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Jeremiah - Chapter 44

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1 The word that came to Jeremiah for all the Judaeans living in Egypt, those, that is, living in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Noph and the territory of Pathros.

2 'Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this, "You have seen all the disaster I have brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah; today they lie in ruins and uninhabited.

3 This was because of the wicked deeds they committed to provoke my anger, by going and offering incense and serving other gods whom neither they, nor you, nor your ancestors knew anything about,

4 although I urgently and untiringly sent you all my servants the prophets to say: You must not do this loathsome thing, which I hate.

5 But they would not listen or pay attention, and turn from their wickedness and stop offering incense to other gods.

6 And so my furious anger overflowed, burning down the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, which were reduced to ruins and wasteland, as they still are today.

7 And now, Yahweh, God Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this: Why bring complete disaster on yourselves by cutting yourselves off from Judah -- your men, women, children and babes in arms -- so as to leave yourselves no remnant,

8 by provoking my wrath by your actions, offering incense to other gods in Egypt where you have come to settle, as though bent on your own destruction and on becoming a curse and a laughing-stock for all the nations of the earth?

9 Have you forgotten the wicked deeds of your ancestors, of the kings of Judah and of your princes, your own wicked deeds and those of your wives, committed in the country of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

10 To this day they have felt neither contrition nor fear; they have not observed my Law or my statutes, which I prescribed for you, as for your ancestors.

11 So, Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this: Look, I have determined on disaster and shall destroy Judah completely.

12 I shall take the remnant of Judah who were determined to come to Egypt and settle there, and in Egypt they will perish; they will fall to the sword or perish of famine, from least to greatest; by sword and famine they will die and be an object of execration and horror, a curse, a laughing-stock.

13 I shall punish those who live in Egypt just as I punished Jerusalem: by sword, famine and plague.

14 Of the remnant of Judah which has come to settle in Egypt, not a single one will escape or survive to return to the country of Judah where they long to return and live. For none of them will return, except a few refugees." '

15 At this, all the men who knew that their wives offered incense to other gods, and all the women who were standing there, a great crowd (and all the people living in Egypt, in Pathros), answered Jeremiah as follows,

16 'We have no intention of listening to the word you have just spoken to us in Yahweh's name,

17 but intend to go on doing all we have vowed to do: offering incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring libations in her honour, as we used to do, we and our ancestors, our kings and our chief men, in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem: we had food in plenty then, we lived well, we suffered no disasters.

18 But since we gave up offering incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring libations in her honour, we have been destitute and have perished either by sword or by famine.

19 Besides, when we offer incense to the Queen of Heaven and pour libations in her honour, do you think we make cakes for her with her features on them, and pour libations to her, without our husbands' knowledge?'

20 To all the people, men and women, all those who had made this answer, Jeremiah retorted,

21 'The incense you offered in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, you, your ancestors, your kings, your chief men and the people at large -- was this not what Yahweh kept remembering, and found so repellent

22 that Yahweh could not endure your misdeeds and your loathsome practices any longer, with the result that your country has become the uninhabited ruin, the object of horror and cursing it is today?

23 Because you offered incense, because you sinned against Yahweh, refusing to listen to the voice of Yahweh, or to observe his Law, his statutes and his decrees -- that is why the present disaster has overtaken you.'

24 Further, Jeremiah said to all the people, and particularly to all the women, 'Listen to the word of Yahweh, all you Judaeans in Egypt,

25 Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, says this, "You and your wives, what your mouths promised, your hands have indeed performed! You said: We shall punctiliously fulfil the vows we have made and offer incense to the Queen of Heaven and pour libations in her honour. Very well, keep your vows, perform them punctiliously!

26 But listen to the word of Yahweh, all you Judaeans living in Egypt: I swear by my great name, Yahweh says, that my name will no longer be uttered by any man of Judah throughout Egypt; no one will say: As Lord Yahweh lives.

27 No, I am going to keep my eye on them for disaster, not for prosperity, and all the Judaeans in Egypt will perish either by the sword or by famine until they are wiped out.

28 Yet, though few in number, those who escape the sword will return to the country of Judah from Egypt. Then the entire remnant of Judah which has come and settled in Egypt will know whose word comes true, mine or theirs.

29 "And here is the sign for you, Yahweh declares, that I shall punish you in this place: so that you will know that the words with which I threaten you will come true:

30 Yahweh says this: Look, I shall hand Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies and to those determined to kill him, just as I handed Zedekiah king of Judah over to his enemy Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who was determined to kill him." '

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