“Bible History IS Secular History when given the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Paul Harvey, during his daily radio broadcasts, made famous the statement “The Rest of the Story.” He would tell the unfamiliar stories behind the familiar stories of men, feats, events and situations. Did you know the same is true of many “bible stories” found in the Old and New Testament scriptures? The following may not be quite the same as Mr. Harvey’s reviews of history, events and people, but they can be just as stunning, revealing, informative, and mind opening.
This publication will look at dozens of these surprising “aha moments” from scripture. Some will startle, some readers will find them particularly satisfying, and some will realize that history and the Bible are the same thing; a review of what was and remains an actuality. The Bible stories in scripture are space-limited and cannot publish everything surrounding, coinciding, or consequential to these stories. Some Bible time events are well-known and others not quite as well known but none the less found in scripture with a correlating “aha moment”. NOTE: The Bible and history are contemporaneous.
Included in this website are messages from others who serve our God; i.e. studied individuals such as ministers and Bible teachers.
Let’s explore some of these aha moments in scripture and have a ton of fun while doing so!!
– Dr. J
Chapter 49:23-39 (Part 2)
We have another future prophecy concerning Damascus. There was a time when Damascus was heavily populated by Israelis. As we studied earlier, Aleppo, Syria was once a domain of large populations of “Jews.” These two cities have rivaled each other as to which one is the largest in Syria. They also rival each other as two which is the longest occupied major city of the world. Didn’t Saul, renamed Paul go and dwell there for a while to regain his site?
WARNING! There is a significant amount of history revision going on right under our nose and few recognize it. The often used Wikipedia of the internet states as concerning Damascus: “First settled in the second millennium BC, it was chosen as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661 to 750.” First settled in the second millennium B.C.? To accept this sheds question on the ignorant about bible history. We read in Genesis 14:15 that Abraham, due to the trouble his nephew Lot seemed often to attract, pursued Lot’s captives “north of Damascus.” Abraham lived around 2,000 B.C. It had to already be there or Abraham, through the pen of Moses, would not have made mention of it as an existing city. History revisionists are at work in our lifetime. Study the Bible first.
Damascus (49:23-27) is often identified as a city-state in the Bible and other histories. 2 Samuel 8:5 tells us that David, the second king of Israel, “Struck down the Arameans (Assyrians) of Damascus.” He put this area under his and eventually Solomon’s kingships. This city-state was originally established by Asshur [or sometimes spelled Ashur, but not of the Tribe of Asher], the second son of Shem. This means that the people of Syria/Damascus as did Abraham, Isaac, then Jacob, descended from Shem (Noah’s son).
God has a reason to be directly involved in these people lives. HE appointed Shem the spiritual one of the three sons of Noah. These people of Damascus worshiped their founder as a god – Asshur. Isaiah [*chapter17] prophesied the destruction of Damascus 2700 years ago yet it continues today. We must keep in mind that we must work in God’s timetable, not the other way around. The destruction of Damascus may be at hand per the ongoing civil war(s) in Syria.
*Isaiah 17:1 tells us that Damascus will become a burned heap of rubble ceasing to exist. That has not yet happened in history. A nuclear bomb would do this and have similar results. Iran and Syria are sworn enemies of nuclear powered Israel. Yes, the Babylonians defeated and burned Damascus in 732 B.C. However, it continues to be a city. The total destruction has not yet happened. Watch the news.
Jeremiah 49:27 (people of Kedar) Kedar is a son of Ishmael therefore a grandson of Abraham through Kater’ah. He is the sixth son of the twelve sons of Ishmael (Genesis 25). Back in Jeremiah 2:10 Jeremiah challenges his fellow countrymen to “cross over to Kedar” to see if they change gods’ as Judah (and Israel in the north) is guilty of doing?
JIV NOTE: All but Philistia and Babylon being discussed by Jeremiah in chapter 49 are found in between Israel and Iran today. This is purely speculation, thus Jim’s Introspective View. If [when] war breaks out between nuclear focused Iran who is sworn to drive Israel into the Sea, and nuclear Israel, these lands told by Jeremiah that will become desolate, burned and heaps of rubble with no occupants, sit between these two eternal enemies.
Is not verse 24 potentially a relevant spotlight today? “Damascus has become feeble and turning to panic. Anguish and pain has seized her” [NIV]. The process has begun.
Kedar and Hazor (49:28-33) Nebuchadnezzar did invade this territory in his conquests. In reading this scripture passage one can glean from it a future prophecy upon Kedar and “Hazor.” According to the Book of Joshua, Hazor was the seat of Jabin, a powerful Canaanite king who led a Canaanite confederation against Joshua. He and his coalition of armies were defeated by Joshua. As with the people of Kedar, these people too descended from Ishmael. These lands will become a (NIV) “haunt of jackals, a desolate place. No one will live there; no man will dwell there.” This has NOT yet happened in history. It has to be a reference to End Time.
Jeremiah 49:34-39 (Elam) Let’s remind ourselves that Elamites also descended from Shem. Their territory is today’s western border of Iran (Persia). Once an empire in and of itself, it disintegrated to a province of Persia. It exists today on the NE shores of the Persian Gulf. Its immediate neighbor to the west is Iraq.
This prophecy to Jeremiah came from the Lord God during the reign of Zedekiah. The bow is called “the mainstay of their might.” It must mean these people were experts with bow and arrow. Similar in a way to a description given to the men from the Tribe of Benjamin, they had great accuracy with a weapon of war. Similar to what God says about his scattering of the twelve Tribes of Israel, in 49:36b it reads (NIV) “I will scatter them to the four winds and there will not be a nation where Elam’s exiles do not go.” The amazing prophecy and a bit difficult to explain is verse 38…”I (God Jehovah) will set my throne in Elam.” Other scriptures put Jesus on the throne in Jerusalem. We hesitate but want to mention, most Judeans (Benjamites) remained in Babylon after release.
However, if we accept that the covenants between God and Israel and the future covenants between Christians and Jesus are distinct, it makes sense. Jesus’s throne is in Jerusalem and God-Jehovah has his in Elam. This is not often taught by theologians. Fact is most will avoid it. Once again God promises to bring about their rerun in End Time. This is a common message throughout this chapter. What else is common is the fact these are people in this chapter descended from Shem. The ones promised nothing of the sort are the Philistines in chapter 47 and Babylonians in chapter 50. There is a Lud mentioned in Genesis 10:13; a descendant (first born) of Mizraim (Ham). But there is also a Lud who descended from Shem [Genesis 10:22].
|Shem (Semitic Race)|
(The Prophecy against Ammon, Edom; 49:1-18)
Chapter 44: Jeremiah makes his final appeal to his fellow countrymen (a remnant) to abandon their worship of the “queen of heaven” meaning the Ashtoreth dance Pole.
Chapter 45: Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe, is assured by God that he will have a good life similar to “the plunder of war taken by the victor.” Baruch was faithful and now God rewards him.
