Jeremiah 49:1-6

49 Concerning the Ammonites:

This is what the Lord says:

“Has Israel no sons?
    Has Israel no heir?
Why then has Molek taken possession of Gad?
    Why do his people live in its towns?
But the days are coming,”
    declares the Lord,
“when I will sound the battle cry
    against Rabbah of the Ammonites;
it will become a mound of ruins,
    and its surrounding villages will be set on fire.
Then Israel will drive out
    those who drove her out,”
says the Lord.
“Wail, Heshbon, for Ai is destroyed!
    Cry out, you inhabitants of Rabbah!
Put on sackcloth and mourn;
    rush here and there inside the walls,
for Molek will go into exile,
    together with his priests and officials.
Why do you boast of your valleys,
    boast of your valleys so fruitful?
Unfaithful Daughter Ammon,
    you trust in your riches and say,
    ‘Who will attack me?’
I will bring terror on you
    from all those around you,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
“Every one of you will be driven away,
    and no one will gather the fugitives.

“Yet afterward, I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites,”
declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 49:1-6 NIV)

Geographically, Ammon occupied the land north of Moab and east of the Jordan River.  Historically, the Ammonites were distant relatives of Abraham, the product of Lot’s daughters getting their father drunk then sleeping with him (Genesis 19:30-38) and “cousins” to the Moabites.  Relationally, the Ammonites were long-standing enemies of the Israelites.

Compared to the passage against the Moabites, today’s text regarding the Ammonites is relatively short.

There are a few references that are the focus of today’s passage.  The first is Molek (vv. 1 and 3).  Molek is the detestable deity that is mentioned as far back as Deuteronomy 12:31, and also referred to in Jeremiah 32:35.  Molek was the deity to whom people sacrificed their children by burning them.  The name Molek means “the king”.  What a detestable ruler over the Ammonite people!

The second reference is to Rabbah (vv. 2 and 3).  Rabbah was the capital of Ammon in Jeremiah’s day.  The ruins of this former capital city are now part of the modern-day city of Amman, Jordan.

So what is the fate of the Ammonites?   To be driven out of their land.  While today’s text does not explicitly call out the Ammonite’s captors, other historical documents record that the Babylonians ultimately controlled the land.  Again, the Scriptures do not call out the Babylonians as the Ammonite conquerors, but we can surmise that the Babylonians likely overran the Ammonites for their part in the conspiracy and murder of Gedaliah, the Babylonian-appointed governor of Judah (Jeremiah chapters 40 – 41).

In the end, after the Ammonites are judged for their evil ways, the Lord promises to restore the fortunes of the Ammonites (v. 6).

So what is the faith lesson from today’s passage?  To see God’s hand of judgment combined with His hand of mercy shows His character.

May we remember to show mercy to others as God showed His tender mercy to us at the Cross.

Blessings,
~kevin

Jeremiah 48:26-47

26 “Make her drunk,
    for she has defied the Lord.
Let Moab wallow in her vomit;
    let her be an object of ridicule.
27 Was not Israel the object of your ridicule?
    Was she caught among thieves,
that you shake your head in scorn
    whenever you speak of her?
28 Abandon your towns and dwell among the rocks,
    you who live in Moab.
Be like a dove that makes its nest
    at the mouth of a cave.

29 “We have heard of Moab’s pride—
    how great is her arrogance!—
of her insolence, her pride, her conceit
    and the haughtiness of her heart.
30 I know her insolence but it is futile,”
declares the Lord,
    “and her boasts accomplish nothing.
31 Therefore I wail over Moab,
    for all Moab I cry out,
    I moan for the people of Kir Hareseth.
32 I weep for you, as Jazer weeps,
    you vines of Sibmah.
Your branches spread as far as the sea;
    they reached as far as Jazer.
The destroyer has fallen
    on your ripened fruit and grapes.
33 Joy and gladness are gone
    from the orchards and fields of Moab.
I have stopped the flow of wine from the presses;
    no one treads them with shouts of joy.
Although there are shouts,
    they are not shouts of joy.

