Jeremiah 46


The difference between the preceding and the subsequent

prophecies in point of composition is very remarkable; the

last excelling much in majesty and elegance. This chapter (of

which the first verse forms a general title to this and the

five chapters following) contains two distinct prophecies

relating to Egypt. The first was delivered previous to an

engagement between Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt, and

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; in which the Egyptians were

routed in Carchemish with great slaughter, as here predicted.

The prophet sees the mighty preparations; but they are all

declared to be of no avail, as God had decreed their fall, 1-6.

The King of Egypt, however, is represented as marching with all

the confidence of victory, like a river overflowing its banks,

and threatening all around with its inundation, 7, 8.

But this immense armament of Pharaoh-necho, consisting of

various nations, shall, by a righteous judgment of God, receive

such a signal overthrow near the river Euphrates, that the

political consequence of Egypt shall be thereby irretrievably

ruined, and its remaining power become contemptible in the

sight of the nations, 9-12.

The other prophecy, beginning at the thirteenth verse, relates

to the memorable overthrow of the Egyptians by Nebuchadnezzar,

subsequent to his siege of Tyre, in the sixteenth year after

the destruction of Jerusalem, 13-26.

The promise, in the conclusion of the chapter, of preservation

to the Jews, (who have for many ages continued a distinct

people, when the various nations of antiquity who oppressed

them, or with whom they had any intercourse, have long ago

ceased to have any separate and visible existence,) has been

most remarkably fulfilled; and is a very signal act of

providence, and a pledge of the restoration of Israel to the

Divine favour, when the time of the Gentiles shall be

fulfilled, 27, 28.


Verse 1. The word of the Lord-against the Gentiles] This is a

general title to the following collection of prophecies, written

concerning different nations, which had less or more connexion

with the Jews, either as enemies, neighbours, or allies.

They were not written at the same time; and though some of them

bear dates, yet it would be difficult to give them any

chronological arrangement. Dahler's mode of ascertaining the times

of their delivery may be seen in the table in the introduction.

Verse 2. Pharaoh-necho] This was the person who defeated the

army of Josiah, in which engagement Josiah received a mortal

wound, of which he died, greatly regretted, soon after at Megiddo.

After this victory, he defeated the Babylonians, and took

Carchemish; and, having fortified it, returned to his own country.

Nabopolassar sent his son Nebuchadnezzar with an army against him,

defeated him with immense slaughter near the river Euphrates,

retook Carchemish, and subdued all the revolted provinces,

according to the following prophecies.

Verse 3. Order ye the buckler] This is the call to the general

armament of the people against the Chaldeans.

Verse 4. Furbish the spears] Cleanse, brighten, and sharpen

them; from the Franco-Gallic fourbir, to polish, brighten.

Brigandines.] A coat of mail, especially that which was made

scale fashion; one plate overlapping the other, like the scales

of fish.

Verse 5. Wherefore have I seen them dismayed] What! such a

numerous, formidable, and well-appointed army panic-struck? So

that they have turned back-fled apace, and looked not round; while

their mighty ones-their generals and commanders, striving to rally

them, are beaten down.

Verse 6. Let not the swift flee away] Even the swiftest shall

not be able to escape.

They shall-fall toward the north] By the Euphrates, which was

northward of Judea. Here the Egyptian army was routed with great


Verse 7. Who is this that cometh up as a flood] The vast

concourse of people is here represented as a river: for instance,

the Jordan, suddenly swollen with the rains in harvest, rolling

its waters along, and overflowing the whole country. A fine image

to represent the incursions of vast armies carrying all before

them. Such was the army of Pharaoh-necho in its march to


Verse 9. The Ethiopians] Heb. Cush, Phut, and the Ludim. This

army was composed of many nations. Cush, which we translate

Ethiopians, almost invariably means the Arabians; and here,

those Arabs that bordered on Egypt near the Red Sea. Phut probably

means the Libyans; for Phut settled in Libya, according to

Josephus. Phut and Cush were two of the sons of Ham, and

brothers to Mitsraim, the father of the Egyptians, Ge 10:6; and

the Ludim were descended from Mitsraim; see Ge 10:13.

Bochart contends that the Ludim were Ethiopians, and that they

were famous for the use of the bow. Phaleg, lib. iv. 26.

Verse 10. For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts] The

prophet represents this as a mighty sacrifice, where innumerable

victims were slain.