Chapter 46: The near and distant future of Egypt. Over 100 years earlier the prophet Isaiah had predicted a similar fate of Egypt…conquered and subjugated by the Assyrians. In C46 it is the Babylonians who attack and defeat the Egyptian “mercenary” army after defeating Assyria.
Chapter 47: The Philistines of Gaza or Philistia are overrun by the Egyptians then the Babylonians overrun them on their way to defeating Egypt.
Chapter 48: Moabites. These offspring of Lot occupied the former lands of the Tribe of Gad. They helped Nebuchadnezzar conquer the Kingdom of Judah then in turn, were conquered by Babylonians, their supposed ally.
Chapter 49: This is where we are with this article. It has to do with several territories that fall to Babylon, God’s instrument of judgement. Ammon is another descendant of Lot. For additional information besides what is follows, go to Ezekiel 25:1-11.
Ezekiel 25:43 “Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord GOD: Thus says the Lord GOD, Because you said, ‘Aha!’ over my sanctuary when it was *profaned, and over the land of Israel when it was made desolate, and over the house of Judah when they went into exile,” [*perhaps a futuristic insight to the antichrist’s profaning of the Temple]
Ezekiel 25:4 … therefore behold, I am handing you over to the people of the East for a possession, and they shall set their encampments among you and make their dwellings in your midst. They shall eat your fruit, and they shall drink your milk.
Israel helped the Ammonites by destroying their old enemies, making the later conduct of Ammon even more reprehensible. They frequently fought against Israel during the days of the Judges and during the reigns of Saul and David (2 Samuel 10). In later years they are absorbed by Arabs and became unidentifiable as a distinct people. Which Arabs? This is a later discussion.
Jeremiah 49:1 begins with a question…”has Israel no sons? Why is their land occupied by the Ammonites?” This paraphrase of verse one tells us that God is not pleased with two distinct people; the Tribe of Gad and the Ammonites. Pay close attention to the prophecy found in verse 2 of Jeremiah 49.
[49:2] “The days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will cause the battle cry to be heard against Rabbah of the Ammonites; it shall become a desolate mound, and its villages shall be burned with fire; then Israel shall dispossess those who dispossessed him, says the LORD.”
Did we catch that? Read the final sentence of verse two once again. “Israel will dispossess those who dispossessed him SAYS THE LORD.” Bear in mind that by this time, Judah was captive in Babylon and the Northern Kingdom of Israel was long dispersed by the Assyrians. So what Israel may Jeremiah be referring to per the voice of God? It can be nothing less than End Time prophecy. This land is not currently under the authority or territorial domain of the Israel of today. It is southern Jordan. There is more to happen in our or near distant future.
Of great interest is the history of Rabbah, a significant city of Ammon. Today it is known by the name Amman, Jordan. It is a war between then King David of Israel and the Ammonites but historically and per scripture of significance to him and Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11:15 tells us this is where Bathsheba’s husband was killed in war; David’s way of ridding himself of the husband of Bathsheba.
One obvious question is “who is Milcom” in verse 2? This is another Ammonite name of their idol god Molech, Moloch… spelling is dependent on the translation one is reading. In short, the name means “a king” god. They referred to their idol as a king, a slander on king of kings. This is not their king himself but their god. Remember that these people descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew and one he continually had to rescue. Lot sought possession getting him into trouble over and over. His descendants seem to have the same problem.
God through Jeremiah does give recognition to the lineage of the Ammonites. He calls them his faithless daughters in verse 4; the people who trusted in their wealth over God himself. This gives heed to us today. We don’t see or admit wealth is a god but this verse points out that it is precisely that…a god.
Jeremiah 49:6 is reminiscent of chapter 48 and the Moabites. Both the Moabites and Ammonites are part of God’s chosen via Abraham. Verse 6 tells us that in a future time: “But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, declares the LORD.” This has yet to happen in modern history. It is another prophecy or news item for us to keep an eye on.
Jeremiah 49:7 shifts the subject to another descendant of Abraham/Jacob, the Edomite. They descend from Esau the twin brother of Isaac. He was the eldest but not given the birthright of the first born. He sold it to Jacob for a plate of food. Abraham in his blindness blessed Jacob. We can see the deceitfulness of these people all through history. Not God’s will, but actuality. They were and perhaps still are so deceitful many times in scripture deceived themselves.
A rather interesting verse is 49:8 and the reference to them [Ammonites] as Dedan. The Oxford Bible says it well:
“Russia continues to build alliances with Middle Eastern nations. Sudan (Cush) and Iran (Persia) are strong allies. The Muslim nations of Central Asia also are developing ties with Iran, Russia and Turkey. The hatred for Israel by the Middle Eastern Muslim nations continues to boil. It is not too difficult to imagine the nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38:1-7 coming together under Russian leadership to mount a furious attack against Israel, perhaps from Megiddo’s’ oil fields. And who are the nations that object to and oppose Russia per Ezekiel? Exactly the ones we would expect from the present day political situation: the Western Powers as described by TARSHISH and her young lions (cubs).
But there is also an Eastern Power named that objects to the [End Time] Russian Invasion: SHEBA and DEDAN. These were ancient names for the land we know today as Arabia, especially Saudi Arabia, showing that at least some of the Arab states will not favor Russia’s presence in the Middle East.”
What happened to the Edomite people after being scattered by Nebuchadnezzar? They went south and eventually established what we know today as Saudi-Arabia. Even though Esau was a direct descendant of Abraham through Jacob, he married a daughter of Ishmael; the first born of Abraham through Sarah’s handmaid Hagar. Hagar and Ishmael were not part of the blessing of Abraham or God himself. They knew the truth but went elsewhere. For greater knowledge read Ezekiel 48 as it regards End Time and these same people.
For clarity per Dedan and Sheba, In Genesis 25 we read that Abraham married Ketur’ah after Sarah died. She has six sons by him. One of them is named Jokshan. Sheba and Dedan are his sons [Genesis 25:3]. This makes Sheba and Dedan grandsons of Abraham. The ancient capital of Saudi-Arabia is Dedan. Does anyone recall “the queen of Sheba?”
It is gruesome reading but God’s judgement on Ammon is specified as to one reason why as described in Amos 1:13. Sit down before going there to read the WHY of God’s judgement upon Ammon.
JIV NOTE: Recall our article on Jeremiah 40. The assassination of Gedaliah, a ruler put in place by Nebuchadnezzar over Judah. His murder was engineered by none other than the King of Ammon. Go back to the article on Jeremiah 40 for greater detail.
The Bozrah identified in Jeremiah 49:13 is the same Bozrah mentioned in Isaiah 63:1. It was the capital city of Edom. Bozrah is also significant to End Time and the retreat of Israelis to a desert haven of security; i.e. the mountain caves of Bozrah; i.e. Petra. Jeremiah 49:11-18 describes the totality of the destruction of Edom.
