Jeremiah 43 - 44 - Outline of Jeremiah (MENU page)
Jeremiah's ministry in Egypt toward the unbelieving remnant. ch.43-44
The arrival of the remnant in Egypt is documented in 43:1-7. (Review the Notes at 43:1-7.)
I. The Word of the Lord concerning their chosen place of refuge, 43:8-13
  1. The sign in the brickkiln in Tahpanhes (v.8-10)
    1. The Location and Setting--
      • Tahpanhes was a city in the land of Goshen, where Israel had dwelt prior to the Exodus, which occurred about 900 years earlier (cp. Gen 45:10; Ex 8:22; 9:26). At that time, their servitude included brick making (Ex 5:6-8). Now, against the counsel of God through Jeremiah, the unbelieving remnant from Judah had willfully returned to the place of their bondage.
      • The word "brickkiln" may be better translated as "brick pavement." If so, this was a paved expanse in front of the palace, which Pharaoh used when he visited this part of his kingdom. This was not his primary palace.
      • Note: In 1886, the archaeologist, Petrie, discovered in Tahpanhes "a ruin called: the palace of the daughters of Judah. It was doubtless built by Pharaoh for the daughters of Zedekiah" (who were among those carried to Egypt, cp. 41:10; 43:6). [in quotes, from GWms]
    2. The Sign and Prophecy--
      • Jeremiah marked an area of the pavement by lifting out the paving bricks and burying large rocks beneath them.
      • On this spot, Nebuchadnezzar would set up his pavilion, ie., his field court where he would judge his enemies (cp. 39:5). For this to occur, Nebuchadnezzar must first invade and conquer Egypt (cp. Eze 29:19). The unbelieving remnant had fled for fear of the king of Babylon (Jer 41:18; 42:11). Because of their unbelief and disobedience, that which they feared would overtake them (42:15-17). Historical evidence suggests that Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt in approximately 568 BC (less than 20 years following the fall of Jerusalem).
  2. The fire in the houses of Egypt's false gods. (v.11-13)
    • Nebuchadnezzar's coming would blight the whole land with: death... captivity... sword...
    • The destruction he caused would be judgment from the LORD ("I will kindle a fire..." v.12) upon Egypt's false gods (cp. Ex 12:12). Beth-shemesh {v.13, HB for "House of the Sun"} refers to the temple to Egypt's primary god (cp. Gen 41:50, Joseph's father-in-law was the priest of On, the sun god.)
    • "he shall burn them..." (ie., the idols and their temples)
    • "and carry them away captives..." (ie., the worshippers of false gods).
      Tragically, this judgment would overtake the Jewish remnant also, because they had forsaken the Word of the LORD, to take refuge under the shadow of Egypt's false gods.
 
II. The Word of the LORD concerning the Jews in Egypt (ch. 44) -
  1. The recipients of the message: the Jews which dwell in Egypt (44:1)--
    By the time of this message (perhaps a year after their arrival), they had settled in and spread out throughout the land. Jews were living in Migdol (about 20 miles north of Tahpanhes on the eastern side of the Nile delta), in Tahpanhes, in Noph (ie., Memphis, the capital, about 50 miles southwest of Tahpanhes, and just south of the delta.), and in the region of Pathros (the fertile inhabited region along the Nile, extending a hundred miles to the south). They had not kept to themselves in the land of Goshen, but were at home among the houses of the gods of Egypt which would soon be judged.
  2. The Lord's message (44:2-14)
    1. A Review of His recent judgment upon Jerusalem -
      • It's thoroughness (v.2),
      • It's causes -- their wickedness in serving false gods (v.3),
        -- their obstinance in refusing to heed His Word (v.4-6).
    2. A Plea to the unheeding (v.7-10)-
      • "Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls...?" (cp. Isa 1:18-20)
      • "...They are not humbled {ie., contrite} even unto this day..." (cp. Jer 8:12; Jam 4:6-10)
    3. A Pronouncement upon the hard hearted (v.11-14) - The remnant in Egypt will be completely consumed by destruction (except a very few would escape, v.14d; v.28).
  3. The Response of the people (v.15-19)
    1. They were of one accord: "all... all... all..." (v.15), cf. 42:1
    2. They refused the word spoken in the LORD's name (v.16), cf. 42:2-6
    3. They attributed their former blessings to their false gods (v.17-19). They thought their troubles began when they set aside the worship of the queen of heaven (perhaps during Josiah's reforms, cp. 2Kin 23:5,13).
