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Jeremiah Chapter Forty-four                            


Jeremiah 44

Chapter Contents

The Jews in Egypt persist in idolatry. (1-14) They refuse to reform. (15-19) Jeremiah then denounces destruction upon them. (20-30)

Commentary on Jeremiah 44:1-14

(Read Jeremiah 44:1-14)

God reminds the Jews of the sins that brought desolations upon Judah. It becomes us to warn men of the danger of sin with all seriousness: Oh, do not do it! If you love God, do not, for it is provoking to him; if you love your own souls, do not, for it is destructive to them. Let conscience do this for us in the hour of temptation. The Jews whom God sent into the land of the Chaldeans, were there, by the power of God's grace, weaned from idolatry; but those who went by their own perverse will into the land of the Egyptians, were there more attached than ever to their idolatries. When we thrust ourselves without cause or call into places of temptation, it is just with God to leave us to ourselves. If we walk contrary to God, he will walk contrary to us. The most awful miseries to which men are exposed, are occasioned by the neglect of offered salvation.

Commentary on Jeremiah 44:15-19

(Read Jeremiah 44:15-19)

These daring sinners do not attempt excuses, but declare they will do that which is forbidden. Those who disobey God, commonly grow worse and worse, and the heart is more hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Here is the real language of the rebellious heart. Even the afflictions which should have parted them from their sins, were taken so as to confirm them in their sins. It is sad when those who should quicken each other to what is good, and so help one another to heaven, harden each other in sin, and so ripen one another for hell. To mingle idolatry with Divine worship, and to reject the mediation of Christ, are provoking to God, and ruinous to men. All who worship images, or honour saints, and angels, and the queen of heaven, should recollect what came from the idolatrous practices of the Jews.

Commentary on Jeremiah 44:20-30

(Read Jeremiah 44:20-30)

Whatever evil comes upon us, it is because we have sinned against the Lord; we should therefore stand in awe, and sin not. Since they were determined to persist in their idolatry, God would go on to punish them. What little remains of religion were among them, would be lost. The creature-comforts and confidences from which we promise ourselves most, may fail as soon as those from which we promise ourselves least; and all are what God makes them, not what we fancy them to be. Well-grounded hopes of our having a part in the Divine mercy, are always united with repentance and obedience.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Jeremiah


Jeremiah 44

Verse 1

[1] The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,

At Migdol — It seems the Jews that went into Egypt had planted themselves at these four places. Migdol was a city upon the borders of the Red Sea. Noph was a city, which the Greeks and Latines called Memphis; it is thought to be that, which is now called Cairo. Pathros was the province, since called Thebais.

Verse 14

[14] So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.

For none — Only such shall escape, as have been forced into Egypt against their wills; and as did not fall in with the idolatry of the Egyptians.

Verse 15

[15] Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,

All the men — It should seem those that did it were mostly women, and that they did it with some privacy, so that all their husbands did not know of it.

Verse 26

[26] Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.

The Lord liveth — There shall not any be left alive of the Jews that are in Egypt, to swear The Lord God liveth.

Verse 29

[29] And this shall be a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil:

This shall be a sign — Signs are usually antecedent to the thing signified, but the word is taken in a larger notion in this place for that which should attend the thing signified by it.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Jeremiah


44 Chapter 44


Verses 1-30

Verse 4

Jeremiah 44:4

Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.

The thing which God hates

I. What sin itself is.

II. God hates it.

1. Because it is contrary to His own nature.

2. Because it is unnatural in His creatures.

3. Because it transgresses holy, just, and good laws.

4. Because it defiles and injures the entire human nature. It brings a withering curse upon every stage of life, and upon every development of life, and upon every phase of life, and upon every department of life.

5. Because it makes men curses to each other.

6. Because it ignores or it rejects the Divine government.

7. Because wherever sin exists, except as it is checked by God’s mercy, it has the dominion.

8. Because wherever it is introduced, it spreads.

9. Sin requires God to inflict upon men of every class and kind, that which He assures us, upon His oath, He has no pleasure in.

10. Their continuing in sin tramples under foot the blood of Jesus. (S. Martin.)

The popular estimate of sin

I. What is sin? Theology is determined by the answer. “Sin is only negation as cold is the negation of heat; darkness, of light; disease, of health.” So we are told. Well, I know that I shiver to-night under the “negation” of heat. I grope under the negation of light, and feel a very positive “thorn in the flesh.” Away with this juggling of words! Sin is a fact and must be dealt with.

II. What do you mean by the new life? If Sin be easy to control, no helplessness is felt, no great change of being is accepted, no outside help is needed. If you fancy that one bad deed is cancelled by another good one, and that you are “all right at heart,” although often wrong in action, you will not seek salvation.

III. What disclosure does Scripture make? “An abominable thing.” What does sin propose to do? It defies God and would usurp His throne were it possible. The smallest infringement of the principle of honesty in social life breaks up the confidence of man in man and introduces destructive tendencies. The greater the transgression, the more destructive are the results.