34 “The sound of their cry rises
    from Heshbon to Elealeh and Jahaz,
from Zoar as far as Horonaim and Eglath Shelishiyah,
    for even the waters of Nimrim are dried up.
35 In Moab I will put an end
    to those who make offerings on the high places
    and burn incense to their gods,”
declares the Lord.
36 “So my heart laments for Moab like the music of a pipe;
    it laments like a pipe for the people of Kir Hareseth.
    The wealth they acquired is gone.
37 Every head is shaved
    and every beard cut off;
every hand is slashed
    and every waist is covered with sackcloth.
38 On all the roofs in Moab
    and in the public squares
there is nothing but mourning,
    for I have broken Moab
    like a jar that no one wants,”
declares the Lord.
39 “How shattered she is! How they wail!
    How Moab turns her back in shame!
Moab has become an object of ridicule,
    an object of horror to all those around her.”

40 This is what the Lord says:

“Look! An eagle is swooping down,
    spreading its wings over Moab.
41 Kerioth will be captured
    and the strongholds taken.
In that day the hearts of Moab’s warriors
    will be like the heart of a woman in labor.
42 Moab will be destroyed as a nation
    because she defied the Lord.
43 Terror and pit and snare await you,
    you people of Moab,”
declares the Lord.
44 “Whoever flees from the terror
    will fall into a pit,
whoever climbs out of the pit
    will be caught in a snare;
for I will bring on Moab
    the year of her punishment,”
declares the Lord.

45 “In the shadow of Heshbon
    the fugitives stand helpless,
for a fire has gone out from Heshbon,
    a blaze from the midst of Sihon;
it burns the foreheads of Moab,
    the skulls of the noisy boasters.
46 Woe to you, Moab!
    The people of Chemosh are destroyed;
your sons are taken into exile
    and your daughters into captivity.

47 “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab
    in days to come,”
declares the Lord.

Here ends the judgment on Moab.
(Jeremiah 48:26-47 NIV)

Today’s passage is part 2 of 2 on the judgment of Moab.  In part 1, we saw a significant number of towns within Moab specifically called out to remind the Moabite residents that the Lord’s judgment was all-inclusive – He covered everyone.

In today’s text, we see the sins listed against Moab.  These sins included defiance against God (v. 26), pride, conceit, arrogance, haughtiness, and insolence (vv. 29-30).

In verses 26-28, the Lord brings the same ridicule and scorn on Moab as Moab had on Judah when God was judging Judah.  In fact, the Lord says that Moab will drink from the same cup of judgment as Judah did.  This reference to “drink from the cup” goes back to 25:15-29, specifically 25:21 where Moab is mentioned among the nations.

In verse 35, in addition to their arrogance, the judgment was also for the worship of other gods.  This worship included their primary god Chemosh (v. 46).

In verses 40-46, the Lord made it clear that there would be no escape from this coming judgment.  While Moab’s destroyer is not specifically named, it was clear that all the nation’s courage and brazen pride was replaced by fear and inability to act.  Remember from our last text; this was the first time that Moab had been forced into captivity and exile.

And what was God’s (and Jeremiah’s) thoughts on this judgment?  Their heart was broken.  We see them wail, cry out, mourn (v. 31) was well as weep (v. 32) and lament (v. 36).

Despite all this doom, the Lord ends the prophecy with the hope of Moab’s restoration (v. 47).

May we remember that God provides restoration for some so that we (as humanity)  do not lose hope.

May we also remember that God does not provide restoration for all so that we do not assume or presume that His grace and mercy are guaranteed.

May the prophet Micah’s words also be ours to live by:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 NIV)

Blessings,
~kevin

Jeremiah 48:1-25

48 Concerning Moab:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:

“Woe to Nebo, for it will be ruined.
    Kiriathaim will be disgraced and captured;
    the stronghold will be disgraced and shattered.
Moab will be praised no more;
    in Heshbon people will plot her downfall:
    ‘Come, let us put an end to that nation.’
You, the people of Madmen, will also be silenced;
    the sword will pursue you.
Cries of anguish arise from Horonaim,
    cries of great havoc and destruction.
Moab will be broken;
    her little ones will cry out.
They go up the hill to Luhith,
    weeping bitterly as they go;
on the road down to Horonaim
    anguished cries over the destruction are heard.
Flee! Run for your lives;
    become like a bush in the desert.
Since you trust in your deeds and riches,
    you too will be taken captive,
and Chemosh will go into exile,
    together with his priests and officials.
The destroyer will come against every town,
    and not a town will escape.
The valley will be ruined
    and the plateau destroyed,
    because the Lord has spoken.
Put salt on Moab,
    for she will be laid waste;
her towns will become desolate,
    with no one to live in them.

