The Book of JEREMIAH
James J. Barker

Lesson 44

Text: JEREMIAH 42 & 43


  1. Last week we looked at the murder of Gedaliah by Ishmael and his companions.
  2. Gedaliah was made governor of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (cf. 40:7).
  3. Johanan and some other of the soldiers heard about the plot to kill Gedaliah and Johanan warned Gedaliah (40:13, 14). Unfortunately, Gedaliah did not believe them (40:14-16).
  4. Ishmael not only killed Gedaliah, he also killed those that were with him in Mizpah (41:2, 3).
  5. After that, Ishmael murdered seventy religious pilgrims who were on their way to Jerusalem (41:9).
  6. Then Jeremiah 41:10 says, "Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people that were in Mizpah..."
  7. Among this group of captives was the prophet Jeremiah (cf. 42:1-3).
  8. When Johanan, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, heard of all the evil that Ishmael had done, they took off after them (41:11, 12).
  9. They went to fight with Ishmael but Ishmael, along with eight men, managed to escape and they took off for Ammon (41:15).
  10. Meanwhile, Johanan and his group "departed, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt" (41:16, 17).
  11. Verse 18 explains why they chose not to go back to Mizpah. They felt it would be safer for them to go to Egypt than to go back to Mizpah. They thought the Chaldeans might blame them for the murder of Gedaliah.



  1. Johanan and the remnant of Jews came to Jeremiah and asked him to pray for them (42:1, 2).
  2. They said they wanted God's will but they had already made up their minds they were going to Egypt (42:3, cf. verse 21).
  3. H.A. Ironside said, "But they had settled it in their hearts to go into Egypt, and they counted upon the Lordís endorsement of their fleshly determination" (Jeremiah and Lamentations).
  4. Jeremiah told them, "I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you" (42:4).
  5. It is interesting that these Jews referred to the LORD as "the LORD thy God" (42:2, 3), but Jeremiah corrected them and said, "Behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God" (42:4, 5, cf. verse 20).
  6. Jehovah was still their God even though they were backslidden. The Jews were God's covenant people (cf. Deut. 7:6-9).
  7. Compare Jeremiah 43:1 -- "the LORD their God" (twice).
  8. The people promised to obey the voice of the LORD their God, but as usual they soon broke their promise (42:5, 6).
  9. Jeremiah waited ten days for the LORD to answer. This reminds us we must persevere in prayer.
  10. When the LORD did answer He told the people to stay in the land of Judah (42:7-12).
  11. H.A. Ironside said, "What riches of grace are here unfolded! On their part, no adequate sense of guilt; yet on His, such amazing compassion and loving-kindness. If they will but trust Him now in their weak, broken state - if they will rely upon His mighty arm and thus dwell in the land He had given them - if they will accept the chastisement, and bow to His Word, then He will build them up and care for them as a husbandman cares for his vintage. Obeying His voice, they need have no fear of the wrath of Babylonís king" (Jeremiah and Lamentations).
  12. God would protect them and bless them if they obeyed Him, but if they disobeyed Him they would have to suffer the consequences (42:13-22).
  13. Going back to Egypt is a picture of a believer going back to the world. Ironside said, "Pharaohís land, for the redeemed of the Lord, was a land of bondage - it could never be their home. To settle there in peace and happiness was absolutely impossible. To attempt to do so was to ignore the blood of the passover and the parting of the Red Sea" (Jeremiah and Lamentations).
  14. The LORD condemned them for their dissembling (hypocrisy and phony piety) and their disobedience (42:20, 21).



  1. When Jeremiah was finished speaking, Azariah and Johanan, "and all the proud men" accused Jeremiah of speaking falsely (43:1, 2).
  2. Their pride produced disobedience and contempt for the word of God, and contempt for Jeremiah the prophet of God.
  3. These men had seen for many years Jeremiah was a true prophet of God but they had the audacity to accuse him of lying (43:2). Furthermore, they claimed that Jeremiah was being misled by Baruch, Jeremiah's friend who recorded his prophecies (43:3; cf. 36:6).
  4. F.B. Meyer said, "How terrible that they should malign and misunderstand the man who had spent forty years of consistent public ministry in efforts to save them from the effects of evil counsel, and to recall them to a simple and absolute faith in the God of their fathers!" (Jeremiah).
  5. Notice the repetition -- they "obeyed not the voice of the LORD" (43:4, 7; cf. 42:21).
  6. In defiance of God's command, Johanan and all the captains of the forces took all the remnant of Judah, including Jeremiah, down into Egypt (43:5-7).



  1. The LORD directed Jeremiah to take large stones and to hide them in the clay in the brick kiln, which was at the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah (43:8, 9).
  2. The LORD called Nebuchadnezzar his "servant" (43:10) because King Nebuchadnezzar was the instrument God used to punish Judah and Egypt (cf. 25:9; 27:6).
  3. King Nebuchadnezzar would soon come and "smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword" (43:11).
  4. Archaeologists have found a fragmentary inscription confirming Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Egypt.
  5. Jeremiah prophesied that King Nebuchadnezzar would break up the Egyptian idols, and burn down the Egyptian temples (43:12, 13).



The people were walking by sight and not by faith!

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