However, there were 10 men among them who said to Ishmael, “Don’t kill us, for we have hidden treasure in the field–wheat, barley, oil, and honey!” So he stopped and did not kill them along with their companions.
(9) Now the cistern where Ishmael had thrown all the corpses of the men he had struck down was a large one that King Asa had made in the encounter with Baasha king of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with the slain.
(10) Then Ishmael took captive all the remnant of the people of Mizpah including the daughters of the king–all those who remained in Mizpah over whom Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam.
Ishmael son of Nethaniah took them captive and set off to cross over to the Ammonites. (11) When Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies with him heard of all the evil that Ishmael son of Nethaniah had done, (12) they took all their men and went to fight with Ishmael son of Nethaniah and found him by the great pool in Gibeon.
(13) When all the people with Ishmael saw Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the army with him, they rejoiced, (14) and all the people whom Ishmael had taken captive from Mizpah turned around and rejoined Johanan son of Kareah. (15) But Ishmael son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men and went to the Ammonites.
(16) Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies with him then took from Mizpah all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael son of Nethaniah after Ishmael had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam–men, soldiers, women, children, and court officials whom he brought back from Gibeon. (17) They left, stopping in Geruth Chimham, which is near Bethlehem, in order to make their way into Egypt (18) away from the Chaldeans. For they feared them because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon had appointed in the land.”
Warning Against Going to Egypt
“(1) Then all the commanders of the armies, along with Johanan son of Kareah, Jazaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, approached (2) Jeremiah the prophet and said, “May our petition come before you; pray to the LORD your God on our behalf, on behalf of this entire remnant (for few of us remain out of the many, as you can see with your own eyes), (3) that the LORD your God may tell us the way we should walk and the thing we should do.”
(4) So Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard. I will now pray to the LORD your God according to your words, and every word that the LORD answers you I will tell you; I won’t withhold a word from you.”
(5) And they said to Jeremiah, “As for every word the LORD your God sends you to tell us, if we don’t act accordingly, may the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us. (6) Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to Whom we are sending you so that it may go well with us. We will certainly obey the voice of the LORD our God!”
(7) Now at the end of 10 days, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, (8) and he summoned Johanan son of Kareah, all the commanders of the armies who were with him, and all the people from the least to the greatest. (9) He said to them, “This is what the LORD says, the God of Israel to Whom you sent me to bring your petition before Him:
(10) ‘If you will indeed stay in this land, then I will rebuild and not demolish you, and I will plant and not uproot you, because I relent concerning the disaster that I have brought on you. (11) Don’t be afraid of the king of Babylon whom you now fear; don’t be afraid of him’–this is the LORD’s declaration–‘because I am with you to save you and deliver you from him. (12) I will grant you compassion, and he will have compassion on you and allow you to return to your own soil.
(13) But if you say: We will not stay in this land, so as not to obey the voice of the LORD your God, (14) and if you say:
No, instead we’ll go to the land of Egypt where we will not see war or hear the sound of the ram’s horn or hunger for food, and we’ll live there, (15) then hear the word of the LORD, remnant of Judah! This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: If you are firmly resolved to go to Egypt and live there for a while, (16) then the sword you fear will overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine you are worried about will follow on your heels there to Egypt, and you will die there. (17) All who resolve to go to Egypt to live there for a while will die by the sword, famine, and plague. They will have no survivor or escapee from the disaster I will bring on them.’
(18) “For this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘Just as My anger and fury were poured out on Jerusalem’s residents, so will My fury pour out on you if you go to Egypt. You will become an object of execration, scorn, cursing, and disgrace, and you will never see this place again.’
(19) The LORD has spoken concerning you, remnant of Judah: ‘Don’t go to Egypt.’ Know for certain that I have warned you today! (20) You have led your own selves astray because you are the ones who sent me to the LORD your God, saying, ‘Pray to the LORD our God on our behalf, and as for all that the LORD our God says, tell it to us, and we’ll act accordingly.’ (21) For I have told you today, but you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God in everything He has sent me to tell you. (22) Now therefore, know for certain that by the sword, famine, and plague you will die in the place where you desired to go to live for a while.”
