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Go to Bible: Jeremiah 44
|Jer 44:1||- (top)|
|Jer 44:2||- (top)|
|Jer 44:3||- (top)|
“rising up early and sending them.” This is idiomatic for sending them again and again. Thus the CSB has “So I sent you all My servants the prophets time and time again.”
“hate.” When God uses the word “hate” in this context, He does not mean that He has a “deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and hostility towards” what the people were doing (Penguin Dictionary of Psychology definition of “hate”). He means He is disgusted and repulsed by what the people were doing. [For more on the large semantic range of “hate” and its use in the Bible, see commentary on Prov. 1:22, “hate”].(top)
|Jer 44:5||- (top)|
|Jer 44:6||- (top)|
“your own souls.” Here equivalent to “yourselves” (see Appendix 7, “Usages of ‘Soul’”).(top)
“Why do you.” The “Why do” is picked up from Jeremiah 44:7, because the force of the question is continued, but the run-on sentence is confusing in English.(top)
|Jer 44:9||- (top)|
|Jer 44:10||- (top)|
|Jer 44:11||- (top)|
|Jer 44:12||- (top)|
|Jer 44:13||- (top)|
|Jer 44:14||- (top)|
“Then all the men.” The men speak to Jeremiah first, then the women speak up in Jeremiah 44:19 (see commentary on Jer. 44:19).(top)
|Jer 44:16||- (top)|
“do, yes, do” The Hebrew uses the word “do” two times for emphasis, using the verb in different cases, which is the figure of speech polyptoton. Thus the people demonstrate their commitment to serve other god’s by the emphatic way that they spoke. This phrase is repeated twice in Jeremiah 44:25, where it is translated “perform, yes, perform.” The English translation is different because we “do” what we say we will, but we “perform” a vow.
“the Queen of Heaven.” Although there is some disagreement among scholars, it seems that the Queen of Heaven is the pagan goddess of love and fertility that is known by different names, such as Ashtoreth in Israel, Anat in the land of Canaan, and Ishtar in Mesopotamia. Although she had somewhat different characteristics and worship practices from place to place, she was basically the same goddess.
“For then had we plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no evil.” The people miss the point and are spiritually blind. They do not see that any good times in Judah were due to God’s continued blessing on Judah because of His covenant faithfulness, and that the evil that came upon them was due to their breaking the covenant they made with God. Also, they thought that the evil that came upon Judah was due to the weakness of Yahweh, and that He could not protect them from evil. They ignored the prophets who said over and over that their evil activities would bring disaster upon them, and that there would be horrific consequences of breaking their covenant with Yahweh.
Interestingly, the spiritual blindness of the people shows up in that they seem to think that if they had been more dedicated to the Queen of Heaven she could have protected them, which is why they say they want to continue worshipping her now. But there are problems with their logic. For one thing, that “Queen” did not protect them in Judah, which is obvious from the fact that Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians (who included Ishtar in their pantheon). Also, why would the people believe that not serving the Queen of Heaven fervently enough would have consequences but ignoring their covenant with Yahweh would not have consequences? That does not even make sense.
There is a powerful lesson here: stubborn, prideful people, and people who are possessed by demons or led by demons do not think clearly and avoid obeying God. By their evil thoughts and actions they can, if they gain enough influence, even destroy a country. Israel and Judah were both destroyed for that very reason. Godly people must know God and the Bible well enough to recognize when they are being led astray from the One True God of Scripture and must take a stand against evil. As we can see from culture after culture that has been destroyed by demons, if godly people do not stop the downward trajectory of culture, it will go into ruin, which is a chief aim of the Devil and his people (cp. John 10:10).
Sadly, the way these idolatrous people will discover that the pagan goddess that they call the Queen of Heaven cannot help them is when they die by famine, sword, or plague. Similarly, the unbelieving and godless people on earth may scoff at Christianity now, but when they stand on the brink of the Lake of Fire they will sob and gnash their teeth, but it will be too late (cp. Matt. 13:49-50; Rev. 20:11-15). As the prophet Jonah pointedly said, “Those who pay regard to worthless idols forsake their own mercy” (Jonah 2:8). The everlasting death of unbelievers is one reason that Christians should try to convince the world about Jesus Christ, salvation, and everlasting life.
