CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 46.
Again the Lord speaks to Jeremiah (verse 1), in reference to the Babylonians will conquer the Egyptians in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah (verse 2). The Lord tells them to prepare for battle (verse 3), even getting ready their horses and their gear (verse 4).
The Lord tells them not to be afraid or run away, because the oppressors are about to lose the battle (verse 5). It will be the bullies attacking them that will want to run away, and it will be skilled warriors intimidating them that are beaten (verse 6). It has seemed as if Egypt rose up out of nowhere, with great power to destroy (verse 8), but the surrounding nations (Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia) will conquer these oppressors (verse 9). The Lord is telling the people that just as the Assyrians delivered the consequences the Israelites chose, the Lord kept His promise to be faithful to His people and so punished them by having the Babylonians conquer them. Now, just as it seems everything is destroyed, and the people still will not listen and so suffered also the Babylonians, the Lord will still be faithful to His people and will punish the Babylonians by having the Persians conquer them (verse 10).
The Lord declares Himself consistently faithful to the people, even though they will not choose Him. Nothing else will rescue them (verse 11), and all the nations will know they have fallen because they did not make the good choice to follow the Lord in what He promised would be best for them (verse 12).
So now the people have just ignored Jeremiah’s counsel not to go to Egypt, and the Lord is warning them they cannot seek refuge there because the Babylonians will conquer Egypt, too (verse 13). The Lord tells Jeremiah to tell the people to prepare for war because the Babylonians are coming (verse 14). He reminds them that their strongest warriors are nothing without His help (verse 15), and so many have died. He tells them He knows they have run away to find other Jews with whom to seek refuge (verse 16), and have tried to claim safety under Pharaoh of Egypt – but their cries to him were only noise (verse 17). They cannot find safety there because they are not seeking safety with the Lord, and so even all the way in Egypt will they be found by the Babylonians (verse 18). Even the great kingdom of Egypt will fall, and be destroyed, and left in ruins (verse 19). They may be great right now, He says, but destruction from the Babylonians is on the way (verse 20).
The Lord warns the people that they are trusting in Pharaoh’s army instead of trusting in Him, and even this great army will not be able to stand against the Babylonians (verse 21). He says they will go against the Babylonians with weapons of wood (verse 22), and be destroyed by their weapons of iron the way great trees fall by the ax (verse 23). It will shock and confuse the people that they lose the battle (verse 24), but the Lord tries to warn them of it now. He says that the Egyptians must also be punished for their worshiping false gods (implying that they knew better) (verse 25), and so He will use the Babylonians to deliver their consequences just as happened with Israel (verse 26).
But those who trust Him, those who are covenant keepers, those who do what He says, have no reason to be afraid. The Lord promises that those who turn to Him will be returned to their land, that their descendants will be returned to their land of promise and restored as His people – when they turn to Him, and as (to the degree) they turn to Him. When they turn to Him by following His law (temporal), they will be returned to the land itself. When they turn to Him by receiving His plan – even the Messiah – only then will they be spiritually restored as a people (including again receiving the priesthood and having access to temples). Only after both phases, the temporal restoration to the land of Israel itself, and after the spiritual restoration as a people, only then will they have peace (verse 27). But it is a promise, and the Lord will keep it. The people do not need to be afraid because they will not always be so severely punished, and as they turn to Him they will be released from punishment and restored to their full inheritance (verse 28).