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Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 46

Ironside's Notes on Selected BooksIronside's Notes

Verses 1-28


Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Syria, Arabia, Elam, and Babylon

(Chaps. 46-49)

Jeremiah's ministry to the rebellious men of Judah is now over. He is commissioned to announce the judgment soon to fall upon the Gentiles. When called of GOD to the prophetic office, he was appointed to be a prophet unto the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). Accordingly, the Word of the Lord is now given through him concerning the various peoples surrounding the land of Palestine. Nine different nations are brought before us: we take them up briefly in the order given.


The entire forty-sixth chapter, with the exception of the last two verses, is devoted to declaring the judgments foreseen by the prophet, which have fallen upon this once rich and populous country. In Scripture, Egypt is invariably a type of the world, either as the oppressor or the would-be patron of the people of GOD. As such, its judgment speaks of that which is yet to fall upon the present guilty order of things, which first crucified our Lord and persecuted His followers to the death, but now seeks to take them under its protecting wing; thus nullifying that separation from its vanities which should have characterized the Church while waiting for an absent Lord.

In the chapter before us we have two distinct prophecies, uttered about eighteen years apart. The occasion of the first was the attempt made by Pharaoh-necho to invade the provinces of the king of Babylon, and to break his rising power. This is set forth in Jeremiah 46:2-12. It is a vivid apocalyptic description of the overthrow of the Egyptian forces by Nebuchadrezzar and his invincible armies. The date given is the same as for the preceding chapter. The Egyptians, "discouraged and turned away back," were "beaten down, and fled apace," not looking back, "for fear was round about" (Jeremiah 46:4-5).

Like the waters of a raging flood, the forces of Cush, Put, and Lydia (the various provinces subject to Pharaoh), led by the trained Egyptian troops, had thought to overflow the land of the Chaldeans; but they knew not that the Lord had raised up Nebuchadrezzar, and that the day of His vengeance upon Egypt had come, when, as a great sacrifice, they were to be offered up on the banks of the Euphrates (Jeremiah 46:6-10). Hope of relief was vain. "Many medicines" would fail to effect a cure. Egypt's hour of doom had struck. Her manifold iniquities had called down the Lord's vengeance (Jeremiah 46:11-12). All this was literally fulfilled in the overthrow of Pharaoh-necho's magnificent army.

The next section refers to a later judgment; and although no date is given, we gather, by a comparison with chaps. 43 and 44, that it was uttered by Jeremiah during the time when the remnant abode in Egypt, after the fall of Jerusalem. It sets forth prophetically the complete devastation of the land of Mizraim upon the defeat of Pharaoh-hophra, second after Pharaoh-necho, the last Pharaoh mentioned in the Bible.

He is known to have been a man of ignoble spirit, foolhardy and deceitful. In vain he sought to stand against the rising power of Nebuchadrezzar. His valiant men were to be swept away. "They stood not, because the Lord did drive them" (Jeremiah 46:15). It should not be the might of Nebuchadrezzar that would insure him the victory, neither the pusillanimity of Pharaoh-hophra that would determine his defeat. The Lord of hosts, the GOD of battles, was about to destroy the Egyptians because of their impiety and idolatry. He it is who puts down one nation and exalts another. "The most high ruleth in the kingdoms of men." (Daniel 4:17) This the victorious Nebuchadrezzar had also to learn for himself in due time.

Hence for Egypt, her gods and her kings, there could be no quarter. They had defied the living and true GOD. They must be brought low till they learn His power. Such was the sentence; and it has been fulfilled to the letter, as the centuries witness. Egypt, however, has not fallen to rise no more. In the last days grace shall be shown to it. "Afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 46:26).

In that day Judah also, together with the ten tribes denominated Israel, shall be delivered; and "Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid" (Jeremiah 46:27). The Lord has never forgotten His chosen. He may make a full end of the nations whither He has driven them to correct them, but He will not utterly destroy them. They must be corrected; His holiness demands that they be not wholly unpunished, but His grace will yet secure their reestablishment in the land, and the enjoyment of His covenanted mercies.

Having pronounced the mind of the Lord as to Egypt, Jeremiah next gives His word in regard to


The Philistines dwelt on the western borders of the land of Canaan. They were originally of Egypt, and therefore, typically, would speak of unconverted men of the world taking a place as dwellers in the land of blessing and privilege - mere unsaved professors, who, while pretending to be children of GOD, are in reality the enemies of His truth and of His people.

Their temporal judgment predicted by Jeremiah, and literally fulfilled shortly afterwards, would set forth symbolically the more terrible judgment soon to fall upon the apostate class in Christendom of whom they are the type.

Bibliographical Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/isn/jeremiah-46.html. 1914.
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