Jeremiah 46

A message about Egypt

1This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations:

2Concerning Egypt:

This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish on the River Euphrates by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:

3‘Prepare your shields, both large and small,

and march out for battle!

4Harness the horses,

mount the steeds!

Take your positions

with helmets on!

Polish your spears,

put on your armour!

5What do I see?

They are terrified,

they are retreating,

their warriors are defeated.

They flee in haste

without looking back,

and there is terror on every side,’ declares the Lord.

6‘The swift cannot flee

nor the strong escape.

In the north by the River Euphrates

they stumble and fall.

7‘Who is this that rises like the Nile,

like rivers of surging waters?

8Egypt rises like the Nile,

like rivers of surging waters.

She says, “I will rise and cover the earth;

I will destroy cities and their people.”

9Charge, you horses!

Drive furiously, you charioteers!

March on, you warriors – men of Cush and Put who carry shields,

men of Lydia who draw the bow.

10But that day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty –

a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes.

The sword will devour till it is satisfied,

till it has quenched its thirst with blood.

For the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will offer sacrifice

in the land of the north by the River Euphrates.

11‘Go up to Gilead and get balm,

Virgin Daughter Egypt.

But you try many medicines in vain;

there is no healing for you.

12The nations will hear of your shame;

your cries will fill the earth.

One warrior will stumble over another;

both will fall down together.’

13This is the message the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to attack Egypt:

14‘Announce this in Egypt, and proclaim it in Migdol;

proclaim it also in Memphis and Tahpanhes:

“Take your positions and get ready,

for the sword devours those around you.”

15Why will your warriors be laid low?

They cannot stand, for the Lord will push them down.

16They will stumble repeatedly;

they will fall over each other.

They will say, “Get up, let us go back

to our own people and our native lands,

away from the sword of the oppressor.”

17There they will exclaim,

“Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise;

he has missed his opportunity.”

18‘As surely as I live,’ declares the King,

whose name is the Lord Almighty,

‘one will come who is like Tabor among the mountains,

like Carmel by the sea.

19Pack your belongings for exile,

you who live in Egypt,

for Memphis will be laid waste

and lie in ruins without inhabitant.

20‘Egypt is a beautiful heifer,

but a gadfly is coming

against her from the north.

21The mercenaries in her ranks

are like fattened calves.

They too will turn and flee together,

they will not stand their ground,

for the day of disaster is coming upon them,

the time for them to be punished.

22Egypt will hiss like a fleeing serpent

as the enemy advances in force;

they will come against her with axes,

like men who cut down trees.

23They will chop down her forest,’ declares the Lord,

‘dense though it be.

They are more numerous than locusts,

they cannot be counted.

24Daughter Egypt will be put to shame,

given into the hands of the people of the north.’

25The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. 26I will give them into the hands of those who want to kill them – Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past,’ declares the Lord.

27‘Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant;

do not be dismayed, Israel.

I will surely save you out of a distant place,

your descendants from the land of their exile.

Jacob will again have peace and security,

and no-one will make him afraid.

28Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant,

for I am with you,’

declares the Lord.

‘Though I completely destroy all the nations

among which I scatter you,

I will not completely destroy you.

I will discipline you but only in due measure;

I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’