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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Jeremiah 44

 

 

Verse 1

Jeremiah 44:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,

Ver. 1. The word that came to Jeremiah.] No word of comfort - how could it be, as long as they lived in open rebellion against the Lord? - but all of reproof and threatening. For what reason? they were obdurate and obstinate, and did daily proficere in peius, grow worse and worse.

Which dwell at Migdol.] To these chief cities Jeremiah resorted to speak unto them. Noph, alias Moph [Hosea 9:6] is held to be Memphis, now Alcair.


Verse 2

Jeremiah 44:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they [are] a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein,

Ver. 2. Ye have seen all the evils that I have brought upon Jerusalem.] And should have been warned by this exemplum terrificum, dreadful instance of mine indignation. They that will not take example, are worthily made examples.


Verse 3

Jeremiah 44:3 Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, [and] to serve other gods, whom they knew not, [neither] they, ye, nor your fathers.

Ver. 3. Because of their wickedness.] That root of all their wretchedness.


Verse 4

Jeremiah 44:4 Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending [them], saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.

Ver. 4. Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants.] Here the badness of men and goodness of God come equally to be considered.

Saying, O do not this abominable thing which I hate.] It were happy if this saying of God were always shrilly sounding in our ears, whenever we are about to do anything that is evil; it would surely be a notable retentive from vice.


Verse 5

Jeremiah 44:5 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.

Ver. 5. But they hearkened not.] See Jeremiah 7:24; Jeremiah 7:26.


Verse 6

Jeremiah 44:6 Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted [and] desolate, as at this day.

Ver. 6. Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth.] A metaphor from metals. See Jeremiah 42:18.


Verse 7

Jeremiah 44:7 Therefore now thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Wherefore commit ye [this] great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain;

Ver. 7. Wherefore commit you this evll against your souls?] This land desolating, soul destroying sin of idolatry.


Verse 8

Jeremiah 44:8 In that ye provoke me unto wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye be gone to dwell, that ye might cut yourselves off, and that ye might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth?

Ver. 8. In that ye provoke me to wrath.] This is a most pithy and piercing sermon all along, not unlike that preached by Stephen, for the which he was stoned, [Acts 7:54; Acts 7:57-58] and likely enough that this was Jeremiah’s last sermon also.


Verse 9

Jeremiah 44:9 Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem?

Ver. 9. Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers?] Mira hic verborum apparet emphasis. What a powerful and pressing discourse is this! Sed surdis fabulam, but they were as a stake in the water that stirreth not.


Verse 10

Jeremiah 44:10 They are not humbled [even] unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers.

Ver. 10. They are not humbled.] Not tamed, not affected with attrition, much less with contrition for their sins. This I tell thee, Jeremiah, for to them I am weary with talking to so little purpose. Plectuntur sed non flectuntur: corripiuntur sed non corriguntur.


Verse 11

Jeremiah 44:11 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah.

Ver. 11. Behold, I will set my face against you for evil.] I will be implacable, as you are irreclaimable.


Verse 12

Jeremiah 44:12 And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, [and] fall in the land of Egypt; they shall [even] be consumed by the sword [and] by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, [and] an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach.

Ver. 12. That have set their faces.] I also will set my face against such, [Jeremiah 44:11] and they shall all be consumed and fall. Oh what work hath sin made in the world!


Verse 13

Jeremiah 44:13 For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:

Ver. 13. For I will punish them.] Let them never think that they shall one day be settled again in their own country; they could easily come down into Egypt.

Sed revocare gradum,” &c. “Hic labor,” &c.

I will watch them for ever going back again; let them set their hearts at rest for that matter, it will never be.


Verse 14

Jeremiah 44:14 So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.

Ver. 14. For none shall return, but such as shall escape,] sc., From these fighters against God, Johanan and his complices. The Talmudists tell us - but who told them? - that Nebuchadnezzar, at his conquest of Egypt, sent back into Judea Jeremiah and Baruch, &c.


Verse 15

Jeremiah 44:15 Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,

Ver. 15. Then all the men which knew that their wives had burnt incense.] And by suffering them so to do had consented to what they had done; for qui non, cum potest, prohibet, iubet.

And all the women that stood by.] Mulieres quicquid volunt valde volunt. Women, as they have less of reason than men, so more of passion, being wilful in their way, and oft carrying their men along with them. (a)

Sicut ferrum trahit magnes:

Sic masculum suum trahit Agnes. ”

Answered Jeremiah, saying.] One of the women speaking for the rest; and that might well be one of Zedekiah’s daughters, the men conniving, and well content therewith. See Jeremiah 44:19.