10 “A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!
    A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed!

11 “Moab has been at rest from youth,
    like wine left on its dregs,
not poured from one jar to another—
    she has not gone into exile.
So she tastes as she did,
    and her aroma is unchanged.
12 But days are coming,”
    declares the Lord,
“when I will send men who pour from pitchers,
    and they will pour her out;
they will empty her pitchers
    and smash her jars.
13 Then Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh,
    as Israel was ashamed
    when they trusted in Bethel.

14 “How can you say, ‘We are warriors,
    men valiant in battle’?
15 Moab will be destroyed and her towns invaded;
    her finest young men will go down in the slaughter,”
    declares the King, whose name is the Lord Almighty.
16 “The fall of Moab is at hand;
    her calamity will come quickly.
17 Mourn for her, all who live around her,
    all who know her fame;
say, ‘How broken is the mighty scepter,
    how broken the glorious staff!’

18 “Come down from your glory
    and sit on the parched ground,
    you inhabitants of Daughter Dibon,
for the one who destroys Moab
    will come up against you
    and ruin your fortified cities.
19 Stand by the road and watch,
    you who live in Aroer.
Ask the man fleeing and the woman escaping,
    ask them, ‘What has happened?’
20 Moab is disgraced, for she is shattered.
    Wail and cry out!
Announce by the Arnon
    that Moab is destroyed.
21 Judgment has come to the plateau—
    to Holon, Jahzah and Mephaath,
22     to Dibon, Nebo and Beth Diblathaim,
23     to Kiriathaim, Beth Gamul and Beth Meon,
24     to Kerioth and Bozrah—
    to all the towns of Moab, far and near.
25 Moab’s horn is cut off;
    her arm is broken,”
declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 48:1-25 NIV)

Chapter 48 is an extensive indictment against Moab.  The chapter breaks down into two parts; we will look at the first part today, and cover the second part in our next time together.

Geographically, Moab occupied the land east of the Dead Sea.  Historically, the Moabites were distant relatives of Abraham, the product of Lot’s daughters getting their father drunk then sleeping with him (Genesis 19:30-38).  Relationally, the Moabites were long-standing bitter enemies of the Israelites.

This passage names over 20 cities in Moab.  This mention of all these towns is significant, as one of the primary points in this section is verse 11 – the fact that Moab had never been forced into exile.  The Lord was telling the Moabites that none were exempt from this impending exile and ruin.

There are many references to disgrace, fall from glory, ruin, and judgment in today’s passage.  In verse 25, the Lord specifically calls out Moab’s loss of strength (signified by the broken horn and arm).

The two references to Chemosh (vv. 7 and 13) are to the deity that the Moabites worshiped.    Solomon (in his later years of not walking with the Lord) built an altar to Chemosh to appease his Moabite wives (1 Kings 11:7).

Throughout history, the Lord brings down the proud and humbles the those that boast in their own strength.

May we keep focused on the Lord and Him alone, not depending on our resources and strength.

May we remember the Apostle Paul’s charge in how to live with those around us:

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
(Romans 12:17-19 NIV)

Blessings,
~kevin

Jeremiah 47:1-7

47 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines before Pharaoh attacked Gaza:

This is what the Lord says:

“See how the waters are rising in the north;
    they will become an overflowing torrent.
They will overflow the land and everything in it,
    the towns and those who live in them.
The people will cry out;
    all who dwell in the land will wail
at the sound of the hooves of galloping steeds,
    at the noise of enemy chariots
    and the rumble of their wheels.
Parents will not turn to help their children;
    their hands will hang limp.
For the day has come
    to destroy all the Philistines
and to remove all survivors
    who could help Tyre and Sidon.
The Lord is about to destroy the Philistines,
    the remnant from the coasts of Caphtor.
Gaza will shave her head in mourning;
    Ashkelon will be silenced.
You remnant on the plain,
    how long will you cut yourselves?

“‘Alas, sword of the Lord,
    how long till you rest?
Return to your sheath;
    cease and be still.’
But how can it rest
    when the Lord has commanded it,
when he has ordered it
    to attack Ashkelon and the coast?”
(Jeremiah 47:1-7 NIV)

Chapter 47 focuses on the fate of the Philistines.  While the timeframe is not exactly known, most scholars guess that the timeframe is somewhere between 609 and 605 BC.