Verse 11. Go up into Gilead, and take balm] An irony. Egypt is

so completely enfeebled by this overthrow, that her political

wound is utterly incurable. This figure is used with the more

propriety here, as the Egyptians have been celebrated from the

remotest antiquity for their knowledge of medicine.

Verse 12. The nations have heard of thy shame] Of thy disgrace,

by this prodigious slaughter of thy troops.

Verse 13. How Nebuchadrezzar-should come and smite the land of

Egypt.] See on Jer 44:29, 30. This was after Amasis had driven

Pharaoh-necho into Upper Egypt. See Jer 44:30.

Verse 14. Migdol] Magdolum, a city of Lower Egypt. Noph,

Memphis. Tahpanhes, Daphne. See before, Jer 44:1,

Round about thee.] The Phoenicians, Philistines, Ammonites,

Moabites, and Edomites, all prostrated by the arms of the


Verse 15. They stood not, because the Lord did drive them.] The

Lord panic-struck them, and drove them back.

Verse 16. One fell upon another] In their terror and confusion

ranks fell on ranks, and overturned each other.

Let us go again to our own people] Let us flee to our own

country with all possible speed. These were the auxiliaries.

Verse 17. They did cry there] Dr. Blayney translates this cry


_______"O Pharaoh, king of Egypt,

A tumult hath frustrated the appointed meeting."

These allies sent their excuse to Pharaoh, that the disasters

they had met with had prevented them from joining him as they had


Verse 18. As Tabor is among the mountains] This mountain is

situated in the plain of Esdraelon in Galilee, on the confines of

the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar, Jos 19:22. It stood by

itself, separated from all the other mountains by deep valleys,

and is the highest of the whole.

And as Carmel by the sea] Carmel is a mountain on the coast of

the Mediterranean Sea, on the southern frontier of the tribe of

Asher. Were the Egyptians as distinguished for valour and strength

as the mountains Tabor and Carmel are for height among the other

mountains in their vicinity, they should not be able to stand the

shock of the Chaldean army.

Verse 19. Furnish thyself to go into captivity] The thing is

unavoidable; prepare for this calamity.

Verse 20. Egypt is like a very fair heifer] Fruitful and useful;

but destruction cometh out of the north, from Chaldea. It may be

that there is an allusion here to Isis, worshipped in Egypt under

the form of a beautiful cow.

Verse 21. Are fled away together] Perhaps there is a reference

here to the case of a cow stung with gnats. She runs hither and

thither not knowing where to go; so shall it be with this

scattered people.

Verse 22. The voice-shall go like a serpent] See Isa 29:4, and

the note there.

Verse 23. They shall cut down her forest] Supposed to mean her

cities, of which Egypt had no fewer than one thousand and twenty.

Verse 24. The hand or the people of the north] The Chaldeans.

Verse 25. The multitude of No] Amon minno, the Amon

of No, called by the Greeks διοσπολις, or Jupiter's city. It was

the famous Thebes, celebrated anciently for its hundred gates.

Amon was the name by which the Egyptians called Jupiter, who had

a famous temple at Thebes.

The word Pharaoh is twice repeated here; and Dr. Dahler thinks

that one may design Pharaoh Hophrah, and the other Amasis, the new


Verse 26. Afterward it shall be inhabited] That is, within forty

years, as Ezekiel had predicted, Eze 29:13.

Verse 27. Fear not-my servant Jacob] In the midst of wrath God

remembers mercy. Though Judah shall be destroyed, Jerusalem taken,

the temple burnt to the ground, and the people carried into

captivity, yet the nation shall not be destroyed. A seed shall be

preserved, out of which the nation shall revive.

Verse 28. 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] The Jews

still remain as a distinct people, while the Assyrians, Chaldeans,

Egyptians, &c., are no more!

ON this subject, I cannot withhold from my readers the following

very judicious remarks of Bp. Newton, in his Dissertations on the


"The preservation of the Jews through so many ages, and the

total destruction of their enemies, are wonderful events; and are

made still more wonderful by being signified beforehand by the

spirit of prophecy, as particularly in the passage before us.

