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Jeremiah Chapter 46
The difference between the preceding and the following prophecies in the way they are arranged is worth mentioning; because the last one excels greatly in majesty and elegance. The first verse of Chapter 46 forms a common title to this and the five following chapters, and contains two separate prophecies involving Egypt. The first prophecy was delivered previously to a meeting between Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; in which the Egyptians were routed to Carchemish with great slaughter, as here predicted. Jeremiah sees the mighty preparations; but they all are stated to be of no avail, since God had declared their fall (Jer.46:1-6). The King of Egypt, however, is represented as marching with all confidence of victory, like a river overflowing its banks, and threatening all around with its flood (Jer.46:7-8). But the huge army of Pharaoh-necho, involving various nations, shall by a righteous judgment of God, receive such an overthrow near the Euphrates River, that the political result of Egypt shall be so permanently ruined, and its remaining power become contemptible in the sight of the nations (Jer.46:9-12).
The other prophecy, begins at verse 13, and tells of the memorable overthrow of the Egyptians by Nebuchadnezzar, following to his siege of Tyre, in the sixteenth year after the destruction of Jerusalem (Jer.46:13-26). The Promise, in the end of the chapter, of preservation to the Jews, who have for many ages continued to be a separate people (1 Ki.8:53; Ezra 10:11), when the various nations of antiquity who oppressed them, or with whom they had any interaction, have long ago ceased to have any separate and visible existence, has been most remarkably fulfilled; and is an actual sign of wisdom, and a pledge of the restoration of Israel to their Divine favor, when the time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled (Jer.46:27-28).
Placing Egypt first in the order of these prophecies may be due to the fact that in Chapter 43, Jeremiah arrived in Egypt and offered messages concerning the Jews there. Following the brief interlude concerning Baruch (Jer.45), the new section begins with Egypt. The prophecies conclude (Jer.50-51), with Babylon as the subject of divine wrath. Thus we move from where the prophet is to where the largest number of Jews are, from among whom would come the remnant that would initiate the restoration of Judah. Jeremiah begins with Egypt, being the country to which he had been removed.
How judgment began at the House of God we have found in the previous prophecy and history; but now we will see that it did not end there. In this and the following chapters we will see the predictions of the desolations of the neighboring nations, and those brought upon them mostly by the king of Babylon, until finally Babylon shall be dealt with. The prophecy against Egypt is here put first and takes up this whole chapter, in which we have, (1). A prophecy of the defeat of Pharaoh-necho's army by the Chaldean forces at Carchemish, which happened soon after, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer.46:1-12). This was a prophecy of the descent which Nebuchadnezzar would make upon the land of Egypt, and his success in it, which was accomplished some years after the destruction of Jerusalem (Jer.46:13-26). The LORD gives a word of comfort to the Israel of God in the midst of those calamities (Jer.46:27-28).
Theme: Prophecy to Egypt, Philistia and Moab
Jeremiah is in Egypt, having been taken there against his will by the remnant who disobeyed God and went to Egypt. Now Jeremiah gives prophecies to the different nations round about. God tells them what will happen to Egypt. The remnant which left from Judah went down to Egypt because they thought they would have peace and plenty there. But they were wrong, for the war also moved to Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar will take Egypt, too.
A Prophecy of the Defeat of Pharaoh-Necho's Army by the
Chaldean Forces at Carchemish (Jer.46:1-12)
Jer. 46:1 The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles; (KJV)
The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles . . . or the nations (non Jews), not all the nations of the world, but some that shall be mentioned, such as the Egyptians, Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Syrians, Arabians, Persians and Chaldeans. The prophecies delivered concerning them, are all against them, and not in their favor. Mention is made of Jeremiah's prophesying against all the nations (Jer. 25:13).
*****Verse 1 is the general heading of the next six chapters of prophecies concerning the Gentiles; the prophecies are arranged according to nations, not by the dates.
Jer. 46:2 Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah. (KJV)
Against Egypt. . . this is the title of the first prophecy against Egypt; which is the first mentioned, because the Jews placed great confidence in Egypt and much relied on them for help.
Against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt . . . who is by Herodotus called Necos; he was the son and successor of Psammitichus, and was succeeded by his son Psammis; and he by Apries, the same with Pharaohhophra (Jer.44:30); the Targum calls this king Pharaoh the lame.
Which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish . . . (Isa.10:9), this being in the land of the king of Assyria, and as appears to be the same place. Pharaohnecho, in Josiah's time, came up against him, in order to take it from him; but whether he did or not is not certain (2 Ki.23:29); however, he appeared at the same place a second time, against the king of Babylon, into whose hands it was now very probably fallen, with the whole Assyrian monarchy; and here, in this second battle, his army was routed, as follows:
Which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah . . . when he took away from the king of Egypt all that belonged to him between the Nile and Euphrates, he no more came out of his land (2 Ki.24:7). Some think there was just one expedition of Pharaohnecho; and that the siege of Carchemish continued to the fourth year of Jehoiakim; when he met with an entire overthrow from the king of Babylon, which God gave as a judgment on him for killing Josiah.
*****Pharaoh-necho, he, when going against Carchemish (Cercusium, near the Euphrates), encountered Josiah, king of Judah (the ally of Assyria), at Megiddo, and slew him there (2 Ki. 23:29; 2 Chr. 35:20-24); but he was four years then overcome at Carchemish, by Nebuchadnezzar, as is foretold here; and lost all the territory which had been subject to the Pharaohs west of the Euphrates, and between it and the Nile. The prediction would lessen the Jews' grief for Josiah, and show his death was not to be unavenged (2 Ki. 24:7). He is famed as having fitted out a fleet of discovery from the Red Sea, which doubled the Cape of Good Hope and returned to Egypt by the Mediterranean.
Jer. 46:3 Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle. (KJV)
Order ye the buckler and shield . . . the buckler was used by the lightly armed infantry, and the shield was handled by the heavier ranks of the soldiers who were generally the stronger of the two.
And draw near to battle . . . this is a sarcastic summons to battle.
Jer. 46:4 Harness the horses; and get up, ye horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears, and put on the brigandines. (KJV)
Harness the horses . . . and hitch them to the war chariots, for which Egypt was well-known Ex.14:7; 15:4).
Get up, ye horsemen . . . get into the chariots. This describes the consecutive steps in equipping the war chariots; first harness the horses, then hitch them to them, then let the horsemen get into the chariots.
And stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears . . . put on your helmets and cleanse, brighten, and sharpen the spears.
And put on the brigandines . . . brigandines, cuirasses was a coat of mail (1 Sam.17:5, 38), especially that which was made with one plate overlapping the other, like the scales of fish.
Jer. 46:5 Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: for fear was round about, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back? . . . the Egyptians, after all this preparation for war, seemed eager to go into battle; yet when they came to it, they were overcome with panic, and thrown into great panic, and turned their backs to their enemy. These are either the words of the prophet, who had a view by a spirit of prophecy, of the anxiety, confusion and flight of the Egyptian army; or of the LORD, who foresaw all this, and represents it as if it was done because of the certainty of it; rebuking the Egyptians with their timidity, cowardice and fear.
And their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back . . . their mighty ones are ruined; their valiant soldiers and officers, their best troops were broken to pieces, their ranks and files, and all was thrown into utmost disorder. They all made haste to escape the fury of the enemy, and fled with the utmost fear, never stopping to look back . . . so great their fear.
For fear was round about, saith the LORD . . . from whence it came; it was the LORD that put it into them, took away their courage, and made them a magormissabib, which means ‘terror on every side’ and is often used by Jeremiah (6:25; 20:3, 10; 46:5; 49:29; Lam. 2:22). Their enemies surrounded them, and that was the reason fear was round about them, and both were from the LORD; just as God had said, determined and foretold it would be.