The Philistines transplanted themselves into the seacoast towns of the region.  They were originally from what we know today as southwestern Turkey and the Aegean islands.

While verse 1 calls out the Egypt’s attack on the Philistines by Pharoah, other references point to the assault of the Babylonians.  While the Egyptians had visions and aspirations of world domination (46:8), their hopes were dashed almost as soon as they began by their defeat by the Babylonians at the Battle of Carchemish.

Again, the Lord makes plain the judgment against the entire nation of Philistia (vv. 2-3).  The attack will be so overwhelming that even parents will be powerless to help their children in the day of distress (v. 3).

In verse 6, the Philistines recognize the sword of the Lord against them and beg for relief.  However, the Lord answers and says that no one can stop what He has begun.  Unlike Egypt and some of the other nations, the Lord offers no mercy or grace in this passage.  The Lord offers no salvation or surviving remnant in this context.

Verse 7 mentions the city of Ashkelon, the same town that the Babylonians attacked and triggered the call for fasting by King Jehoiakim of Judah (Chapter 36).  This call for a nationwide fast is also the event that allowed Baruch to read Jeremiah’s words from the Lord from the Temple balcony (Chapter 36).

As we consider the question of God’s justice (verses 6 – 7) in Jeremiah’s day, how does that apply to life in our day?  Does the Lord not intervene against injustice in our day as well?

May we remember that the Lord is Creator of the heavens and earth and everything in them.  As such, He is sovereign over all people and nations and uses each to bring about His plan and His glory.

May we remember that as Creator of the Universe, God has set His standards of conduct toward Himself and toward other people.  When those standards of conduct are violated, the Lord steps in and provides justice for the downtrodden and abused as well as against the abusers.

May we, as Christ’s followers, exemplify His character and conduct as we learn to treat one another with the same love and concern that God offers to us (1 John 4:7).

Blessings,
~kevin

Jeremiah 46:25-28

25 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. 26 I will give them into the hands of those who want to kill them—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past,” declares the Lord.

27 “Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant;
    do not be dismayed, Israel.
I will surely save you out of a distant place,
    your descendants from the land of their exile.
Jacob will again have peace and security,
    and no one will make him afraid.
28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant,
    for I am with you,” declares the Lord.
“Though I completely destroy all the nations
    among which I scatter you,
    I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only in due measure;
    I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”
(Jeremiah 46:25-28 NIV)

From the previous passage, we heard God’s promise to destroy Egypt as He had Judah, to make the land uninhabited and desolate.  The Lord had focused on lower Egypt, its capital city Memphis, and on their god Apis.

In today’s passage, the Lord brings the focus to upper Egypt, its capital city Thebes, and its god Amon.  The Lord promises judgment on the city, its deity, on Pharoah and anyone under Pharoah who works for or relies on him.  I think that covers about everyone in the land of Egypt!  But God, in His grace, promises to reinhabit Egypt eventually (v. 26b).

Today’s passage also includes a promise to watch over the Jewish exiles scattered throughout the neighboring lands of Judah (vv. 27-28).  The Jewish exiles were no doubt terrified of God’s words of destruction against the nations.  God reiterates His promise (very similar to 30:10-11) to let them know He has not forgotten His people.

Notice the words of comfort the Lord offers to His children – to miraculously protect His own while destroying the inhabitants and land where they are exiled.  Such a promise of salvation is more than any other deity could promise or deliver.  Remember that most peoples and nations of Jeremiah’s day believed that their deities had their power within a given country or other geographic bounds.  God reminds His people that His power has no geographic limitations – He is God overall.

In verse 28b, the Lord promises restoration for His people, back to the promised land, to a combined Israel and Judah that will operate as one nation.

It’s interesting that these two passages (25-26 and 27-28) are placed next to each other.  It’s as if God is saying that if he will show grace to Egypt (v. 26b) who does not honor Him, how much more will He show His grace and loving kindness to the people of His covenant (v. 28b)?

May we remember that God is the God of both individuals and nations.   God holds each person responsible for their thoughts and actions, as well as each nation.

May we also remember that God’s desire is to bring both individuals and nations to a place of repentance and relationship with Himself.

