The Scriptorium

Judgment on Egypt (1)

The final section of Jeremiah begins. Jeremiah 46.1-12

Judgment on the Nations (1): Jeremiah 46-48.17 (1)

Pray Psalm 60.1-4.
O God, You have cast us off;
You have broken us down;
You have been displeased;
Oh, restore us again!
You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
You have shown Your people hard things;
You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
You have given a banner to those who fear You,
That it may be displayed because of the truth.

Sing Psalm 60.1-4.
(Ein’ Feste Burg: A Mighty Fortress is Our God)
O God, You have rejected us, and broken us in anger.
Restore us, for each beam and truss of Your house strains in danger.
Our rifts and breaches heal. The hardship that we feel,
like strong drink bends us low; ‘neath Your flag let us go,
that truth may once more flourish!

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 46.1-12.

1. When did the events in this passage take place?

2. How did this situation turn out for Egypt?

The remainder of the book of Jeremiah consists of pronouncements of judgment against the various nations around Israel and Judah – nations the people of God had trusted in, but who only polluted them with idols and were of no help against their foes. Indeed, when God’s people fell, some of these nations cheered their destruction and even helped to achieve their ruin (cf. Ps. 137.7; Obad. 1.10-14). Chapter 52 will reprise the fall of Jerusalem, as if to say regarding the reliability of God’s Word, “Once more, for emphasis.”

The word of judgment comes first against Egypt, for this is where the remnant of the people fled for safety. God wanted them to know two things: His judgment would reach even among the Egyptians, and He would retain a remnant through judgment for Himself (vv. 27, 28).

This section begins with a history lesson. Jeremiah recalled the battle of Carchemish, when Egypt flooded over Israel and other nations all the way to the Euphrates, only to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (cf. 2 Kgs. 24.7; 2 Chron. 35.20). Pharaoh thought that by invading from the south he could achieve some easy pickings before he had to take on Babylon (vv. 7, 8), and thus bolster his strength. But if he thought they would find a balm in Gilead to satiate their lusts, heal their injuries, and fortify their wellbeing, he was sorely mistaken (vv. 11, 12; cf. Jer. 8.22).

Though Pharaoh Necho brought his army and skilled allies to the battle (vv. 2-9), they ran into the buzz saw of the Lord’s vengeance when they had to face His “servant”, Nebuchadnezzar, on his home turf (vv. 10-12).

Jeremiah recalled this incident from the beginning of his ministry – Josiah was killed during conflict with Necho (2 Chron. 35.23-25) – to reinforce to the remnant of God’s people that, since Egypt was not strong enough to defeat Babylon all those years before, they would not be able to resist Nebuchadnezzar again.

Salvation is only in the Lord – not in politics, nations, armies, or anything else. And those who will not hear His Word for repentance, will experience His Word in judgment.

1. Why must we not put our hope for safety and wellbeing in governments?

2. Egypt’s lust and pride caused her downfall at Carchemish. How can we guard against these being our downfall as well?

3. God can use governments for His purposes. How should this encourage us?

Not that the kingdom of Egypt perished or was wholly overthrown, but that its strength would be lost, so that the Chaldean king would take possession of all that part of Asia which the Egyptians had occupied, even as far as Pelusium, to the very borders of the Nile. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 46.11

Lord, I trust in You. Help me always to trust in You, and today as I…

Pray Psalm 60.5-12.
Pray for revival for God’s Church. Pray that God will embolden us to stand in Him and proclaim the Gospel to the people of our day.

Sing Psalm 60.5-12.
Psalm 60.5-12 (Ein’ Feste Burg: A Mighty Fortress is Our God)
That Your beloved may be spared, save, Lord, and hear our pleading.
In holiness have You declared, “Exult in Me exceeding!”
All nations west and east, the greatest to the least,
from south to north are all Your portion when You call –
let praise from all be rising!

Who now shall lead against our foes when God has left us falt’ring?
Lord, You have left us to our woes, uur foes o’er us exalting.
Grant strength to win the day! Lord, help us in the way!
The strength of man is vain the victory to gain;
through Jesus we will triumph!

T. M. Moore

You can also now listen to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study. Click here for Jeremiah 43-45. You can also download for free all the weekly studies in this series on the book of Jeremiah by clicking here.

Check out the special offer on our book The Church Captive. Are churches today captive like the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day? Order your copy of The Church Captive and decide for yourself (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore