A Warning For Egypt

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Jeremiah wrote this passage after he had gone into exile in Egypt. Here he describes the forthcoming invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, which took place after Jeremiah’s death (vv. 13-14). In accordance with this prophesy, Nebuchadnezzar came down into Egypt and took over the land vv. 15-16). In the midst of this prophesy is another characterization of Egypt which is  “Talks-Big-Does-Nothing (v. 17),” and calls the name of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, “’Noisy one who lets the hour go by” vv. 18-19). Isn’t that a strange name to give somebody? In other words, “the noisy one who likes to kill time”. That is the characterization of Egypt – and the world. It is one of the ways we can recognize the world: it loves noise, because it does not want to stop and think. And it loves to kill time, is always seeking ways to pass the time.

An enemy from the north will attack Egypt like a fly biting a cow (v. 20). Hired foreign soldiers will turn and run but they are doomed, like well fed calves being led to the butcher (v. 21). The enemy army will move forward likes a swarm of locusts and your troops will feel helpless, like a snake in the forest (v. 22). When men with axes start chopping down trees it can only hiss and try to escape (v. 23). You will be disgraced and captured by the enemy from the north (v. 24). The Lord says He is the “All-Powerful God of Israel and will punish the Egyptian gods, the Egyptian kings, the people of Egypt, and everyone who trusts in Egyptian power (v. 25). He will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar but promises He will someday have people living there again(v. 26). They are not to be afraid because one day they and their decedents will live there in peace and safety (vv. 27-28).


Yes, this is a world that comes at us constantly, trying to get me to think only in terms of immediate pleasure and indulgence, and forgetting that it leads to slavery and bondage.

Jeremiah 46:13-28 (English Standard Version)

The word that the LORD spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt: "Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol; proclaim in Memphis and Tahpanhes; say, 'Stand ready and be prepared, for the sword shall devour around you.' Why are your mighty ones face down? They do not stand because the LORD thrust them down. He made many stumble, and they fell, and they said one to another, 'Arise, and let us go back to our own people and to the land of our birth, because of the sword of the oppressor.' Call the name of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, 'Noisy one who lets the hour go by.' "As I live, declares the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, like Tabor among the mountains and like Carmel by the sea, shall one come. Prepare yourselves baggage for exile, O inhabitants of Egypt! For Memphis shall become a waste, a ruin, without inhabitant. "A beautiful heifer is Egypt, but a biting fly from the north has come upon her. Even her hired soldiers in her midst are like fattened calves; yes, they have turned and fled together; they did not stand, for the day of their calamity has come upon them, the time of their punishment. "She makes a sound like a serpent gliding away; for her enemies march in force and come against her with axes like those who fell trees. They shall cut down her forest, declares the LORD, though it is impenetrable, because they are more numerous than locusts; they are without number. The daughter of Egypt shall be put to shame; she shall be delivered into the hand of a people from the north." The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, said: "Behold, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him. I will deliver them into the hand of those who seek their life, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, declares the LORD. "But fear not, O Jacob my servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel, for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid. Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, for I am with you. I will make a full end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished."

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