Another aha moment is the fact that Ammon saw wealth as their god. Basrah is a southern port city of Iraq; spelled Bazra. In April of 2017, the Iraqi Parliament recognized Basra and its oil fields as their economic capital. Money is their god. Go back to Jeremiah 49:4 to better connect this insight.
Perhaps connected and perhaps not, but in Bazra there is a creek named “Ashar” (Tribe of Asher”?). It is a shopping mall or bazar of shopping places accessible by boats. The picture to the right was taken in 1915. Why might this creek’s name be similar to the name of the Tribe of Asher? The Encyclopedia Britannica states that over 4,000 “Jews” lived in Basra in 1911.
(Jeremiah 49:23 – 39 follows in our next article; Part 2)
Moab? Ammon? Edom? There are many names and terms in chapter 48 of Jeremiah that most will simply read through or past them. This article will discuss the chapter but also define some of the terms to help with knowledge and potential understanding.
Let’s begin with a map of this time in Jeremiah. We can see Moab’s geographical location. It is between Edom and Ammon. Today this is mostly Jordan. To the north is war-torn Syria; a true source of potential war that could spread with powerful weapons of mass destruction in their hands. This may very easily fit into God’s final judgement plans. The orange indicates the map as it stood in 1000 B.C. The gray is how it politically and geographically lines up today (2017 A.D.).
Now to help us better understanding all the names a few terms in Jeremiah 48, read the following. (Boring perhaps but better understanding and identifiers)
Jeremiah 48:1 “Woe unto Nebo” This is a Babylonian deity. It is also a mountain in Moab, southern Jordan. It is also the Mount upon which Moses stood in order to view the Promised Land. Moses saw the lands but never entered it.
Jeremiah 48:1 “Kiriathaim is confounded and taken” Kiriathaim is a city in NW Palestine.
Jeremiah 48:1 “Misgab is confounded” This is a term for ‘a high place.’ It was a Moab fortress. Odd as it may seem, perhaps a curiosity… it is only mentioned one time in scripture.
Jeremiah 48:2 “in Heshbon” Mistakenly many would take this word for the name of a person, place or thing. It is and isn’t these. It means “contrived intelligence.” It is also a destroyed village on the east side of the Jordan. It is here where [ESV; verse 2a] Moab is no more. In Heshbon they planned disaster against her.
Jeremiah 48:2 “Madmen?” The people here may have been ‘mad’ but in this incident it is a location in north-west Moab of old. It has several meanings; “dung hill” is one of them. It was once a city located between the boundaries of the Tribes of Gad and Reuben east of the Jordan River.
Jeremiah 48:3 “Horoniam” This is a Moabite ‘double cave town.’ Obviously it is located in a mountain; thus the cave implication. Today it is an unidentified place in southern Moab (Jordan).
It would be safe by now to understand that this very descriptive chapter in Jeremiah is location specific. In short, it is a complete destruction. Moab, a tribe descended from Lot and his daughter, and per other verses in chapter 48, is important to God-Jehovah. In verse 42 it explains that they magnified themselves above the Lord (ESV). Not unusual but a sin against God. It is a sin for which there is a cost and God is judge; the only judge. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archaeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes a Moabite victory over an unnamed son of King Omri of the northern ten Tribes of Israel. This area today is within the Kingdom of Jordan.
Originally the territory of ancient Moab was dominated by a race of giants known as the Emim. At the time when Moses came to the area with the children of Israel Moab was an area that ranged from the brook Zered on the South, and the river Arnon on the North. During the period of Old Testament history there were numerous cities within this region, and we know this from the Scriptures and also from the famous Moabite stone. The cities mentioned were Dibon, Nebo, Beth-diblaim, Kerioth, and Zoar [Bible History Online].
Unless one has happened upon the scripture or the secular history of this, most do not realize that Moab helped Nebuchadnezzar in his conquering of other nations; particularly the Kingdom of Judah. After their help, he turned on them, conquering and removing them as a people in this land.
According to the New World Encyclopedia, records of the Moabites, if not the people themselves, disappeared after or around the time of the return of a remnant of Judeans from their 70 year captivity in Babylon. Up to the time of King David, the Moabites were a constant thorn in the side of nation of Israel defeating them at times of war. This is especially true during the time of the judges when an Israeli Confederacy existed. Israel was then ruled by judges but lived within their own tribal territories. Each man did as he saw was right back then [Judges 21:25; Judges 17:6].
Jeremiah 48:46 and 47 are significant verses of prophecy. We are told in Numbers 21:29 and again in 2 Kings 3:27 that the god of the Moabites was named Chemosh. During the end and downfall years of King Solomon, he too erected a “high-place to Chemosh” to satisfy the whim of one of his many foreign wives. We find this in 1 Kings 11:7 & 8. It wasn’t until the last good king of Judah, Josiah, that this “high-place” and other gods of enemies inside Judean lands were destroyed. This we read in 2 Kings 23:1-37.
The final three verses say much about the prophetic destinies of Moab. Plural word, destinies, because the prophecy is two if not three-fold.
[V45] “A fire will come out of Heshbon. It will destroy [devour] the corner of Moab, burn the hair on the heads of its occupants.” We should note that the word devour in the Hebrew in this verse is ‘âkal. It means more than to burn like one would expect from a fire. It also means “to eat away at.” Just like a cancer from nuclear fallout.
JIV NOTE: This has the tinge of a future nuclear explosion that casts its radiation a great distance. One of the consequences of radiation is the losing of hair.
[V46] Their sons and daughters will be taken captive and the “people of Chemosh [their idol-god] shall perish.” This is recorded as having happened when Nebuchadnezzar overran these once furious people of war. As we have mentioned before, this is a routine of both the Assyrians of old and the Babylonians; i.e. to remove them from their homelands.
[V47] There is a distant sounding prophecy of God promising to return these relatives of the Israelites through Abraham’s nephew Lot…[KJV] ”Yet I will bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days.” The final sentences says the “thus far is the judgment of Moab.” Thus far; what does this mean? It means this will do it for now but there is more coming in End Time be it reprieve or final judgement.
2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
Who is next? Jeremiah 49 tells us about the other daughter of Lot and her descendants; the Ammonites. Has anyone noticed that Jeremiah has shifted away from the judgements of Judah to those of its neighbors? It is Nebuchadnezzar causing all of this havoc. This is why he is also identified several times in Jeremiah, even though evil, as “the servant of God” [Jeremiah 25:9; 27:6; 43:10].
JIV NOTE: In his own ignorance he is carrying out the will of God-Jehovah. It is not the will of the god of Babylon. That would be Baal, but he or it is only made of inanimate material. “The servant of God” translates as “an instrument of God” as through him we find Daniel interpreting Neb’s dreams. Through that we get a glimpse into a prophetic future that is very comprehensive and accurate. We also get a shirt-tail introduction to Revelation.
