Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 186

Jeremiah 43–48, Psalm 56

Bible text(s)

Jeremiah is Taken to Egypt

1I finished telling the people everything that the LORD their God had sent me to tell them. 2Then Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other arrogant men said to me, “You are lying. The LORD our God did not send you to tell us not to go and live in Egypt. 3Baruch son of Neriah has stirred you up against us, so that the Babylonians will gain power over us and can either kill us or take us away to Babylonia.” 4So neither Johanan nor any of the army officers nor any of the people would obey the LORD's command to remain in the land of Judah. 5Then Johanan and all the army officers took everybody left in Judah away to Egypt, together with all the people who had returned from the nations where they had been scattered: 6the men, the women, the children, and the king's daughters. They took everyone whom Nebuzaradan the commanding officer had left under the care of Gedaliah, including Baruch and me. 7They disobeyed the LORD's command and went into Egypt as far as the city of Tahpanhes.

8There the LORD said to me, 9“Get some large stones and bury them in the mortar of the pavement in front of the entrance to the government building here in the city, and let some of the Israelites see you do it. 10Then tell them that I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, am going to bring my servant King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to this place, and he will put his throne over these stones that you buried, and will spread the royal tent over them. 11Nebuchadnezzar will come and defeat Egypt. Those people who are doomed to die of disease will die of disease, those doomed to be taken away as prisoners will be taken away as prisoners, and those doomed to be killed in war will be killed in war. 12I will set fire to the temples of Egypt's gods, and the king of Babylonia will either burn their gods or carry them off. As shepherds pick their clothes clean of lice, so the king of Babylonia will pick the land of Egypt clean and then leave victorious. 13He will destroy the sacred stone monuments at Heliopolis in Egypt and will burn down the temples of the Egyptian gods.”

Jeremiah 43GNBOpen in Bible reader

The LORD's Message to the Israelites in Egypt

1The LORD spoke to me concerning all the Israelites living in Egypt, in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in the southern part of the country. 2The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, said, “You yourselves have seen the destruction I brought on Jerusalem and all the other cities of Judah. Even now they are still in ruins, and no one lives in them 3because their people had done evil and had made me angry. They offered sacrifices to other gods and served gods that neither they nor you nor your ancestors ever worshipped. 4I kept sending you my servants the prophets, who told you not to do this terrible thing that I hate. 5But you would not listen or pay any attention. You would not give up your evil practice of sacrificing to other gods. 6So I poured out my anger and fury on the towns of Judah and on the streets of Jerusalem, and I set them on fire. They were left in ruins and became a horrifying sight, as they are today.

7“And so I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, now ask why you are doing such an evil thing to yourselves. Do you want to bring destruction on men and women, children and babies, so that none of your people will be left? 8Why do you make me angry by worshipping idols and by sacrificing to other gods here in Egypt, where you have come to live? Are you doing this just to destroy yourselves, so that every nation on earth will treat you with scorn and use your name as a curse? 9Have you forgotten all the wicked things that have been done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem by your ancestors, by the kings of Judah and their wives, and by you and your wives? 10But to this day you have not humbled yourselves. You have not honoured me or lived according to all the laws that I gave you and your ancestors.

11“So then, I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, will turn against you and destroy all Judah. 12As for the people of Judah who are left and are determined to go and live in Egypt, I will see to it that all of them are destroyed. All of them, great and small, will die in Egypt, either in war or of starvation. They will be a horrifying sight; people will treat them with scorn and use their name as a curse. 13I will punish those who live in Egypt, just as I punished Jerusalem — with war, starvation, and disease. 14None of the people of Judah who are left and have come to Egypt to live will escape or survive. Not one of them will return to Judah, where they long to live once again. No one will return except a few refugees.”

15Then all the men who knew that their wives offered sacrifices to other gods, and all the women who were standing there, including the Israelites who lived in southern Egypt — a large crowd in all — said to me, 16“We refuse to listen to what you have told us in the name of the LORD. 17We will do everything that we said we would. We will offer sacrifices to our goddess, the Queen of Heaven, and we will pour out wine offerings to her, just as we and our ancestors, our king and our leaders, used to do in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. Then we had plenty of food, we were prosperous, and had no troubles. 18But ever since we stopped sacrificing to the Queen of Heaven and stopped pouring out wine offerings to her, we have had nothing, and our people have died in war and of starvation.”

19And the women added, “When we baked cakes shaped like the Queen of Heaven, offered sacrifices to her, and poured out wine offerings to her, our husbands approved of what we were doing.”