[For more on the annihilation of the unsaved, see Appendix 5, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire”].(top)
|Jer 44:18||- (top)|
“the women added.” The words “the women added” are demanded by the context because the women are obviously speaking here. The words are not in the Hebrew text, but they are in the Syriac version and a Septuagint text. Some scholars defend those texts and say the Hebrew text omits the words because of a scribal error, while other scholars believe the words were added to the other texts for clarification; it is not completely unusual for the Hebrew text to switch speakers without announcing that fact.
That the women spoke up in the confrontation of Jeremiah shows how adamant the people were about going to Egypt and resuming their sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven. Ordinarily the women stood silently watching while the men engaged in such confrontations. This shows that although women were usually quiet bystanders, they were allowed to participate at certain times.
|Jer 44:20||- (top)|
“that Yahweh remembered and that came up into his heart.” This is a very idiomatic phrase. For Yahweh to “remember” what the Judeans did means He paid attention to them; they caught His attention (see commentary on Luke 23:43). That those things “came up into his heart” means they affected Him, they made an impact upon Him, as well they would have. Yahweh was the God who had delievered Israel for centuries by this time, yet the people were ignoring Him and giving credit for what He had done to an enemy goddess. Also, the word “heart” can mean “mind” in Hebrew, but although many English versions go that way, saying that the sins the people were committing came into the “mind” of God does not seem to have the strong emphasis that “heart” does in this context.(top)
“and a curse.” This is not saying that Judah was cursed. It is saying that what happed in Judah was so well known and proverbial that it was used in curses. For example, a person might curse someone else by saying, “May you become like Judah!”(top)
|Jer 44:23||- (top)|
“including to all the women.” The fact that the text adds “including to all the women” at this point shows that Jeremiah was especially addressing the women. The NET version picks up the sense well: “Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people, particularly to all the women.”(top)
“perform, yes, perform.” Jeremiah repeats what the Judeans had said, using the same emphatic speech that they had used, employing the figure of speech polyptoton for emphasis (see commentary on Jer. 44:17).
“Then fulfill, yes, fulfill your vows! And perform, yes, perform your vows!” Here Jeremiah (and God!) sarcastically yield to the free will of the people. Neither Jeremiah nor God can keep the people from sinning if they want to sin. They will get the consequences that Jeremiah foretold would come upon them, but they did not believe Jeremiah had heard from God, and they obviously felt that the Queen of Heaven had more power to support and protect them than Yahweh did. They were wrong, of course, but they found that out just before they died, and by then it was too late to change the situation. That is similar to what will happen on Judgment Day. The people who rejected salvation all thier lives and defied God will find out they were wrong, but it will be too late to prevent the consequences.(top)
“my name will no more be named.” That is, no man of Judah in Egypt will no longer invoke the name of God in a promise or curse using “As the Lord Yahweh lives” as the anchor phrase to solemnify the promise or curse.(top)
|Jer 44:27||- (top)|
|Jer 44:28||- (top)|
|Jer 44:29||- (top)|
“I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies.” Pharaoh Hophra died in 567 BC while trying to retake his throne and quell a rebellion in Egypt. He was actually being supported by Babylon at the time, but the Egyptian rebels were strongly against him. So the death of Hophra would have been more than fifteen years after this prophecy by Jeremiah, so the Judeans did not die in Egypt immediately, but they did over a period of years. The point is that they had wanted to move to Egypt temporarily and then return to Judah, but they never returned, they died in Egypt as the prophet had said.
“This is what Yahweh says: Behold.” Jeremiah 44:30 ends the events after the fall of Jerusalem. Jeremiah chapter 45 occurred some 20 years before Jeremiah 44.(top)