And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the Lord their God, for which the Lord their God had sent him to them, even all these words,
2 Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the Lord our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:
3 But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon.
4 So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the Lord, to dwell in the land of Judah.
5 But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, whither they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah;
6 Even men, and women, and children, and the king's daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah.
7 So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: thus came they even to Tahpanhes.
8 Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying,
9 Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in the brickkiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah;
10 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them.
11 And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword.
12 And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace.
13 He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.
God ordered Jeremiah to prophesy against the people of Judah with a symbolic action of hiding large stones in front of the Egyptian royal house. The hidden stones symbolized the Judean field captains and the people of Judah who came to seek refuge under the Egyptian king.
The words God had spoken in front of all the people of Judah in Tahpanhes explained what Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, would do to them and to the Egyptians. God called Nebuchadnezzar “My servant.” This was true because Nebuchadnezzar became God’s humble servant by the help of Daniel and his friends (Daniel 2:46-49; 3:28-30; 4:34-37). Nebuchadnezzar would exercise his authority over the Judeans in Egypt who had come under the refuge of the Egyptian king. He would smite the land of Egypt, kill a part of the Egyptians, and take some of them to Babylon as captives.
What can we learn from this chapter? Since the time when God had made a covenant with the people of Israel, God was faithful to His people, trying to bring those who were unfaithful to Himself. He did not give them up easily. He wanted to restore a good relationship with them. How thankful we are that He is the same God today.