Jeremiah 42

1 Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan son of Kareah and Azariah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, approached
2 the prophet Jeremiah and said, "Be good enough to listen to our plea, and pray to the Lord your God for us—for all this remnant. For there are only a few of us left out of many, as your eyes can see.
3 Let the Lord your God show us where we should go and what we should do."
4 The prophet Jeremiah said to them, "Very well: I am going to pray to the Lord your God as you request, and whatever the Lord answers you I will tell you; I will keep nothing back from you."
5 They in their turn said to Jeremiah, "May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to everything that the Lord your God sends us through you.
6 Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, in order that it may go well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God."
7 At the end of ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.
8 Then he summoned Johanan son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces who were with him, and all the people from the least to the greatest,
9 and said to them, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your plea before him:
10 If you will only remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I am sorry for the disaster that I have brought upon you.
11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, as you have been; do not be afraid of him, says the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to rescue you from his hand.
12 I will grant you mercy, and he will have mercy on you and restore you to your native soil.
13 But if you continue to say, "We will not stay in this land,' thus disobeying the voice of the Lord your God
14 and saying, "No, we will go to the land of Egypt, where we shall not see war, or hear the sound of the trumpet, or be hungry for bread, and there we will stay,'
15 then hear the word of the Lord, O remnant of Judah. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: If you are determined to enter Egypt and go to settle there,
16 then the sword that you fear shall overtake you there, in the land of Egypt; and the famine that you dread shall follow close after you into Egypt; and there you shall die.
17 All the people who have determined to go to Egypt to settle there shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; they shall have no remnant or survivor from the disaster that I am bringing upon them.
18 "For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Just as my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You shall become an object of execration and horror, of cursing and ridicule. You shall see this place no more.
19 The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, Do not go to Egypt. Be well aware that I have warned you today
20 that you have made a fatal mistake. For you yourselves sent me to the Lord your God, saying, "Pray for us to the Lord our God, and whatever the Lord our God says, tell us and we will do it.'
21 So I have told you today, but you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God in anything that he sent me to tell you.
22 Be well aware, then, that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go and 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.

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH CAHPTER 42

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