    4. The worship of the Queen of Heaven, emphasizing feminine powers, was followed closely by the women, but involved the entire family (v.19; cp. 7:16-18)
      The Queen of Heaven refers to the goddess Ashtaroth (known by many names in different regions: Astarte, Diana, Cybele, Ishtar, Isis...). The cakes, made to honor her, bore her image or symbols. She was regarded as the creative source and the giver of fertility. She was called the "Mother of God."
           Isis was the Egyptian name of the queen of heaven. An inscription in the temple of Isis reads: "I, Isis, am all that has been, that is or shall be; No mortal man hath ever me unveiled. The fruit which I have brought forth is the 'SUN'."
           Isis is the "divine mother" of ancient Egypt. She was known as the great goddess of magic and "universal nature," and used her powers to raise her dead (and dismembered) husband Osiris back to life (Osiris was represented as the Sun, he also ruled the underworld). As "Virgin of the World," Isis birthed Horus, the Egyptian god of the sun and moon, day and night... according to legend, Isis, mother-of-all remains eternally virgin. She is often portrayed as a "virgin with child," and is often depicted as one crowned with a lunar orb and the horns of a bull..."
           ...many leading occultists see striking parallels between the Roman Catholic "Virgin Mary" - the "Queen of Heaven" - and the goddess Isis. And the comparison is startling...
           [So, how is Isis viewed today?] ...Internationally, the Fellowship of Isis - an organization "dedicated to honoring the religion of the Goddess in Her many forms" - has chapters across Germany, the United Kingdom, and the US. It's global headquarters is located in Clonegal Castle, Ireland. Presently, the Fellowship of Isis offers an entire program of correspondence studies, rites, rituals, prayers and degrees to those wishing to advance within the goddess mystery religions...
           [Excerpts above are from an article at http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/2002/carl-teichrib/5isis.htm]
      Another example, of modern attention to this goddess, is a book used widely by Unitarians, entitled "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven." Arranged as a curriculum with a series of studies, the book sets forth an unbiblical feminist theology and teaches women to seek the "deity" within themselves. This deity, characterized by motherly gentleness, is preferred above the "harsh judgmentalism" of Jehovah.
  4. The Reassertion of the truth by Jeremiah. v.20-23
    Note: Verses 20-30 are the last prophetic words of Jeremiah in the book.
    (Chronologically, ch. 45-52 occurred prior to this final word.)
    1. They had brought their national desolation upon themselves.
      • you have burned incense - worshiping and offering prayer to false gods.
      • you have sinned against the Lord - dishonoring and turning from the true and living God.
      • you have not obeyed His voice - disregarding His warnings and admonitions via the prophets
      • [you have not] walked in His law... statutes... testimonies - disregarding His written Word.
    2. The Lord could no longer bear...- Far from being harsh and judgmental,
      He had exercised gentleness and patience toward them, until it was evident that they would not respond to His gracious entreaties.
  5. The Restatement of their judgment by Jehovah. v.24-30
    1. They would fulfill their vows to the queen of heaven (v.25).
      Vows of the flesh, based on falsehood, seem honorable to the unregenerate, though they block obedience to truth (eg., Mark 6:25,26). Such vows, made during the time of spiritual blindness, are not binding upon the person who has turned from darkness to trust the light of God's Word.
    2. The LORD would fulfill His vow regarding them.
      • The Jews in Egypt, who had forsaken the Living God, would never know Him (v.26).
      • The Jews in Egypt, would be totally consumed in judgment (v27,28).
        Except a few would escape (cp. Isa 27:12,13). Even in times of great apostasy, God always has his few (1Pet 3:20; Mat 7:14; Rev 3:4). The judgment on the many, and the preservation of the few, would demonstrate to all, that God's Word stands.
      • The Jews in Egypt, would receive a sign showing that God's Word will surely be fulfilled (v.29,30):
        Pharaoh-Hophra would be given to his enemies, just as Zedekiah had been given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
        Hophra reigned from 588-569 BC. "In 570 BC, he sent Amasis, one of his generals, to quell a revolt among his army; but the army united behind Amasis and made him Pharaoh. Amasis defeated Hophra in battle and imprisoned him. Sometime later, Amasis handed Hophra over to the Egyptians who were clamoring for his death, and they strangled him (Herodotus 2. 161-3, 169)." [in quotes from TBKC]. The instability, caused by the rebellion of Amasis, facilitated Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Egypt, about a year later, which was less than 20 years after the fall of Jerusalem.

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