20Then I said to all the men and the women who had answered me in this way, 21“As for the sacrifices which you and your ancestors, your kings and your leaders, and the people of the land offered in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem — do you think that the LORD did not know about them or that he forgot them? 22This very day your land lies in ruins and no one lives in it. It has become a horrifying sight, and people use its name as a curse because the LORD could no longer endure your wicked and evil practices. 23This present disaster has come on you because you offered sacrifices to other gods and sinned against the LORD by not obeying all his commands.”

24-25I told all the people, especially the women, what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, was saying to the people of Judah living in Egypt: “Both you and your wives have made solemn promises to the Queen of Heaven. You promised that you would offer sacrifices to her and pour out wine offerings to her, and you have kept your promises. Very well, then! Keep your promises! Carry out your vows! 26But now listen to the vow that I, the LORD, have made in my mighty name to all you Israelites in Egypt: never again will I let any of you use my name to make a vow by saying, ‘I swear by the living Sovereign LORD!’ 27I will see to it that you will not prosper, but will be destroyed. All of you will die, either in war or of disease, until not one of you is left. 28But a few of you will escape death and return from Egypt to Judah. Then the survivors will know whose words have come true, mine or theirs. 29I, the LORD, will give you proof that I will punish you in this place and that my promise to bring destruction on you will come true. 30I will hand over King Hophra of Egypt to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I handed over King Zedekiah of Judah to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, who was his enemy and wanted to kill him.”

Jeremiah 44GNBOpen in Bible reader

God's Promise to Baruch

1In the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah, Baruch wrote down what I had dictated to him. Then I told him 2that the LORD, the God of Israel, had said, “Baruch, 3you are saying, ‘I give up! The LORD has added sorrow to my troubles. I am worn out from groaning, and I can't find any rest!’

4“But I, the LORD, am tearing down what I have built and pulling up what I have planted. I will do this to the entire earth. 5Are you looking for special treatment for yourself? Don't do it. I am bringing disaster on the whole human race, but you will at least escape with your life wherever you go. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

Jeremiah 45GNBOpen in Bible reader

Egypt's Defeat at Carchemish

1The LORD spoke to me about the nations, 2beginning with Egypt. This is what he said about the army of King Neco of Egypt, which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia defeated at Carchemish near the River Euphrates in the fourth year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah:

3“The Egyptian officers shout,

‘Get your shields ready

and march into battle!

4Harness your horses and mount them!

Fall in line and put on your helmets!

Sharpen your spears!

Put on your armour!’

5“But what do I see?” asks the LORD.

“They are turning back in terror.

Their soldiers are beaten back;

overcome with fear, they run as fast as they can

and do not look back.

6Those who run fast cannot get away;

the soldiers cannot escape.

In the north, by the Euphrates,

they stumble and fall.

7Who is this that rises like the Nile,

like a river flooding its banks?

8It is Egypt, rising like the Nile,

like a river flooding its banks.

Egypt said, ‘I will rise and cover the world;

I will destroy cities and the people who live there.

9Command the horses to go

and the chariots to roll!

Send out the soldiers:

men from Ethiopia and Libya, carrying shields,

and skilled archers from Lydia.’ ”

10This is the day of the Sovereign LORD Almighty:

today he will take revenge;

today he will punish his enemies.

His sword will eat them until it is full,

and drink their blood until it is satisfied.

Today the Almighty sacrifices his victims

in the north, by the Euphrates.

11People of Egypt, go to Gilead

and look for medicine!

All your medicine has proved useless;

nothing can heal you.

12Nations have heard of your shame;

everyone has heard you cry.

One soldier trips over another,

and both of them fall to the ground.

The Coming of Nebuchadnezzar

13When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia came to attack Egypt, the LORD spoke to me. He said,

14“Proclaim it in the towns of Egypt,

in Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes:

‘Get ready to defend yourselves;

all you have will be destroyed in war!

15Why has your mighty god Apis fallen?

The LORD has struck him down!’

16Your soldiers have stumbled and fallen;

each one says to the other,

‘Hurry! Let's go home to our people

and escape the enemy's sword!’

17“Give the king of Egypt a new name —

‘Noisy Braggart who Missed his Chance’.

18I, the LORD Almighty, am king.

I am the living God.

As Mount Tabor towers above the mountains

and Mount Carmel stands high above the sea,

so will be the strength of the one who attacks you.

19Get ready to be taken prisoner,

you people of Egypt!

