a sign for all
Jeremiah 44:1-30 (JDV)
Jeremiah 44:1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah for all the Jews living in the land of Egypt – at Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and in the land of Pathros:
Jeremiah 44:2 “This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: You have seen all the disaster I brought against Jerusalem and all Judah’s cities. Notice, they are a ruin today without an inhabitant in them
Jeremiah 44:3 because of the evil they committed to anger me, by going and burning incense to serve other gods that they, you, and your fathers did not know.
Jeremiah 44:4 So I sent you all my servants the prophets time and time again, saying, ‘Don’t commit this disgusting crime that I hate.’
Jeremiah 44:5 But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn from their evil or stop burning incense to other gods.
Jeremiah 44:6 So my fierce wrath poured out and burned in Judah’s cities and Jerusalem’s streets so that they became the desolate ruin they are today.
Jeremiah 44:7 “So now, this is what Yahveh, the God of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Why are you doing such horrible harm to yourselves? You are cutting off man and woman, infant and nursing baby from Judah, leaving yourselves without a remainder.
Jeremiah 44:8 You are angering me by the work of your hands. You are burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have gone to stay for a while. As a result, you will be cut off and become an example for cursing and insult among all the nations of land.
Jeremiah 44:9 Have you forgotten the crimes of your fathers, the crimes of Judah’s kings, the crimes of their wives, your own crimes, and the crimes of your wives that were committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
Jeremiah 44:10 They have not become humble to this day, and they have not feared or followed my instruction or my prescriptions that I set before you and your fathers.
Jeremiah 44:11 “Therefore, this is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am about to set my face against you to bring disaster, to cut off all Judah.
Jeremiah 44:12 And I will take away the remainder of Judah, those who have set their face to go to the land of Egypt to stay there. All of them will meet their end in the land of Egypt. They will fall by the sword; they will meet their end by famine. From the least to the greatest, they will die by the sword and by famine. Then they will become an example for cursing, scorn, and a curse, and disgrace.
Jeremiah 44:13 I will punish those living in the land of Egypt just as I punished Jerusalem by sword, famine, and plague.
Jeremiah 44:14 Then the remainder of Judah – those going to live for a while there in the land of Egypt – will have no fugitive or survivor to return to the land of Judah where they are longing to return to stay, for they will not return except for a few fugitives.”
Jeremiah 44:15 However, all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, all the women standing by – a great collection – and all the people who were living in the land of Egypt at Pathros answered Jeremiah,
Jeremiah 44:16 “As for the word you spoke to us in the name of Yahveh, we are not going to listen to you!
Jeremiah 44:17 Instead, we will do everything we promised: we will burn incense to the queen of the sky and offer drink offerings to her just as we, our fathers, our kings, and our officials did in Judah’s cities and in Jerusalem’s streets. Then we had enough food, we were well off, and we saw no disaster,
Jeremiah 44:18 but from the time we ceased to burn incense to the queen of the sky and to offer her drink offerings, we have lacked everything, and through sword and famine we have met our end.”
Jeremiah 44:19 And the women said, “When we burned incense to the queen of the sky and poured out drink offerings to her, was it apart from our husbands’ knowledge that we made sacrificial cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her?”
Jeremiah 44:20 But Jeremiah responded to all the people – the men, women, and all the people who were answering him:
Jeremiah 44:21 “As for the incense you burned in Judah’s cities and in Jerusalem’s streets – you, your fathers, your kings, your officials, and the people of the land – did Yahveh not remember them? He brought this to mind.
Jeremiah 44:22 Yahveh can no longer bear your evil deeds and the detestable acts you have committed, so your land has become a waste, a desolation, and an example for cursing, without inhabitant, as you see today.
Jeremiah 44:23 Because you burned incense and failed Yahveh and didn’t obey Yahveh and didn’t follow his instruction, his statutes, and his testimonies, this disaster has come to you, as you see today.”
Jeremiah 44:24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including all the women, “Hear the word of Yahveh, all you people of Judah who are in the land of Egypt.
Jeremiah 44:25 This is what Yahveh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘As for you and your wives, you women have spoken with your mouths, and you men fulfilled it by your deeds, saying, “We will keep our vows that we have made to burn incense to the queen of the sky and to pour out drink offerings for her.” Go ahead, confirm your vows! Keep your vows!’
Jeremiah 44:26 “Therefore, hear the word of Yahveh, all you Judeans who live in the land of Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name, says Yahveh, that my name will never again be invoked by anyone of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “As the Lord Yahveh lives.”
Jeremiah 44:27 I am watching over them for disaster and not for good, and everyone from Judah who is in the land of Egypt will meet his end by sword or famine until they are finished off.
Jeremiah 44:28 Those who escape the sword will return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah only few in number, and the whole remainder of Judah, the ones going to the land of Egypt to stay there for a while, will know whose word stands, mine or theirs!
Jeremiah 44:29 This will be a sign to you’ – this is what Yahveh declares – ‘that I will punish you in this place, so you may know that my words of disaster concerning you will certainly come to pass.
Jeremiah 44:30 This is what Yahveh says: I am about to hand over Pharaoh Hophra, Egypt’s king, to his enemies, to those who intend to take his life, just as I handed over Judah’s King Zedekiah to Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, who was his enemy, the one who intended to take his life.'”
a sign for all
I try to connect these daily devotionals to a theme related to the holiday they happen to be posted on, but this one will be a bit more difficult than usual.
Let me put it this way. Pharaoh’s capture would be the sign that the people of Judah who had fled to Egypt against Jeremiah’s word would be punished there. It was a sign of disaster for all.
Jesus’ birth was a sign to the believers at that time that God was ready to deliver them. His miraculous birth, which we celebrate this day, still offers hope for us all.
Lord, may my readers and their families know the hope that Jesus’ birth can bring to us all.