Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 44

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes


Jeremiah’s last prophecy Jeremiah 44:0, in which he boldly rebukes the tendency of the Jews to idolatry, which seems to have grown only the stronger in their tribulation. The address was evidently made to them at some festival, and though the Jews lived in the hope of being able soon to return to Judaea from Egypt, yet we find that they had spread over the whole land, representatives of their communities having come to Pathros not only from Migdol and Tahpanhes, but even from Noph.

Verse 1

Migdol - Magdolum, a strong fortress on the northern boundary of Egypt.

Verse 3

In that they went to burn incense, and to serve - Or, by going to burn incense to serve thereby other gods.

Verse 4

Howbeit I sent - And I sent.

Verse 7

Your souls - i. e., your own selves.

Verse 8

Cut yourselves off - Rather, cut (them, Jeremiah 44:7) off from you.

Verse 9

The wickedness of their wives - Many accept the reading of the Septuagint: the “wickedness of your princes.” “The kings, the princes, the people,” and finally “their wives,” is a summary enumeration of all classes, by whose united persistence in sin the ruin of their country had been consummated.

Verse 11

All Judah - i. e., all Judah in Egypt, yet even there with exceptions (see Jeremiah 44:14, Jeremiah 44:28), while Judah in Babylon was entirely exempt from this denunciation.

Verse 14

Literally, “And there shall not be to the remnant of Judah, which are going to sojourn there in the land of Egypt, one that escapes or remains etc.” The word rendered “escapes” means one who slips away, saves himself by a stealthy flight Genesis 14:13; the word “remains,” one who survives when all the rest perish Job 18:19. Of all those now going down to Egypt none shall return to Judaea except a few miserable fugitives, who shall steal away as men who flee in battle 2 Samuel 19:3. For really years Jewish settlers had gone to Egypt in great numbers, and these old settlers would be treated in the same way as the Egyptians, but these fugitives, with no knowledge of the Egyptian language or ways, would have no friends in the country to aid them, and would also be recognized by the Chaldaeans as inveterate enemies, and mercilessly slain.

Verse 15

Had burned incence - Omit “had;” burned incense. This appeal of the prophet was made at a public festival held somewhere in Pathros, i. e., Upper Egypt: for the women are assembled in a great congregation (compare Jeremiah 26:9), here formed for religious purposes. As they advance in regular procession to worship the moon-goddess, in accordance as it seems with a vow Jeremiah 44:17, Jeremiah meets them, makes the procession halt upon its way, and pronounces in Yahweh’s name words of solemn warning. The reply that all the settlers in Egypt were formally putting themselves under the Queen of heaven’s protection was made by the heads of the congregation.

Verse 17

Whatsoever thing ... - Or, the whole word (or thing) which hath gone forth out of our mouth; i. e., the vows we have made. They would not let Jeremiah’s expostulations prevent the carrying out of the special object which had brought them together: otherwise the Queen of heaven would be offended, and avenge himself.

Verse 18

The suppression of this popular idolatry had apparently been regarded with much ill-will in Josiah’s time, and many may even have ascribed to it his defeat at Megiddo. Probably Jehoiakim had again permitted it, but Zedekiah, during the miseries of his reign, had forbidden it, and the people ascribed the fall of Jerusalem to the neglect of their favorite goddess.

Verse 19

Burned ... poured ... did - Or, burn ... pour ... do.

To worship her - Rather, to represent her image. The cakes Jeremiah 7:18 were made in the shape of a crescent to represent the moon.

Our men - i. e., our husbands (margin). They had the authority of their husbands for what they were doing. Jeremiah must leave them alone, and discuss the matter with those who alone had the right to interfere.

Verse 21

Them - The various acts of idolatry involved in burning incense to an image.

Verse 22

Could no longer bear - The prophet corrects in these words the error of their argument in Jeremiah 44:17. God is long-suffering, and therefore punishment follows slowly upon sin.

Verses 24-30

Pharaoh-Hophra came to the throne the year before Jerusalem was captured. He reigned for 19 years, probably the last 10 years as a prisoner. See the notes at Jeremiah 37:5; notes at Jeremiah 46:12.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 44". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.