Is it ironical, paradoxical or prophetic? The very same land Jeremiah 47 is talking about, Philistia, is still a major issue to Israel today; Gaza Strip. It has been a thorn in the side of Israel/Judah since Israel of old was established as a confederation of tribes in the Book of Judges. The Tribe of Dan was to destroy them but instead abandoned their Joshua assigned territory. They went north of Israel, conquered Laish, a city of isolated Sidonians, and renamed it Dan.
Philistia/Gaza has been there a long time. Jeremiah, as he prophesied in chapter 46 the troubles of Egypt, he in Jeremiah 47 warns them of their present and future fate…God’s direct judgement.
Egypt currently borders Gaza. It was the same in Jeremiah’s time. For him to warn these people as God commanded, it would be a short journey to get there. What is of some interest in chapter 47 is stated in the first verse of chapter 47, “…before Pharaoh struck down Gaza.” However, Jeremiah warns them of a flood tide enemy from the north. Egypt is located to the south of Gaza, Babylon is due-east. Jeremiah 47:2…”Thus says the LORD: Behold, waters are rising out of the north…” Commentaries often take the easy way out and forget geography in that process.
There is little reason to question whether or not Babylon overran this territory as it moved into Egypt to do the same thing. However, it remains there today; Gaza Strip, Palestinians, sworn enemies of Israel. Could there be more to this passage in Jeremiah? Of course there could. It may be as much a future prophecy as it was an imminent one. Recall that Jeremiah’s prophesy against Egypt was two-fold; pending and End Time. This force from the north as the “flood waters or a torrent” could also include an attack by the Antichrist; i.e. the King of the North (Europe) against the King in the south (Muslim confederation or Caliphate in the south). It is highly unlikely Muslims will accept the Antichrist as their 12 Imam. That is not how the end is written in their “book.”
There is another strong thought about timing. While Nebuchadnezzar was besieging Judean cities (Jerusalem included), history tells us that the Pharaoh of Egypt attacked Gaza. It is likely that this Pharaoh was Pharaoh Necho. He attacked and smote Gaza, either when he came to Carchemish [the battle of] to confront the Assyrians, or when he returned from there, after he had slain King Josiah of Judah who had foolishly aligned with Assyria.
This map shows where Ur is located. It is almost directly east of Israel, thus Philistia/Gaza strip. Ur is the land from where Abraham came. It was identified as the Land of the Chaldeans. Ur is the city, part of what we would see today as Kuwait at the head of the Persian Gulf and outlet of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. See Genesis 11:31.
Since the descendants of Philistia (Dirty Arabs) still live in this area it does not fit with the rest of chapter 47. We read that they will be in such a panic they will even leave their children behind [47:3]. This author is not familiar with any other secular or biblical sources saying that this already happened. History seems to tell us that this small portion of land is occupied by a people who historically are perpetual occupants. Egypt in contrast to the Assyrians and later the Babylonians, did not remove a conquered people to other lands or the hinterlands of unoccupied or sparsely occupied territories. Pharaoh Necho would not have removed them.
Jeremiah 47: 6 & 7 make a good case for this being the judgement of God in End Time. He commanded his sword to punish and will not recall it.
(ESV) Ah, sword of the LORD! How long till you are quiet? Put yourself into your scabbard; rest and be still!
How can it be quiet when the LORD has given it a charge? Against Ashkelon and against the seashore he has appointed it.”
Might this include another invasion of this land yet to happen? An invasion that God ordains upon the Hezbollah and anti-Israeli occupants of Gaza; i.e. Ashkelon. God’s judgements continue in chapter 48. Now it is Moab, offspring of Lot through one of his daughters.
In chapter 46 to 52 (end of his book) Jeremiah prophesies against nine nations: Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Damascus, Arabia (Kedar and Hazor), Elam, and Babylon. The nations are listed geographically, i.e., from west to east.
Chapter 46 regards Egypt; their pending doom and distant end time futures. Their immediate future as prophesied by Jeremiah involves their armed forces and a history now past. It may not be of much value to the reader other than FYI, but Egypt’s army at this time was composed of a significant number of mercenaries from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydians. The Lydians were not from Africa proper as were Ethiopia and Libya, but from an area we know today as Turkey. One can see on the map to the right, this area includes several of the churches discussed in Revelation 1-3. Per the Ethiopians (Cush), Libyans (Put/Phut), and mercenaries from Lydia (Turkey), read Jeremiah 46:9…
“Go ahead, Egypt. Tell your chariots and cavalry to attack and fight hard. Order your troops to march out, with Ethiopians and Libyans carrying shields, and the Lydians armed with bows and arrows.” [CEV]
We previously studied that the remnant of Judeans, along with a forced move of Jeremiah and Baruch, fled to Egypt abandoning the very land in which God had told them through Jeremiah to remain. We also read in a previous article they would die by the sword, famine, and pestilence if they did go to Egypt. None (excluding the possibility of Jeremiah and Baruch) would or will return to their homeland of Judah.
Jeremiah 46:13-19 tells us that Egypt will beia invaded by the Babylonns. It also tells us that the mercenaries Egypt hired to protect them will think of themselves at this precise time and desert Egypt leaving it to fight on its own. In former years this might have been a possibility but at this time Egypt’s valiant military consisted of outsiders; mercenaries. Jeremiah foretells of these mercenaries retreating to their own lands. Between 1000 B.C. and 500 B.C. Egypt was in a steady decline as a power. Reminder…shortly before this time when Judah was under siege by the Babylonians and Zedekiah was on the throne of Judah, the Egyptian forces (mercenaries) marched out to help Judah but changed their mind and retreated. These are the same forces we are discussing here; mercenaries from Ethiopia, Lydia, and Libya.
JIV NOTE: What does the future hold for these areas? In Isaiah 11:11 we read: “It will happen in that [end time] day that the Lord will set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”
This prophecy of Jeremiah comes after the remaining remnants of Judah fled to Egypt against God’s offer to protect them if they remained in their land of Judah, but destroy them if they go to Egypt. Jeremiah points out that the king/Pharaoh boasts of his future conquests with his mercenary army; overflowing like the Nile he will conquer the rest of the world. However, Jeremiah states in 46:14 Egypt will fall by the sword. So will those Judeans who fled to Egypt for protection. What a mess!
This is a direct intervention by God-Jehovah. Verse 15 states that “that they do not stand because the Lord has thrust them [Egypt] down” (ESV). Understandably, verse 16 the Pharaoh/king is called a noisy one; i.e. one that only make noise but cannot produce. In short, he can only rattle his sabre. He is as a clinging sound. Unless the Babylonians fear a rattling sound in the night they will conquer Egypt and wreak havoc in that land.
From Jeremiah 46:16 forward there is a pending and a tinge of yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy. Egypt will be desolate. To date, this has not yet happened unless we consider the time of Babylon attacking Egypt where the Judeans had fled per Jeremiah and the surrender of Babylon to the Medo-Persians of Daniel’s time.
