Jeremiah’s last warnings
1 A word of Yahweh came to Jere miah concerning all the Jews living in Egypt especially in the cities of Migdal, Tahpanhes and Memphis, as well as in the territory of Patros: 2 “You have seen all the disaster that I brought on Jeru salem and the towns of Judah. 3 These are no more than ruins without inhabitants because of the evil they have done. They have provoked my anger by offering incense to foreign gods that neither they nor their fathers knew.
4 I sent them my servants the proph ets time and time again to tell them: ‘Do not do this abominable thing that I detest!’ 5 But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn away from their evil ways or give up worshiping strange gods. 6 Then the fury of my anger was loosed and blazed in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem making them the desolate ruins they are today.
7 And now Yahweh the God of hosts and the God of Israel asks you: Why do you bring such great harm on yourselves? Because of your deeds every man, woman, child and infant will be taken from Judah and you will be left without a remnant. 8 Why do you provoke my anger with the work of your hands? Why do you worship foreign gods in Egypt where you came to live? Surely you will decrease in number and be a curse and an object of reproach among all the nations? 9 Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers and the misdeeds of the kings of Judah and its princes, and the evil behavior of your wives in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem?
10 So far they have had no contrition and have not followed my law and my decrees that I set before you and your ancestors.”
11 Because of this Yahweh God of hosts and God of Israel warns you, “I am turning my face away from you to bring disaster on you and to com pletely de stroy Judah. 12 The rem nant of Judah that chose to enter Egypt and live there will all perish. They will be destroyed by the sword and famine and become an object of horror and cursing, of condemnation and re proach. 13 I will punish those in Egypt as I punished Jerusalem with the sword, famine and pestilence. 14 None of the remnant of Judah that came to Egypt will escape or flee, and return to Judah where you long to go and live.”
15 Then all the men who knew their wives were offering incense to foreign gods and all the women, a great assembly, replied to Jeremiah in a louder voice. 16 “As for what you say in the name of Yahweh we will not listen; 17 we want to do all that we said we wanted to do: burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out wine to her as we did, we and our fathers, our kings and princes in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. Then we had our fill of bread and were prosperous and free from mis fortune. 18 But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven we have been in need of everything and have perished by the sword and famine.” 19 And the women added, “When we offered incense and poured libations to the queen of heaven, didn’t our husbands know that we made sacrificial cakes decorated with her image?”
20 Jeremiah then answered all the people, men and women, who had told him this: 21 “Is it not better that Yahweh remembered the incense you burned in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you, your fathers, your kings, princes, and all the people?
21 Do you think it slipped his mem ory? 22 Yahweh could no longer bear the sight of your evil and abominable deeds. That is why your land has become the desolate waste that it is today!
23 All the misfortune that you are suffering today has happened because you burned incense and sinned against Yah weh, by not obeying him or following his law, his instructions and his commands.”
24 Jeremiah then addressed all the people especially the women, “Listen to Yahweh’s message: 25 This is what Yah weh the God of hosts and the God of Israel says: You and your wives think that what you say with your lips becomes an obligation you must fulfill. You say: ‘We are bound to keep the vows we have made to burn incense and pour out wine to the queen of heaven.’ Go ahead! Fulfill your vows and do what you promised! 26 Nevertheless listen, all you Jews living in Egypt, listen to what Yahweh says to you: By my own great Name I swear – word of Yahweh – that throughout Egypt no one from Judah will invoke my Name; no one will be left to say: ‘As the Lord Yahweh lives.’ 27 I am watching over them but not for their good. All the people of Judah in Egypt will perish by the sword and famine until they are wiped out. 28 Only a few will escape the sword and return from Egypt to Judah; and the rem nant who came to settle in Egypt will understand whose word comes true, theirs or mine! 29 And this is the sign that I will punish you in this place, says Yahweh, that you may know that my threatening words to you will be fulfilled: 30 I will hand over the Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt to his enemies who want to slay him, just as I let Zedekiah, king of Judah, be taken by his adversary, Nebu chadnezzar king of Babylon, who was determined to kill him.