Jer. 46:6 Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble, and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates. (KJV)
Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty men escape . . . the men that were fast, or carried light armor, should not trust their swiftness or light load; nor let the mighty man think he can escape because of his great strength, to make his way through the enemy and get out of his hands.
They shall stumble and fall toward the north, by the river Euphrates . . . which lay north of Judea, where the prophet was, to whom this word came; and also was to the north of Egypt, whose destruction is threatened here. The place where this route and slaughter would be made was Carchemish, which was located by that river; on the north side of which city, according to some, where the battle was.
Jer. 46:7 Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? (KJV)
Who is this that cometh up as a flood . . . these are either the words of the prophet, who having a vision in prophecy of the march of the Egyptian army from the south to the north, which he compares to a flood; in reference to the Nile river, which would overflow its banks, and spread over the land, because of the vast numbers of which it consisted; because of the noise it made, and because of its speed and force, threatening to bear down all before it. Who is it whose army this was, and to whom did it belong? Are these the words of God, who puts asks this question, in order to give an answer, and in this manner rebuke the Egyptians of their arrogance, pride and vanity; all of which would come to nothing.
Whose waters are moved as the rivers? . . . whose armies was it that came with such great noise and force, sounding like the openings of the seven gates the Nile, which were very noisy, especially in hard gales of wind.
*****It is a usual thing for large armies or large groups of people to be compared to floods and rivers (Jer.47:2; Isa.5:30; 8:7; 17:12; 59:19; Dan.9:2:6), which move forcibly and fast, and make a large spread.
Jer. 46:8 Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof. (KJV)
Egypt riseth up as a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers . . . this is the answer to the above question . . . it was Egypt; the king of Egypt, as one version; he with his army was so numerous, that it seemed as if the whole country of Egypt and all the inhabitants of it, were come along with him . . . rising up like the Nile, and moved like the several sluices of it, with great velocity and force, as if they would carry all away from before them.
And he saith, I will go up . . . Pharaohnecho king of Egypt said, I will go up from my own land to the north, to meet the king of Babylon,
And will cover the earth . . . with his army, including all the north country, the whole Babylon Empire; which he would be master of, grasping at, universal monarchy.
I will destroy the city, and the inhabitants thereof . . . which some restrain to the city Carchemish, where his army was smitten. The Targum says, "I will destroy cities"; since it was not a single city he came up to take, nor would this satisfy his ambitious temper. The rise of the Nile is gentle; but the mouth of it, unlike most rivers, is greatly agitated, because of the sandbanks obstructing its course, and so it rushes into the sea like a waterfall.
Jer. 46:9 Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow. (KJV)
Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots . . . these are either the words of Pharaoh, giving orders to his cavalry and charioteers to make haste and come up to battle, not doubting of victory: or rather of the LORD by the prophet, sarcastically calling upon the horsemen in the Egyptian army to come and fight the enemy, and act gallantly; and those in the chariots to drive, like Jehu (2 Ki.9:20), who drove with great swiftness, force and fury, making their chariots rattle, and run about here and there like madmen, trying to throw the enemy into confusion and disorder any way they could.
And let the mighty men come forth . . . out of the land of Egypt, as some; or let them come forth, and appear in the field of battle with courage and greatness of mind, doing all their might and skill can enable them to do.
The Ethiopians and the Lybians, that handle the shield . . . Cush and Phut, both sons of Ham, and brethren of Mizraim, from whence Egypt had its name (Gen.10:6); the successors of these are meant. The Cushites or Ethiopians were close neighbors to Egypt and their allies and confederates. The Lybians or Phuteans, as the Targum, were the posterity of Phut, who dwelt to the west of Egypt, and were the auxiliaries of that nation, and with the Ethiopians and Lydians are mentioned in: Ezekiel 30:4 And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down. (KJV)
The shield was a weapon they much used in war, and were famous for their skill in using it. The Egyptians were remarkable for their shields: one describes them as having shields reaching down to their feet; and which covered their bodies more than the breast plates and targets of the Persians did; which helped them to push forward, having them on their shoulders, so that the enemy could not stand against them.