So what makes this a prophecy yet-to-be-fulfilled? Read the last three verses of chapter 46 [below]. It tells us that this is an event yet to happen. It regards Israel being re-inhabited. Keep in mind that when Jeremiah and Baruch were forced to go with the fleeing Judeans, their land was now abandoned. This is today’s “West Bank” territories the Palestinian-Arabs and most of the rest of the world claim do not belong to Israel.
Jer 46:26 And I will give them into the hand of those that seek their life, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants; but afterwards it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith Jehovah.
This is a soon event and a future event prophesied in verse 26…”give the land into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar” and in the future it will “be as it was in the days of old.”
Jer 46:27 But thou, my servant Jacob, fear not, neither be dismayed, Israel: for behold, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and *Jacob shall return, and **be in rest and at ease, and ***none shall make him afraid.
*Verse 27 declares Israel, not Judah alone. “Jacob” shall return. This means all Tribes of Jacob.
**“Shall be in rest.” This has yet to happen in any part of Palestine or modern day Israel.
***“…and none shall make him (Israel) afraid.” This too is yet to happen but, it will in End Time when Jesus is on the throne in Jerusalem.
Jer 46:28 Fear thou not, my servant Jacob, saith Jehovah: for I am with thee; *for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee, but I will not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee with judgment, and I will not hold thee altogether guiltless.
*“for I will make a full end of all nations.” This certainly has not yet happened.
Now we can see that Jeremiah is also a futuristic prophet. Study scripture to show yourself approved, rightly dividing it. It takes more than a cursory reading of a portion of the bible to understand it. Study builds knowledge and knowledge builds understanding.
This chapter is almost short enough to read out loud in one or two deep breaths. That is the oddity of Jeremiah 45. In fact, not only is it short in comparison to the rest of the chapters in Jeremiah, it seems to be totally out of place. It reads like it could follow chapter 36 of Jeremiah. Chapter 36 identifies Baruch as the penman or recording secretary for Jeremiah himself and after whom the book is titled. It will now be Baruch’s second effort to write the words of God through Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim had shred and burned the original scroll(s) as it was being read to him. Baruch had to return to Jeremiah with the bad news. No wonder he was distraught.
JIV NOTE: As we studied in the previous chapter (44) the attitude of King Jehoiakim, him now long gone, is reflected in his military, fellow leaders, and the common people of Judah. God is simply rejected out of hand by all but Jeremiah and Baruch. What a burden to take the obvious prophecy of Jeremiah rejecting it for self-centered reasons.
If this is the burden to which chapter 45 infers or refers it would be the daunting task of having to hand-write the book once again via the dictation of Jeremiah. Add to this task the fact that King Jehoiakim totally rejected the words given to him per the pending doom of Judah. Jehoiakim destroys the scroll(s) but chapter 36 tells us Jeremiah dictated again and Baruch records the words accordingly.
Here follows the 5 verses of Jeremiah 45 as written in the International Standard Version (ISV).
This is the message that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Neriah’s son Baruch, when in the fourth year of the reign of Josiah’s son King Jehoiakim of Judah had, at Jeremiah’s dictation, written these words in a scroll: “This is what the LORD God of Israel says to you, Baruch:
‘You have said, “How terrible for me, for the LORD has added sorrow to my pain. I’m weary with my groaning, and I haven’t found rest.”‘ Say this to him: ‘This is what the LORD says: “Look! What I’ve built I’m about to tear down, and what I’ve planted I’m about to pull up—and this will involve the entire land.” Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t seek them. Indeed, I’m about to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD, ‘but your life will be spared wherever you go.'”
This short chapter is all about Baruch. No matter his heart’s ambition he is told to follow Jehovah God and his days will be long; your life will be as a prize of war wherever you go.” This means that even though taken by force to Egypt after the death of the Babylonian appointed Gedaliah, his life would be spared the catastrophes awaiting those Judeans who flee to Egypt seeking safety…”wherever you [Baruch] go.” There are two mysteries at this point that go unaddressed. Only church and Jewish legend offer possibilities. We do not know what happens to or where Baruch and Jeremiah end up with the rest of their lives. God promised Jeremiah security from the onset (Jeremiah 1:8). This means both him and Baruch (this chapter) have the same promise.
Being that this is such a short chapter and the Book of Jeremiah is not in a chronological order, it may be a good time to sequence people and events during the life of Jeremiah. Recall that the Book of Jeremiah was written twice; the second time from memory. I offer the following:
686—Manasseh assumed sole of kingship
648—Birth of Josiah (last good king)
642—Amon succeeded Manasseh as king
640—Josiah succeeded Amon
633—Josiah sought after God (2 Chronicles 34:3)
Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria died
Cyaxares became king of Media
628—Josiah began reforms in Judah
627(26?)—Jeremiah called to be a prophet
626—Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylonia
621—Book of the law found in the Temple (Josiah)
612—Nineveh destroyed by Babylon
609—Josiah slain at Megiddo
Jehoahaz ruled three months
Jehoiakim enthroned in Jerusalem
605-606—Babylonians defeated Egyptians at Carchemish
Daniel, other hostages, and vessels taken to Babylon (Dan 1:1)
Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon
604—Nebuchadnezzar returned to Palace in Judah to receive tribute
601—Nebuchadnezzar defeated near Egypt
598—Jehoiakim’s reign ended
Jehoiachin ruled from 9 Dec 598 to 16 March 597 and deported 22 April 597.
597—Zedekiah began as king in Judah (a weak king)
588—Siege of Jerusalem began in January
587-Jeremiah buys land saving the property deed
Oct. 7, Gedaliah slain and Jews migrated to Egypt against God’s orders to not do so.
All dates are B.C.E. (Before Current Era). Even though this is not the chronology of the Book of Jeremiah, this list may help the serious student of the Word to do so.
We see toward the end of Judah as a kingdom, King Manasseh was brutal and anti-God. Not by circumstances but by choice. We read in II Kings 21:16 that he slaughtered so many of his own people they could be lined up from one end of Jerusalem to the other.
Amon, son of Manasseh ruled two years. Josiah became king at the age of 8. Following his grandfather Hezekiah’s example, he ordered reforms at the age of 20; born in 648 B.C.; ordered reforms to begin in 628 B.C.
First we must know what or where Pathros is per verse 1 in chapter 44. Without going into the Hebrew, it is the southernmost part of Egypt. Egypt was sometimes divided into two kingdoms and had two pharaohs; one in the lower kingdom next to the Mediterranean Sea and one in the upper Nile in northern Sudan. If you wish additional explanation per Pathros in Jeremiah 44:1, go to http://www.icr.org/books/defenders/4499/.
Simply put, the fleeing remnant of Israelis of the Tribe of Judah spread out in Egypt. Their motive? Possibly thinking they could hide from God’s promised wrath for having fled there instead of (see chapter 42 article) remaining in Judea. This same act of defiance was done by Jonah in the 8th century B.C.; about 200 years earlier. He fled or tried to flee God by sailing to Tarshish, Spain. We can run but we cannot hide.
