THE FINAL REBELLION
Rejection the Prophet\Rejecting the Word
What a strange turn of events occurs in this chapter. Johanan and the people in Mizpah asked Jeremiah to pray and tell them what the Lord said about their plan to go to Egypt. This means they recognized Jeremiah as God’s prophet. It also means they thought God’s word on the matter was important.
But immediately upon receiving God’s word through Jeremiah, they rebelled. They rejected Jeremiah’s status as God’s prophet. They refused to obey God’s instruction.
We see in verse 2 that they say Jeremiah was lying. This is a big turn around. Why would they ask him to seek the Lord and then reject his message?
I think the answer is at the beginning of verse 2. The text says “all the insolent men”. Now, if you look back to the original request in 42:1-6, they appear to be humble, godly men. They ask for God’s guidance and they promised to obey God’s word. But, in reality, they had decided what they wanted to do and what they thought was best. They did not see any way God’s judgment could be different than their judgment. They just wanted God’s stamp of approval. When they did not get it, they rebelled. They saw God as a power to enlist to help them, not a Lord to obey.
We today do the same thing. We want something and we ask God to give us his stamp of approval. What we should do is examine God’s word first.
Here is an example. A man comes to you and says my wife is just no fun any more. I found someone who would be more fun. I think God would want me to be happy. After all, God is love. Do you agree? You say Jesus said no. Let’s read Matthew 19:3-9. He gets mad and leaves and gets a divorce anyway.
Any time you read or hear the word of God and say I do not think God really means that, you are saying his word is a lie and you are rebelling just like these men of Judah.
One final thought is that you can hear the hiss of the serpent here. The men say “the Lord our God did not send you to say”.(2) The serpent asked Eve “did God actually say”. (Genesis 3:1) Next he directly contradicted God’s word by saying “you will not surely die”. (Genesis 3:4) Eve accepted Satan’s word rather than God’s word.
The Lord Imposes Consequences
Defying the Lord, the Judahites leave Judah and travel along the coast through Sinai to Egypt. They settled first in Tahpanhes. The Greeks called this city Daphne.
Once they arrive in Egypt, the Lord has Jeremiah give an object lesson and an explanation. These together are the Lord’s word of judgment on the Judahites who traveled to Egypt.
Jeremiah was to go to Pharaoh’s house and stack up stones near the entrance while all of the people watched. The meaning of the object lesson was that Judah would not escape the Babylonians by going to Egypt. Instead, they just brought the Babylonians to Egypt to conquer it. So, Nebuchadnezzar’s throne would be over the throne of Egypt. He would defeat Egypt and rule it.
It was God’s will that the Jews come under the rule of Babylon. He said “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him and his people and live”. (Jeremiah 27:12)They would do so whether in Babylon, or in Judah or even in Egypt. This was God’s judgment on them. They would not escape it.
In addition, God would destroy temples and idols in Egypt through the Babylonians. This is the meaning of verses 12-13. Remember that the primary reason God destroyed Israel was to punish their worship of idols. The worship of idols, or false gods, is the rejection of the Lord, the one true God. Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument that God chose to execute this judgment. Now that the Jews are in Egypt, God extended the judgment to it, destroying temples and gods. He would break them down and burn them, just as he had one to Jerusalem. This was common in the Middle East. Remember the Philistines taking the ark when they defeated Israel.
Nebuchadnezzar did invade Egypt in 568 and subjected Pharaoh Ahmose to his authority.
Verse 13 contains an accurate historical reference. The entrance to the temple in Heliopolis was lined with obelisks. The Hebrew word for the temple was “beth-shemesh”, which means House of the Sun God. An obelisk is a tall column that tapers toward the top. If you are an American or familiar with Washington D.C., think the Washington Monument. That is an obelisk.