If we find ourselves enduring God’s discipline, either as individuals or as a nation, may we remember God’s promises to protect and care for His own.

May we experience God’s love and grace today – He has our best interests in mind, and desires that we continue to grow to be more like Him.

Blessings,
~kevin

Jeremiah 46:13-24

13 This is the message the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to attack Egypt:

14 “Announce this in Egypt, and proclaim it in Migdol;
    proclaim it also in Memphis and Tahpanhes:
‘Take your positions and get ready,
    for the sword devours those around you.’
15 Why will your warriors be laid low?
    They cannot stand, for the Lord will push them down.
16 They will stumble repeatedly;
    they will fall over each other.
They will say, ‘Get up, let us go back
    to our own people and our native lands,
    away from the sword of the oppressor.’
17 There they will exclaim,
    ‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise;
    he has missed his opportunity.’

18 “As surely as I live,” declares the King,
    whose name is the Lord Almighty,
“one will come who is like Tabor among the mountains,
    like Carmel by the sea.
19 Pack your belongings for exile,
    you who live in Egypt,
for Memphis will be laid waste
    and lie in ruins without inhabitant.

20 “Egypt is a beautiful heifer,
    but a gadfly is coming
    against her from the north.
21 The mercenaries in her ranks
    are like fattened calves.
They too will turn and flee together,
    they will not stand their ground,
for the day of disaster is coming upon them,
    the time for them to be punished.
22 Egypt will hiss like a fleeing serpent
    as the enemy advances in force;
they will come against her with axes,
    like men who cut down trees.
23 They will chop down her forest,”
declares the Lord,
    “dense though it be.
They are more numerous than locusts,
    they cannot be counted.
24 Daughter Egypt will be put to shame,
    given into the hands of the people of the north.”
(Jeremiah 46:13-24 NIV)

As we opened Chapter 46 in our last time together, we saw Egypt defeated at the battle of Carchemish.  Today’s passage depicts Nebuchadnezzar attacking and overcoming Egypt proper (the entire country).

Similar to verses 3-4, verse 14 is a call to arms.  This battle is no secret or surprise attack – the enemy (Babylon) is known and advancing on Egypt.

Verse 15 speaks about the warriors of Egypt being “laid low”, found face down in defeat.  The warriors were often represented by the Egyptian god Apis, which was the sacred bull of fertility.  So-called “priests” of this deity would be charged with caring for this sacred herd.  But even this Egyptian god was no match for the Lord, who drove the “herd”  of warriors away, both Egyptian troops and mercenaries (v. 16).

Verse 17 is a pun in the Hebrew text, with its object of derision being the Egyptian Pharoah Necho.  In the pun, the Lord depicts Pharoah as a loud noise with bad timing and no power.

In verses 18 – 19, the Lord, the real King, speaks.  He compares Babylon to Mount Tabor and Mount Carmel.  Both of these two landmarks tower over their surrounding plains by over 1,500 feet – clearly an intimidating force.  What is the Lord’s command to the people of Egypt and the citizens of the city of Memphis?  Pack your bags and prepare for exile, just as the Judeans and the people of Jerusalem had to do.  Ultimately, Egypt and Memphis will suffer the same fate as Judah and Jerusalem.

In verse 20, the Lord pronounces a judgment against the land of Egypt.  The land is depicted as a heifer (a young female cow that has not yet had a calf).  Babylon is portrayed as a gadfly, a large fly that bites people and animals and leaves a wound.  Again, the warriors (depicted as bulls in verse 15) cannot protect their herd.

Verse 21 addresses the hired soldiers (mercenaries) enlisted by the Egyptians to fight against the Babylonians.  Just like the Egyptian deities, these mercenaries (who have been well-paid and taken care of) will flee when the Babylonians show up.

Verses 22 – 23 depict Egypt as a hissing serpent hiding in the forest.  The Babylonians are the woodcutters who are looking for the snake, so they don’t get bit by it.  The forest is too dense to find the snake, so the woodcutters chop down the forest to find it.  Even a forest (Egypt) is no challenge for the woodcutters (Babylon) when there are so many woodcutters (like a swarm of locusts).

Finally, Egypt is depicted as a daughter who has been brought to shame at the hands of the Babylonians.  This language is very similar to 6:12 and 38:23, where the Lord said the wives and daughters of the families of Judah and Jerusalem would be carried off by the Babylonian warriors.

