Friday, September 18, 2015

Egypt’s Coming Destruction

Jeremiah 46:13-28

“The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt.

Declare ye in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph and in Tahpanhes: say ye, Stand fast, and prepare thee; for the sword shall devour round about thee.  Why are thy valiant men swept away? they stood not, because the LORD did drive them.  He made many to fall, yea, one fell upon another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword.  They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed.” (Jeremiah 46:13-17)

The Babylonian or Chaldean army first defeated the Egyptians under Pharaoh Necho during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign.   About twenty years later they would invade the land of Egypt and take possession, dominating them for forty years.  Jeremiah’s prophecy describes how this would go.   At the time, Egyot was one of the most powerful empires in the world, with holding in Libya, Lydia, Ethiopia, Lebanon and Syria.   For their army to be defeated by the Babylonians was as big a shock as it would be if Russia or China defeated the U.S. army, but Nebuchadnezzar’s forces defeated them easily.  The troops from the other countries fled home, convinced Pharaoh and his army were just making a lot of noise and counting on past victories to frighten people.  They no longer considered Egypt a serious threat. 

“As I live, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.   O thou daughter dwelling in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity: for Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant.” (Jeremiah 46:18-19)

The destruction of Egypt is as sure as it is that Mount Tabor is surrounded by other mountains or tha Carmel is located on the seashore.  Egypt needs to make plans to be occupied, because Noh, the main center of power will be destroyed. 

“Egypt is like a very fair heifer, but destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north.  Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, and are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation.

The voice thereof shall go like a serpent; for they shall march with an army, and come against her with axes, as hewers of wood.  They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable.  The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north.” (Jeremiah 46:20-24)

Egypt is like a fine healthy young cow, full of energy and self-confidence, but her destruction is on its way.   All the soldiers they have hired to protect them are like fat young bulls, who are contented and have no interest in fighting.   They will not stay when threatened, but will run away fearing what will happen to them.  Their enemies will march with only the sound of their feet and will carry axes and tools to cut her down like they were cutting wood in a huge forest, eventually wiping out everything.   Egypt will be shocked and occupied by the Babylonian army. 

“The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him: And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 46:25-26)

The Egyptians worshipped several gods, including the Queen of Heaven, and Pharaoh was considered one of them.  God said that he would punish their gods, and all the people who worshipped them.  They would be taken captive and much of the population deported.   When their punishment was complete, they would be allowed to return and Egypt would again be a significant power, although they would never again have the power they once had. 

“But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid.  Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46:27-28)

As they watched the defeat of Egypt, Israel should have no fear.   God promised to protect them even though Egypt was not there to help them.   One day he would bring them back from captivity and there would not be threatened by any country.  While he would completely destroy the nations that attacked them and held them captives, he will save part of Israel.  he will not, however, leave them completely unpunished.  He will correct them as needed.  

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