Jeremiah Taken to Egypt
“(1) When Jeremiah had finished speaking to all the people all the words of the LORD their God–all these words the LORD their God had sent him to give them– (2) then Azariah son of Hoshaiah, Johanan son of Kareah, and all the other arrogant men responded to Jeremiah,
“You are speaking a lie! The LORD our God has not sent you to say, ‘You must not go to Egypt to live there for a while!’ (3) Rather, Baruch son of Neriah is inciting you against us to hand us over to the Chaldeans to put us to death or to deport us to Babylon!”
(4) So Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies did not obey the voice of the LORD to stay in the land of Judah. (5) Instead, Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the armies took the whole remnant of Judah, those who had returned from all the nations where they had been banished to live in the land of Judah for a while– (6) the men, women, children, king’s daughters, and everyone whom Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, had allowed to remain with Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan, along with Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah– (7) and they went to the land of Egypt because they did not obey the voice of the LORD.
They went as far as Tahpanhes.
(8) Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah at Tahpanhes:
(9) “Pick up some large stones and set them in the mortar of the brick pavement that is at the opening of Pharaoh’s palace at Tahpanhes.
Do this in the sight of the Judean men (10) and tell them: This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: I will send for My servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will place his throne on these stones that I have embedded, and he will pitch his pavilion over them. (11) He will come and strike down the land of Egypt–those destined for death, to death; those destined for captivity, to captivity; and those destined for the sword, to the sword.
(12) I will kindle a fire in the temples of Egypt’s gods, and he will burn them and take them prisoner. He will clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd picks lice off his garment, and he will leave there unscathed. (13) He will smash the sacred pillars of the sun temple in the land of Egypt and burn down the temples of the Egyptian gods.”
Judgment for Idolatry
“(1) This is the word that came to Jeremiah for all the Jews living in the land of Egypt–at Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and in the land of Pathros:
(2) “This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: You have seen all the disaster I brought against Jerusalem and all Judah’s cities; look, they are a ruin today without an inhabitant in them (3) because of their evil ways that provoked Me to anger, going and burning incense to serve other gods they, you, and your fathers did not know.
(4) So I sent you all My servants the prophets time and time again, saying, Don’t do this detestable thing that I hate. (5) But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn from their evil or stop burning incense to other gods. (6) So My fierce wrath poured forth and burned in Judah’s cities and Jerusalem’s streets so that they became the desolate ruin they are today. (7) “So now, this is what the LORD, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: Why are you doing such great harm to yourselves? You are cutting off man and woman, child and infant from Judah, leaving yourselves without a remnant. (8) You are provoking Me to anger by the work of your hands. You are burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to live for a while. As a result, you will be cut off and become an object of cursing and insult among all the nations of earth. (9) Have you forgotten the evils of your fathers, the evils of Judah’s kings, the evils of their wives, your own evils, and the evils of your wives that were committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? (10) They have not become humble to this day, and they have not feared or walked by My law or My statutes that I set before you and your ancestors.
(11) “Therefore, this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you to bring disaster, to cut off all Judah. (12) And I will take away the remnant of Judah, those who have resolved to go to the land of Egypt to live there for a while; they will meet their end. All of them in the land of Egypt will fall by the sword; they will meet their end by famine. From the least to the greatest, they will die by the sword and by famine. Then they will become an object of execration, of scorn, of cursing, and of disgrace.
(13) I will punish those living in the land of Egypt just as I punished Jerusalem by sword, famine, and plague. (14) Then the remnant of Judah–those going to live for a while there in the land of Egypt–will have no fugitive or survivor to return to the land of Judah where they are longing to return to live, for they will not return except for a few fugitives.”
(15) However, all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, all the women standing by–a great assembly–and all the people who were living in the land of Egypt at Pathros answered Jeremiah, (16) “As for the word you spoke to us in the name of the LORD, we are not going to listen to you! (17) Instead, we will do everything we said we would: burn incense to the queen of heaven and offer drink offerings to her just as we, our fathers, our kings, and our officials did in Judah’s cities and in Jerusalem’s streets. Then we had enough food and good things and saw no disaster, (18) but from the time we ceased to burn incense to the queen of heaven and to offer her drink offerings, we have lacked everything, and through sword and famine we have met our end.” (19) And the women said, “When we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it apart from our husbands’ knowledge that we made sacrificial cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”
(20) But Jeremiah responded to all the people–the men, women, and all the people who were answering him–saying, (21) “As for the incense you burned in Judah’s cities and in Jerusalem’s streets–you, your fathers, your kings, your officials, and the people of the land–did the LORD not remember them? He brought this to mind. (22) The LORD can no longer bear your evil deeds and the detestable acts you have committed, so your land has become a waste, a desolation, and an object of cursing, without inhabitant, as you see today. (23) Because you burned incense and sinned against the LORD and didn’t obey the LORD’s voice and didn’t walk in His law, His statutes, and His testimonies, this disaster has come to you, as you see today.”
