Jeremiah: Prophet Of Judgment Followed By Blessing

Part LXXVI: God's Judgment On Egypt As Vengeance

(Jeremiah 46:1-12 et al.)


I.                 Introduction

A.     Scripture declares that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35) and that God's people should leave vengeance for the Lord to administer rather than seeking to administer it themselves.

B.     Jeremiah 46:1-12 in its historical context is an example of this truth as God dealt out vengeance on Egypt for her wrongs against His people.  We view the passage for our insight and edification (as follows):

II.              God's Judgment On Egypt As Vengeance, Jeremiah 46:1-12 et al.

A.    Egypt's king Pharaoh-nechoh, slew king Josiah in 609 B. C. when Pharaoh was heading north through the land of Judah to help the Assyrians fight their mutual foe, Babylon, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, p. 1045.

B.     Consequently not wanting to face more trouble from Judah, Egypt intervened in Judah's rule to depose Josiah's son Jehoahaz and take him captive in chains to Egypt, Ibid.; 2 Kings 23:32-33; cf. Jeremiah 22:10.

C.     Jehoiakim then reigned over Judah as an Egyptian vassal from 609 to 598 B. C., Jeremiah 22:13-17; Ibid.

D.    Though these actions by Egypt's rulers were used of God to punish Judah, typical of God's actions with other nations like Assyria and Babylon who were used of God to dominate Israel and Judah due to their sin, God intended to take vengeance on them for their sins against Him and their mistreatments of His people.

E.     Thus, Jeremiah 46:1-12 records a prophecy God made about Egypt's defeat at the Battle of Carchemish in 605 B. C. when Egypt's army went north to help Assyria oppose their mutual foe Babylon (Jer. 46:1-2 as follows):

1.      The Lord scornfully directed Egypt's army to prepare to fight the Babylonians (Jer. 46:3-4), but the battle did not go as Egypt intended: the Babylonians attacked Egypt with great swiftness, panicking Egypt's warriors so that they were not fleet or strong enough to escape, Jeremiah 46:5-6.

2.      Egypt had come north intending to overwhelm the country at Carchemish much like the Nile River in Egypt overflows its banks, flooding the countryside, but Egypt with all her huge army of mercenaries from Cush (southern Egypt, Sudan and northern Ethiopia), Put (modern Libya) and Lydia (the west coast of Asia Minor) could not withstand the Babylonian attack, Jer. 46:7-9; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1192.

3.      Egypt's fall was directly planned of God, for He wanted to take vengeance on Egypt for her sins against Himself and His people, Jeremiah 46:10a.  The sword of the Babylonians would thus devour and be satiated with the slaughter of the Egyptian army, for the Lord had a figurative sacrifice in the north country of Carchemish by the Euphrates River, Jeremiah 46:10b.

4.      The "Babylonian Chronicle confirms" a "picture of hopeless confusion and defeat" for Egypt's army; "The Egyptian army 'withdrew' before the Babylonians, but the Babylonians 'overtook and defeated them so that not a single man escaped to his own country' (Donald J. Wiseman, Chronicle of Chaldean Kings (626-556 B. C.) in the British Museum.  London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1956, pp. 67-9)"; Ibid.

5.      Jeremiah announced that even were the Egyptians to go to Gilead in Israel famous for its medicinal balm (Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Jer. 8:22), she would find no balm there for her crushing defeat at Carchemish, for God would not allow such healing for Egypt, Jeremiah 46:11.  "Surrounding nations would hear of Egypt's shame as her cries of anguish and pain filled the earth.  The mighty warriors would stumble over another (cf. 46:6) as they would fall down together in defeat," Ibid.; Jeremiah 46:12.


Lesson: Though Egypt had been a great military power in the Ancient Near East, one that had come to dominate an increasingly apostate Southern Kingdom of Judah, since God wanted to take vengeance on Egypt, He led her up north to Carchemish full of pomp and pride only to have her soundly defeated, figuratively "sacrificed" by the Lord by the Euphrates River, at the hands of the powerful Babylonian army.  So thorough was Egypt's defeat that not a single soldier of her army, including all the mercenaries, was able to escape to his own country.


Application: (1) May we trust that regardless how proud, self-sufficient and numerous a party or parties might be, if they are guilty of sin, God will administer His complete vengeance on them.  (2) If we have been wronged by another party, may we trust that regardless how great, many or strong the party or parties might be, God will administer His full discipline on him or them unless they repent.  (3) If WE have unjustly wronged another party, may we NOT wait for God's vengeance, but IMMEDIATELY  repent, confess our wrong and make appropriate amends or suffer full divine discipline!  The vengeance of God is too great to face.