For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2003 James Melough

42:1.  “Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near.”


42:2.  “And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the Lord thy God, even for all the remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)”


It is ominously significant that the people requested the prophet to pray unto the Lord “thy God” rather than “our God,” for they were a people who had departed far from God, and in that respect are very much like today’s apostate Christendom and the rest of a world that has dismissed God from all its affairs.


Their reduced numbers may be the foreshadowing of what will also be in the Tribulation.  As a result of those terrible judgments Israel, and the nations, will also be drastically reduced numerically.


42:3.  “That the Lord thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.”


And they continue to refer to Him as “thy” rather than “our” God, and still hypocritically profess to desire Him to direct their path.  The picture continues to be of the hypocrisy of apostate Christendom and of a world that lives in rebellion against God.


42:4.  “Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the Lord your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the Lord shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you.”


The prophet properly referred to the Lord as “your” God, for while the people might rebel against Him, He, nevertheless remained their God, even though it was now as the One Who had decreed their doom, and Who was about to execute their national destruction.


Jeremiah’s assurance that he would keep nothing back from them of all that God would reveal to him, is the reminder that we who are believers have the same responsibility to a doomed world.  We have been entrusted with the responsibility of warning them to “flee from the wrath to come,” but how very few of us have demonstrated Jeremiah’s faithfulness in declaring that warning!


42:5.  “Then they said to Jeremiah, the Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the Lord thy God shall send thee to us.”


Though they didn’t say so, the sequel reveals that their promises of obedience were conditional: the condition being that God do what they wanted; and the obedience of today’s apostate Christendom and godless humanity is governed by exactly the same conditions.


42:6.  “Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”


As if to certify the sincerity of their words they referred to Jehovah as “our” God, the very same hypocrisy as is practiced by multitudes today.  God’s estimate of the professed obedience of both, however, is declared in His words, “This people draweth near to me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me,” Mt 15:8.


42:7.  “And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah.”


It is instructive to note that ten is the biblical number of God as the Governor of all things, as twelve is the biblical number associated with those under that government, e.g., the ten commandments, the twelve tribes, the twelve apostles whose doctrine is the foundation of the Church.


42:8.  “Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest.”


From the greatest down to the least all were to hear God’s reply, and the prince as well as the peasant was responsible to obey, for while there is most certainly the fact of national obedience, in the final analysis it is the obedience of the individual that governs each man’s eternal destiny.


42:9.  “And said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him;”


42:10.  “If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.”


Relative to God’s repentance, see comments on 26:3.


42:11.  “Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him saith the Lord: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.”


Because of their sin God had delivered them into the hand of Babylon, and for the duration of that chastisement they were to obey Nebuchadnezzar; but the chastisement was over: Babylon’s authority was ended.  God now wanted to bless them, and the only thing needed to ensure that blessing was their obedience to Him.


It is to be noted incidentally, that Babylon represents the world’s false religious systems which held us in spiritual bondage until the moment we were delivered by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.


42:12.  “And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you and cause you to return to your own land.”


The “he” here is Nebuchadnezzar; and as God had used him as His instrument to chastise Judah’s disobedience, so now would He put it into his heart to permit them to remain in their own land to which they had returned, that protection being guaranteed in spite of the murder of Gedaliah.


Their own land was Judah, which means he shall be praised, and which reminds us that praise and worship ought to be the continual expression of our response to God for all His mercies.


42:13.  “But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the Lord your God,”


42:14.  “Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell:”


Egypt represents the world of business and pleasure living in careless independence of God; just as Babylon represents the world of false religion living also in independence of God, in spite of all its profession to the contrary; and it is ominously significant that both lands were the scenes of Israel’s bondage.


In spite of their protestations of obedience, Jeremiah, enlightened by God, knew the evil that was in their hearts.  They had already determined that they were going to Egypt, and wished for God’s approval; but the fact remained that with or without that approval, Egypt was their chosen destination.  And the sad fact is that the very same attitude governs apostate Christendom and the world today.


Judah’s foolish dream was that in Egypt they would see no war, hear no trumpet warning of danger, know no want: in a word, Egypt would supply everything they wanted; and sadly, that is the attitude of people today towards the world of business and pleasure represented by Egypt; but sadder still is the fact that it is also the attitude of many professing Christians.


42:15.  “And now therefore hear the word of the Lord, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there;”


42:16.  “Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.”


By describing Himself as “the Lord of hosts (armies)” He was reminding them of His power to protect them from every foe; as “the God of Israel” He was reminding them that He was their God because He had chosen them from among all the peoples on earth to be His special people.  But He reminded them also of the consequences of disobedience.  If they went into Egypt instead of remaining in the land of Judah, He would send the sword after them; and into the very place which they equated with abundance, He would send famine.  Where they expected to live “the good life” they would die.


The all important spiritual lesson being taught in this is that he who lives only for the things of this world will die spiritually: he will lose his soul.  His eternal dwelling place will be the lake of fire, he finding there by dreadful experience the answer to the question he ignored on earth, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mk 8:36.


42:17.  “So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them.”


The Judeans who refused to remain in the land, and who would go instead to Egypt, would die there by the sword, famine, and disease; for what they didn’t know was that the Babylonians, from whom God would have protected them in Canaan, would invade Egypt, so that they, the men of Judah, would die there with their Egyptian hosts.


The further evidence of the wisdom of leaving one’s choice with God is demonstrated in the conduct of Abraham and Lot as recorded in Ge 13 relative to the choice of an inheritance in Canaan.


42:18.  “For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration (an oath used in swearing), and an astonishment (horror), and a curse, and a reproach; and ye shall see this place no more.”


Those whom God warned were they who had already witnessed the terrible results of His wrath in the destruction of Jerusalem; but they hadn’t profited by that experience, and would still plunge on to their doom, as do apostate Christendom and a godless world, both of whom have these past examples of God’s anger to warn them against their own continued rebellion.


It is to be remembered also that two aspects of judgment are set before us here: one temporal; the other, spiritual.  Every man who lives in rebellion against God will be destroyed, i.e., he will die physically, but he will also endure eternal torment in the lake of fire.  This present evil world is about to experience first the terrible and now impending Tribulation judgments; but those rebellious individuals who constitute that rebel world will also experience eternal torment in the lake of fire.


42:19.  “The Lord hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day.”


There was no ambiguity about God’s warning.  He couldn’t have been more explicit.  He forbade them to enter Egypt.  He has been equally explicit relative to the obedience of all men.  His holy law spells out in unmistakable language what constitutes obedience and disobedience; nor is their any ambiguity relative to the results of both.  But knowing man’s inability to keep that holy law, He has, in love, and grace, and mercy beyond comprehension, provided a remedy for the salvation of the transgressor.  He has given His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die as man’s Substitute, and has given the command and assurance, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” Ac 16:31; “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,” John 3:36.


42:20.  “For ye dissembled in your hearts when ye sent me unto the Lord your God, saying, Pray for us unto the Lord our God; and according unto all that the Lord our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.”


In their evil hearts they had already determined that Egypt was where they should go, and there they were going to go, whether it was God’s will or not.


42:21.  “And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God, nor anything for the which he hath sent me unto you.”


Jeremiah was well aware of their dissimulation, hence his reference to their disobedience as a sin already committed.


42:22.  “Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and sojourn.”


Their disobedience compelled him to pronounce a curse and assurance of doom, instead of a blessing.  What a terrible way for them to begin their journey to Egypt!  Sadly, a similar malediction accompanies every man who goes from time into eternity without having trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.

[Jeremiah 43]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough