Jeremiah 42

DateVersionReading Plan
@August 4, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Warning Against Going to Egypt


The chapter opens with Johanan, the commanders and all the people of the Judaic remnant asking Jeremiah to seek God’s guidance on their behalf. The prophet consented to “pray to the LORD according to your request” and said that he would answer them with whatever he was told. The people praised God and promised to obey whatever guidance was given by the LORD. An interesting note: the people initially addressed Jeremiah by saying “the LORD your God” but then shifted to say “the LORD our God” when conveying their willingness to abide (Jer. 42:6). This seems to personalize the pledge and solidify their accountability to it.

In Jer. 42:7, we see that the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah ten days later who then “summoned Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces who were with him”. Jeremiah presented the LORD’s word to them that they were to remain in Judah and not go to Egypt. If they do, God will build them up and relent of the disaster He did to them (Jer. 42:10). They were not to fear the king of Babylon because God was with them to save and deliver them (Jer. 42:11).

In Jer. 42:13-18, Jeremiah details what will happen if they disobey God’s word do not remain in the land. If they attempt a self-initiated salvation to Egypt out of desire to avoid war or starvation, the famine will follow them and they will all die (Jer. 42:16). The outcome of their disobedience will be the destruction of the remnant and all its survivors through God-appointed disaster (Jer. 42:17).

In the remaining verses (Jer. 42:18-22), Jeremiah tells the people that the same wrath God showed Jerusalem will be poured out on them when they go to Egypt (Jer. 42:18). Important to note is that Jeremiah’s prophecy says “when” and not “if”, implying God’s foreknowledge of their rebellious response. Jeremiah tells them multiple times by warning (Jer. 42:19) and declaration (Jer. 42:21) that they now have God’s directive and are without excuse. They “therefore know for a certainty” that they will die if they proceed toward Egypt where they “desire to go to live.” (Jer. 42:22)


This chapter continues from the last in the theme of seeking guidance. Johanan requests a word from the LORD through Jeremiah on what to do with their small remnant of people. In their discourse with Jeremiah, the people shift in their reference from “your God” to “our God”, thereby claiming Him as their ultimate authority.

When we acknowledge Christ as Lord of our lives, we make the very same claim of authority. This profession brings with it promised blessings but also the responsibilities of being His child. Much like our earthly fathers, the standard to which we are held becomes higher as we now represent the King. This of course must be couched in the abundant grace He extends when we often stumble and fall short. Praise God for the honorable role we have been given and for His ability to shine His glory through us despite our sin and limitations.

Scripture Journal Notes

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