PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS
(The parentheses represent poetic literary units)
|Conquest of Egypt Predicted||Israelites Will Be Punished in Egypt||Jeremiah in Egypt
|The LORD's Message to the Israelites in Egypt||The Judeans in Egypt and the Queen of Heaven|
|Calamity For the Jews||44:19|
READING CYCLE THREE (see introductory section)
FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL
This is a study guide commentary,which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.
Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.
1. First paragraph
2. Second paragraph
3. Third paragraph
A. There is little historical evidence for an invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar II.
1. fragment of Nebuchadnezzar annals from the 37th year (568-567 b.c.)
3. Ezekiel 29:19-21
B. The invasion may have been a punitive raid which, after initial success, was suspended. After this the political relationship between Egypt and Neo-Babylon improved.
C. There was another military campaign against Egypt by Nabonidus (550-539 b.c.) in the closing days of the Neo-Babylonian Empire which lasted ten years.
D. Chapters 43 and 44 are a literary unit but deal with two different groups of Judean refugees.
WORD AND PHRASE STUDY
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 44:1-10
1The word that came to Jeremiah for all the Jews living in the land of Egypt, those who were living in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and the land of Pathros, saying, 2"Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'You yourselves have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are in ruins and no one lives in them, 3because of their wickedness which they committed so as to provoke Me to anger by continuing to burn sacrifices and to serve other gods whom they had not known, neither they, you, nor your fathers. 4Yet I sent you all My servants the prophets, again and again, saying, "Oh, do not do this abominable thing which I hate." 5But they did not listen or incline their ears to turn from their wickedness, so as not to burn sacrifices to other gods. 6Therefore My wrath and My anger were poured out and burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, so they have become a ruin and a desolation as it is this day. 7Now then thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, "Why are you doing great harm to yourselves, so as to cut off from you man and woman, child and infant, from among Judah, leaving yourselves without remnant, 8provoking Me to anger with the works of your hands, burning sacrifices to other gods in the land of Egypt, where you are entering to reside, so that you might be cut off and become a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? 9Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10But they have not become contrite even to this day, nor have they feared nor walked in My law or My statutes, which I have set before you and before your fathers."'
44:1 The cities of Migdol and Tahpanhes are in the eastern delta region. Memphis is about 100 miles up the Nile. The Land of Pathros is another 100 miles up the Nile (i.e., city of No-Amon). These locations would represent most of Egypt.
It is surprising that the expected full phrase "the word. . .from the Lord" is shortened but it still reflects the full revelatory formula of 7:1; 11:1; 18:1; 21:1; 30:1; 32:1; 34:1,8; 35:1; 40:1.
44:2 "the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel" This extended title using YHWH and Elohim is repeated four times in this chapter (cf. vv. 2,7,11,25). He is creator and covenant making Deity. See Special Topic at 1:2.
44:3 Israel and Judah's problem was covenant disobedience.
1. not listening to and obeying YHWH (cf. v. 23)
2. going after other gods (cf. vv. 3,5,15-19)
▣ "burn sacrifices" This verb (BDB 882, KB 1094, Piel infinitive construct) can mean (cf. 1:16)
1. the smoke of a sacrifice
2. the smoke of incense (cf. vv. 17-18)
44:4 "again and again" This is literally "rising early and sending" (cf. 7:13,25; 25:4; 26:5; 35:15). The Judeans knew YHWH's will through previous revelations to the Patriarchs and Moses/Joshua, as well as the messages of the prophets.
▣ "abominable thing" For this phrase see 16:18; 32:34,35 and the Special Topic at 2:7.
44:6 The fall of Judah was not because of the power of the Babylonian god Marduk or the power of the Babylonian army. It was Judah's continued covenant disobedience that caused YHWH to bring to bear the "curses" of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-30.
44:7 This verse is parallel to 42:20 (cf. 26:19). One's choices determine the consequences (cf. Deut. 30:15,19). These Judean's choice will bring their lineage to an end (hyperbolic, some did survive)!
44:8 The idolatry of the Judeans continues in Egypt! The Jews have changed the worship of the gods of Canaan to the gods of Egypt (cf. 2:13).
▣ "become a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth" See note at 42:18. The covenant people were to be a blessing to all the nations (cf. Gen. 12:3), but they had become a curse. They were meant to reveal the mercy and goodness of YHWH to the nations, but all they revealed was His anger (cf. Ezek. 38:22-36)!
44:10 "But they have not become contrite" The verb (BDB 193, KB 221, Pual perfect) usually means "to crush"; here it is uniquely used to denote a crushed, repentant spirit.
Their lack of repentance is characterized as
1. they have not feared YHWH
2. they have not walked in His revelation (i.e., law, statutes; see Special Topic at 5:4)
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 44:11-14
11"Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Behold, I am going to set My face against you for woe, even to cut off all Judah. 12And I will take away the remnant of Judah who have set their mind on entering the land of Egypt to reside there, and they will all meet their end in the land of Egypt; they will fall by the sword and meet their end by famine. Both small and great will die by the sword and famine; and they will become a curse, an object of horror, an imprecation and a reproach. 13And I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine and with pestilence. 14So there will be no refugees or survivors for the remnant of Judah who have entered the land of Egypt to reside there and then to return to the land of Judah, to which they are longing to return and live; for none will return except a few refugees.'"
