Jeremiah 46

DateVersionReading Plan
@August 8, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Judgment on Egypt


The chapter opens with a word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the nations and the defeat of Pharaoh Neco’s army in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Jeremiah’s prophecies in this chapter are mostly in song form.

Jer. 46:3 begins the first song prophecy and a call for the Egyptians to prepare for battle. This quickly transitions to a hasty retreat, that “They are dismayed and have turned backward” in the face of the Babylonian army (Jer. 46:5). But, Egypt’s escape is not successful and they fall to the Babylonians that God had put upon them for judgment (Jer. 46:6). All of Egypt’s countermeasures such as balm and medicines have no healing effect (Jer. 46:11).

In Jer. 46:13, Jeremiah has another prophecy regarding Egypt’s battle with Babylon. Egypt was to take positions and prepare themselves as the battle was about to begin (Jer. 46:14). The mighty ones of Egypt are “face down” because the LORD had thrust them down; they were worthless in the fight (Jer. 46:15). The people looked to go back to the land of their birth “because of the sword of the oppressor” (Jer. 46:16). Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt had boasted of what he would do but it was all noise, earning him the title of “Noisy one who lets the hour go by” (Jer. 46:17)

In Jer. 46:20, the LORD declares the coming of Babylon to destroy Egypt “like Tabor among the mountains and like Carmel by the sea”. The Egyptians were advised to pack for exile just as His people had packed their bags in Judah to avoid exile from the same enemy (Jer. 46:19). The outcome of Egypt will be shame and its deliverance into the hand of the people from the north: Babylon (Jer. 46:24).

Jer. 46:25-26 represent a short interlude between prophetic songs and speaks of how God will destroy Egypt and all her gods but they will later be re-inhabited.

The remaining verses (Jer. 46:27-28) is an address by God to the Israelites. God’s people are told not to be fearful or dismayed because He will save them from the land of their captivity (Jer. 46:17). God will keep a remnant of those who fled to Egypt and will not make a “full end of all the nations”. God speaks to them as a Father to His children, saying, “I will discipline you in just measure and I will by no means leave you unpunished.” (Jer. 46:28).


God’s destruction of Egypt at the hands of the Babylonians has now come. The imagery of this chapter is profound; God wielding the armies of the north, Egypt powerless to resist, the people in the throws of chaos looking to retreat. But all of this builds to the final verses in which God reveals to His people that while He will make a full end to the nations, it is to be as discipline for them in just measure.

Our willingness to embrace and constitution to endure hardship is a reflection of our character. As believers, we understand that difficult circumstances are but tools in God’s hands to shape and refine a heart to be more like His. Much of Scripture speaks of God’s discipline through adversity and that God “disciplines the one he loves” because He is “treating you as sons” (Heb. 12:6-7). While it is easy to praise Him in the good times, it is when our coffers are empty that our knees should hit the floor, hands lifted high to praise Him even more.

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