And the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow . . . these were the posterity of Ludim the son of Mizraim (Gen.10:13); and were the Lydians in Africa, not in Asia, who sprung from Lud the son of Shem (Gen.10:22). These were famous for their skill in the use of bows and arrows (Isa.66:19). All of these are called together to use their military skill, and reveal the courage they were masters of; and yet all would be in vain.
Jer. 46:10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates. (KJV)
For this is the day of the LORD God of hosts . . . news of God's intervention on behalf of Israel will get the attention of even the most far-flung Gentile nations. The Almighty God that had scattered Israel, knows exactly where to find Israel. He will not only gather His people; He will also safely keep and protect them. The LORD is our Shepherd (Ps.23; Isa.40:11; Eze. 4:12-14) who scattered the flock to punish their sin, will once again gather them close to Himself.
A day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries . . . that the LORD may avenge Him of His enemies: the enemies of His people. The Egyptians, who had been of old the relentless enemies of God’s people Israel; although now, opposing His will, they too greatly trusted them, and relied on them. It seems this vengeance was taken on them for killing Josiah.
And the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood . . .
the sword of the Chaldeans shall destroy the Egyptians in such massive numbers, that there shall be no more to be slain; or there shall be no desire in the enemy to slay any
more; Egypt shall be flooded with their blood. All these phrases are designed to show the slaughter that would be made; the vast destruction of the people; and the large numbers that would be killed.
For the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates . . . near Carchemish, situated by the river Euphrates, which lay north of Egypt (verse 6). Here is a reference to the sacrifices of great persons, which are many; the LORD of hosts had a sacrifice, or a great slaughter of men, His enemies. He inflicted punishment on them, where His awesome power, justice and holiness were displayed (Isa.34:6).
Jer. 46:11 Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured. (KJV)
Go up into Gilead . . . still the irony or sarcasm continues. Gilead was a place in the land of Israel famous for balm or balsam, used in curing wounds (Jer.8:22).
And take balm, O virgin, daughter of Egypt . . . the kingdom of Egypt, as the Targum; so called because of its glory and excellence; and because as it had not yet been conquered and brought under the power of another. Now the inhabitants of it are told to take balm or balsam, but this did not grow in Gilead beyond Jordan, but near Jericho on this side Jordan.
In vain shalt thou use many medicines . . . none of your many medicines will help you.
For thou shalt not be cured . . . there shall be no cure for you (Jer.30:13; Eze.30:21). Not that the kingdom of Egypt would cease to exist, but that it would not recover its former strength; the blow would do permanent damage.
Jer. 46:12 The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land: for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together. (KJV)
The nations have heard of thy shame . . . the shameful defeat and overthrow by the Chaldean army; so, after the prophecy was done; the battle fought, and the victory obtained; and the rumor and fame of it spread among the nations, to the great humiliation of this proud people.
And thy cry hath filled the land . . . the screams of the wounded; the cry of the pursued and taken; the weeping of friends and relations for their dead; the whole land of Egypt was filled grief; and all the countries round about them, in union with them, were filled with distress for the loss of their own, the calamity was huge and spreading.
For the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together . . . either the mighty Egyptians against the mighty Chaldeans; and even though the Chaldeans were the conquerors, yet they lost an abundance of men. There were many mighty ones that fell on both sides. This huge multitude shall prove to be an obstacle in their confused flight, one treading on the other. Both were slain.
A Prophecy of the Descent Nebuchadnezzar Would Make
Upon the Land of Egypt, and His Success (Jer.46:13-26)
Jer. 46:13 The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt. (KJV)
The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet . . . this is a new and separate prophecy from the former one, although it does concern Egypt; but in this they differ; the former prophecy respects only the overthrow of the Egyptian army at a certain place; this one is the general destruction of the land; and was fulfilled years after the other; some say it was in the twenty seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign.
How Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt . . . or, concerning the coming of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon to smite the land of Egypt. He was to come, and did come out of his country, into the land of Egypt, to smite the inhabitants of it with the sword, take their cities, plunder them of their substance, and make them a branch to him.
*****This prophecy is not specifically dated like the previous one. The clue to its dating is found in 46:17. It has been suggested that it dates to the reign of Pharaoh Hophra.
Jer. 46:14 Declare ye in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph and in Tahpanhes: say ye, Stand fast, and prepare thee; for the sword shall devour round about thee. (KJV)
Declare ye in Egypt . . . announce the coming of the king of Babylon, and his intention to invade the land and subdue it.
And publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph and in Tahpanhes . . . (Jer.44:1), these were principal cities in the land of Egypt, where the enemy would come, and which he would lay waste . . . thus the above things are to be published for their warning; and mainly because these were places where the Jews that went into Egypt, opposing the will of God resided; and therefore for their sakes also this warning must be made, to let them see and know that they would not be safe there, but would be involved in the general calamity of the nation.
Say ye, Stand fast, and prepare thee . . . beware O Egypt, and the several cities mentioned, and all others; prepare for war, and to meet the enemy, resist and repel him; present yourselves on the borders of your country; put yourselves in proper places, and stand your ground.
For the sword shall devour round about thee . . . the sword of the Chaldeans shall devour thee, into whose hands fell Palestine, Judea, Syria and other neighboring countries. Now was high time for them to rise into action, and provide for their defense and safety.
Jer. 46:15 Why are thy valiant men swept away? they stood not, because the LORD did drive them. (KJV)
Why are thy valiant men swept away?. . . as with a mighty deluge, or a sweeping rain;
They were panic-struck by the LORD, and were driven back. Apis, the Egyptians believed to be a most powerful deity; yet he could not save them; this indicates their nobles, their mighty men of war, their generals and officers, and their valiant soldiers; were not able to stand the tide of power that came against them. The reason was,
They stood not, because the LORD did drive them . . . the LORD did drive them; by means of the Chaldeans; he put them into a panic, and they fled from their posts; there is absolutely NO standing against the LORD.
*****The prophet first asked a question, then gave an answer to himself. Egypt was full of valiant men, but Jeremiah said that they all would be swept away or broken down, as fruit or grass is beaten down with a violent storm of hail. Why would this come to pass? Because it was the decision of Almighty God to destroy Egypt, and when He decides something, He works and NO one can overcome Him. When He strikes, NO one can stand before Him; NO one can stand up against Him.
Jer. 46:16 He made many to fall, yea, one fell upon another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword. (KJV)
He made many to fall . . . the LORD, by the sword of the Chaldeans, made multitudes to fall in battle.
Yea, one fell upon another . . . they fell in piles, meaning the huge multitude that were slain; they fell on one upon another as the fled; one fell, then another on him, as is usual when men are terrified and run as fast as they can.
And they said, Arise . . . not those that fell, but either the strangers in the land of Egypt, such as the Jews were; who, seeing the destruction that was coming on Egypt, urge one another to arise, and get out of it . . . or maybe the auxiliaries of the Egyptians, as the Ethiopians, Lybians, and Lydians (verse 9), who finding the enemy too strong for them, and they deserted or quit supporting Pharaoh's army, advising one another to take care of yourself.
And let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity . . . their own country, where they were born, and their friends and relatives lived; that so they might be safe.
From the oppressing sword; the sword of the Chaldeans . . . the prophet foretells that they would all be glad to go home again, and should speak to one another about it, because the success of the king of Babylon's sword would be so great, that they would quickly see there would be no standing before it.