IV. What about the remedy of sin? We know not all the counsels of God, but we know enough of the covenant He made with His Son Jesus Christ to say that by His vicarious atonement we are freed from the penalty of sin, and by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Ghost we are made pure--the past and future are covered by His meritorious work. (C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

God’s expostulation with sinners

I. The description of sin here given by God.

1. We call those objects abominable which excite in us the sensations of loathing and abhorrence. That such is the nature of sin, even in its most agreeable forms, may be learned from the various figures under which it is represented in the Word of God. Whatever is revolting in corruption, loathsome in uncleanness, or hideous in deformity, is there brought forward, in order to give us some idea of its abominable nature.

2. It must be considered not only as loathsome to God, but as exciting in Him the desire of its destruction, and an inclination to execute vengeance upon all to whom it is an object of delight. From an abominable object we naturally turn away; but what we hate we seek to destroy.

II. The manner in which God beseeches us to abstain from sin.

1. We are naturally prone to wickedness.

2. God hath designs of mercy towards our guilty race.

3. The salvation of sinners is accomplished in a way perfectly consistent with their freedom as moral agents.

4. God is deeply concerned for the salvation of sinners.

III. Some considerations that ought to induce us to hearken to the voice of God, and do what He requires.

1. It is God why, expostulates with you,. and beseeches you to abstain from sin.

2. The extreme folly of sin is another consideration, that may induce you to abstain from it.

3. The fatal consequences of continuing in sin, especially after we haven been called to repentance, is a consideration that ought to induce you to hear, and do what the Lord requires. (G. Campbell.)

Argument against sinning

I. God denounces sin with abhorrence. He calls it “an abominable thing.” Sin is represented in the Bible as a loathsome, odious, revolting, execrable thing. All kinds of sin are an abomination. “Lying lips” (Proverbs 12:22). “Pride” (Proverbs 16:5). “Wicked thoughts” (Proverbs 15:26). “Wickedness in all its forms” (Proverbs 15:9). Sin is essentially an abomination. Three things show this:--

1. The misrepresenting conduct of the sinner. Sin has a self-hiding, self-dissimulating instinct.

2. The universal conscience of mankind. Injustice, falsehood, self-seeking impiety, with all their kindred sins, the conscience of the world abhors.

3. The history of the Divine conduct towards our world.

II. God hates sin with intensity. He says, “I hate it.” The Infinite heart revolts from it with ineffable detestation.

1. He hates it, for it is deformity, and He is the God of beauty. How offensive to the artist of high aesthetic taste and culture, are figures introduced into the realm of art, unscientific in their proportions, and unrefined in their touch!

2. He hates it, for it is confusion, and He is the God of order. “Order,” says the poet, “is Heaven’s first law.”

3. He hates it, for it is misery, and He is the Cod of love. Every sin has in it the sting of the serpent, which, if not extracted, will rankle with fiery anguish in the soul for ever. God hates this evil, for He desires the happiness of His creatures.

III. God prohibits sin with earnestness. “Oh, do not this abominable thing.” What depths of fervid loving solicitude are in this “Oh!”

1. Do it not; you are warring against your own highest interest.

2. Do it not; you are warring against the well-being of the creation.

3. Do it not; you are warring against Me. Every sin is a war against My ideas, My feelings, My plans, My institutions. (Homilist.)