(24) Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including all the women, “Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who are in the land of Egypt. (25) This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says:
‘As for you and your wives, you women have spoken with your mouths, and you men fulfilled it by your deeds, saying: We will keep our vows we have made to burn incense to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings for her. Go ahead, confirm your vows! Pay your vows!’ (26) “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, all you Judeans who live in the land of Egypt: ‘I have sworn by My great name, says the LORD, that My name will never again be invoked by anyone of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, As the Lord GOD lives. (27) I am watching over them for disaster and not for good, and every man of Judah who is in the land of Egypt will meet his end by sword or famine until they are finished off. (28) Those who escape the sword will return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah only few in number, and the whole remnant of Judah, the ones going to the land of Egypt to live there for a while, will know whose word stands, Mine or theirs!
(29) This will be a sign to you’–this is the LORD’s declaration–‘that I am about to punish you in this place, so you may know that My words of disaster concerning you will certainly come to pass. (30) This is what the LORD says: I am about to hand over Pharaoh Hophra, Egypt’s king, to his enemies, to those who want to take his life, just as I handed over Judah’s King Zedekiah to Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, who was his enemy, the one who wanted to take his life.'”
Note: The Pharaoh of that day was Hophra, and when the fortress of Tahpanhes was discovered and cleared in 1886, the open-air platform before the entrance was found. “Here the ceremony described by Jeremiah took place before the chiefs of the fugitives assembled on the platform, and here Nebuchadrezzar spread his royal pavilion. The very nature of the site is precisely applicable to all the events”. It was in 568 BC that the prophecy was fulfilled when Nebuchadrezzar marched into the Delta.
Palace of Memphis:
More recently, in 1909, in the course of excavations carried on by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, the palace of King Apries, Pharaoh Hophra, has been discovered on the site of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. Under the gray mud hill, close to the squalid Arab village of Mitrahenny, which every tourist passes on the way to Sakkhara, had lain for centuries Hophra’s magnificent palace, 400 ft. long by 200 ft., with a splendid pylon, an immense court, and stonelined halls, of which seven have been found intact. With many other objects of value there was found a fitting of a palanquin of solid silver, decorated with a bust of Hathor with a gold face. It is said to be of the finest workmanship of the time of Apries, a relic of the fire, which, Jeremiah predicted at Tahpanhes, the Lord of Hosts was to kindle “in the houses of the gods of Egypt” (Jer 43:12).
Pharaoh Hophra, as Jeremiah prophesied (44:29), became the victim of a revolt and was finally strangled.
Hathor, in ancient Egyptian religion, goddess of the sky, of women, and of fertility and love. Hathor’s worship originated in early dynastic times (3rd millennium bce). The name Hathor means “estate of Horus” and may not be her original name. … In her cult centre at Dandarah in Upper Egypt, she was worshipped with Horus.
Message to Baruch
Remember that Baruch was the scribe who faithfully recorded the words Jeremiah gave him by prophecy and which he read to those Jeremiah by God’s direction told him to do.
“(1) This is the word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch son of Neriah when he wrote these words on a scroll at Jeremiah’s dictation in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah:
(2) “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: (3) ‘You have said, Woe is me, because the LORD has added misery to my pain! I am worn out with groaning and have found no rest.
(4) “‘This is what you are to say to him: This is what the LORD says: What I have built I am about to demolish, and what I have planted I am about to uproot–the whole land! (5) But as for you, do you seek great things for yourself? Stop seeking! For I am about to bring disaster on every living creature’–this is the LORD’s declaration–‘but I will grant you your life like the spoils of war wherever you go.'”
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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