Jeremiah received the LORD's word for the Judeans living in the land of Egypt, those living in Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis and in the land of Pathros.
The LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: You have seen the disaster I brought on Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. They are now a wasteland with no one left
because of their evil ways. They have angered me by making offerings and worshipping other gods that neither they nor you nor your ancestors knew.
Yet time and again I sent you all my servants the prophets, saying, "Don't do these detestable things that I hate."
But they wouldn't listen or pay attention or turn from their evil ways. They continued making offerings to other gods.
So my fierce anger poured out and blazed against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. And they were reduced to an utter wasteland, as they are today.
Now the LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Why are you committing this huge mistake that will cost you your lives? Every man, woman, child, and infant will be eliminated from the midst of Judah, and no one will be left.
Why do you anger me by what you do: by burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live? You will be eliminated and become an object of cursing and disgrace among all the nations of the earth.
Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors and the sins of the kings of Judah and their wives? Have you forgotten the sins that you and your wives committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
To this day you haven't shown any sorrow for what you have done. And you haven't revered me or followed my Instruction and my laws that I set before you and your ancestors.
Therefore, the LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: I'm determined to bring disaster on you, to eliminate all of Judah.
I will take the few remaining Judeans who were determined to go to the land of Egypt to live. They will all perish there. They will fall by the sword and perish due to famine. The least to the greatest will die by the sword and by famine. They will become an object of cursing, scorn, contempt, and disgrace.
I will punish those who live in the land of Egypt, just as I punished Jerusalem with war, famine, and disease.
From the few remaining in Judah, no fugitive or survivor who came to live here in the land of Egypt will be able to return to the land of Judah. Even though they want to return and live there, they won't be able to return, except for some fugitives.
Then all the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, along with the great crowd of women who were present, as well as the people living in Pathros in the land of Egypt, all answered Jeremiah:
"We're not going to listen to a word you have said to us in the LORD's name!
No, we're going to do exactly what we want: We're going to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials, have done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. Then we had plenty to eat and we were thriving; we didn't have any troubles.
But ever since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring drink offerings to her, we have been destroyed by the sword and by famine."
And the women added,"Do you think that we burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour drink offerings to her without our husbands' support when we make cakes in her image and pour drink offerings to her?"
Jeremiah said to all the people, men and women alike, in fact everyone who had spoken this way:
"Do you really think the LORD was unaware of what you were up to in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem? Don't you think the LORD knew that you and your ancestors were making offerings to other gods—along with your kings and officials, and the people of the land?
It got so bad that the LORD could no longer bear your evil and shameless acts; it was at that point that your land was reduced to an utter wasteland and a curse, as it is today.
The current dire situation occurred because you made offerings to other gods and sinned against the LORD—because you wouldn't obey the LORD or follow the LORD's instruction, laws, or warnings."
Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women: Listen to the LORD's word, all you Judeans in the land of Egypt.
The LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: You and your wives have done exactly what you said you would do. You said, "We will definitely fulfill our promise to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her." Go ahead and keep your promises!
But listen to the LORD's word, all you Judeans who live in the land of Egypt. I swear by my great name, says the LORD, that no one from Judah living in Egypt will utter my name again, even in the solemn pledge: "As surely as the LORD God lives."
I'm watching over them for harm and not for good. Everyone from Judah who is living in the land of Egypt will die by the sword and by famine, until all are gone.
Those who actually survive war and return from Egypt to the land of Judah will be very few. Then the few remaining Judeans living in Egypt will know for certain whose word is true—mine or theirs!
And this will be a sign for you, declares the LORD: I will punish you here so that you know my threats against you will surely be fulfilled.
The LORD proclaims: I will hand Pharaoh Hophra, Egypt's king, over to his enemies who seek to kill him, just as I delivered Judah's King Zedekiah over to his enemy King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who sought to kill him.