In Jeremiah 45, God says that Egypt will fall and most all the remnant of Judah will be destroyed.  How does this work historically?  I don’t see where Babylon invaded Egypt at this time in history. Am I incorrect? Thanks for clarifying.


I assume you mean Jeremiah 46.  In this prophecy we are told that Nebuchadnezzar would attack Egypt and inflict a great defeat on her.  We are also told that, “‘Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past,’ declares the Lord.”   In other words, Nebuchadnezzar will defeat Egypt, but she will come back.  This is different from the defeat of Egypt by Cambysses of Persia, after which Egypt never fully recovered her freedom.

This prophecy in Jeremiah reflects what in fact happened.  Although historians do not have a lot of details of this campaign by Nebuchadnezzar, there is evidence of a campaign in Egypt by him.  Here is what Wikipedia has:  

Following the pacification of the Phoenician state of Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar turned again to Egypt. A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, states: “In the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to wage war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad.” Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and a campaign against Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon, and constructed canals, aqueducts, temples and reservoirs.

We have here a successful campaign against Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, but one which was not followed up, after which Egypt was able to maintain her freedom for about sixty years, until being completely subjugated by Cambysses.  This agrees with the prophecy of Jeremiah.

What if we did not have the historical sources confirming the campaign of Nebuchadnezzar (which we, fortunately, do have). Would this be evidence that the Bible is wrong?  This is an important question.  Many of the critics of the Bible use this kind of lack of evidence as “proof” the Bible is historically inaccurate. They say things like, “The Bible is clearly wrong here and the prophecy was not fulfilled.  There is no evidence for this campaign.”   However, “Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack”, as they say.  Now, in this particular case, the critics are doubly wrong, both because of bad logic (because lack of evidence is not evidence that it did not happen) and also because the fact is that there IS evidence of this campaign.

Time and time again, evidence has emerged which confirms a biblical historical claim (or a prophetic one in this case).  NEVER has a historical fact emerged which shows a biblical historical claim to be false.  The pattern in clear here.  The Bible is historically reliable, as all the evidence shows.  Yet, the critics of the reliability of the Bible claim that the remaining unproved historical events are proof the Bible is unreliable.  This is clear evidence of bias on the part of those who claim the Bible is historically unreliable.  We should not be intimidated by such arguments.

John Oakes

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