Jer. 46:17 They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed. (KJV)
They did cry there . . . not the Chaldeans, ridiculing Pharaoh and his army, and mocking them, nor the Egyptians in Egypt, complaining of their king; much less in Carchemish, as others; since this prophecy refers to another event, time and place; but this means the auxiliaries of Egypt in the field of battle; these did cry out aloud, as follows,
Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise . . . he boasted and bragged of great things he would do, and does nothing; he promised to bring a large army into the field, and spoke boldly of attacking the enemy with great ardor and fury, and bullied and blustered as if he did not fear him, and was sure of victory; but when the time came, his courage failed him completely. It may be said of him that he was a voice, and nothing else. This was not Pharaohnecho, as some think, but seems to be Pharaohhophra (Jer. 44:30).
He hath passed the time appointed . . . to join his auxiliaries, in order to give the enemy battle; and so left them in the lurch, of which they complain. Through his delay he lost the proper opportunity of attacking. Because he had engaged in the battle for Jerusalem, as well as in trying to help Tyre against the Babylonians, he had weakened himself, making himself vulnerable to Babylonian attack. The Hebrew root for time means he who is unsteady, wobbles, and refers to Egypt's weakness going into battle.
Jer. 46:18 As I live, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come. (KJV)
As I live, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts . . . the LORD is a much greater King than either Nebuchadnezzar or Pharaoh; the LORD of the hosts of Heaven and Earth; and who has all of them at His command, swears by His life, and by Himself, because He can swear by none greater, to the truth of what follows; for this is the form of an oath.
Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come . . .
Tabor is generally thought to be the mountain on which our LORD was transfigured (Mat.17); but there is no proof of this, so it is not certain. It was a mountain in Galilee, situated on the borders of the tribes of Issachar and Zebulun (Jos.19:12; it was about six miles) from Nazareth to the east, three miles from the lake of Gennesaret; ten miles from Diocaesarea to the east; and two days' journey from Jerusalem. It was a most beautiful mountain, situated in the midst of the plain of Galilee, remarkable for its roundness, and was about four miles or thirty furlongs high, abounding with vines, olives, and fruit trees, with which it was set all over; and gave to those at sea a most delightful sight at a considerable distance. Carmel is called Carmel by the sea; it was located on the border of the tribe of Asher; and close to river Kishon (Jos.19:26), and where Elijah and his servant are said to be on the top of Mount Carmel, and from there bid his servant look towards the sea (1 Ki.18:42-43).
*****Pharaoh, though he lift up his head as high as Tabor and Carmel, shall be brought low into the depths of the sea; into a most forlorn and deplorable condition, into a very low estate; and possibly there may be an reference to the ancient Pharaoh being drowned in the sea.
Jer. 46:19 O thou daughter dwelling in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity: for Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant. (KJV)
O thou daughter dwelling in Egypt . . . O ye inhabitants of Egypt, that have long dwelt there, in great security, enjoying great plenty, and who promised themselves a long continuation.
Furnish thyself to go into captivity . . . or prepare yourself to be vessels of captivity, take such things that are proper for captives, clothes to travel in, shoes to walk in, expect captivity and prepare for it.
For Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant . . . Noph seems to be the city of Memphis, and is mainly mentioned, because it was a royal city, and although a very populated one, its destruction would be so general, that no inhabitants would be left in it. This city is put for that of all the rest, and as a sure token of it and the whole nation going into captivity.
Jer. 46:20 Egypt is like a very fair heifer, but destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north. (KJV)
Egypt is like a very fair heifer . . . like a heifer that has never been under a yoke, it having never been conquered, and brought under the power of another; and like a big, beautiful, fat and well fed one, abounding in wealth and riches, in pleasures and delights, in wantonness and luxury, and fit and ready for slaughter.
But destruction cometh, it cometh from the north . . . meaning the destruction of Egypt, which would come from Chaldea, which was north of Egypt; and the coming of it is repeated, to mean the quickness and certainty of it.
