The Concern for Judah, cont’d. Jeremiah 2-45
Jeremiah 40-45 The Ministry to the Jews
Jeremiah 43:1-7-As soon as Jeremiah finished speaking the leaders called him a liar. They accused him of being influenced by his scribe, Baruch. It appears that the Babylonians had left the remnant of Jews in Judah under the leadership of Gedaliah and Jeremiah and Baruch. This could be the reason why those who were in rebellion thought that Jeremiah was being influenced by Baruch…he was now more than just a scribe.
- Baruch—He being the younger spake out the revelations which he received from Jeremiah more vehemently. From this cause, and from their knowing that he was in favor with the Chaldeans, arose their suspicion of him. Their perverse fickleness was astonishing. In the forty-second chapter they acknowledged the trustworthiness of Jeremiah, of which they had for so long so many proofs; yet here they accuse him of a lie. The mind of the unregenerate man is full of deceits.
Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Jeremiah 43,
At last he adds, all the souls which had been left by Nebuzaradan with Gedaliah, with Jeremiah, and with Baruch This had not been expressed elsewhere, that is, that Jeremiah and Baruch were joined with Gedaliah as rulers over the remnant of the people. But it was not the design of Jeremiah to relate everything that then took place. Now then, when an occasion occurred, he says that he and also Baruch were made governors in connection with Gedaliah. He then adds, that they all came into Egypt, or that they entered into Egypt,. For the word first used, ויבאו , vaibau, may be rendered, “and they entered into Egypt;” and then he adds, ויבאו עד-תחפנחס , vaibau od-tachephnuches, “and they entered (or penetrated) as far as Tachephnuches.” It was formerly one of the chief cities of Egypt; but its name has perished together with is wealth; for in heathen writers hardly the name of this city is found. They indeed mention the city Taphnim, but speak not of Taphnees. It is then probable, as changes take place in a country, that this city became by degrees forsaken, so as to become obscure and mean, and that other cities were built which exceeded it in wealth. He then says that they came to Taphnees It now follows, —
John Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible,
They then took all of the people and forced them to go to Egypt, including Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 43:8-13-In Tahpanhes, Egypt...God told Jeremiah to put some large stones in the mortar in the brick terrace at the entrance of the gate to Pharaoh's palace and to let the Jews see him do it. Then he was to tell them that God said that He was going to have Nebuchadnezzar put his throne directly over those stones...and he will destroy Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar did invade Egypt in 568-567 B.C.
Jeremiah 44:1-14-God tells the Jews in Egypt that He is going to punish them and that only a few will return to Judah.
Jeremiah 44:15-19-The people say that they are going to continue to offer sacrifices to the "queen of Heaven" just like they did in Judah...because when they did so God had blessed them. They seemed to think that their false worship had been acceptable to God. It appears to have been a religion led by women.
- They declare their resolution not to do as God commanded them, but what they themselves had a mind to do; that is, they would go on to worship the moon, here called the queen of heaven; yet some understand it of the sun, which was much worshipped in Egypt (ch. 43:13) and had been so at Jerusalem (2 Ki. 23:11), and they say that the Hebrew word for the sun being feminine it may not unfitly be called the queen of heaven. And others understand it of all the host of heaven, or the frame of heaven, the whole machine, ch. 7:18. These daring sinners do not now go about to make excuses for their refusal to obey, nor suggest that Jeremiah spoke from himself and not from God (as before, ch. 43:2), but they own that he spoke to them in the name of the Lord, and yet tell him flatly, in so many words, "We will not hearken unto thee; we will do that which is forbidden and run the hazard of that which is threatened.' Note, Those that live in disobedience to God commonly grow worse and worse, and the heart is more and more hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Here is the genuine language of the rebellious heart: We will certainly do whatsoever thing goes forth out of our own mouth, let God and his prophets say what they please to the contrary. What they said many think who yet have not arrived at such a degree of impudence as to speak it out. It is that which the young man would be at in the days of his youth; he would walk in the way of his heart and the sight of his eyes, and would have and do every thing he has a mind to, Eccl. 11:9.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Jeremiah 44,
Jeremiah 44:20-30-God tells them to go ahead and make their sacrifices to the queen of Heaven…it won’t make any difference since she doesn’t even exist. He is basically through with them. Most of them will die in Egypt and only a few will return to Judah. And, so that they will know for sure that what He has declared will happen will actually take place…He tells them that the king of Egypt will be killed. He is telling them that Egypt will be overthrown by Babylon...so, they will see that their false gods could do them no good. Pharaoh Hophra was killed in a revolt by Ahmose in 569 B.C.
Jeremiah 45:1-5-God tells Baruch to stop feeling sorry for himself and the pain he has suffered. It is nothing compared to the pain God has suffered over the sins of His people.
Prayer: Lord, there is a good chance that when these Jews worshipped the queen of Heaven, they actually thought that they were worshipping You, or at the very least a comparable deity. They assumed that they could worship You in any manner that they decided…just as long as they worshipped. But You make it clear that such worship is not acceptable. I must not worship any image (even if it is said to represent You) and I must worship You in the manner that You have determined. Please keep me from imposing my own beliefs on You. Let me know You fully as You reveal Yourself. And help me to worship You in a manner that is pleasing to You.