Amazingly, Jeremiah 44 tells us in verse 2 that all the cities of Judah and Jerusalem itself at this time are DESOLATE. Chorbâh in the Hebrew can mean “totally absent of mankind” or “a land laid waste and in decay.” Since the YLT (Young’s Literal Translation) is a fairly accurate word-for-word translation, it says “there is none dwelling in them.” This means at this time neither Israeli nor Arab dwelt in this land at the time Jeremiah had these words penned to scripture. However, if we consider verse three, it may mean it is desolate of Judeans… We read the same words in Jeremiah 44:6.
It is clear that God is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 4:24) and Israelis knew this from the onset. The Book of Deuteronomy was written by Moses; it is in the Jewish Pentateuch. Moses himself told them God is jealous. “Put no other god before me;” i.e. Ten Commandments. If it was wrong yesterday, it is still wrong today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Years between do not change right from wrong in God’s eyes. However, and this is a warning to the reader, a time has now come when some things that are right are called politically wrong, and wrong is called politically right (Isaiah 5:20). Go back to Jeremiah 3 and we see that God considered Judah’s sins more frightful than those that brought demise to her northern cousins, the Kingdom of Israel 120 plus years earlier.
Reading Jeremiah very closely, it appears that the Judeans went out of their way to provoke God by burning incense to other gods. Example: A little girl went to a basketball game with her father. He told her that she could play in the stands as long as she did not bother other people and did not step foot on the basketball court. Shortly thereafter, she went down to the bottom bleacher putting one foot onto the court while looking back at her father. Was she wrong or just sort of wrong? This is provocation even if it was one foot over the line.
Jeremiah 44:7 takes an unexpected twist. God does not say that their idol worshipping was as hurting to him as much as he asked…”Why are you continually hurting yourselves?” Jeremiah 44:8c is most earie when we look at the news today seeing people after people line up against Israel. It reads…”The people of all the other nations on the earth will say bad things about you and make fun of you.” Isn’t this precisely what is going on today? They brought it upon themselves.
Jeremiah 44:10 can be applied across the board to the Israel we see even today, 2017.
“Even to this day the people of Judah have not made themselves humble. They have not shown any respect for me, and they have not followed my teachings. They have not obeyed the laws I gave you (them) and your (their) ancestors.” [ERV]
The next few verses are explicit to those who fled to Egypt against God’s will. He assures all that they will not see, nor will their children even in Sudan ever again see their home land. The King James Version says: “…they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration (insult), and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach.” There is no room for theological wiggle room. They are condemned by God himself.
In verse 16 the people once again spoke in unison, “we will not harken onto your voice. We will do as we please.” Now we get some interesting insight as to why or the rationale behind why the Catholics worship the mother Mary as the Queen of Heaven. Keep in mind that Jesus doesn’t appear on earth for another 600 years, none the less, this is of interest; 44:7. “But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her…” The Queen Mother of Heaven? Hmmmm?
Even here in Jeremiah it is seen as a sin unto God. What makes it correct to do today? The wayward Judeans even mention her again in verse 18, 19 and 25. They blindly blame their lack of making offerings to the Queen Mother of Heaven for their demises and famines. They say they must return to that way of worship in order for things to be corrected. They did not know of a future mother of Jesus named Mary. However, Catholics of today do.
Jeremiah 44:23 points out that it is because of this worship practice and others like it that they are in the struggle they are currently in. Jeremiah 44:23c states: “therefor this evil is happened to you.” This is pure blasphemy to God the Holy Spirit. They looked him in the face and opted for another way to worship. They all died in the land to which the fled. We wonder how people today can be so blind. Easy! They are just like Israel and Judah of old. They wanted it their way. I’ll Do It My Way. Their choice has been made. Their judgement is sealed and of their own making. In Jeremiah’s closing remarks of chapter 44, he is very clear. He includes and mentions even the women [v25], not just the men.
Unless one knows a bit of Egyptian history, Pharaoh Hophra mentioned in 44:30, sometimes identified as King Apries, was the one with whom King Zedekiah of Judah made an alliance and wanted to aid him in revolting against Babylon. While the Babylonians (Chaldeans) were besieging Jerusalem, HOPHRA/APRIES came out to confront Nebuchadnezzar’s army. The Babylonians left the besieging of Jerusalem to challenge him. Pharaoh Hophra changed his mind and returned to Memphis, capital of Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar later attacked and burned all the worship centers and capital buildings in Memphis, Egypt; just as Jeremiah had predicted would happen in Jeremiah 37:8.
Author’s NOTE: In 1909, in the course of excavations carried on by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, the palace of King Apries, aka Pharaoh Hophra, was discovered on the site of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. They found a silver carrying cart (palanquin) burned just as Jeremiah had prophesied would happen during the time of the fleeing Judeans in Egypt. This included many buildings and the palace of Pharaoh Hophra. My, my, my. How coincidental?
Dr. J. Stark
We begin this article by going back to the future. We published chapter 43 before this author wrote chapter 42. (His fault)
INTRO: In this chapter we have what remains of the former Kingdom of Judah, small and great, going to Jeremiah. The army forces and captains to which this passage refers are what remained of the Judean forces. Most likely, these were men stationed in out posts or remained hidden while Nebuchadnezzar’s forces conquered and burned Jerusalem along with many of the kingdoms fortified cities.
The ERV writes: “All the people, from the least important to the most important, went to Jeremiah.” Correctly written for better understanding it might read, “All of the remaining people…” It is human nature, but not of God, to seek help from a foe when the situation is totally helpless. How many turn to the world for solutions when s/he decidedly rejects God.
Why did they go to Jeremiah, the one they have despised for over 20 years? It appears that he has been the true prophet and those who called him false or a liar, were the false prophets. Jeremiah obviously had an “in” with God that no one else had. They needed help as all else was doomed.,
This is a parallel to End Time and Israel. They will finally be in a situation that all is doomed. The difference is the End Time will be just that…the end time. That time they will not only listen but see their Messiah. They came pleading for Jeremiah to do what each one of them could have done without him; worship God and plead HIS forgiveness. However, motive is underlying. They wanted Jeremiah to take the responsibility of their pending demise. He accepted, but with conditions. It is odd and revealing that they say to Jeremiah (v2,3; ESV), “pray to YOUR GOD.” They no longer saw the God of Israel as their God. In a manner of saying they are pleading to have this outsider god intervene on their behalf because the one true believer will petition for them.
Many times in my pastoring others have asked me to pray for them. This I willing do but it means nothing unless the one requesting prayer does something similar. There is but ONE INTERCESSOR between God and individuals…1 Timothy 2:5. Jeremiah is not mentioned in this scripture and neither am I. However, at this time mankind had direct access to God. Jesus did not arrive in history for another 600 plus years.
The surviving people of Judah wanted a way out of their predicament; not a way back to God. This is evidenced in the next chapter already posted on this website (Chapter 43). “…(may) the LORD your God show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” Jeremiah agrees to petition God.
