Jeremiah 42

Flight to Egypt

1 Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah[a] son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached
2 Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the LORD your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left.
3 Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”
4 “I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the LORD your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the LORD says and will keep nothing back from you.”
5 Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with everything the LORD your God sends you to tell us.
6 Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the LORD our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the LORD our God.”
7 Ten days later the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah.
8 So he called together Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers who were with him and all the people from the least to the greatest.
9 He said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition, says:
10 ‘If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I have relented concerning the disaster I have inflicted on you.
11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the LORD, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands.
12 I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.’
13 “However, if you say, ‘We will not stay in this land,’ and so disobey the LORD your God,
14 and if you say, ‘No, we will go and live in Egypt, where we will not see war or hear the trumpet or be hungry for bread,’
15 then hear the word of the LORD, you remnant of Judah. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and you do go to settle there,
16 then the sword you fear will overtake you there, and the famine you dread will follow you into Egypt, and there you will die.
17 Indeed, all who are determined to go to Egypt to settle there will die by the sword, famine and plague; not one of them will survive or escape the disaster I will bring on them.’
18 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘As my anger and wrath have been poured out on those who lived in Jerusalem, so will my wrath be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You will be a curse[b] and an object of horror, a curse[c] and an object of reproach; you will never see this place again.’
19 “Remnant of Judah, the LORD has told you, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Be sure of this: I warn you today
20 that you made a fatal mistake when you sent me to the LORD your God and said, ‘Pray to the LORD our God for us; tell us everything he says and we will do it.’
21 I have told you today, but you still have not obeyed the LORD your God in all he sent me to tell you.
22 So now, be sure of this: You will die by the sword, famine and plague in the place where you want to go to settle.”

Jeremiah 42 Commentary

Chapter 42

Johanan desires Jeremiah to ask counsel of God. (1-6) They are assured of safety in Judea, but of destruction in Egypt. (7-22)

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.

Cross References 53

  • 1. S Jeremiah 40:13; Jeremiah 41:11
  • 2. S Jeremiah 41:16
  • 3. Jeremiah 6:13; Jeremiah 44:12
  • 4. S Genesis 20:7; S Jeremiah 36:7; Acts 8:24; James 5:16
  • 5. S Isaiah 1:9
  • 6. S Leviticus 26:22; Lamentations 1:1
  • 7. ver 20; Psalms 86:11; S Proverbs 3:6; S Jeremiah 15:11
  • 8. Exodus 8:29; 1 Samuel 12:23
  • 9. S Jeremiah 1:17
  • 10. S Numbers 22:18; 1 Kings 22:14; S 1 Samuel 3:17
  • 11. 1 Kings 22:16; Psalms 119:160; Romans 3:4
  • 12. S Deuteronomy 7:9; John 8:26; S 1 Corinthians 1:9
  • 13. S Genesis 31:48; S Deuteronomy 4:26; S Isaiah 1:2; S Romans 1:9; Revelation 1:5; Genesis 31:50
  • 14. Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 6:3; Jeremiah 7:23; Jeremiah 22:15
  • 15. S ver 19; S Exodus 24:7; S Joshua 24:24
  • 16. ver 1
  • 17. Jeremiah 41:16; S Mark 9:35; Luke 7:28; Hebrews 8:11
  • 18. ver 2
  • 19. 2 Kings 22:15
  • 20. Jeremiah 43:4
  • 21. S Jeremiah 24:6
  • 22. S Deuteronomy 30:9; Jeremiah 31:28
  • 23. S Deuteronomy 29:28; Ecclesiastes 3:2; Jeremiah 45:4; Ezekiel 36:36; Daniel 11:4
  • 24. S 2 Chronicles 34:24; Isaiah 30:26; S Jeremiah 18:8
  • 25. Jeremiah 27:11
  • 26. S Numbers 14:9; S 1 Samuel 15:24; Psalms 23:4; Matthew 10:28; 2 Timothy 1:7
  • 27. Psalms 18:27; Psalms 69:35; S Psalms 119:94; S Isaiah 63:1; Hebrews 7:25; Isaiah 43:5
  • 28. S Psalms 3:7; S Proverbs 20:22; S Jeremiah 1:8; Romans 8:31
  • 29. S Exodus 3:21; S 2 Samuel 24:14; 2 Corinthians 1:3
  • 30. S Genesis 31:3; S Nehemiah 1:9; Psalms 106:44-46
  • 31. S Deuteronomy 11:28; Jeremiah 44:16
  • 32. Numbers 11:4-5; S Deuteronomy 17:16; S Isaiah 30:2
  • 33. S Joshua 6:20; S Matthew 24:31
  • 34. S Deuteronomy 8:3; 1 Samuel 2:5; Proverbs 10:3; Isaiah 65:13; Matthew 4:2-4
  • 35. Jeremiah 44:24
  • 36. S Leviticus 26:33; Ezekiel 11:8; Ezekiel 14:17
  • 37. S Jeremiah 41:18
  • 38. S Genesis 41:55
  • 39. S Genesis 2:17; 2 Chronicles 25:4; S Job 21:20; Ezekiel 3:19; Ezekiel 18:4
  • 40. ver 22; S Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 44:13
  • 41. Deuteronomy 29:18-20; S 2 Chronicles 12:7; Jeremiah 7:20
  • 42. S 2 Chronicles 36:19; Jeremiah 39:1-9
  • 43. S Numbers 5:27; S Jeremiah 25:18
  • 44. S Deuteronomy 28:25,37; Jeremiah 29:18
  • 45. S Psalms 44:13
  • 46. S Jeremiah 22:10
  • 47. Jeremiah 40:15
  • 48. S ver 6; Deuteronomy 17:16; Isaiah 30:7; Jeremiah 43:2; Jeremiah 44:16
  • 49. ver 2; Ezekiel 14:7-8
  • 50. S Exodus 24:7; Jeremiah 40:3; Ezekiel 2:7; Ezekiel 12:2; Zechariah 7:11-12
  • 51. S Isaiah 1:28
  • 52. S ver 17; Jeremiah 24:10; Ezekiel 6:11
  • 53. S Jeremiah 15:2; Hosea 9:6

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Hebrew; Septuagint (see also 43:2) "Azariah"
  • [b]. That is, your name will be used in cursing (see 29:22); or, others will see that you are cursed.
  • [c]. That is, your name will be used in cursing (see 29:22); or, others will see that you are cursed.

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a request of the Jews to Jeremiah, to pray to the Lord for them to direct them, and the Lord's answer to it. The request is made by the captains and all the people, Jer 42:1-3; which Jeremiah undertook to present to the Lord, Jer 42:4; they promising to go according to the direction that should be given, Jer 42:5,6. After ten days an answer is returned, and the prophet calls the captains and people together to hear it, Jer 42:7,8; the purport of which was, that if they continued in the land of Judah, it would be well with them, and they would be safe, Jer 42:9-12; but if they went into Egypt, they should die by the sword, famine, and pestilence, and be a curse and reproach, and never see their own land more, Jer 42:13-18; they are charged with dissimulation and disobedience, Jer 42:19-21; and the chapter is concluded with an assurance of their perishing by the above judgments in the place they were desirous of dwelling in, Jer 42:22.

Jeremiah 42 Commentaries

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