Reading through the Bible together

Monday, June 16, 2014

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This chapter begins a new section of Jeremiah (Chapters 46-51) with prophetic declarations about various nations and tribes.

Jeremiah 46 which is the chapter for today is divided into three sections: (1) verses 3-12: the prophetic word of God regarding Pharaoh-Necho’s army that was camping far to the north by the river Euphrates near Carchemish; (2) verses 14-24: the prophetic word of God regarding the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar to come and defeat the Egyptians; and (3) verses 27-28: the encouraging word of God for His people Israel not to fear.

Let’s look at the first section, here Jeremiah foretells the defeat of the Egyptian army by Nebuchadnezzar by the river Euphrates. From these verses we learn that the Egyptian army included Ethiopian, Libian, and Lydian mercenary troops, and was so numerous that it was like the Nile River flooding on the earth. Then verse 10 points out that it was God Himself who stepped in and helped Nebuchadnezzar defeat the Egyptian army. There was sadness in the land of Egypt because the mighty Egyptian soldiers were defeated and failed in their military campaign. This was fulfilled in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah.  

In the second section we have a message of God to the Judeans who lived in Northern Egypt in such places as Migdol, Noph, and Tahpanhes. The original Hebrew text of verse 15 may be translated: “Why has Apis fled?”  It means “Why has the Egyptian bull-god fled without helping the Egyptian army?”  It refers to the Babylonian army led by Nebuchadnezzar as mighty as the Israelite mountains of Tabor and Carmel; and refers to Egypt as a female calf that cannot even chase away a gadfly. It says that the Babylonian army would come against Egypt with axes as hewers of wood.

The third section is a prophecy and an encouragement to the Judeans living in Egypt as well as those in Babylonian captivity to return to their homeland Israel. God says, “I will save thee from a far off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob will return, and be at rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid” (verse 27). 

God is truly the Restorer of the covenant relationship He has with His people. And as it was then, so shall it be for God’s people today when the Lord returns and takes us home.

Yoshitaka Kobayashi, Ph.D., Japan