Jeremiah 44

1Jeremiah received a message from the Lord. This message was for all the people of Judah living in Egypt. The message was for the people of Judah living in the towns of Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and southern Egypt. This was the message: 2The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says, “You people saw the terrible happenings that I brought on the city of Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah. Those towns are empty piles of stones today. 3Those places were destroyed because the people living in them did evil things. Those people gave sacrifices to other gods — and that made me angry! Your people and your ancestors did not worship those gods in the past. 4I sent my prophets to those people again and again. Those prophets were my servants. Those prophets spoke my message and said to the people, 'Don’t do this terrible thing. I hate for you to worship idols.’ 5But those people didn’t listen to the prophets. They didn’t pay attention to those prophets. Those people didn’t stop doing wicked things. They didn’t stop making sacrifices to other gods. 6So, I showed my anger against those people. I punished the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. My anger made Jerusalem and the towns of Judah the empty piles of stone they are today.” 7So, the Lord God All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “Why are you hurting yourselves by continuing to worship idols? You are separating the men and women, the children and babies from the family of Judah. And so you leave yourselves without any survivors from the family of Judah. 8Why do you people want to make me angry by making idols? Now you are living in Egypt. And now you are making me angry by offering sacrifices to the false gods of Egypt. You people will destroy yourselves. It will be your own fault. You will make yourselves something that people of other nations will speak evil of. And all the other nations on the earth will make fun of you. 9Have you forgotten about the wicked things your ancestors did? And have you forgotten about the wicked things the kings and queens of Judah did? Have you forgotten about the wicked things you and your wives did in Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 10Even to this day, the people of Judah have not made themselves humble. They have not shown any respect for me. And those people have not followed my teachings. They have not obeyed the laws I gave you and your ancestors.” 11So, this is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “I have decided to make terrible things happen to you. I will destroy the whole family of Judah. 12There were a few survivors from Judah. Those people came here to Egypt. But I will destroy those few survivors from the family of Judah. They will be killed with swords or die from hunger. They will be something that people of other nations will speak evil about. Other nations will be afraid at what happened to those people. Those people will become a curse word. Other nations will insult those people of Judah. 13I will punish those people that have gone to live in Egypt. I will use swords, hunger, and terrible sicknesses to punish them. I will punish those people just like I punished the city of Jerusalem. 14Not one of the few survivors of Judah that have gone to live in Egypt will escape my punishment. None of them will survive to come back to Judah. Those people want to come back to Judah and live there. But not one of those people will go back to Judah, except maybe a few people that escape.” 15Many of the women of Judah that lived in Egypt were making sacrifices to other gods. Their husbands knew it, but didn’t stop them. There was a large group of people of Judah meeting together. They were the people of Judah that were living in southern Egypt. The husbands of those women that were making sacrifices to other gods said to Jeremiah, 16“We will not listen to the message from the Lord that you spoke to us. 17We promised to make sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven. And we will do everything we promised. We will offer sacrifices and pour out drink offerings in worship to her. We did that in the past. And our ancestors, our kings, and our officials did that in the past. All of us did those things in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At the time we worshiped the Queen of Heaven, we had plenty of food. We were successful. Nothing bad happened to us. 18But then we stopped making sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven. And we stopped pouring out drink offerings to her. Since we have stopped doing those things in worship to her, we have had problems. Our people have been killed by swords and hunger.” 19Then the women spoke up. They said to Jeremiah, “Our husbands knew what we were doing. We had their permission to make sacrifices to the Queen of Heaven. We had their permission to pour out drink offerings to her. Our husbands also knew that we were making cakes that looked like her.” 20Then Jeremiah spoke to all those men and women. He spoke to the people that had just said those things. 21Jeremiah said to those people, “The Lord remembered that you made sacrifices in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. You and your ancestors, your kings, your officials, and the people of the land did that. The Lord remembered what you had done, and thought about that. 22Then the Lord could not be patient with you any longer. The Lord hated the terrible things you did. So the Lord made your country an empty desert. No person lives there now. Other people say bad things about that country. 23All of those bad things happened to you because you made sacrifices to other gods. You sinned against the Lord. You didn’t obey the Lord. You didn’t follow his teachings or the laws he gave you. You didn’t keep your part of the Agreement.” 24Then Jeremiah spoke to all those men and women. Jeremiah said, “All you people of Judah that are now in Egypt, listen to the message from the Lord: 25The Lord All-Powerful, the God of the people of Israel, says: 'You women did what you said you would do. You said, “We will keep the promises we made. We promised to make sacrifices and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.” So, go ahead. Do the things you promised you would do. Keep your promises. 26But, listen to the message from the Lord, all you people of Judah that are living in Egypt: 'I use my great name and make this promise: I promise none of the people of Judah that are now living in Egypt will ever again use my name to make promises. They will never again say, “As surely as the Lord lives,” 27I am watching over those people of Judah. But I am not watching over them to take care of them. I am watching over them to hurt them. The people of Judah that live in Egypt will die from hunger and be killed by swords. They will continue to die until they are finished. 28Some people of Judah will escape being killed by the sword. They will come back to Judah from Egypt. But there will be very few people of Judah that escape. Then those survivors of Judah that came to live in Egypt will know whose word will come true. They will know whether my word or their word came true. 29I will give you people proof’—this is the message of the Lord—'that I will punish you here in Egypt. Then you will know for sure that my promises to hurt you will really happen. 30This will be your proof that I will do what I say.’ This is what the Lord says: 'Pharaoh Hophra is the king of Egypt. His enemies want to kill him. I will give Pharaoh Hophra to his enemies. Zedekiah was the king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar was Zedekiah’s enemy. And I gave Zedekiah to his enemy. In the same way, I will give Pharaoh Hophra to his enemy.’”

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