Jeremiah had used the images of an unfaithful wife and then a broken cistern from which no thirst can be quenched. Now in Jeremiah 2:14-15 he moves on to another image. He says, “Is Israel a slave? Is he a home born servant? Why then has he become a prey? The lions 29 midashave roared against him; they have roared loudly. They have made his land a waste; his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.” In Exodus 4:22 God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh that “Israel is my firstborn son.” How then now can she be a slave? Constance says, “Instead of being His children they had become slaves and servants, bound, beaten, abused, and carried off as slaves. Jeremiah likens Israel to one that has fallen victim to a lion’s young, to a wasted land, their homes desolate and the crops stripped from the fields, vineyards destroyed, and their flocks and herds driven away, their cities left in smoldering ruins.”[1] The very land that flowed with milk and honey were left in ruins as were the lives of His own children.

When we think of the deportation we usually think of what we call the “Babylonian Captivity.” Ezekiel, Daniel, Nehemiah and others were taken away to Babylon. Jeremiah however was taken away to Egypt. By 200 AD, the largest population of Jews lived in Alexandria, Egypt. Obviously, they must have been the descendants of the slaves of Jeremiah’s day. It was this group that brought about the translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. The Septuagint is a work that Jesus often quoted from directly. Obviously, like many in Babylon, many of the Egyptian exiles looked to God’s word for comfort and direction again. It seems that the hardships of slavery again in Egypt brought them back to their senses. That often happens for us all, doesn’t it?

This is fascinating because on several occasions Israel expressed their desire to go back to Egypt to enjoy the leeks, melons and other good things they had when they were slaves in Egypt. Well, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! We all know the story of King Midas. He thought it would be great to have everything he touched turn to gold. He didn’t think that through, did he? We all learned along with King Midas that gold in the wrong places can become the worst of all ills. In this case, God did send Israel back to Egypt, but the circumstances became the worst of all ills for them. Solomon has been said to have had the Midas touch. Everything he did turned to gold. But because of such bounty in his life he failed to manage his own appetites. At his death the nation split and started its journey to exile in Babylon and Egypt. Wanting the best, Israel went from honored son to humiliated slave. I’m always reminded to watch out myself for this.


[1] Mrs. T. M. Constance, Jeremiah, vol. 1 (Dickson, TN: Explorer’s Bible Study, 1978), 11–12.