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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 44

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-30

Chapter 44

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt ( Jeremiah 44:1 ),

And this is Jeremiah's final message to the people. God's last word to the nation that have turned their backs on Him and have gone to Egypt. Back to the place from which God had delivered them, and God gives to them His final word. "The word which came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which were in the land of Egypt."

which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; You have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they are desolate, and no man is dwelling there; Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers ( Jeremiah 44:1-3 ).

You see what's happened. You see the desolation of the land and it all took place because the people forsook Me, God said, and they began to worship these other gods.

Howbeit I sent warnings to you through my servants the prophets, who rose early, and they said, Don't do this abominable thing that God hates. But they did not hearken, they did not incline their ear to turn from their wickedness, and they continued to burn their incense to these other gods. Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as they are this very day. Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Why do you commit this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and nursing child, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain; In that you are continuing to provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, [because you are still] burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt, where you have gone to dwell, that you might cut yourselves off, and that you might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? ( Jeremiah 44:4-8 )

"Why are you doing this?" God said, "It was because of the burning of the incense and the worshipping of these other gods that you were driven from the land, that your land is desolate today. But you've continued these very practices now that you've come into Egypt. The very thing that brought the judgment of God upon you, you've not ceased doing. Even though you are here in Egypt, suffering the judgment of God, as your land is desolate. Yet you continue in these abominations."

Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem? ( Jeremiah 44:9 )

Now it is interesting at this point where Jeremiah joins the wives in his indictment, for they were guilty of these same abominations. And in fact, as we read on the account, it would seem that the women were perhaps rather forward and leading in these abominations.

Corrupted womanhood is usually the final straw that breaks the back of a nation. Women have a capacity, because of that fine, delicate temperament, of greater heights of spiritual experience and of deeper depths of moral depravity than men. When a woman goes bad, it's usually horrible. Like the little girl with a curl, when she is bad she's horrible. Men are coarser in their nature. And man's spectrum is rather narrow in a coarse median. Whereas a woman capable by her fine, beautiful temperament of higher highs, she's also capable of lower lows. The spectrum of the woman moves in a much broader spectrum than does man. So that when the woman falls, she so often goes to the bottom. And when that takes place, it's all over. It is interesting that women so often in the churches take leading roles of spirituality, in the prayer groups, in service groups and all. And that's because of this beautiful, fine temperament that when tuned to the Spirit is so beautiful and so glorious, so inspiring, so beautiful to behold. A woman walking with the Lord in that beautiful, fine, keen temperament that is so sensitive and attune to the things of God and the things of the Spirit.

So often because I am in this coarser, denser nature, I'll be in a situation and just sort of plodding through and we'll get home and my wife said, "Did you notice what was happening there tonight?" "What? I didn't notice anything." "Oh, well, when this happened, you know," and she can pick up on the fine spiritual tuning. Great spiritual insights. "Oh, this took place." And as I look back I say, "Well, yeah, I can remember." It didn't mean anything. It didn't say anything to me. But with this keen spiritual sensitivity, she has a capacity of picking up on spiritual attunement much better than I do. Because I'm just this rugged, push-through and plod along. But women attune to the Spirit. What high capacities they have. What keen spiritual insights. And how beautiful it is to see a woman walking in the Spirit because of the highs that she is capable of and that spiritual sensitivity. It's fantastic. But on the other end of the spectrum, it's tragic.

Now Jeremiah is speaking how that the wives had joined in and he joins them in this indictment. The wickedness of their wives and of your wives.

They are not humbled ( Jeremiah 44:10 )

He's talking about their wives. Verse ten:

even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers. Therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and I'm going to cut off all of Judah. And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to dwell there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: so that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape ( Jeremiah 44:10-14 ).

Only a very small group that escapes.