Memphis will be made a desert,

a ruin where no one lives.

20Egypt is like a splendid cow,

attacked by a stinging fly from the north.

21Even her hired soldiers

are helpless as calves.

They did not stand and fight;

all of them turned and ran.

The day of their doom had arrived,

the time of their destruction.

22Egypt runs away, hissing like a snake,

as the enemy's army approaches.

They attack her with axes,

like men cutting down trees

23and destroying a thick forest.

Their men are too many to count;

their soldiers outnumber the locusts.

24The people of Egypt are put to shame;

they are conquered by the people of the north.

I, the LORD, have spoken.”

25The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says, “I am going to punish Amon, the god of Thebes, together with Egypt and its gods and kings. I am going to take the king of Egypt and all who put their trust in him, 26and hand them over to those who want to kill them, to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his army. But later on, people will live in Egypt again, as they did in times past. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

The LORD will Save his People

27“My people, do not be afraid,

people of Israel, do not be terrified.

I will rescue you from that distant land,

from the land where you are prisoners.

You will come back home and live in peace;

you will be secure, and no one will make you afraid.

28I will come to you and save you.

I will destroy all the nations

where I have scattered you,

but I will not destroy you.

I will not let you go unpunished;

but when I punish you, I will be fair.

I, the LORD, have spoken.”

Jeremiah 46GNBOpen in Bible reader

The LORD's Message about Philistia

1Before the king of Egypt attacked Gaza, the LORD spoke to me about Philistia. 2He said:

“Look! Waters are rising in the north

and will rush like a river in flood.

They will cover the land and everything on it,

cities and the people who live there.

People will call out for help;

everyone on earth will cry bitterly.

3They will hear the hoof beats of horses,

the clatter of chariots,

the rumble of wheels.

Parents will not turn back for their children;

their hands will hang limp at their sides.

4The time has come to destroy Philistia,

to cut off from Tyre and Sidon

all the help that remains.

I, the LORD, will destroy the Philistines,

all who came from the shores of Crete.

5Great sorrow has come to the people of Gaza,

and Ashkelon's people are silent.

How long will the rest of Philistia mourn?

6You cry out, ‘Sword of the LORD!

How long will you go on slashing?

Go back to your scabbard,

stay there and rest!’

7But how can it rest,

when I have given it work to do?

I have commanded it to attack Ashkelon

and the people who live on the coast.”

Jeremiah 47GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Destruction of Moab

1This is what the LORD Almighty said about Moab:

“Pity the people of Nebo —

their town is destroyed!

Kiriathaim is captured,

its mighty fortress torn down,

and its people put to shame;

2the splendour of Moab is gone.

The enemy have captured Heshbon

and plot to destroy the nation of Moab.

The town of Madmen will be silenced;

armies will march against it.

3The people of Horonaim cry out,

‘Violence! Destruction!’

4“Moab has been destroyed;

listen to the children crying.

5Hear the sound of their sobs

along the road up to Luhith,

the cries of distress

on the way down to Horonaim.

6‘Quick, run for your lives!’ they say.

‘Run like a wild desert donkey!’

7“Moab, you trusted in your strength and your wealth,

but now even you will be conquered;

your god Chemosh will go into exile,

along with his princes and priests.

8Not a town will escape the destruction;

both valley and plain will be ruined.

I, the LORD, have spoken.

9Set up a tombstone for Moab;

it will soon be destroyed.

Its towns will be left in ruins,

and no one will live there again.”

10(Curse those who do not do the LORD's work with all their heart! Curse those who do not slash and kill!)

The Cities of Moab are Destroyed

11The LORD said, “Moab has always lived secure and has never been taken into exile. Moab is like wine left to settle undisturbed and never poured from jar to jar. Its flavour has never been ruined, and it tastes as good as ever.

12“So now, the time is coming when I will send people to pour Moab out like wine. They will empty its wine jars and break them in pieces. 13Then the Moabites will be disillusioned with their god Chemosh, just as the Israelites were disillusioned with Bethel, a god in whom they trusted.

14“Men of Moab, why do you claim to be heroes,

brave soldiers tested in war?

15Moab and its cities are destroyed;

its finest young men have been slaughtered.

I am the king, the LORD Almighty,

and I have spoken.

16Moab's doom approaches;

its ruin is coming soon.

17“Mourn for that nation, you that live near by,

all of you that know its fame.

Say, ‘Its powerful rule has been broken;

its glory and might are no more.’

