Our reading today begins with a short chapter recording a message to Baruch, Jeremiah’s assistant. We see that Baruch, like Jeremiah, laments over the persecution he faces for his faithfulness to God (45:3). As we have seen, God’s people are not exempt from suffering. The spiritual people of God were suffering along with the physical people. Here, God tells Baruch that He is breaking down what He has built (the people of Judah – v. 4 – see 1:10 and 31:28). God calls Baruch to trust Him and live (v. 5 – see 39:18).
Chapter 46 begins an oracle “concerning the nations” (46:1). We start with Egypt. Jeremiah speaks of their defeat to Babylon in the days of Jehoiakim (v. 2). Verses 3-4 portray a mighty, confident army preparing for battle, and verses 5-6 speak of their utter defeat. Note the “terror on every side” that has been used as a pronouncement of judgment in Jeremiah’s previous prophecies (see 6:25, 20:3). Pharaoh had aspirations of world domination (vv. 7-8) but God is against them. The warriors of other nations (Cush, Put, and Lud) will advance on Egypt.
Verse 10 moves the focus to the final judgment, the day of YHWH. He will avenge Himself on all of His enemies, the defeat of Egypt by Babylon “in the north country by the river Euphrates” being just a foretaste. Egypt has been shamed in defeat (v. 12), and more is coming (v. 14). And their defeat is God’s doing (v. 16). Verse 17 is a knock on Pharaoh for talking a big game but failing when the moment came. God is going to do to Egypt what He did to Judah – defeat and captivity (v. 19) at the hands of Babylon (vv. 20-24).
In verse 25, God says He is bringing judgment upon Pharaoh, Amon the sun god, and on all of Egypt’s gods (see Ex 12:12)1. Note that all who trust Pharaoh will be judged. That includes those of Judah that “escaped” to Egypt (see chapters 42-43). That Egypt will be inhabited “afterward…as in the days of old” is a reference to the salvation of the nations, including Egypt (see Deut 32:7 for God’s judgment of the nations “from the days of old” and Isa 63:9-11 for God’s salvation of His people from “the days of old”). The “days of old” in Isaiah 51:9-11 speaks of God’s salvation of His people from Egypt (Rahab). In Isaiah 19:22-25, we see that Egypt will be struck, yet they will be healed, and will be part of God’s spiritual people, along with Israel and Assyria. There will be no healing (v. 11) for the idolaters of Egypt (v. 25), but God will call a spiritual remnant even out of Egypt (v. 26).
Verses 27-28 then address God’s spiritual people, which will include people from all nations. Though God will make a full end of the wicked nations, He will not make an end of His true people. The language in verse 28 echoes that of 30:11 where God also speaks judgment against the physical people but promises salvation to His physical people.
Chapter 47 speaks judgment against the Philistines. They, too, will fall to Babylon (v. 2 – see 25:20). Note that this is the same judgment that will befall Tyre and Sidon (v. 4 – see 25:22 and Isaiah 23). This is the judgment of YHWH (v. 6 – see Deut 32:39-42). The conquest of Babylon will be a foreshadowing of God’s final judgment against the nations.
1 The penultimate plague of darkness (Ex 10:21-23) was a judgment against the “sun god” of Egypt.