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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 42

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-6



For forty years no one has paid much attention to the counsel of Jeremiah, but it appears here that he had finally been recognized as a true, trustworthy and respected prophet of Jehovah. The condition of the refugees is such as almost forces them to consult him about their future movements. They are not actually seeking spiritual guidance; they want to know whether Jehovah will approve their migration to Egypt. They still have not learned to trust and wait on the Lord in every situation, (comp. Exodus 14:13; Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:20; Proverbs 3:5-6). Jeremiah did not fail them. He came to them with a definite word from Jehovah -a word of assurance, consolation and everlasting love.

Vs. 1-6: "PRAY FOR US!"

1. Recognizing the utter bankruptcy of their position among the nations, the diminished remnant of Judah (Deuteronomy 28:62; Isaiah 1:9; La 1:1) unites to seek Jeremiah’s prayer, counsel and intercession with Jehovah, (vs. 1-2; 37:3; comp. 1 Samuel 7:8; 1 Samuel 12:19; Isaiah 37:4; James 5:16).

2. They ask him to seek the Lord’s specific guidance - that they may walk in His way, (vs. 3; 6:16; comp. Psalms 86:11).

3. Jeremiah agrees to pray to the Lord in their behalf and to withhold nothing that the Lord gives in answer, (vs. 4; comp. Exodus 8:29; 1 Samuel 12:22-23; 1 Kings 22:14; Psalms 40:10).

4. Then they solemnly pledged, before the Lord (comp. Judges 11:10; Malachi 3:5; contr. Jeremiah 43:2), to obey the voice of the Lord -whether it seemed "good" of "evil" to them, (Exodus 24:7; Deuteronomy 5:27; Joshua 24:24) - knowing that their welfare was in following the Lord with their whole hearts, (vs. 5-6; Deuteronomy 5:29-33).

Verses 7-12


1. After ten days Jeremiah called the remnant together to report the Lord’s answer to the inquiry they had solemnly requested him to make in their behalf, (vs. 7-9).

a. Jeremiah makes it clear that he is not merely stating his own opinion or preference.

b. It was the voice of divine wisdom and authority that spoke to them: "Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel", (vs. 9; comp. 2 Kings 19:4; 2 Kings 19:6; 2 Kings 19:20; 2 Kings 22:15-20).

2. If the remnant people will dwell in their own land, the Lord will, indeed, be with them for good, (vs. 10).

a. He will build them up instead of pulling them down, (comp. Jeremiah 24:6-7; Jeremiah 31:28; Ezekiel 36:36).

b. He will turn from the judgment that He had threatened, (comp. Jeremiah 18:7-8; Hosea 11:8-9; Joel 2:12-13; Jonah 3:10; Jonah 4:1-2).

3. There is no need for them to fear the King of Babylon; Jehovah is with them and will deliver them out of his hand, (vs. 11; 2 Chronicles 32:7-8; Psalms 46:7; Romans 8:31; comp. Jeremiah 41:17-18).

4. Not only will the Lord be merciful toward them; He will also cause the King of Babylon to show mercy (comp. Nehemiah 1:11; Psalms 106:46; Proverbs 16:7) - permitting them to dwell in their own land, (vs. 12).

Verses 13-17


1. If they refuse the work of the Lord - determined that their true welfare is under the protection of Egypt; they will have made a fatal mistake, (vs. 13-14).

2. The choice is theirs! (Note the divine "if"); they do not HAVE TO GO to Egypt! and God warns them NOT to go!

3. In like manner, various ways are still open before US; God points to the right way, while warning against our choosing the other -stating the consequences if we do; yet, He leaves the ultimate choice to us!

Verses 18-22


1. Jeremiah is aware that, though they have asked him to seek God’s direction for them, his people have their minds set on fleeing to Egypt; like many self-willed people today, they simply want the Lord and his prophet to APPROVE THEIR PLANSI

2. Thus, Jeremiah warns that God’s anger and wrath will as surely fall upon them, for this disobedience of their unbelieving hearts, as it fell upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, (vs. 18a; Jeremiah 7:20; Jeremiah 33:4-5; Jeremiah 39:1-9; 2 Chronicles 36:14-19).

3. In Egypt they will be an execration, desolation, curse and reproach; nor will they be permitted to see their own land again, (vs. 18b; Jeremiah 29:18-19; comp. Deuteronomy 29:19-21; Isaiah 65:14-15; Jeremiah 22:10; Jeremiah 22:27).

4. Jeremiah pleads with them not to disobey the voice of the Lord as their fathers have done, (vs. 19; comp. Isaiah 30:1-7; Nehemiah 9:26; Nehemiah 9:29­-30).

5. He upbraids them for their hypocrisy in sending him to inquire of the Lord for them - solemnly swearing that they would receive and obey that word - though they had already determined that, in spite of the word of the Lord, they would not turn aside from placing their trust in Egypt, (vs. 20-21, 2, 5; comp. Deuteronomy 11:26-28; Acts 20:26-27).

6. They must certainly understand, therefore, that the fruit of their rebellion will not be the peace, security and plenty that they suppose; rather, in Egypt, they will die by sword, famine and disease, (vs. 22; comp. vs. 17; Jeremiah 43:11; Hosea 9:6; 1 Samuel 15:22-23).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 42". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-42.html. 1985.
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