Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2003 James Melough
“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.”
“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.
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.
“That the Lord thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing
that we may do.”
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.
“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.”
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
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!
“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.”
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.
“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.
“And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the Lord came unto
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.
“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.”
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.
“And said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent
me to present your supplication before him;”
“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.”
God’s repentance, see comments on 26:3.
“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
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
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.
“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
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
“But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the
Lord your God,”
“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
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
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.
“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;”
“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.”
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.
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
“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.
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
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
well aware of their dissimulation, hence his reference to their disobedience
as a sin already committed.
“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.”
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.