The following verse is something that those who use the Lord’s Prayer as a universal, all included, prayer in church services, MUST understand. They, as do we when we use the Lord’s Prayer as a group, are taking an oath even though Jeremiah is doing the praying. It is in the (Father’s) name of God. They say in v5… (ESV) “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the LORD your God sends you to us.”
JIV NOTE: It reads, “may the Lord be a witness against us if we do not act according to all the words…” What does this comparatively mean when we ask God to forgive us our sins JUST AS WE FORGIVE ALL OTHERS?
The surviving people and militia of Judah add their own condition per their petition through Jeremiah to God. “Whether it be good or bad, we will obey.”
Jeremiah retreats to his prayer closet (symbolic words) and petitions God. God does not send a message to Jeremiah for ten days (v7). What this does to the emergency is put time between it and when the solution is offered. In short, time gives people an excuse to reject any solution. It is a measure of the true heart. In their own language (Hebrew) it is the kavanah; the true intent of the heart.
This article cannot put it any better than how it is written in the bible 42:10-22 (end of chapter 42). Here are the conditions of God’s protect to the remnant.
- If you remain in the land I (God) will build you up and not tear you down;
- I regret the injury I have brought upon you (If you do as I command);
- Do not fear Babylon for I will protect you;
- Nebuchadnezzar will have mercy and let you remain in the land;
- If the remnant refuses to remain there fleeing to Egypt…
- The sword will overtake you;
- Famine will be upon all of those who flee and do not follow my conditions;
- Pestilence will be upon those who go to Egypt;
- There will be no survivors to return to the Promised Land;
- You will suffer God’s wrath (worse than that of Nebuchadnezzar;
- None of those who flee to Egypt will see their home land again.
Jeremiah holds no punches as he promised back in verse 4 where he states, “I will hold nothing from you that God tells me.”What Jeremiah told them is not the condition or answers the Judeans wanted. They wanted God Jehovah to work for them but not the other way around. It is summarized in the final verse of Jeremiah 42… “Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go to sojourn there.”
In the next chapter we see the peoples’ immediate response. They accuse Jeremiah once again of false messages from Jehovah God. This is just like praying the Lord’s Prayer corporately. When we approach the Great White Throne Judgement and he says that he is forgiving us just as we forgave those who sinned against us we will never see the Promised Land. Yes, Jeremiah’s prayer was a group prayer and all had agreed to obey God’s conditions, but didn’t. The Judeans prayed corporately through Jeremiah to obey ALL that God commands. Some readers of this article who use the Lord’s Prayer in ignorance will immediately slip into denial. They will claim that it isn’t fair. Well, don’t tell me, tell God. That is precisely what the Israelites did. They blamed the messenger and refuses to obey the message.
The story goes something like this. A man and a woman were going someplace “to get away from things.” They had just been through some life trauma and wanted to get away from it all but had little funds to support it. She sought some advice. Her husband asked her, “where would you like to go?” She replied, “why don’t you just ask our travel agent.” So he does. He later reports back what the travel agent recommends. He was assured by the highly recommended agent that if they stayed local, he could guarantee their safety, price, enjoyment, and still get away from the trauma. There has been violence in the surrounding areas. However, if they go outside of their home territory, they will pay a great price for so doing and their trauma will simply follow them.
Once her husband reports back to her per the travel agent’s advice, she immediately accuses him of being self-serving, he was lying, it wasn’t what she wanted, (Florida was on her mind) and the agent didn’t understand their circumstances. What does he know anyway? Then she gathers up the family, packs up luggage along with a charge card, tells him to get in the car, and off they go to a Florida. (See article on Chapter 44; trauma does follow them)
This is similar to Jeremiah’s situation in chapter 43. The Judean survivors and remaining militia of Judah, following the traumatic invasion of the Babylonians, sought out Jeremiah and begged him to ask God what they should do. Most of the Judeans… king, rulers, and leaders were taken captive to Chaldea-Babylon.
This takes us into chapter 43. Looking back at chapter 42 we discovered that Jeremiah was assured by God that if they stayed within their homeland, he would protect them from any further Babylonian trauma and any other enemy, but they must believe and have faith in him [42:10, 11]. In short, God had changed his mind and would protect, provide safety, offered a life from additional trauma, and at a cost of simply worshiping him as their God.
Jeremiah is accused in verse 2 of chapter 43 [ESV]…”You are telling a lie. The LORD our God did not send you to say, “Do not go to Egypt to live there…” Essentially they accuse Jeremiah of being a turncoat and since the Babylonians had looked favorably upon Jeremiah, he was seen as a traitor. Remember that up until now, these very same “captains of the army (militia)” and the Judean citizens had resisted all of Jeremiah’s counsel and prophecy even though it now all came true.
The army had good reason to continue fearing the Babylonians. In all likelihood, it was these military men who had initially recommended to King Zedekiah to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. Why would they now want to hang around? They even go so far as to accuse Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary, of setting them up for destruction; Baruch’s “get even” plot.
JIV NOTE: One of the great mysteries in the bible is why do the Israelites (including Judeans) constantly want to flee to Egypt for protection; the very same place they served as slaves to the Pharaohs for 400 years??? We recall in Exodus 5:2 that the Pharaoh said to Moses…”who is the Lord that I should obey him?” This is a continued explanation as to why God was judging Judah. They wanted help, but they wanted it their way… “Do your job God and protect us but let us serve other gods.”
We must make note of the following few verses. Many times one who reads this passage is left with the impression that all of Judah was not taken into captivity by the Babylonians. A remnant is left behind. This is true however no one is to be left in the former Kingdom of Judah, now a province of Babylon.
Jeremiah 43: 4-7; [ESV] So Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces and all the people did not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah.
But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took all the remnant of Judah who had returned to live in the land of Judah from all the nations to which they had been driven–the men, the women, the children, the princesses, and every person whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan; also Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch the son of Neriah. And they came into the land of Egypt, for they did not obey the voice of the LORD.
JIV: Once again contrary to some theologians, this is not the return and again the removal of the Tribes to Israel. It is those of Judah who had fled Nebuchadnezzar. Those who returned to Judah were JUDEANS; i.e. Tribe of Judah.
The (Promised) land is now vacated. This is the argument of the Palestinian Arabs today; 2017. They argue that the Israeli’s of the ten tribe Northern Kingdom were totally dispersed by the Assyrians well over 100 years before this time, and never returned. They were forced into and throughout the world. Now the remaining remnant of Judeans left (fled) the land of the former Kingdom of Judah and escaped to Egypt. Per modern Arab thought, it was desertion of their Promised Land so it now defaults to the other son of Eber (through Joktan), and other Arab descendants of Esau (son of Isaac) and Ishmael (son of Abraham).
If a church or denomination wants to believe that the New Testament REPLACES the Israeli covenants of the Old Testament, then even so-called Christian Churches today will take this same stand albeit in their shallow Arab understanding or ignorance of the Word (promises) of God. “People have deserted the church so it is no longer valid” so they think.