Then all the men which knew that their wives were burning incense to the other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that were dwelling in the land of Egypt, they answered Jeremiah, saying, As for the word which you have spoken to us in the name of Jehovah, we are not going to listen to you. But we will certainly do whatever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven [to Semiramis who is known queen of heaven, mother of God], and to pour out drink offerings unto her ( Jeremiah 44:15-17 ),

This is that Babylonian religious system that Israel was caught up in. The worship of Tammuz and Semiramis, these Babylonian deities, the mother-child concept. Worshipping Semiramis as the mother of heaven or queen of heaven, the mother of God. And this is, incidentally, where the worship of Mary stems from. Nowhere in the scripture are we told to worship Mary. But it stems from this worship of Semiramis, the queen of heaven. And you can trace it back. I don't have to do your homework for you. You can get the book, The Two Babylons by Hislop, and he traces so thoroughly the pagan Babylonian practices that have been brought into the church. The very things that God indicted Israel for are now going on in many churches in the name of the Lord. And we'll wait till we get to Revelation to deal with that more fully.

Now listen to what they're saying. "We will certainly do what we please, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her."

as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then we had plenty of food, and were well, and we did not see evil. But when we quit burning incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and we have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men? ( Jeremiah 44:17-19 )

In other words, "Didn't our husbands know what we were doing? Didn't we have the consent of our husbands as we were doing it? They knew what we were doing." The women are answering Jeremiah now. And it is interesting how that they so totally twisted the facts. They were attributing the demise and the destruction to their ceasing to burn incense to the queen of heaven. How man can so totally twist the truth and blame God for the tragedies that come upon his life and accuse God for the things that have gone wrong. And say, "Man, things went well. I was doing great until I started serving God. Then He wiped me out." And here they were blaming their destruction upon the fact that they had quit burning the incense to the queen of heaven. "As long as we were faithful to her, she was blessing us. We had plenty of food. Things were great until we ceased burning incense to her and now all of this calamity has come upon us. And after all, our husbands knew what we were doing."

Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, that had given him this answer, The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, you, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, did it not come into his mind? So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which you have committed; therefore is your land a desolation ( Jeremiah 44:20-22 ),

Jeremiah sets the record straight. "Look, it's because you were burning this that God has brought His judgment upon you. Therefore is your land a desolation."

and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day. Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day ( Jeremiah 44:22-23 ).

Keep the record straight. It's your forsaking God and your turning after these other gods that cause this judgment of God to fall.

Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all of Judah and all that are in the land of Egypt: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; You and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: and you will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows ( Jeremiah 44:24-25 ).

You've made your vows to the queen of heaven and you'll be sure to keep them.

Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name ( Jeremiah 44:26 ),

Look out when God swears by His name, because He can swear by no higher.

saith Jehovah, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Jehovah God lives. Behold, I'm going to watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there is an end of them. And yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt ( Jeremiah 44:26-28 )

God always has His faithful remnant, you notice that? In the midst of a world of apostasy and sin, there are always the faithful remnant of God. Remember Elijah said, "Lord." God says, "Elijah, what are you doing down here in this cave Sinai desert?" "Oh, I've been jealous for You. And they've killed all of Your prophets. And I, only I am left of all of Israel." God says, "That's not true, Elijah. I have seven thousand who have not bowed their knee to Baal." God knew them. There was the faithful remnant. A lot of times we think we're the only ones, but God has His faithful remnant always.

God pronounces this desolation that is coming, and yet a small number, His faithful remnant that will escape and will return out of the land of Egypt.

into the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words will stand, mine, or theirs ( Jeremiah 44:28 ).

You'll find out who's telling the truth.

Now, of course, time is always that great factor. False prophets so often profit for a while. You know, for a time they get along great and they can gather a following. But time is always against them. In time it will show up. Jimmy Jones did great for a while. Gathered quite a following. Popular move. A lot of people joining in. Off the wall. He could get by with it for a while, but ultimately it catches up with you. And there are flashes that come on the scene. They draw a lot of attention to themselves. They come with some off-the-wall kind of a doctrine. Everybody is going. They've got the ear of the crowd. They're popular. They have their day, but time is against them. In time it shows up. So that's what the Lord said, "Okay, time will be a witness. The time will come when you'll find out who's telling the truth. Me or you."

And this will be the sign, I will punish you in this place, that you may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil: Thus saith Jehovah; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life ( Jeremiah 44:29-30 ).

Now we have the advantage of history and hindsight and we can see that it was God's Word that stood. Nebuchadnezzar came down and conquered Egypt. God's Word stood. It always will. Never set yourself against God's Word. You'll lose every time.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 44". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-44.html. 2014.
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