Jeremiah 44

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Read Jeremiah 44

Disaster Because of Idolatry

44 This word came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews living in Lower Egypt—in Migdol, Tahpanhes and Memphis—and in Upper Egypt: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You saw the great disaster I brought on Jerusalem and on all the towns of Judah. Today they lie deserted and in ruins because of the evil they have done. They aroused my anger by burning incense to and worshiping other gods that neither they nor you nor your ancestors ever knew. Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen or pay attention; they did not turn from their wickedness or stop burning incense to other gods. Therefore, my fierce anger was poured out; it raged against the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem and made them the desolate ruins they are today.

“Now this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Why bring such great disaster on yourselves by cutting off from Judah the men and women, the children and infants, and so leave yourselves without a remnant? Why arouse my anger with what your hands have made, burning incense to other gods in Egypt, where you have come to live? You will destroy yourselves and make yourselves a curse[a] and an object of reproachamong all the nations on earth. Have you forgotten the wickedness committed by your ancestors and by the kings and queens of Judah and the wickedness committed by you and your wives in the land of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem? 10 To this day they have not humbled themselves or shown reverence, nor have they followed my law and the decrees I set before you and your ancestors.

11 “Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to bring disaster on you and to destroy all Judah. 12 I will take away the remnant of Judah who were determined to go to Egypt to settle there. They will all perish in Egypt; they will fall by the sword or die from famine. From the least to the greatest, they will die by sword or famine. They will become a curse and an object of horror, a curse and an object of reproach. 13 I will punish those who live in Egypt with the sword, famine and plague, as I punished Jerusalem. 14 None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives.”

15 Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present—a large assembly—and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, 16 “We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! 17 We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. 18 But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.”

19 The women added, “When we burned incense to the Queen of Heavenand poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes impressed with her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?”

20 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him, 21 “Did not the Lord remember and call to mind the incenseburned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem by you and your ancestors, your kings and your officials and the people of the land? 22 When the Lord could no longer endure your wicked actions and the detestable things you did, your land became a curse and a desolate waste without inhabitants, as it is today. 23 Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed him or followed his law or his decrees or his stipulations, this disaster has come upon you, as you now see.”

24 Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah in Egypt. 25 This is what the LordAlmighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives have done what you said you would do when you promised, ‘We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.’

“Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows! 26 But hear the word of the Lord, all you Jews living in Egypt: ‘I swear by my great name,’ says the Lord, ‘that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.”27 For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. 28 Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand—mine or theirs.

29 “‘This will be the sign to you that I will punish you in this place,’ declares the Lord, ‘so that you will know that my threats of harm against you will surely stand.’ 30 This is what the Lord says: ‘I am going to deliver PharaohHophra king of Egypt into the hands of his enemies who want to kill him, just as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the enemy who wanted to kill him.’”

Go Deeper

In chapter 44, Jeremiah is speaking to the Judeans who have fled to Egypt. Just a few chapters ago, Jeremiah warned the Jews to remain in the land and not flee to Egypt (Jeremiah 42), but they were disobedient and went to Egypt forcing Jeremiah to go with them (Jeremiah 43:1-7). The Lord had promised them mercy and safety and they refused to listen to Jeremiah and his words which ultimately was a rejection of God.

Unfortunately, Jeremiah does not have good news to share with them. Verse 11 states “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for harm, to cut off all Judah.” As a result of their disobedience and idolatry, those who had chosen to exile to Egypt would be met with judgment and ultimately death. 

After Jeremiah details out the consequences that are to come if the people do not correct their ways and return to Judah, the people respond with “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you” (v. 16). Commentator David Guzik observes about this passage “Their sin (especially idolatry) was bad enough; their refusal to be corrected was fatal.”

God’s words, through Jeremiah, give us some insight into how these people got so wayward. As the Lord is addressing his people, he states in verse 10, “They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes that I set before your fathers.” Choosing God always requires humility, reverence, and obedience. This is a good checklist that we as believers can use as we attempt to choose to trust in God’s provision and protection as opposed to following our own foolish ways like these Judeans did.

