Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry extends not only to Judah but also to foreign nations which have been Judah’s oppressors. Judah’s most recent threat has been from Egypt, but the time is near for Egypt to reap its just reward. Here are Jeremiah’s warnings to Egypt, as well as to the Philistines, who will be Egypt’s last victim in this era of power.
亚述落败和巴比伦出现/耶利米面临指控-Assyria Falls and Babylonia Emerges/Jeremiah Faces Charges
亚述败落和巴比伦出现/耶利米面临指控-Assyria Falls and Babylonia Emerges/Jeremiah Faces Charges
Already the prophecies about the nations are coming true. There is foreign unrest everywhere. Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt are all vying for supremacy. Just as Jeremiah was beginning his ministry in 626 B.C., Nabopolassar rebelled against Assyria and established the Babylonian Empire. Now, some 14 years later, the time has come for the prophecies of Nahum and others regarding Nineveh’s fall to be fulfilled. It takes only a two-month siege by the allied armies of the Medes, Babylonians, and Scythians (from north of the Black Sea) to bring Nineveh to its knees in 612 B.C. Under Nabopolassar, Babylonia begins its rise to world supremacy. But Babylonia must first contend with what is left of Assyria as well as with Pharaoh Necho of Egypt, who succeeds his father, Psammetichus I, in 610 B.C. When Necho recognizes the growing threat of Babylonia, he decides to bolster what few Assyrian forces remain, and that plan of action brings Necho through Canaan.
The incidental result for Judah is loss of its good king Josiah. Why Josiah decides to attack Egypt is not clear, but he goes to Megiddo, a city on the southern edge of the Plain of Esdraelon, and soon finds himself mortally wounded. Here now is the record of Josiah’s untimely death and of the brief reign of his son Jehoahaz before Necho replaces him by Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim, whom the pharaoh calls Jehoiakim. During this time Necho tries to make Judah a buffer state between his own country and Babylonia.
Now that Josiah’s good influence is gone and his sons have once again let Judah become corrupt, Jeremiah is in more jeopardy than he might otherwise have been. He is reminded of this by a confrontation in which he barely escapes with his life.
It is obvious that Jeremiah is maturing both as a young man and as a prophet of God. He has been in the crucible of conflict and has emerged victorious. There will be more opposition and more personal sacrifice, but Jeremiah now has the fortitude to endure. Jeremiah will next be heard from after the reign of Josiah has ended. For now, however, the scene changes to a nation on the brink of a thorough, if brief, spiritual revival. Perhaps Jeremiah’s preaching has been more effective than he realizes. (When one plants the seed, he never knows when it will bear fruit.)
Josiah’s reign is truly a high point in the history of Judah, but it will not be enough to atone for three centuries of sinning on the part of Israel. The apparent lesson is that sin sometimes sets in motion certain consequences which even subsequent good intentions cannot forestall.