Jeremiah 44:1. Migdol was not far from the Red sea. Exodus 14:2. It was now a great city, being in several places put first by Jeremiah, situate only twelve hundred paces from Damiette. Pathros was the district surrounding Noph or Memphis; but Cairo is built not far from the ancient Memphis. See on Isaiah 19:11. Pathros is by others called Theboid, or the country surrounding Thebes.
Jeremiah 44:13. I will punish them that dwell in Egypt. The whole land of the Egyptians, and by consequence all the Jews who took refuge there, in contempt of the word of the Lord by Jeremiah, as in the preseding chapter. When the Chaldeans invaded Egypt, the whole country was overrun, and its thousand cities ruined with military devastations.
Jeremiah 44:17. We will—burn incense to the queen of heaven; that is, we will adhere to the Sabean worship, as in Job 1:15, Jeremiah 7:18. Poole understands by the queen of heaven, the sun; but the Hebrew word shemeosh being feminine, Dr. Spencer has sufficiently proved, out of Herodotus and Lucian, that this was a worship paid to the new moon. The word is also often understood of the hosts of heaven. See on Jeremiah 7:18.
Jeremiah 44:19. Did we make cakes—without our men, or husbands. The law gave the husband a power to disannul the vows of his wife, provided he did so when he first knew of the vow. But now the men, though they might laugh at this lunar worship, would not laugh when Pharaoh-hophra could no longer protect them.
Jeremiah 44:30. Pharaoh-hophra is called, says Dr. Wall, Apries by Herodotus, and Vaphres by Eusebius. His people and his son Amasis rebelled against him. Then Nebuchadnezzar followed, and ravaged the whole country with the greater ease. See on Jeremiah 32:1.
We have seen the remnant of the Jews under Johanan despise the promised protection of the Lord in their own land, and presumptuously taking refuge in Egypt. They found from Pharaoh, it would seem, an hospitable reception, being allowed to reside in the royal cities. Jeremiah’s prediction of famine and sword seemed no way likely to overtake them; they were therefore emboldened in vice and unbelief, and triumphed for a moment over the man of God. The degenerate Jews, thus caressed in their sins, most readily transferred their devotion from the gods of Syria to the gods of Egypt: it is a pity that the wicked should quarrel about devotion.
The Lord, with a view that a remnant might escape, was graciously pleased to trouble them in their sins by tidings of an invasion and inevitable destruction. And what measures less severe could he adopt? They were wicked by habit, they were superstitious by principle, they were hardened by judgments. Therefore no remedy remained but to give warning to any who were willing to fly, and to deliver the rest to famine, pestilence, and carnage in the sieges. Here is the issue of infidel principles, and of disregarding the word of the Lord; here is the termination of a hardened and impious career. Thus some men are given up to a spirit which hurries them into every sin, and ultimately to destruction, as the swine which ran down a steep place, and perished in the lake.
When men have attained a certain crisis of impiety, they will defend their wicked ways by arguments drawn from partial views of providence. They replied to Jeremiah, that while they worshipped idols in Judea they had plentiful harvests; for these were the objects of their devotion; and Jeremiah could not altogether deny the fact, though God had often smitten them with want of bread. But in a general view of providence over Israel, no fact could be more conspicuous, than that while they were faithful to the Lord, the Lord was faithful to them; and they prospered in all they did. On the other hand, whenever they worshipped idols and became profligate in morals, some national disaster assuredly came upon them. Let us therefore be cautions of error, through partial views of God’s dispensations, and let us judge nothing before the time.
While Jeremiah prophesied these things against Egypt, Ezekiel was doing the same in Chaldea, chap. 32.; and in language more copious and terrific. Here we see the unity of the spirit of prophecy, and how much cause we have to revere the holy scriptures as the word of God; for there is not the smallest reason to suspect, considering the hostile state of the two nations, that these prophets maintained any correspondence. They borrow nothing one from the other: all is original, flowing in new torrents from the spirit of truth. Oh most illustrious prophets, who dared to tell an infidel age the most terrific truths of God. Their melting hearts had cried in vain, “Oh do not this abominable thing.”
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 44". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent