The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Jeremiah 42

Jer 42:1

Jer 42: The remnant of Judah posed the question to Jeremiah: "Should we go down into Egypt?" Despite an apparent profession of faith, we may detect in the people's inquiry of God through Jeremiah the signs of neglect of God and His laws. First of all, we see that they "approached" (v 1) Jeremiah -- which suggests a habitual distance from Yahweh. Secondly, they appear to be "buttering up" the prophet, as though this might gain them a better message from Yahweh. Thirdly, they make no confession of sin. (Notice also the revealing phrase: "the Lord YOUR God": v 2.)

Their subsequent behavior showed also that they were hypocritical in their whole attitude: whatever God might tell them, they had already decided to go to Egypt. They had made up their mind as to what was best for them to do, as their previous flight to this point had already proved. With one foot in Canaan, as it were, and another out of it, they now pretended -- at this late date -- to inquire of God. This is a very common practice, but it is one which not only robs prayer of its meaning and power, but also brings upon the head of those who are guilty of it a grievous curse. And so it happened again.

Jer 42:6

WHETHER IT IS FAVORABLE OR UNFAVORABLE...: But nothing God does toward us is ultimately evil; all things work together for good (Rom 8:28).

Jer 42:11

They were more afraid of the Babylonians than they were of God.

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