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AM Bible Study Archives
"With Faces Toward Egypt"
Wednesday AM Bible Study
May 18, 2005
You surely would have thought that things were as bad as they could get.
The city of Jerusalem finally fell to the king of Babylon. The city wall
was broken through; and the temple was plundered and burned. God's promised
judgment had come. You would expect that the people of Israel that remained
would have learned. And yet, more failure was still to come.
Chapters 40-52 tell us the story of this sad failure. It teaches us an
important lesson: God's judgment upon sinners simply reveals the hardness
that had always existed in their hearts.
I. THE REMNANT GET SETTLED (40:1-12).
A. Jeremiah is offered mercy (vv. 1-6). Apparently, Jeremiah was
mistakenly taken among the prisoners to Ramah (ten miles north of
Jerusalem). The captain of the guard saw Jeremiah, and offered him freedom
to choose where he would like to go. Jeremiah chooses to be with his
suffering people in Jerusalem.
B. He settles under the care of Gedaliah, the man the Babylonian king set
in authority over the remnant (vv. 8-12). Gedaliah was a good man, from a
good family (being the son of Shaphan; see 26:24). Several of the military
leaders and dispersed peoples return; and Gedaliah exhorts them to submit to
II. THE REBELLION BEGINS (40:13-41:18).
A. One of the leaders - Johanan - warns Gedaliah of the alliance with the king
of Ammon that was made by another leader - Ishmael (40:13-16). Gedaliah
doesn't listen to the warning, however.
B. Soon Ishmael raises an insurrection against Gedaliah and kills him
(41:1-3). Afterwards, he kills several mourners who come to mourn over the
temple (vv. 4-9), and carries the remnant away in captivity to go to the
Ammonites (v. 10).
C. Johanan and his men catch up with Ishmael; and when the captives see
him, they gladly leave Ishmael and return with him (vv. 11-16).
D. But they clearly are not intending to settle in Jerusalem. They plan to
make their way to Egypt - out of fear of the Babylonians, but in disobedience
to God (vv. 17-18).
III. THE REBELS TURN TO EGYPT (42:1-43:7).
A. The rebels pretend to ask Jeremiah for God's leading, with a fake promise
to submit to whatever He says (42:1-6).
B. After ten days, God reveals the truth to Jeremiah; and he sternly warns
them against going to Egypt. If they stay, God will care for them and
protect them; but if they go to Egypt, God will bring further punishment on
C. The leaders and the people call Jeremiah a liar - saying that he doesn't
speak for God, but is merely the mouthpiece of Baruch; and suggesting that
Baruch intended to hand them over to the Babylonians (43:1-3). Johanan,
then, forces all the remnant - Jeremiah and Baruch included - to begin the
journey to Egypt in order to escape the king of the Babylonians (43:4-7).
IV. THE REWARD FOR REBELLION IS PROMISED (43:8-13).
A. By the time they enter the land of Egypt (in Tahpanhes; near the eastern
delta), God commands Jeremiah to place large stones before the sight of all
the people, and hide them in the mortar of the brick pavement of the
courtyard of Pharaoh's house (43:8-11). These stones are to mark the spot
at which the king of Babylon (whom God calls "My servant") will spread his
throne and strike the land of Egypt. He will also deliver to death those
appointed to death. As is so often the case, when the people of God rebel
against Him, they hurt many other people besides!
B. As we will see in the next chapter, the people of Israel will turn to
the gods of Egypt for their trust. In this warning, then, God says that He
will personally burn the gods of Egypt and carry them away captive and break
its sacred pillars (vv. 12-13). This shows what vain hopes they prove to