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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 46

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-28

Let's turn now in our Bibles to Jeremiah 46:1-28 .

Beginning with chapter 45 we came into the sixth part or section of the book of Jeremiah. And this sixth section is comprised of miscellaneous prophecies that are directed mainly to those nations that were around Israel. And so as we get into chapter 46, we find the introduction to these series of prophecies as he addresses them to the Gentiles, the Gentile kingdoms. And so God is going to address Himself to those Gentile nations now roundabout Israel.

The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles; 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. Order the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle. Harness the horses; and get up, ye horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears, and put on the brigandines. 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. Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble, and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates. Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers? 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. 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. 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 satiated and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates. 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. 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 ( Jeremiah 46:1-12 ).

And so God actually is speaking of the defeat of the Egyptians there by the river Euphrates at Carchemish and of the turning back of the Egyptians in this battle. The interesting thing, "Go up to Gilead, take the balm." Gilead was known through the ancient world as the place of medicines. You remember the passage that Jeremiah earlier declared, "Is there no balm in Gilead? And is there no healer there?" ( Jeremiah 8:22 ) But there is no healing for Egypt. They are to receive the judgment of God and God is going to use the Babylonian armies as His instrument of bringing His judgment against Egypt. This is basically why Jeremiah warned the people not to go down to Egypt to try to find safety there. He said, "If you go to Egypt to escape the sword, surely the sword will follow you in Egypt and the famine and the pestilence and you will die in Egypt. You won't come back to the land." But the people did not obey the voice of the Lord. They came back to Egypt. But here now he is just really bringing the whole issue of Egypt into prophetic focus.

Now, as he focuses upon the various nations, there are a lot of people who wonder why the United States isn't brought forth into a prophetic focus in that the United States has become such an important nation in these days. But if you'll read in the book of Revelation, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. And really all prophecy centers around the person of Jesus and because the nation Israel was so important to the coming of Jesus, we find many prophecies relating to Israel and then to those nations that related to Israel in either a good or an evil sense in those days. But it isn't God's intention through prophecy to spell out the future of each nation that would arise in the world but only those nations that would bear directly upon the coming of Jesus Christ in either His first or second coming. And when you read that most of the prophecies against the nations are those of judgment and all, it's probably a good thing that we don't read about the United States, because surely I'm certain that the Lord would have some pretty stern words for us today.

The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet [verse Jeremiah 46:13 ], how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt ( Jeremiah 46:13 ).

Now, this is going now into the second part of the prophecy. The first part of it dealt with the battle up at Carchemish where the Pharaoh was defeated by Babylon. And now he is speaking about a coming invasion of Babylon on down into Egypt.

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 all around you. Why are thy valiant men swept away? they stood not, because the LORD did drive them. 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. They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed. 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 it come. O thou daughter dwelling in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity: for Noph shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant. Egypt is like a very fair heifer, but destruction is coming; it is coming out of the north [from Babylon]. Also her hired men are in the midst of her like fatted bullocks; for they 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. 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. They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable. The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north. 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: 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 ( Jeremiah 46:14-26 ).

So Egypt is to be invaded. It is to be defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, but yet they will yet inhabit the land.

Now God in the last couple of verses gives encouragement to His people.

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. Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; and 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 ( Jeremiah 46:27-28 ).

So as is so often the case when you find God speaking of the judgment that is going to come, He sort of ends it with a bright light as He turns back toward the nation of Israel, the house of Jacob, "Don't be afraid." And He's talking about the yet future time, the Kingdom Age, when God is going to visit with them again and bring them back into the land. And when God is going to punish the nations, whither they have been driven.

In the second coming of Jesus Christ there will be the gathering of the nations together. "Then shall He gather together the nations: as a shepherd, and separates the sheep from the goat." And he will say unto those on His left hand, Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity. I was hungry, you did not feed Me. Thirsty you did not give Me to drink," and so forth. "Lord, when did we see You this way?" "Inasmuch as you did it unto the least of these My brethren" ( Matthew 25:32-40 ). It is speaking of the treatment of the nations... of how the nations treated Israel. And the nations will be judged for their treatment of Israel. God said way back to Abraham, "I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you" ( Genesis 12:3 ).

Anti-Semitism is a horrible thing, and it is something that no child of God should be caught up in. Unfortunately, there is a lot of anti-Semitism even within many churches today. There are those who try to say that the modern day Jew isn't truly a Jew. That he is an Ashkenazim and so forth, and they use that as an excuse for failure to support these people today. But the nations will be brought before the Lord and have to answer for their treatment of God's people. And God declares that He will make a full end of all of the nations whether they've been driven, but He'll not make a full end of the nation of Israel, but it will be a very central figure in the reign of Christ in the Kingdom Age.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-46.html. 2014.
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