Their preservation is really one of the most illustrious acts of

Divine Providence. They are dispersed among all nations, yet not

confounded with any. The drops of rain which fall, nay the great

rivers which flow into the ocean, are soon mingled with and lost

in that immense body of waters. And the same, in all human

probability, would have been the fate of the Jews; they would have

been mingled and lost in the common mass of mankind: but, on the

contrary, they flow into all parts of the world, mix with all

nations, and yet keep separate from all. They still live as a

distinct people; and yet they nowhere live according to their own

laws, nowhere elect their own magistrates, nowhere enjoy the full

exercise of their religion. Their solemn feasts and sacrifices are

limited to one certain place; and that hath been now for many ages

in the hands of strangers and aliens, who will not suffer them to

come thither. No people have continued unmixed so long as they

have done; not only of those who have sent colonies into foreign

countries, but even of those who have remained in their own

country. The northern nations have come in swarms into the more

southern parts of Europe: but where are they now to be discerned

and distinguished? The Gauls went forth in great bodies to seek

their fortune in foreign parts; but what traces or footsteps of

them are now remaining any where? In France, who can separate the

race of the ancient Gauls from the various other people who from

time to time have settled there? In Spain, who can distinguish

between the first possessors, the Spaniards, and the Goths and

Moors, who conquered and kept possession of the country for some

ages? In England, who can pretend to say certainly which families

are derived from the ancient Britons, and which from the Romans,

Saxons, Danes, and Normans? The most ancient and honourable

pedigrees can be traced up only to a certain period; and beyond

that there is nothing but conjecture and uncertainty, obscurity

and ignorance. But the Jews can go up higher than any nation; they

can even deduce their pedigree from the beginning of the world.

They may not know from what particular tribe or family they are

descended; but they know certainly that they all sprang from the

stock of Abraham. And yet the contempt with which they have been

treated, and the hardships they have undergone in almost all

countries, should, one would think, have made them desirous to

forget or renounce their original: but they profess it; they glory

in it; and after so many wars, massacres, and persecutions, they

still subsist; they are still very numerous. And what but a

supernatural power could have preserved them in such a manner as

no other nation upon earth has been preserved? Nor is the

providence of God less remarkable in the destruction of their

enemies, than in their own preservation. For, from the beginning,

who have been the great enemies and oppressors of the Jewish

nation, removed them from their own land, and compelled them into

captivity and slavery? The Egyptians afflicted them much, and

detained them in bondage several years. The Assyrians carried away

captive the ten tribes of Israel; and the Babylonians, afterwards,

the two remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The

Syro-Macedonians, especially Antiochus Epiphanes, cruelly

persecuted them; and the Romans utterly dissolved the Jewish

state, and dispersed the people so as that they have never been

able to recover their city and country again. And where are now

those great and famous monarchies, which in their turn subdued and

oppressed the people of God? Are they not vanished as a dream; and

not only their power, but their very names, lost in the earth? The

Egyptians, Assyrians, and Babylonians were overthrown and entirely

subjugated by the Persians; and the Persians, it is remarkable,

were the restorers of the Jews as well as the destroyers of their

enemies. The Syro-Macedonians were swallowed up by the Romans; and

the Roman empire, great and powerful as it was, was broken into

pieces by the incursions of the northern nations; while the Jews

are subsisting as a distinct people at this day. And what a wonder

of providence is it, that the vanquished should so many ages

survive the victors; and the former be spread all over the world,

while the latter are no more! Nay, not only nations have been

punished for their cruelties to the Jews, but Divine vengeance has

pursued even single persons who have been their persecutors and

oppressors. The first-born of Pharaoh was destroyed; and he

himself with his host, drowned in the sea. Nebuchadnezzar was

stricken with madness, and the crown was transferred from his

family to strangers. Antiochus Epiphanes and Herod died in great

agonies, with ulcers and vermin issuing from them. Flaccus,

governor of Egypt, who barbarously plundered and oppressed the

Jews of Alexandria, was afterwards banished and slain; and

Caligula, who persecuted the Jews for refusing to do Divine

honours to his statue, was murdered in the flower of his age,

after a short and wicked reign. But where are now,-since they have

absolutely rejected the Gospel, and been no longer the peculiar

people of God,-where are now such visible manifestations of a

Divine interposition in their favour? The Jews would do well to

consider this point; for, rightly considered, it may be an

effectual means of opening their eyes, and of turning them to

Christ our Saviour." See Bp. Newton on the prophecies, dissert.

viii. sect. 2. And see the notes on Ezekiel, where the calamities

of these miserable people are largely detailed.

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