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Bible: What Does Jeremiah 44-46 Teach Us About the "Queen of Heaven" and the Battle of Carchemish?

Updated on September 9, 2016

Astarte

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The Queen of Heaven

Jeremiah warns the remnant of Judah dwelling in four Egyptian localities (v. 1), reminding them of a now desolate Jerusalem whose inhabitants, despite Yahweh's protestations, continue to worship other gods (vv. 2-6).

Because the remnant in Egypt persistently commits the same wickedness as does their impenitent brethren in Jerusalem (vv. 7-10), they will experience the same kind of punishment as the city endured—“cutting off” by famine, pestilence and sword (vv. 11-13)—unless they escape and return to Judah (v. 14).

Nevertheless, behaving according to their professed words, all the people respond by rejecting the prophet's message (vv. 15-19).

Apparently, they believed that they were experiencing the present calamity because they had neglected to offer incense to the "Queen of Heaven," upon whom they relied to provide their needs.

[Did God allow the people to prosper when they worshiped a false deity (the Queen of Heaven)?

Why did calamity strike when they stopped burning incense to this false god?

Is this instance an example of how God allows apostates to go their own way?

That they might believe the deception, does He permit Satan to "bless" these unbelievers with good fortune?]

Recognizing an error in perception, Jeremiah attempts to correct their lack of understanding.

God says that idolatry brings about desolation and a curse (vv. 20-23); hard times will come upon the remnant because they had stubbornly determined to perform their vows to the "queen" (vv. 24-27).

Yet a remnant among the remnant will return to Judah as a testimony to God's mercy and to the trustworthiness of His word (v. 28).

The demise of Pharaoh Hophra will stand as a sign to Judah that God will surely punish His people in Egypt (vv. 29-30.

Baruch, Jeremiah's Scribe

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The "Great Things"

Jeremiah 45

This chapter returns to the fourth year in the reign of Jehoiakim (cf. 25:1; 36:1), and serves as a brief message to Baruch (vv. 1-2; cf. 36:32 for the last mention of Jehoiakim’s and Baruch's disparate roles in the re-recording of Jeremiah's prophecies).

Baruch needed encouragement and assurance at a particularly stressful time.

[Why was he so sorrowful?

Of course, he wrote about the destruction of the land; that knowledge certainly saddened him.

However, the sorrow seemed to include anxiety about his own future; he worried that he might pine away and drift into oblivion, just like most of the remnant (v. 3)].

The "great things" that he seeks for himself may perhaps be some important position in Israel. But without further data, one cannot determine exactly what God means here.

The LORD tells the scribe that He will spare his life in his sojournings; that commodity, after all, is far more valuable than acquiring the sought-after "great things" (v. 5).

Nebuchadnezzar

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Defeated Egyptian King

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Babylon Defeats Egypt

Jeremiah 46

Beginning with this chapter, Jeremiah proclaims a series of prophecies against various nations involved with Israel (v. 1).

The man of God directs his first message toward Egypt and especially its armed forces (v. 2).

[Note the details: Nebuchadnezzar defeated Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish (c. 604 B.C.).

In addition, the familiar "fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign" appears again; it is also the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign (see 25:1)].

Most of the chapter is poetic, commencing with a call to arms (vv. 3-4).

Because great fear penetrates each stout Egyptian heart, the army is soon discomfited (v. 5).

[Note: magor-missabib (fear all around); cf. God’s name for Pashhur (cf. 6:25; 20: 3, 10)].

Their retreat ends in utter destruction by the Euphrates, for God had so decreed it (v. 6).

The Egyptians initially dream and boast of great conquest (vv. 7-8), but Jeremiah calls upon their allies (or other conquered peoples) to go forth into battle (v. 9).

However, what they think will be a glorious victory God turns into ignominious defeat (v. 10).

Designating it a "sacrifice," Yahweh wreaks vengeance on Egypt through the king of Babylon (v. 10b).

The vanquished will try to soothe their wounds with the “balm of Gilead,” but their attempt will fail, and the great army will fall (vv. 11-12).

Another branch of the prophecy declares that Nebuchadnezzar would invade Egypt (v. 13).

Jeremiah issues a divine warning to Egyptian cities, saying, in essence, "Be ready for destruction" (v. 14).

As they see the LORD's decimation of the troops (v. 15), foreigners attached to Egypt's armies speak disparagingly of the king of Egypt (vv. 16-17).

Babylon will surely invade, conquer, and lay waste the land; afterwards, it will take captives from Noph (Memphis) [vv. 18-19].

Hired soldiers will fail to protect the cities (v. 21); apparently, the Babylonian army will wreak havoc by cutting down all the trees (vv. 22-23).

[Is this instance a figurative use of "forest?" May it mean people]?

Another note sounds regarding Egypt's subjugation (v. 24).

God decrees judgment upon all Egypt for its idolatrous ways, and delivers the nation into Babylonian power.

Yet He also adds a hint of hope at the end (v. 26).

After proclaiming this prophecy against Egypt, the LORD turns again to Israel with a word of encouragement, telling him not to fear, for He will save him and give him rest (v. 27).

His personal presence will protect Jacob, but judge the nations to which He scattered him.

Yahweh intends His measures against Israel as corrective, not destructive (v. 28).

© 2013 glynch1

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