Step one would be to examine our hearts and search to see if our motives are humble. Proverbs 11:2 says “…but with humility comes wisdom.” That wisdom will give us an adequate view of ourselves in relation to God because as Proverbs 9:10 tells us “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” And finally, once we have humble hearts and a fear of the Lord, we can seek to walk in obedience. 

The Judeans followed their false Gods and chose to dwell in the land of Egypt where they would ultimately meet their fate by either sword or famine. Unlike the Judeans, may we seek to be people who are marked by humility, fear of the Lord, and obedience and may we always choose to “dwell in the shelter of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1) as we trust in his provision and protection!


  1. Jeremiah 44:5 says “they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods.” Are there areas of your life that you are not inclined to turn your ear to the Lord for guidance?
  2. Near the end of this chapter (v. 25) God finally turned the Judeans over to their idolatry. Spend some time asking God to reveal the idols in your life so that you can confess and not follow this same pattern of sinfulness.
  3. Is humility, reverence, or obedience difficult for you? Ask God to help you mold and sharpen those characteristic qualities in your life.

Keep Digging

When the people boldly proclaim that they refuse to listen to Jeremiah, they state that instead they will “do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her…” (v. 17). This title refers to an Assyrian and Babylonian goddess and worship of this false goddess was rampant amongst pagan civilizations. For more information about the queen of heaven, read this article from

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4 thoughts on “Jeremiah 44”

  1. When the word of the Lord was spoken the people refused to listen and defiantly rebelled, rationalizing away their open idolatry. They made no connection between their sin and God’s judgement. God pursued their hearts time and again but they slammed the door in his face. History was about to repeat itself, and they could have cared less. Their depravity would eventually meet God’s judgment. This passage stops me in my tracks! How have I stubbornly demanded my own foolish choices over following God’s instructions for my life? Every detour from God’s ways is an open invitation for disaster. We are hearing God’s voice through the prophet Jeremiah, may we not harden our hearts but repent and follow every precept that leads to life everlasting, lest history repeat itself.

  2. 4 “Again and again I sent my servants the prophets, who said, ‘Do not do this detestable thing that I hate!’

    Lord, help me to listen and obey the first time!

  3. This is what I heard while reading this: This is the way we have always worshiped God. We sing verses 1,2,and 4 or in some cases, 1, and 3, but not with any exuberance or excitement. We will have an old testament reading and a new testament reading but it will be read in a deadpan monotoness voice. We will use this version of the Bible because it’s what our ancestors used. We will uphold the integrity of God’s Word but only if it agrees with the theology we’ve been taught, otherwise we will ignore those scriptures entirely and do what we’ve always done and believe what we’ve always believed. That’s how we’ve always done it and that’s what we will continue to do.
    To my mind, that is exactly what the people were saying to Jeremiah.

  4. Rainbows and sunshine? Have we made the gospel out to be the fix all cure all? Yes, this is what we all want, salvation. God sent His ONLY son to die for us and that God raised Him from the dead, but there is more we are to do. That was not the end with rainbows and sunshine. We have a responsibility after we believe to then follow Him. We are to heed His voice, to obey when we think we know better. Jeremiah had a mega-phone but they/we are so hardheaded. We/they want it our way, easy and fast, now right this minute. BUT GOD being rich in mercy gave them/us chance, after chance, after chance. Where are we being lead astray? We need to be on our knees, seeking His face, listening, oh so very prayfully/carefully to and for His voice in going forward.

    God I come bodly to Your throne. Thank You that I heed Your voice and no other. Thank You God for You directing my path, hearing Your voice, obedience to what I am hearing and to follow You. God I desire to be Your servant. I desire to do Your will. Show me, lead me, guide me, teach me and help me to be obedient in You!!!!!! Thank You for these minutes of this day to be Your servant, Your hands, Your feet, Your voice, to do Your will in Jesus name amen.

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