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Jer 46:1-28. THE PROPHECIES, FORTY-SIXTH THROUGH FIFTY-SECOND CHAPTERS, REFER TO FOREIGN PEOPLES.
He begins with Egypt, being the country to which he had been removed. The forty-sixth chapter contains two prophecies concerning it: the discomfiture of Pharaoh-necho at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar, and the long subsequent conquest of Egypt by the same king; also the preservation of the Jews (Jer 46:27, 28).
1. General heading of the next six chapters of prophecies concerning the Gentiles; the prophecies are arranged according to nations, not by the dates.
2. Inscription of the first prophecy.
3. Derisive summons to battle. With all your mighty preparation for
the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, when ye come to the encounter, ye shall
Your mighty threats shall end in nothing.
4. Harness the horses--namely, to the war chariots, for which Egypt
(Ex 14:7; 15:4).
5. (See on
The language of astonishment, that an army so well equipped should be
driven back in "dismay." The prophet sees this in prophetic vision.
6. Let not--equivalent to the strongest negation. Let not any of
the Egyptian warriors think to escape by swiftness or by might.
7. as a flood-- (Jer 47:2; Isa 8:7, 8; Da 11:22). The figure is appropriate in addressing Egyptians, as the Nile, their great river, yearly overspreads their lands with a turbid, muddy flood. So their army, swelling with arrogance, shall overspread the region south of Euphrates; but it, like the Nile, shall retreat as fast as it advanced.
8. Answer to the question in
9. Ironical exhortation, as in
The Egyptians, owing to the heat of their climate and abstinence from
animal food, were physically weak, and therefore employed mercenary
10. vengeance--for the slaughter of Josiah
11. Gilead . . . balm--(See on
namely, for curing the wounds; but no medicine will avail, so desperate
shall be the slaughter.
12. mighty . . . stumbled against . . . mighty . . . fallen both together--Their very multitude shall prove an impediment in their confused flight, one treading on the other.
13-26. Prophecy of the invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, which took place sixteen years after the taking of Jerusalem. Having spent thirteen years in the siege of Tyre, and having obtained nothing for his pains, he is promised by God Egypt for his reward in humbling Tyre (Eze 29:17-20; 30:1-31:18). The intestine commotions between Amasis and Pharaoh-hophra prepared his way (compare Note, see on Isa 19:1, &c.).
14. Declare . . . publish--as if giving sentence from a tribunal.
15. thy valiant men--manuscripts, the Septuagint, and
Vulgate read, "thy valiant one," Apis, the bull-shaped Egyptian
idol worshipped at Noph or Memphis. The contrast thus is between the
palpable impotence of the idol and the might attributed to it by
the worshippers. The Hebrew term, "strong," or "valiant," is
applied to bulls
Cambyses in his invasion of Egypt destroyed the sacred bull.
17. there--in their own country severally, the foreign soldiers
cry, "Pharaoh is," &c.
18. As the mountains Tabor and Carmel tower high above the other
hills of Palestine, so Nebuchadnezzar
when he comes shall prove himself superior to all his foes. Carmel
forms a bold promontory jutting out into the Mediterranean. Tabor is
the higher of the two; therefore it is said to be "among the
mountains"; and Carmel "by the sea."
19. furnish thyself--literally, "make for thyself vessels" (namely,
to contain food and other necessaries for the journey) for captivity.
20. heifer--wanton, like a fat, untamed heifer
Appropriate to Egypt, where Apis was worshipped under the form of a fair
bull marked with spots.
21. Translate, "Also her hired men (mercenary soldiers, Jer 46:9, 16), who are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks, even they also are turned back," that is, shall turn their backs to flee. The same image, "heifer . . . bullocks" (Jer 46:20, 21), is applied to Egypt's foreign mercenaries, as to herself. Pampered with the luxuries of Egypt, they become as enervated for battle as the natives themselves.
22. The cry of Egypt when invaded shall be like the hissing of a
serpent roused by the woodcutters from its lair. No longer shall she
loudly roar like a heifer, but with a low murmur of fear, as a serpent
23. her forest--
25. multitude--Hebrew, "Amon"
Margin, "No-Ammon"), the same as Thebes or Diospolis in Upper
Egypt, where Jupiter Ammon had his famous temple. In English
Version, "multitude" answers to "populous No"
The reference to "their gods" which follows, makes the
translation more likely, "Ammon of No," that is, No and her idol
Ammon; so the Chaldee Version. So called either from Ham, the
son of Noah; or, the "nourisher," as the word means.
26. afterward . . . inhabited--Under Cyrus forty years after the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, it threw off the Babylonian yoke but has never regained its former prowess (Jer 46:11; Eze 29:11-15).
27, 28. Repeated from Jer 30:10, 11. When the Church (and literal Israel) might seem utterly consumed, there still remains hidden hope, because God, as it were, raises His people from the dead (Ro 11:15). Whereas the godless "nations" are consumed even though they survive, as are the Egyptians after their overthrow; because they are radically accursed and doomed [CALVIN].