Jeremiah 42

1 Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, came near, 2 and said to Jeremiah the prophet, Please let our supplication be presented before you, and pray for us to the LORD your God, even for all this remnant; for we are left but a few of many, as your eyes do see us: 3 that the LORD your God may show us the way in which we should walk, and the thing that we should do. 4 Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray to the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall happen that whatever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it to you; I will keep nothing back from you. 5 Then they said to Jeremiah, the LORD be a true and faithful witness amongst us, if we don’t do according to all the word with which the LORD your God shall send you to us. 6 Whether it is good, or whether it is bad, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send you; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God. 7 After ten days, the LORD’s word came to Jeremiah. 8 Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces who were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest, 9 and said to them, the LORD, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your supplication before him, says: 10 If you will still live in this land, then I will build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I grieve over the distress that I have brought on you. 11 Don’t be afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid; don’t be afraid of him, says the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand. 12 I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you, and cause you to return to your own land. 13 But if you say, We will not dwell in this land; so that you don’t obey the LORD your God’s voice, 14 saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell: 15 now therefore hear the LORD’s word, O remnant of Judah: the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says, If you indeed set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to live there; 16 then it shall happen, that the sword, which you fear, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt; and the famine, about which you are afraid, shall follow close behind you there in Egypt; and there you shall die. 17 So shall it be with all the men who set their faces to go into Egypt to live there: they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence; and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring on them. 18 For the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel, says: As my anger and my wrath has been poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so shall my wrath be poured out on you, when you shall enter into Egypt; and you shall be an object of horror, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and you shall see this place no more. 19 The LORD has spoken concerning you, remnant of Judah, Don’t you go into Egypt: know certainly that I have testified to you today. 20 For you have dealt deceitfully against your own souls; for you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us to the LORD our God; and according to all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare to us, and we will do it: 21 and I have declared it to you today; but you have not obeyed the LORD your God’s voice in anything for which he has sent me to you. 22 Now therefore know certainly that you shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place where you desire to go to live there.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-6

To serve a turn, Jeremiah is sought out, and the captains ask for his assistance. In every difficult, doubtful case, we must look to God for direction; and we may still, in faith, pray to be guided by a spirit of wisdom in our hearts, and the leadings of Providence. We do not truly desire to know the mind of God, if we do not fully resolve to comply with it when we know it. Many promise to do what the Lord requires, while they hope to have their pride flattered, and their favourite lusts spared. Yet something betrays the state of their hearts.

Verses 7-22

If we would know the mind of the Lord in doubtful cases, we must wait as well as pray. God is ever ready to return in mercy to those he has afflicted; and he never rejects any who rely on his promises. He has declared enough to silence even the causeless fears of his people, which discourge them in the way of duty. Whatever loss or suffering we may fear from obedience, is provided against in God’s word; and he will protect and deliver all who trust in him and serve him. It is folly to quit our place, especially to quit a holy land, because we meet with trouble in it. And the evils we think to escape by sin, we certainly bring upon ourselves. We may apply this to the common troubles of life; and those who think to avoid them by changing their place, will find that the grievances common to men will meet them wherever they go. Sinners who dissemble with God in solemn professions especially should be rebuked with sharpness; for their actions speak more plainly than words. We know not what is good for ourselves; and what we are most fond of, and have our hearts most set upon, often proves hurtful, and sometimes fatal.

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