This word came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews living in Lower Egypt1--in Migdol,2 Tahpanhes3 and Memphis4--and in Upper Egypt:5
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"This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You saw the great disaster6 I brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah.7 Today they lie deserted and in ruins8
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because of the evil9 they have done. They provoked me to anger10 by burning incense11 and by worshiping other gods12 that neither they nor you nor your fathers13 ever knew.
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Again and again14 I sent my servants the prophets,15 who said, 'Do not do this detestable16 thing that I hate!'
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But they did not listen or pay attention;1718 they did not turn from their wickedness19 or stop burning incense20 to other gods.21
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Therefore, my fierce anger was poured out;22 it raged against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem and made them the desolate ruins23 they are today.
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"Now this is what the LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Why bring such great disaster24 on yourselves by cutting off from Judah the men and women,25 the children and infants, and so leave yourselves without a remnant?26
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Why provoke me to anger with what your hands have made,27 burning incense28 to other gods in Egypt,29 where you have come to live?30 You will destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and reproach31 among all the nations on earth.
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Have you forgotten the wickedness committed by your fathers32 and by the kings33 and queens34 of Judah and the wickedness committed by you and your wives35 in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem?36
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To this day they have not humbled37 themselves or shown reverence,38 nor have they followed my law39 and the decrees40 I set before you and your fathers.41
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"Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty,42 the God of Israel, says: I am determined to bring disaster43 on you and to destroy all Judah.
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I will take away the remnant44 of Judah who were determined to go to Egypt to settle there. They will all perish in Egypt; they will fall by the sword or die from famine. From the least to the greatest,45 they will die by sword or famine.46 They will become an object of cursing and horror, of condemnation and reproach.47
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I will punish48 those who live in Egypt with the sword,49 famine and plague,50 as I punished Jerusalem.
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None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives."51
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Then all the men who knew that their wives52 were burning incense53 to other gods, along with all the women54 who were present--a large assembly--and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt,55 said to Jeremiah,
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"We will not listen56 to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD!57
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We will certainly do everything we said we would:58 We will burn incense59 to the Queen of Heaven60 and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials61 did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem.62 At that time we had plenty of food63 and were well off and suffered no harm.64
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But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings65 to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.6667"
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The women added, "When we burned incense68 to the Queen of Heaven69 and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands70 know that we were making cakes71 like her image72 and pouring out drink offerings to her?"
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Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him,
"Did not the LORD remember73 and think about the incense74 burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem75 by you and your fathers,76 your kings and your officials and the people of the land?77
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When the LORD could no longer endure78 your wicked actions and the detestable things you did, your land became an object of cursing79 and a desolate waste80 without inhabitants, as it is today.81
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Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the LORD and have not obeyed him or followed82 his law or his decrees83 or his stipulations, this disaster84 has come upon you, as you now see."85
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Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women,86 "Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah in Egypt.87
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This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives88 have shown by your actions what you promised when you said, 'We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.'89 "Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows!90
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But hear the word of the LORD, all Jews living in Egypt:91 'I swear92 by my great name,' says the LORD, 'that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, "As surely as the Sovereign93 LORD lives."94
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For I am watching95 over them for harm,96 not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish97 by sword and famine98 until they are all destroyed.99
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Those who escape the sword100 and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few.101 Then the whole remnant102 of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand103--mine or theirs.104
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" 'This will be the sign105 to you that I will punish106 you in this place,' declares the LORD, 'so that you will know that my threats of harm against you will surely stand.'107
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This is what the LORD says: 'I am going to hand Pharaoh108 Hophra king of Egypt over to his enemies who seek his life, just as I handed Zedekiah109 king of Judah over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the enemy who was seeking his life.' "110
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