Jeremiah 42 – The Flight to Egypt & Henotheism

I can certainly vouch for You.  Whenever I call, You answer, sometimes it takes a while but no one else picks up the phone so I don’t think You’re hogging it.

I think idolatry has got to be the worst of the worst sins, it would be like getting tired of one of your kids so you take them to Wal-Mart and trade them in for a different kid.

So tell me…

Jeremiah 42
The Flight to Egypt

1 Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near,

The site of the Pool of Gibeon, mentioned in 2 Sam 2:13 and Jer 41:12.
Found were 31 jar handles with the Hebrew word for Gibeon on them. Apparently, Gibeon was a producer and exporter of wines, which required special provisions of water, since the summer months lacked any rainfall.

It had two separate water systems: (1) a pool or reservoir measuring 37 feet in diameter, and (2) a tunnel that sloped down from inside the city walls to a water chamber just outside the city at the base of the tell.

The Gibeon Pool was cut through limestone bedrock to a depth of 82 feet to the water level, with a staircase and railing cut into the limestone winding down 37 feet to a level floor about halfway down. From there the stairs drop straight down another 45 feet to the water table.

2 And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)

3 That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.

4 Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you.

5 Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us.

6 Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.

“We will obey…the LORD our God” – though they twice declare here their desire to do God’s will, they soon demonstrate that they have already decided to follow their own inclinations.

7 And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah.

8 Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest,

9 And said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him;

Vessels from 14th century B.C. tomb

10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.

11 Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.

12 And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.

13 But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God,

14 Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell:

Cult
niches carved in the cliff-face that once held statues of the god Pan.

Three have Greek inscriptions. One refers to Galerius, a priest of Pan,

another relates to Echo, the mountain nymph and lover of Pan; yet

another refers to Diopan, the god who loved music.

15 And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there;

16 Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.

17 So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them.

18 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and ye shall see this place no more.

Figure of the half-man, half-goat god Pan playing his panpipes.

 19 The LORD hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day.

20 For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.

21 And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you.

22 Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn.

Henotheism

Is Henotheism a sin?  Yes, it’s idolatry.

The gods of Horus, Osiris and Isis

Thou shalt have no gods before me (Ex 20:3).

Henotheism (Greek – “one god”) is a term originally coined by Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775-1854) to depict early stages of monotheism. However Max Muller (1823-1900), a German Philologist and Orientalist, brought the term into common usage to describe the worshipping of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.

The largest example of henotheism among today’s world religions is found in Hinduism. In this system, the practice of bhakti is common in which a person worships one deity while acknowledging many others. 

In the Hindu tradition, more than 300 million gods and goddesses exist. 

Bhakti
Hinduism is actually an monotheistic religion and the worship of idols all eventually narrow down to one, one entity that is everything.

Ancient Greek religion also provides an example of henotheism. For example, Zeus was an important deity who ruled over eleven other gods. All of these deities were believed to be divine, yet one was considered stronger than the others. 

Some have suggested that the ancient Israelites were henotheists. This is based on the verses in scripture that speak of the Lord being more powerful than the other gods. In addition, many occasions were mentioned when the Israelites disobeyed God and served idols or other gods. 

However, the fact that other gods were mentioned or even worshiped by some people in the Old Testament does not promote hedonism, on the contrary: 

Unto thee it was shewed that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside Him (Deut 4:35). 

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no god beside me: I girded thee, though thou has not known me (Isa 45:5). 

In the New Testament, Jesus is revealed as God in human form: 

Statue of Zeus

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn 1:1). 

Jesus never claimed to be another God, the God that was with Father and taught that it was Him, and only Him that could give us life.  

Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me (Jn 14:6).

 Paul taught the same:

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory (1 Tim 3:16).

 The apostle Paul also made an important statement about God that relates to the idea of henotheism:

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many and lords many,) 

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him (1 Cor 8:4-). 

Scripture is explicitly clear that there is only one God. There is not one God above other gods. There is one God and no other gods. God has been revealed through the Son, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us and desires to have a relationship with us today, offering eternal life to all who believe: 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life (Jn 3:16).

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 

Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9).

In Your eyes, are all sins the same or are some worse than others?