1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah about the nations.
The Prophecy about Egypt’s Defeat at Carchemish
2 He spoke about Egypt and the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt which was encamped along the Euphrates River at Carchemish. Now this was the army that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated in the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah.
3 “Fall into ranks with your shields ready!
Prepare to march into battle!
4 Harness the horses to the chariots!
Mount your horses!
Put on your helmets and take your positions!
Sharpen you spears!
Put on your armor!
5 What do I see?” says the Lord.
“The soldiers are terrified.
They are retreating.
They have been defeated.
They are overcome with terror;
they desert quickly
without looking back.
6 But even the swiftest cannot get away.
Even the strongest cannot escape.
There in the north by the Euphrates River
they stumble and fall in defeat.
7 “Who is this that rises like the Nile,
like its streams turbulent at flood stage?
8 Egypt rises like the Nile,
like its streams turbulent at flood stage.
Egypt says, ‘I will arise and cover the earth.
I will destroy cities and the people who inhabit them.’
9 Go ahead and charge into battle, you horsemen!
Drive furiously, you charioteers!
Let the soldiers march out into battle,
those from Ethiopia and Libya who carry shields,
and those from Lydia who are armed with the bow.
10 But that day belongs to the Lord God who rules over all.
It is the day when he will pay back his enemies.
His sword will devour them until its appetite is satisfied!
It will drink their blood until it is full!
For the Lord God who rules over all will offer them up as a sacrifice
in the land of the north by the Euphrates River.
11 Go up to Gilead and get medicinal ointment,
you dear poor people of Egypt.
But it will prove useless no matter how much medicine you use;
there will be no healing for you.
12 The nations will hear of your devastating defeat.
your cries of distress will echo throughout the earth.
In the panic of their flight one soldier will trip over another
and both of them will fall down defeated.”
The Lord Predicts that Nebuchadnezzar Will Attack and Plunder Egypt
13 The Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about Nebuchadnezzar coming to attack the land of Egypt.
14 “Make an announcement throughout Egypt.
Proclaim it in Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes.
‘Take your positions and prepare to do battle.
For the enemy army is destroying all the nations around you.’
15 Why will your soldiers be defeated?
They will not stand because I, the Lord, will thrust them down.
16 I will make many stumble.
They will fall over one another in their hurry to flee.
They will say, ‘Get up!
Let’s go back to our own people.
Let’s go back to our homelands
because the enemy is coming to destroy us.’
17 There at home they will say, ‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is just a big noise!
He has let the most opportune moment pass by.’
18 I the King, whose name is the Lord who rules over all, swear this:
I swear as surely as I live that a conqueror is coming.
He will be as imposing as Mount Tabor is among the mountains,
as Mount Carmel is against the backdrop of the sea.
19 Pack your bags for exile,
you inhabitants of poor dear Egypt.
For Memphis will be laid waste.
It will lie in ruins and be uninhabited.
20 Egypt is like a beautiful young cow.
But northern armies will attack her like swarms of stinging flies.
21 Even her mercenaries
will prove to be like pampered, well-fed calves.
For they too will turn and run away.
They will not stand their ground
when the time for them to be destroyed comes,
the time for them to be punished.
22 Egypt will run away, hissing like a snake,
as the enemy comes marching up in force.
They will come against her with axes
as if they were woodsmen chopping down trees.
23 The population of Egypt is like a vast, impenetrable forest.
But I, the Lord, affirm that the enemy will cut them down.
For those who chop them down will be more numerous than locusts.
They will be too numerous to count.
24 Poor dear Egypt will be put to shame.
She will be handed over to the people from the north.”
25 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all says, “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes. I will punish Egypt, its gods, and its kings. I will punish Pharaoh and all who trust in him. 26 I will hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar and his troops, who want to kill them. But later on, people will live in Egypt again as they did in former times. I, the Lord, affirm it!”
A Promise of Hope for Israel
27 “You descendants of Jacob, my servants, do not be afraid;
do not be terrified, people of Israel.
For I will rescue you and your descendants
from the faraway lands where you are captives.
The descendants of Jacob will return to their land and enjoy peace.
They will be secure and no one will terrify them.
28 I, the Lord, tell you not to be afraid,
you descendants of Jacob, my servant,
for I am with you.
Though I completely destroy all the nations where I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will indeed discipline you but only in due measure.
I will not allow you to go entirely unpunished.”