Jeremiah 46:1. The Gentiles. The succeeding six chapters ought to have followed the twenty fifth chapter of this book, as they do in the Vatican and Alexandrian copies of the Septuagint.
Jeremiah 46:6. They shall stumble and fall—by the river Euphrates. In the great battle after king Josiah had been slain, the Egyptians claimed the victory; but now, after five years, the Egyptians were defeated, and could never meet the Assyrians with success. In this battle the swift flee away, as though their feet had been light ποδωκεις as those of Achilles, who is celebrated in Homer, or those of Asahel in sacred literature.
Jeremiah 46:7. Who is this that cometh up as a flood, with a vast line of horses? Immense armies, by their wants, and by disorder, have often received tremendous defeats.
Jeremiah 46:9. The Ethiopians—the Libyans—and the Lydians. The Hebrew, which calls all countries after the families who first inhabited them, has here, Cush, Phut, and Lud. The two first were sons of Ham and brothers of Mitzraim, father of the Egyptians. The Ethiopians, says Herodotus, had bows four cubits long, for they were men of great stature, and lived to a hundred and twenty years of age; but the Persians only eighty years. Poole and Lowth think, that Phut signifies Mauritania, and Lud the people of Meroè. They were distinct allies of the Egyptians. Nahum 3:9.
Jeremiah 46:11. Take balm, oh virgin daughter of Egypt. A keen arrow of satire, indicating that Egypt should never regain the glory she once enjoyed. Pathros, the old name of Theboid, of which Thebes was the capital, shall be the basest of kingdoms. Ezekiel 29:15. The nations over whom thou hast thrown thy bloody yoke, and whose kings thou hast led away in chains, have heard of thy shameful flight before the armies of Assyria.
Jeremiah 46:15. Why are thy valiant men swept away. This is not true of the Egyptian soldiers; they still were with Pharaoh. The LXX read, why has Apis [thy god] forsaken thee? Thy chosen calf has not stood true. The Lord drove him away. Words of the keenest satire to the Egyptians, and to their gods.
Jeremiah 46:19. Noph, the Memphis of the Greeks, shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant. This city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in the twenty third year of his reign. Cairo, the new capital, is built nearer to the Nile; which demonstrates that the words of Isaiah were literally accomplished: chap. 19.
Jeremiah 46:20. A very fair heifer, fat and beautiful. Grotius thinks the nation of Egypt is so called, in allusion to Apis, a bull of beautiful shape and colour, which was an object of national worship.
Jeremiah 46:23. They shall cut down her forests. Though history is silent about the forests of Egypt, yet Herodotus says, they once had twenty thousand villages well populated, and one thousand and twenty cities. They must therefore have had great resources of timber for their buildings, and for naval architecture.
Jeremiah 46:25. I will punish the multitude of No. Memphis, the ancient Noph, is meant here. No Ammon, the ancient Thebes, with its hundred fortified gates, is apparently of more ancient date. The LXX read, Diospolis. See on Ezekiel 30:15.
Though Jeremiah was a man of cool mind, and of plain address, yet here, admitted to the visions of the future, he indulges in the sublime of thought, the richest beauties of language, and exuberance of figures. Where can we find a passage more replete with effusions of poësy? By this prophecy we see the vast preparations for war, and how God suffered the multitude of Egypt to sweep and punish the nations to the south of the Jordan; and then to cause them nearly all to perish in the place which had bounded their former conquests. Thus God can lower the insolence of a proud army, as he sinks the mighty swells of the ocean when the gale is high. Thus also the wicked conquer in a victorious career, and cover themselves with the bloody laurels of a glorious campaign. The vanquished taking heart, make the victors retire to their country, as a mighty wave which has wasted its fury on the beach recoils on the ocean by its own weight. Thus narrow- sighted nations boast that heaven is on their side, while in reality heaven is so managing their avarice and pride as to make them one to another the worst of scourges. This prophecy closes in the usual strain of sunshine on Zion, when the stormy clouds of war are blown away; joy to the Jews on their return from Babylon, and lasting glory to the true Zion, the church of the living God.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
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