*****Some think there is a reference to the gods of Egypt, Apis and Mnevis, which were heifers or oxen, very beautiful, that had fine spots and marks upon them. Apis was worshipped at Memphis, or Noph, before mentioned, as to be wasted; and Mnevis at Heliopolis, the city of the sun, the same with Bethshemesh, whose destruction is prophesied of (Jer.43:13); and both these were of many colors, especially one of them, but is true of both.
The destruction of Egypt, would come from Chaldea, which was north of Egypt. The coming of it is repeated, to symbolize the quickness and certainty of it. The word used means a cutting off, or a cutting up; in allusion to the cutting off the necks of heifers, which used to be done when slain, or to the cutting of them up, as is done by butchers.
Jer. 46:21 Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they also are turned back, and are fled away together: they did not stand, because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation. (KJV)
All her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks . . . or bullocks of the stall, soldiers of other countries, that were hired to serve Egypt, and lived so abundantly there, that they were unfit for war, because they were like fatted beasts prepared for the slaughter.
For they also are turned back, and are fled away together . . . they turned their backs on the enemy in battle, fleeing in great confusion and suddenness (verse 15).
They did not stand . . . to face the enemy, but fell face down or fled before him.
Because the day of their calamity was come upon them, and the time of their visitation . . . the time appointed by the LORD to visit and punish them, and bring destruction on them for their sins.
*****The LORD shall visit and punish them, and bring destruction for their sins, on ALL who refuse to believe Him (1 John 5:10), and accept His Only begotten Son to save them (John 3:15-18, 36). BEWARE!!! YOU are in charge of what happens to you in eternity!
Jer. 46:22 The voice thereof shall go like a serpent; for they shall march with an army, and come against her with axes, as hewers of wood. (KJV)
The voice thereof shall go like a serpent . . . the serpent was sacred to one of the most prominent Egyptian gods; and this symbol of the whole nation is probably sarcastically referred to in this verse. The woodsmen are represented as clearing the forest, and the serpent slithers away to hide!
For they shall march with an army . . . the Chaldeans would come with a great army, and march against the Egyptians with great strength, force, and fury.
And come against her with axes, as hewers of wood . . . with battle axes, as if they came to cut down trees; nor would they spare the Egyptians any more than hewers spare the trees; nor would they be able to resist them any more than trees can resist the choppers that came to cut them down.
*****The voice of Egypt, before compared to a heifer (verse 20), when in its glory; but now it shall not bellow like a heifer in fat pasture, but hiss like a serpent, when driven out of its hole and pursued; indicating that their voice would be low and obedient, and should not speak one mumbling word to their conquerors. The voice of the serpent is said to be small and weak. Some understand it of the voice of serpents heard afar off; and so it could mean the dreadful mourning the Egyptians would make, when they see the Chaldeans coming to destroy them; just as serpents in woods make a horrible noise, when their home is set on fire, or are cut down, to which there is an reference in some of the following clauses. The cry of Egypt when invaded shall be as the hissing of a serpent roused by the woodcutters from its lair. No longer shall Egypt loudly roar like a heifer, but with a low murmur of fear, like a serpent hissing.
Jer. 46:23 They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable. (KJV)
They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD . . . the land of Egypt, is here compared to a forest, because of the many cities and towns, and the people of them, which would be destroyed by the Chaldeans, just as a forest is cut down by hewers of trees; the symbol is here continued. Some interpret this of the princes of Egypt, and the destruction of them.
Though it cannot be searched . . . neither the forest of Egypt, which was so thick with trees; nor the land that was so full of towns and cities, that they could not be searched and numbered . . . and although the way through it seemed impassable, yet was made passable by the choppers of trees: for its destruction would be so general, that it cannot be searched, or found out, where this forest was, where those trees grew, not one of them standing: or maybe this means the Chaldean army, which was so great, that it could not be numbered.
Because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable . . . grasshoppers come in huge numbers, and eat up all green herbs and trees; so it was with the Chaldean army, it also being numerous, would easily cut down the trees of this forest, even though they were so many.
Jer. 46:24 The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north. (KJV)
The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded . . . the kingdom of Egypt shall be brought to shame before all the nations of the Earth, the inhabitants of it being conquered by the Chaldeans, being subdued and carried captive.
She shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north . . . the Chaldeans, who lived north of Egypt.
Jer. 46:25 The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him: (KJV)
The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith . . . these Titles are often given to the LORD, and set before prophecies that come from Him. It seems the reason why He is here spoken of as the God of Israel was, because the vengeance threatened to the Egyptians would come upon them, was a punishment for using Israel in such a cruel way; as Shishak king of Egypt, and Pharaohnecho, who slew Josiah: (2 Chr.35:20-25).
Behold, I will punish the multitude of No . . . the inhabitants of it, which were many, No wascalled populous No (Nah.3:8), a famous city in Egypt.
And Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings . . . Pharaoh, the present king of Egypt, who was Pharaohhophra, and all the land of Egypt; and all their many idols, and the several governors of the provinces into which the land was distributed; these would be punished, and suffer in the general disaster.
Even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him . . . the Jews that dwelt in Egypt, and who thought themselves safe under his protection; those who went along with Johanan there, opposing to the will of God; these would not escape punishment, but be included in this destruction.
Jer. 46:26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives . . . into the hands of the Chaldeans; meaning the king of Egypt, and all his people, and those that trusted in him.
And into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants . . . his over-all officers that commanded his army under him. One makes mention of Nebuchadnezzar's carrying the Egyptians captive into Babylon.
And afterwards it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD . . . after forty years, as Ezekiel prophesied (Jer.29:13); but it would not rise to the same glory and dignity as before, but would be but a base kingdom. It was desolate and uninhabited after this destruction, but it would be inhabited again.
A Word of Comfort to the Israel of God in the
Midst of Those Calamities (Jer.46:27-28)
Jer. 46:27 But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. (KJV)
But fear thou not, O my servant Jacob; and be not dismayed, O Israel . . . the same things are said in: Jer. 30:10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. (KJV)
For, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land their captivity . . . one thinks the Jews carried into Egypt by Pharaohnecho, along with Jehoahaz, are meant; but it does not seem that any were carried captive along with him (2 Ki.23:33). Some suppose these to be the righteous in Egypt, who were carried there by Johanan against their will; but though they may be included, even that small remnant that should escape, (Jer.44:28); yet the Jews in Babylon, and other provinces, are chiefly intended; and the words are meant to comfort them in their captivity, with a Promise of their return, lest they should be discouraged, in hearing that the Egyptians would inhabit their own land again, and they not theirs.
And Jacob shall return, and be in rest, and at ease, and none shall make him afraid . . . this will have its full accomplishment in the latter day; when the Jews will be converted, and return to their own land, never to be disturbed more, as they have been, ever since their return from the Babylon captivity. So this respects time to come.
Jer. 46:28 Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished. (KJV)
Fear thou not, O Jacob, my servant, saith the LORD, for I am with thee . . . although far off, in foreign lands, and in captivity: this encouragement is repeated, to strengthen and comfort them, against their fears of being cast off by the LORD.
For I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee . . . the Babylonians and Chaldeans are no more.
But I will not make a full end of thee . . . the Jews to this day remain a people, distinct from others, although they are scattered throughout the world.
But correct thee in measure . . . with judgment, and in mercy.
Yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished . . . Jer. 30:11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. (KJV)
*****My friend, after you read these verses 27 and 28, if you believe the Word of God to be TRUE, you must believe that God is NOT through with the nation of Israel. God tells them He must punish them, BUT that He will NOT make a full end of them. This is one of the many answers to the question "Hath God cast away his people?" Rom. 11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (KJV) . . . What “people”? ISRAEL! NOT all Jews have rejected God’s Message of salvation. There is still a faithful remnant. Paul was a Jew, and so were Jesus’ disciples and nearly all of the early Christian missionaries. God has NOT cast away Israel, nor will He ever cast them away!
Book of Jeremiah
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