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JEREMIAH CHAPTER 43
Johanan and the commanders discredit Jeremiah’s prophecy, Jeremiah 43:1-3, and, with the people, carry him and Baruch into Egypt, Jeremiah 43:4-7. He prophesieth, by a type, the conquest of Egypt by the Babylonians, Jeremiah 43:8-13.
The Hebrew word which we translate
words signifieth also things. The prophet is very exact in letting us know that he had from the Lord what he delivered to them, he therefore twice repeats it, the words of the lord their God, and for which the Lord had sent him to them: not that the prophets always limited themselves to those syllabical words they had revealed to them, but to the matter only of the revelation; which every minister of the gospel is still bound to do, delivering to the people only what they have received from the Lord, as 1 Corinthians 11:23, as to the matter and substance of what they deliver, though they clothe it with words and phrases of their own.
Johanan we have before heard, but not of
Azariah, unless under the name of Jezaniah, Jeremiah 42:1, but that is uncertain. These men are called proud men, either because they were the great men, or because their conceit of themselves led them into this fatal error. Pride is nothing else but a man’s mind swelling in an opinion of himself, and always takes its rise from some higher ground the person possessed of it thinks he stands upon, and a very little hillock will serve the turn; those who have nothing else of pretence will make a silk coat or a piece of silver lace serve their turn. One man’s spirit swells upon account of his descent, another upon account of his riches, a third upon the account of his learning, parts, and wit, a fourth upon the account of his or her beauty. These men are called
proud men, possibly upon account of their greatness, they were captains, and the chief of the Jews now left; but chiefly upon account of the good opinion they had of their own reason and wit, by which they judged they knew better how to guide themselves for their own security than Jeremiah could teach them; which pride or good opinion men have of themselves is a great root of disobedience: all men sin either through passion or pride, or both, either to gratify their sensitive appetite, or their rational appetite, as it is in man since the fall.
Because it had been downright atheism, and a disclaiming of God, to have said they knew better what to do than God could tell them, they only tell the prophet God had not sent him. As in these times hypocrites, whose lusts will not allow them to do the will of God, think to secure themselves by denying that to be the will of God, and finding out other senses to put upon Scripture than are according to truth.
Baruch was but a clerk or secretary to Jeremiah, so not very probable to overrule the prophet to a falsifying of his trust, and a betraying of his countrymen into the hands of their enemies; but so fond are wicked men of their lusts, that they will say any thing in justification of them, rather than deny themselves in them, and become obedient to the will of God.
That is, they resolved not to obey the message God had sent them by Jeremiah.
This resolution they presently put in practice. Though it is certain that Jeremiah and Baruch were not willing to go along with them, and probably that many of the people were not willing, yet these rebellious captains forced them all along with them, so as many of them were now a kind of prisoners to their own countrymen.
the king’s daughters here mentioned, see Jeremiah 41:10.
Egypt at this time, though it was humbled by the king of Babylon, by an inroad he had made into it, of which we read, 2 Kings 24:7, yet it was a distinct kingdom, and being near to Canaan, the Jews often fled thither for sanctuary, and borrowed assistance against their enemies from them. Of this city we read little but in holy writ. 1 Kings 11:19, we read of a queen of Egypt called
Taphenes, in honour to whom probably this city was builded, after whose name this city was called, of which the Scripture saith nothing, but in this prophet, Jeremiah 2:16, in this chapter, and Jeremiah 44:1; Jeremiah 46:14; it appears by Jeremiah 43:9 that it was at this time the place where the king of Egypt made his residence, or at least had a palace. Thither these captains and the Jews came, forcing Jeremiah and Baruch along with them.
God commandeth the prophet to take these
stones, and to place them
in the clay, & c., for a sign of what we shall meet with expounded in the next verse: it is plain from hence that the king of Egypt, called Pharaoh, either resided, or at least had a royal palace, in Tahpanhes; Jeremiah is directed to fix these stones at the entrance into this palace. This hath made interpreters divided about the true sense of the word which is here translated a
brick-kiln. That the word so signifies is out of doubt, and is so translated, 2 Samuel 12:31. All that troubleth some is, that they fancy there should not be a brick-kiln so near the king’s palace; but possibly those learned men do not enough consider the difference of times and places. Great princes’ sons and daughters do not use in our age to keep sheep, which yet we know Jacob’s sons and Laban’s daughters did; the grandeur of princes was not so great but it might admit of as plain a thing as this. Others say the palaces of their princes were very vast, so that the brick-kiln might be at a distance from the entry into the dwelling-house, though it was at the entry of the place called by the name of the palace. Others think it might be a house used not for making, but polishing earthenware. But the greatest offensiveness of such kilns with us is from the smoke, of which they had none, drying their bricks in the sun. But it is a nicety not worth so many guesses.
Now God expounds his meaning in his former command: he ordered Jeremiah to take stones, and hide them in a place near the king of Egypt’s palace; now he tells them that this was for a sign that Nebuchadnezzar should set his throne and spread his pavilion in that place. This Nebuchadnezzar God calls his servant, because he was to obey him in what he should do, though he intended not so. Thus Assyria is called the rod of his anger, Isaiah 10:5; and Nebuchadnezzar is so called, Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 27:6.
Upon these stones that I have hid; God owneth the stones to be laid by himself, because they were laid at his command.
He prophesieth the certain ruin of the Egyptians by the king of Babylon, some of whom the king of Babylon should slay, others of them he should lead away into captivity as prisoners of war. See the like phrases Jeremiah 15:2.
God by his prophet declares a particular hatred to the idols of Egypt, that he would burn up their temples, i.e. by the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
And carry them away captives; he shall carry away both the idols and the inhabitants of Egypt captives.
He shall array himself with the land of Egypt; that is, with the spoils and plunder of the land of Egypt the king of Babylon shall clothe his army.
As a shepherd putteth on his garment: our unacquaintedness with the fashions of shepherds causeth divers guesses at the sense of this phrase; that which the best interpreters fix in as the best is, that as a shepherd that while he hath been attending his flocks goes in any rags and is careless of his clothes, but when he goes home at night he puts on his coat; so the Babylonish soldiers, when they have finished their work in the conquest of Egypt, shall go home clothed in the better habits of the Egyptians.
And he shall go forth from thence in peace; and the armies shall go home in peace, as conquerors not foiled in their undertaking.
Beth-shemesh signifies the house of the sun, and it is also the name of a city in Egypt; so most take it here, as the name of a city which had its name from a famous temple builded in it to the honour of the sun. This idol is called On, Genesis 41:45. By this it appears that the Egyptians, as well as other pagans, paid Divine adoration to the creature. God threatens not only the destruction of the idolatrous temples, but the houses of the inhabitants of Egypt. by the king of Babylon; from whence these Jews, would they have believed, might have understood, that they would not have the security which they promised themselves in the land of Egypt.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 43". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13