Jeremiah – Chapter 44

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By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d spoke to Jeremiah about the Jews who were living in the various cities in Egypt. G-d said, “You saw what I did to Judah and Jerusalem, which are now uninhabited wastelands. The people provoked Me by worshipping idols. I sent prophets to warn them not to do this, but the people refused to listen. My wrath was therefore poured over Judah and Jerusalem, which are now desolate. After all this, why do they bring destruction upon themselves, to be utterly destroyed? They are once again provoking Me by offering incense to the idols of Egypt. Surely they haven’t forgotten all the destruction that was recently caused by similar evil acts! Apparently they did not allow the destruction of Jerusalem to humble them into acting properly. So, I will cut them off. The remnant of Judah who sought refuge in Egypt will be completely wiped out. They will die by the sword and by famine and other nations will refer to them as a lesson. None of them will ever return to Judah – only Jeremiah and Baruch will be spared.”

After Jeremiah spoke this prophecy, the people answered him that they still would not obey. They would continue to burn incense to a star they called “the Queen of Heaven” as they did in Judah when times were good (see chapter 7). Since they ceased serving the “Queen of Heaven,” things got bad, so they decided to re-institute her service. Jeremiah replied that their statement was ridiculous; they never stopped their idolatry! They kept it up until G-d punished them severely for it. The people would surely keep on serving idols as they said, therefore G-d will not wait for them to repent and return to Him. Instead, He will simply wipe them out in Egypt, saving only Jeremiah, Baruch and a few other righteous people who were only there under duress. The rest of the people will see how their will stands up against G-d’s. G-d then gave a sign so they’d know this was true: He will deliver the Pharaoh into the hands of his enemies, just as Tzidkiyahu fell into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.

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