May we not be like Pharoah, a loud noise with bad timing and no power.  Instead, may we be salt and light to the world around us, a blessing and not a curse.

May our strength and confidence be in God alone, and not in our defenses, our resources, or in false deities that are knocked over like toy soldiers.

Jesus is enough.

Blessings,
~kevin

Jeremiah 46:1-12

46 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations:

Concerning Egypt:

This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates River by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:

“Prepare your shields, both large and small,
    and march out for battle!
Harness the horses,
    mount the steeds!
Take your positions
    with helmets on!
Polish your spears,
    put on your armor!
What do I see?
    They are terrified,
they are retreating,
    their warriors are defeated.
They flee in haste
    without looking back,
    and there is terror on every side,”
declares the Lord.
“The swift cannot flee
    nor the strong escape.
In the north by the River Euphrates
    they stumble and fall.

“Who is this that rises like the Nile,
    like rivers of surging waters?
Egypt rises like the Nile,
    like rivers of surging waters.
She says, ‘I will rise and cover the earth;
    I will destroy cities and their people.’
Charge, you horses!
    Drive furiously, you charioteers!
March on, you warriors—men of Cush and Put who carry shields,
    men of Lydia who draw the bow.
10 But that day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty—
    a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes.
The sword will devour till it is satisfied,
    till it has quenched its thirst with blood.
For the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will offer sacrifice
    in the land of the north by the River Euphrates.

11 “Go up to Gilead and get balm,
    Virgin Daughter Egypt.
But you try many medicines in vain;
    there is no healing for you.
12 The nations will hear of your shame;
    your cries will fill the earth.
One warrior will stumble over another;
    both will fall down together.”
(Jeremiah 46:1-12 NIV)

Today we begin a new section in the book of Jeremiah – an expanded set of prophecies about the nations.  In 1:5 the Lord told Jeremiah that he would be “a prophet to the nations”.  We saw the first pass of these prophecies in 25:19-26.  In these chapters, the Lord expands on the details regarding each nation-state.

The Lord starts with Egypt and ends with Babylon, just like the historical narrative and context of the surrounding nations’ dominance over Judah.  These chapters document God’s supremacy over the nations and His hand in guiding and creating history.  The Lord provides justice over all the nations, as the defender of the afflicted, judge of the unrighteous, executioner of the unjust, and deliverer of the downtrodden.  All of this ultimately gives God His much-deserved glory.

As we begin today’s passage, we see the Lord reminding Jeremiah that he is the prophet to the nations (v. 1).  The first country, as stated in the introduction, is Egypt.

The timeframe for this oracle is around 605 BC, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign as king of Judah.  Remember that Jehoiakim was appointed king of Judah by the Egyptian Pharoah after Josiah, Jehoiakim’s father was mortally wounded in the battle with the Egyptians.

The Lord describes the scene of the battle of Carchemish where the Babylonian army defeats the Egyptian army.  Verses 3 – 6 are Egypt’s summary of the fight, and verses 7 – 12 are the Lord’s summary of the battle.

In verses 3 – 6, the Egyptians go into battle proud and confident.   Verses 3 and 4 are short military commands no doubt barked out by the Egyptian military commanders many times over.  Verses 5 and 6 depict the mayhem and chaos during the battle – fear and retreat, terrified and facing their enemy’s devastation on every side.

Verses 7 – 12 tell the Lord’s view of the military action.  In verse 8, the Lord shares the Egyptians’ imperialistic mindset of ruling the world.  In the end, however, God says that the “day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty” (v. 10).  God still rules the universe.  The rest of verse 10 indicates a blood sacrifice.  This imagery is likely the Lord avenging the death of His servant Josiah, whom ultimately died at the hands of the Egyptians.

Verses 11 – 12 show the conclusion of the battle of Carchemish.  Egypt will look for healing, but will not find any for her wounds (v. 11).  Instead, she will be subjected to public shame among the other countries (v. 12).

May we remember that God knits the nations together and tears them apart for justice, repentance, salvation, and His glory, all in His time and His ways.  In the process, God shows His grace and mercy while judging evil and sin.

May we remember that God operates at the national and international arena as well as at the individual level.  We are held accountable as both individuals and nations.

May we remember to faithfully pray for the leaders of our countries as well as ourselves.

Blessings,
~kevin