44:11 "I am going to set My face against you for woe" This is vocabulary from Leviticus 26 (i.e., the cursings and blessings connected to covenant obedience, cf. v. 17). This phrase was used earlier in Jer. 21:10 (cf. Amos 9:4). A similar phrase is used in Jer. 44:27. YHWH will personally bring His people to judgment.
44:12-13 This is a repeat of 42:15-18,22.
44:14 "for none will return except a few refugees" A small number will survive and return to Palestine (cf. v. 28). The Judeans who will be spared and returned are the ones taken to Babylon.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 44:15-19
15Then all the men who were aware that their wives were burning sacrifices to other gods, along with all the women who were standing by, as a large assembly, including all the people who were living in Pathros in the land of Egypt, responded to Jeremiah, saying, 16"As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are not going to listen to you! 17But rather we will certainly carry out every word that has proceeded from our mouths, by burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, just as we ourselves, our forefathers, our kings and our princes did in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and saw no misfortune. 18But since we stopped burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have met our end by the sword and by famine." 19"And," said the women, "when we were burning sacrifices to the queen of heaven and were pouring out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands that we made for her sacrificial cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her?"
44:16 As the Judean remnant in Judea would not listen (cf. 42:14-17; 43:2), so too, the ones already in Egypt.
44:17-19 These Judeans attribute their current condition to their lack of idolatrous sacrifices! O my, when light becomes darkness, how great is the darkness!
44:17 "we will certainly carry out every word" The verb is an infinitive absolute and imperfect verb from the same root (BDB 793, KB 889). This same intensive form is in v. 25 (twice). It denotes their strong intent to offer idolatrous sacrifices!
44:18 The historical period these idolaters are referring to must have been the reign of Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, who reigned 55 years and was the most wicked king of Judah. Josiah tried to being the idolatry to an end (cf. II Kings 23) but at his death it returned!
These three kings (i.e., Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Josiah) may be the background to Ezekiel 18.
44:19 The queen of heaven (i.e., female fertility goddess, cf. 7:18; 44:17,19,25; II Kgs. 17:16) was a popular idol for women in the Ancient Near East. Notice the number of times "wife" or "women" is used in this chapter (cf. vv. 9 [twice],15,19,20,24,25).
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 44:20-23
20Then Jeremiah said to all the people, to the men and women-even to all the people who were giving him such an answer-saying, 21"As for the smoking sacrifices that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your forefathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the Lord remember them and did not all this come into His mind? 22So the Lord was no longer able to endure it, because of the evil of your deeds, because of the abominations which you have committed; thus your land has become a ruin, an object of horror and a curse, without an inhabitant, as it is this day. 23Because you have burned sacrifices and have sinned against the Lord and not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, His statutes or His testimonies, therefore this calamity has befallen you, as it has this day."
44:20-30 This is the last message of Jeremiah recorded in the book. He was in Egypt and was confronted again with widespread idolatry by the Judeans, a total disregard for YHWH's revelation/covenant.
44:22 This is similar to the warnings of 25:9,11,18,38; 29:18; 42:18; 44:13.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 44:24-30
24Then 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, 25thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, as follows: 'As for you and your wives, you have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled it with your hands, saying, "We will certainly perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn sacrifices to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her." Go ahead and confirm your vows, and certainly perform your vows!' 26Nevertheless hear the word of the Lord, all Judah who are living in the land of Egypt, 'Behold, I have sworn by My great name,' says the Lord, 'never shall My name be invoked again by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, "As the Lord God lives." 27Behold, I am watching over them for harm and not for good, and all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt will meet their end by the sword and by famine until they are completely gone. 28Those who escape the sword will return out of the land of Egypt to the land of Judah few in number. Then all the remnant of Judah who have gone to the land of Egypt to reside there will know whose word will stand, Mine or theirs. 29This will be the sign to you,' declares the Lord, 'that I am going to punish you in this place, so that you may know that My words will surely stand against you for harm.' 30Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I am going to give over Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt to the hand of his enemies, to the hand of those who seek his life, just as I gave over Zedekiah king of Judah to the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who was his enemy and was seeking his life.'"
44:25 This verse repeats the committed promises of the Judean idol worshipers of v. 17 to continue their rebellious worship practices (here two intensified imperfect verbs and matching infinitive absolutes).
44:26 The committed vows of idolatry by the Judean families in Egypt are now matched by the commitment of YHWH to bring judgment on them (cf. v. 27). They shall never call on His name again.
44:27 "I am watching over them for harm and not for good" The verb (BDB 1052, KB 1638, Qal participle) is a recurrent theological word in Jeremiah (cf. 1:12; 31:28 [twice]) denoting YHWH's focused attention to those who
1. do His will
2. disobey His will
44:29 "My words will surely stand against you for harm" The verb (BDB 877, KB 1086) is an infinitive absolute and an imperfect verb denoting emphasis. This very form was used in v. 25 related to the idolaters' promise to continue to offer sacrifices. Now it is used of the certainty of YHWH's judgment.
44:30 YHWH will judge Pharaoh Hophra (cf. 43:9-13 and 46:25; also note Ezek. 29:3). Pharaoh Hophra (Herodotus called him Apries) reigned from 588 to 569 b.c., when he was killed in a rebellion led by one of his own officials. He was succeed by Amasus (569-525 b.c.).
Hophra was the Pharaoh who encouraged Zedekiah to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. He was the one who sent the Eygptian army into Palestine during the siege of Jerusalem (cf. 37:5).
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