Life’s lameness: the character of sin

The church bells were ringing out a merry peal of welcome as a bride and bridegroom left the church after the marriage service. The bride was given some flowers as she passed to her carriage, and a small drop of water fell from a flower on to the bride’s light dress. Soon after, a slight stain was noticed there, and the remark was made: “A spot of sin as small as this would shut either of us out of heaven.” That remark was perfectly true. A little speck of dust on the lens of a telescope will mar its powers of vision. A tiny hair in the mainspring of a watch will suffice to stop the machinery, So one little sin, secretly cherished and wilfully indulged, will choke up our soul s communion with God and destroy our spiritual comfort. What, then, is sin? Sin is rebellion against God. Self-love is the secret of sin. The hidden principle of all sin is rejection of the will of God. None of God’s commands are grievous, and therefore the question of our obedience is made to turn precisely on the will of God. God alone is independent. He has made us for Himself; and the more we seek to bring our wills into subjection to His, and our lives into complete dependence upon Him, the happier and the holier shall we become. As a train was speeding along the railroad in the north of England the other day, a spark from the engine set fire to a shrub in a plantation near the line, and then the fire spread to a forest, where it raged for two days, doing immense damage. Who would have thought that such a result would arise, from a little spark? Yet so it is in the world of life--great results spring from the most trivial causes. Our hearts are, like those dry trees, ready to burst into a blaze when touched by the spark of sin. Therefore we must beware of sin. When Canova, the great Italian sculptor, was about to commence his famous statue of the great Napoleon, his keenly observant eye detected a tiny red line running through the upper portion of the splendid block of marble which had been brought from Paros at enormous cost. Others saw no flaw, but the great sculptor detected it, and he refused to lay chisel upon it. The very perfection he aimed at compelled him to reject the marble block. Now if there is a flaw in your life, others may not see it, but God most assuredly will. And that there is such a flaw God declares. His Word asserts, “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23). “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalms 14:3). During a naval engagement off Copenhagen, Admiral Parker signalled the ships to cease action. Nelson did not wish to retire his ship. When informed of the Admiral’s signal, he looked through the telescope with his blind eye, and exclaimed, “I see no such signal” He persistently deceived himself in order that he might continue the fight. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). But we deceive no one else. It is no excuse for a man to say he does not steal, does not lie, does not swear, does not covet. Neglect of known duty is sin. Man has a duty to God (Matthew 22:37). Not to love God is sin. And the Bible not only charges man with not loving God, but it speaks of man as being in a state of “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). Therefore he cannot restore himself. It is a stormy night by the sea-shore. The wind is howling and moaning, and ever and anon with boisterous gusts threatening violence to the shipping in the harbour. The sea is lashed into a seething foam. On the beach are scattered groups of people--men hurrying to and fro with excited determination, and women wringing their hands in mute agony and mingled prayer. You look out to sea. In the darkness of the night you can see nothing, but you can tell by the whirr and rush of the rocket apparatus, by the cries of the life boatmen, that a vessel is in danger. You know there is a ship in distress by these signs, though you may not know the extent or reality of her danger. So, when I see the Lord Jesus Christ leaving His throne in glory, living a life of anguish, and dying a cruel death, I learn that sin is a terrible reality. Oh, what a hideous, fiendish monster is sin, when it turns its cursed enmity against the blessed Son of God, and imbrues its cruel hands in His precious blood! The Emperor Arcadius and his wife Eudoxia had a very bitter feeling towards St. John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople. One day, in a fit of anger, the Emperor said to some of his courtiers, “I would I were avenged of this bishop!” Several then proposed how this should be done. “Banish him and exile him to the desert,” said one. “Put him in prison,” said another. “Confiscate his property,” said a third. “Let him die,” said a fourth. Another courtier, whose vices Chrysostom had reproved, said maliciously, “You all make a great mistake. You will never punish him by such proposals. If banished the kingdom, he will feel God as near to him in the desert as here. If you put him in prison and load him with chains, he will still pray for the poor and praise God in the prison. If you confiscate his property, you merely take away his goods from the poor, not from him. If you condemn him to death, you open heaven to him. Prince, do you wish to be revenged on him? Force him to commit sin. I know him; this man fears nothing in the world but sin.” Is there no lesson here for you and me? (A. Finlayson.)

Divine pleading

If anyone suffers very keenly from nervous exhaustion, it seems sometimes almost impossible for him to bear the noise of a child who persists in running heavily overhead. He will adopt a pleading rather than an angry tone: “My child, do not do this again; I cannot bear it.” Let us think of God’s holy nature as more sensitive to sin than the most highly-strung nerves to noise, and hear Him saying, whenever we are on the point of committing sin, “Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.” (F. B. ,Meyer, B. A.)

Verse 16

Jeremiah 44:16

As for the word which thou hast spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will net hearken unto thee.

The ministerial message and its reception

I. It devolves on ministers to speak to sinners in the name of the Lord.

1. They represent to them their deplorable situation; they describe to them the horrors of the pit wherein there is no water, in which they lie; the miseries of that prison in which they are closely confined; the unprofitableness of the drudgery in which they are engaged; and the tribulation and anguish which they have to expect. “Knowing the terrors of the Lord, they persuade men”; and sensible that, if they are unfaithful, the blood of souls will be required at their hands, they are “instant in season and out of season,” if by any means they Could persuade them to flee from the wrath to come.

2. They do all this in the name of the Lord.

II. The unpleasant reception with which their message often meets. “We will not hearken.”

1. We hope that there are but few who would plainly say this in words; who are so hardened as to glory in their shame; or so incorrigible as to tell God’s ministers that they cast His words behind their back, as unworthy of attention, and beneath their notice: yet we are persuaded that there are many professors who say this in their hearts, and who will not see when the hand of God is lifted up; for if this were not the case, would ministers so often have to lament over them, saying, “Oh, that they were wise”; and, “Oh, that there were such a heart in them, to keep His commandments and do them”? Careless hearers all say, “We will not hearken unto Thee.” And oh, how few are there that will hear believingly! The word does not profit, “not being mixed with faith in them that hear it”; men often “reject the counsel of God against themselves,” and disbelieve the record that God has given of His Son. Their conduct shows that they believe not in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

2. What is the reason that they will not attend to those things, which, it is evident, belong to their peace?

I would say, by way of inference, In what an awful state are those persons who are making the resolution contained in the text. They are evidently exposed to the loss of their privileges; to hardness of heart, and contempt of God’s Word and commandments; and to utter and eternal destruction. (T. Spencer.)

Verse 30

──The Biblical Illustrator