18You that live in Dibon,

come down from your place of honour

and sit on the ground in the dust;

Moab's destroyer is here

and has left its forts in ruins.

19You that live in Aroer,

stand by the road and wait;

ask those who are running away,

find out from them what has happened.

20‘Moab has fallen,’ they will answer,

‘weep for it; it is disgraced.

Announce along the River Arnon

that Moab is destroyed!’

21“Judgement has come on the cities of the plateau: on Holon, Jahzah, Mephaath, 22Dibon, Nebo, Beth Diblathaim, 23Kiriathaim, Bethgamul, Bethmeon, 24Kerioth, and Bozrah. Judgement has come on all the cities of Moab, far and near. 25Moab's might has been crushed; its power has been destroyed. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

Moab will be Humbled

26The LORD said, “Make Moab drunk, because it has rebelled against me. Moab will roll in its own vomit, and people will laugh. 27Moab, remember how you jeered at the people of Israel? You treated them as though they had been caught with a gang of robbers.

28“You people who live in Moab, leave your towns! Go and live on the cliffs! Be like the dove that makes its nest in the sides of a ravine. 29Moab is very proud! I have heard how proud, arrogant, and conceited the people are, how much they think of themselves. 30I, the LORD, know of their arrogance. Their boasts amount to nothing, and the things they do will not last. 31And so I will weep for everyone in Moab and for the people of Kir Heres. 32I will cry for the people of Sibmah, even more than for the people of Jazer. City of Sibmah, you are like a vine whose branches reach across the Dead Sea and go as far as Jazer. But now your summer fruits and your grapes have been destroyed. 33Happiness and joy have been taken away from the fertile land of Moab. I have made the wine stop flowing from the winepresses; there is no one to make the wine and shout for joy.

34“The people of Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, and their cry can be heard as far as Jahaz; it can be heard by the people in Zoar, and it is heard as far as Horonaim and Eglath Shelishiyah. Even the brook of Nimrim has dried up. 35I will stop the people of Moab from making burnt offerings at their places of worship and from offering sacrifices to their gods. I, the LORD, have spoken.

36“So my heart mourns for Moab and for the people of Kir Heres, like someone playing a funeral song on a flute, because everything they owned is gone. 37All of them have shaved their heads and cut off their beards. They have all made gashes on their hands, and everyone is wearing sackcloth. 38On all the housetops of Moab and in all its public squares there is nothing but mourning, because I have broken Moab like a jar that no one wants. 39Moab has been shattered! Cry out! Moab has been disgraced. It is in ruins, and all the surrounding nations jeer at it. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

No Escape for Moab

40The LORD has promised that a nation will swoop down on Moab like an eagle with its outspread wings, 41and the towns and fortresses will be captured. On that day Moab's soldiers will be as frightened as a woman in labour. 42Moab will be destroyed and will no longer be a nation, because it rebelled against me. 43Terror, pits, and traps are waiting for the people of Moab. The LORD has spoken. 44Whoever tries to escape the terror will fall into the pits, and whoever climbs out of the pits will be caught in the traps, because the LORD has set the time for Moab's destruction. 45Helpless refugees try to find protection in Heshbon, the city that King Sihon once ruled, but it is in flames. Fire has burnt up the frontiers and the mountain heights of the war-loving people of Moab. 46Pity the people of Moab! The people who worshipped Chemosh have been destroyed, and their sons and daughters have been taken away as prisoners.

47But in days to come the LORD will make Moab prosperous again. All of this is what the LORD has said will happen to Moab.

Jeremiah 48GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Prayer of Trust in God

1Be merciful to me, O God,

because I am under attack;

my enemies persecute me all the time.

2All day long my opponents attack me.

There are so many who fight against me.

3When I am afraid, O LORD Almighty,

I put my trust in you.

4I trust in God and am not afraid;

I praise him for what he has promised.

What can a mere human being do to me?

5My enemies make trouble for me all day long;

they are always planning how to hurt me!

6They gather in hiding places

and watch everything I do,

hoping to kill me.

7Punish them, O God, for their evil;

defeat those people in your anger!

8You know how troubled I am;

you have kept a record of my tears.

Aren't they listed in your book?

9The day I call to you,

my enemies will be turned back.

I know this: God is on my side —

10the LORD, whose promises I praise.

11In him I trust, and I will not be afraid.

What can a mere human being do to me?

12O God, I will offer you what I have promised;

I will give you my offering of thanksgiving,

13because you have rescued me from death

and kept me from defeat.

And so I walk in the presence of God,

in the light that shines on the living.

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