Jeremiah now unloads on his remaining countrymen in vocal dynamics probably unmatched in his previous prophesies and warnings. He tells the fleeing remnant to ‘Stand ready and be prepared, for the sword shall devour around you.’ God warned them though Jeremiah in chapter 42: if they desert their Promised homeland they would not be protected by their God, or avoid the sword, pestilence, and death.
Here is a very interesting archeological insight. God tells Jeremiah to bury some large stones under the pavement of the entrance to the city of Tahpanhes, Egypt. He is to do this in the full view of these of the fleeing Judean militia and Jews within this remnant. He does what God commanded of him while prophesying… the Babylonians will not only attack Egypt, but will also kill those who think they have avoided God’s judgement. The evidence is where Jeremiah buries these large stones. Nebuchadnezzar will set his tent on that very spot when invading Egypt. No one can avoid God’s judgement! The encyclopedia describes this very event…
A platform of brickwork, which has been tentatively described as the pavement at the entry of Pharaoh‘s palace, has been discovered at this place. “Here,” says the discoverer, William Flinders Petrie, “the ceremony described by Jeremiah 43:8-10; ‘brick-kiln’ (i.e. pavement of brick) took place before the chiefs of the fugitives assembled on the platform, and here Nebuchadnezzar II spread his royal pavilion”. The site was discovered by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie in 1886. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahpanhes)
However, the fleeing Judeans are not the only ones to suffer upon settling in Tahpanhes, Egypt. When the Babylonians finally attack Egypt they utterly destroy much of the land itself including burning their temples of evil and other god worship and other artifacts now discovered by William Flinders Petrie.
The Babylonians still had a score to settle with the Egyptians. When Nebuchadnezzar was laying siege to Jerusalem, just as Jeremiah had prophesied, the Egyptians marched out to engage him in war. King Zedekiah of Judah and Egypt had signed an alliance. Their armies, however, never engaged. The Egyptians retreated after the Babylonians army pulled out of Judah to fight them. This is probably why so many of the Judean army was still around. They had probably gone out to join the Egyptians and were not in Judea when Nebuchadnezzar attacked. Some undoubtedly were in hiding.
Next article – Chapter 44: How far had the people of Judah turned their hearts from God? Next article is another WOW moment.
Dr. J. Stark
In our previous article on chapter 40, we pointed out that Gedaliah was appointed governor over the Judean area by Nebuchadnezzar after the failed revolt of King Zechariah. Zechariah himself had been appointed king over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar but power went to his head and God was not in his heart. He had rebelled in hopes of help from Egypt. It never came.
Gedaliah became governor (not king) of the surrounding area of Judah. His capital city was Mizpah since Jerusalem itself had been mostly destroyed by Neb and his Chaldean/Babylonian army. He had a small contingency of Babylonian militia as body guards. Gedaliah was the son of Ahikam (who saved the life of the prophet Jeremiah back in Jeremiah 26) and the grandson of Shaphan. Shaphan is mentioned in relation to the discovery of the Scroll of Teaching that some scholars identify as the core of the Book of Deuteronomy. This is debated.
Ishmael (of all names to use in this pending assassination plan found in Jeremiah 41) was sent by the King of the Ammonites to assassinate Gedaliah. He wanted discord to once again fall upon what remained of the Judean people. The Ammonites, descendants of Lot, were an eternal enemy of all Israel. Using the guise of a friendly supper and drinking party, Ishmael, sent by the Ammonites and ten men with him, invited Governor Gedaliah to a small celebration. After dining and drinking they got up and slew Gedaliah and those (probably unarmed) within his company.
Once again Nebuchadnezzar was going to need a replacement as a ruler in the province of Judah. Since this area was a constant thorn in the side of the Babylonian king, the remaining Judeans feared with good reason the response by Nebuchadnezzar. They packed up and with all haste fled to Egypt. Most Judeans fled but not Ishmael and his murdering men. This was about 582 B.C.E.
Unexpectedly (Jeremiah 41:4) some 80 men from Shechem and Samaria came to Mizpah, in a sense, to welcome Gedaliah as an ally and friend and to pay tribute in the House of Jehovah. They did not know of the assassination of Gedaliah. The last thing Ishmael needed was witnesses from outside who were also under the thumb of Nebuchadnezzar.
Ishmael, was a great actor and met these men outside of the Judean province. He was weeping and look distraught; a deception not all that uncommon in the Middle East even to this day. Jeremiah 41:6 says…he (Ishmael) said unto them, Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. They were emotionally disarmed by the appearance of a great servitude of Ishmael and his men. When they entered the city (Mizpah), Ishmael and his men began another day of assassinations and murders. These visitors were slaughter; all but ten of them. These survivors (all probably without weapons) used the old bargaining chip of hidden values (Jeremiah 41:8) that would remain hidden if they were slain. Gedaliah bought their plea bargain. What happens per these “valuables” we are not told.
“And the pit into which Ishmael had cast all the dead bodies of the men whom he had slain by the side of Gedaliah was the one which Asa the king had made for fear of Baasha king of Israel: Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with his slain.”
In a very real sense this also served as a visual warning to the remaining ten survivors from Samaria and Shechem that a bad move could also make this pit their final resting ground. Then Ishmael makes a retreat back to the King of Ammon. However he does not go alone. He takes the remaining Jews in Mizpah captive and herds them to Ammon.
One might call it a remaining Judean guerrilla force (v11), rose up from their hiding places outside of Judah proper. They heard of the evil deeds of Ishmael and came to their rescue before Ishmael could carrel his captives in Ammon. One might think he was going to sell them as slaves to the King of Ammon. We don’t really know but that was the culture and practice of that day. We get this idea from verse 10 where they are identified as “CAPTIVES.”
Jeremiah 41:13 tells us…
“And it came to pass when all the people that were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the (remaining Judean) forces that were with him, then they were glad.”
We can determine by close examination of Jeremiah 41:13-15 that Ishmael made a very hasty flight to Ammon leaving his captives standing in view of Johanan and his captains of what once again, we may identify as a guerrilla force of Judah. If one read the non-canonized books of the Maccabees, we see they too were a Judean guerrilla force but very successful in fighting off the Roman rule yet to come after Jeremiah’s time; albeit 300 years later.
This entourage of Judeans, probably under the leadership of Johanan, gathered near Bethlehem. They knew that Nebuchadnezzar was going to seek revenge. Since this was a common problem under the rule of Neb, this time his revenge would be brutal.
So, what are their options? Like most in today’s society, deny God until one gets into a fix s/he cannot get out of unscathed. Their initial design was to flee to Egypt. However they first go to Jeremiah and beg, yes, BEG that he pray to Jehovah-God seeking guidance. The significance of the new problem they all shared, it was not a seeking of God’s forgiveness, but a seeking of safety. We see this in chapter 42; our next article. Chapter 42 is fascinating in that God regrets having sent his people into captivity in Babylon and agrees to protect them but only if they remain in Judah and worship him as their one and only God.