{a} Omne malum ex Gynaecio, All evil is from the women’s apartments.


Verse 16

Jeremiah 44:16 [As for] the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.

Ver. 16. As for the word which thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee.] This is just woman-like. See Jeremiah 44:15. When man lost his freewill, saith one, woman got it; and whereas there came twelve kabs (measures) of speech at first down from heaven, women ran away with ten of them, say the Rabbis merrily. Here they are very talkative and peremptory; in some there is a strong inclination, a vehement impetus, to whoredom, which the prophet Hosea calleth a spirit of whoredom. Such there was in these women to idolatry; they were fully set upon it.


Verse 17

Jeremiah 44:17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for [then] had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

Ver. 17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth.] Heb., We will doing do every word that hath gone forth from our mouth; that we may be dicti nostri dominae, as big as our words, our vows especially, {as Jeremiah 44:25} which we made to worship the queen of heaven, in case we came safe into Egypt.

To burn incense to the queen of heaven.] See Jeremiah 7:18.

As we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes.] Antiquity is here pleaded, and authority, and plenty and peace. These are now the Popish pleas, and the pillars of that rotten religion. It is the old religion, say they, and hath potent princes for her patrons, and is practised in Rome, the mother Church, and hath plenty and peace where it is professed, and where they have nothing but mass and matins. These are their arguments, but very poor ones, as were easy to evince. But as women, counted the devouter sex, have always carried a great stroke with their husbands, as did Eve, Jezebel, Eudoxia, &c., the women of Antioch could much against Paul and Barnabas; [Acts 13:50] so the people are indeed a weighty but unwieldy body, slow to remove from what they have been accustomed to. (a) The Irish will not be persuaded to put gears and harness on their horses, but will have the plough still tied to their tails as they have been; neither in matters of religion will they be drawn to leave their old mumpsimus (b) for the new sumpsimus, (c) so powerful is usage, and so sweet our present though perverse opinions and persuasions.

For then had we plenty of victuals.] Just so doth the Church of Rome borrow her mark from the market’s plenty or cheapness of all things. But one chief reason of that is the scarcity of money that was in our fathers’ days, and the plenty thereof that is in ours, by means of the rich mines in the West Indies, not discovered till the days of Henry VII. Holinshed saith that some old men he knew who told of times in England when it was accounted a great matter that a farmer could show five shillings or a noble together in silver.

And were well, and saw no evil.] Ubi utilitas ibi pietas, saith Epictetus; and deos quisque sibi utiles cudit, saith another: for profit men will be of any religion. If the belly may be filled, the back fitted, &c., modoferveat olla, so the pot may boil, much will be yielded to. (d) It is well observed that the Papists are most corrupt in those things where their profit, ease, or honour is engaged. In the doctrine of the Trinity, and other points that touch not upon these, they are sound.


Verse 18

Jeremiah 44:18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all [things], and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.

Ver. 18. But since we have left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, we have wanted all things.] This was non causa pro causa. Not unlike hereunto was that gross mistake of certain Lutheran ministers, who not long since, consulting at Hamburg about the causes and cure of Germany’s calamities, concluded it was because their images in churches were not adorned enough, which therefore they would procure done. (a)


Verse 19

Jeremiah 44:19 And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?

Ver. 19. And when we burnt incense to the queen of heaven.] So the Papists also call the Virgin Mary, and idolise her, as the word here rendered to worship her doth properly signify: Idoli reiectitii appellationem in eam transferentes.

Did we make her cakes without our men?] i.e., Without our husbands’ privity and approbation. But is that a sufficient excuse? Should not God be obeyed rather than men? A wife is not to perform such blind obedience to her husband as Plutarch prescribeth, when he layeth it as a law of wedlock on the wife to acknowledge and worship the same gods, and none else, but those whom her husband honoureth and reputeth for gods. (a)


Verse 20

Jeremiah 44:20 Then Jeremiah said unto all the people, to the men, and to the women, and to all the people which had given him [that] answer, saying,

Ver. 20. Then Jeremiah said unto all the people.] The prophet, without any special command from God, moved with a spirit of zeal, confuteth that blasphemy of theirs, and showeth plainly that idolatry maketh no people happy, but the contrary; though this be an old plea, or rather cavil, answered fully long since by Cyprian against Demetrian, Augustine De Civit. Dei, and Orosius.


Verse 21

Jeremiah 44:21 The incense that ye burned in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes, and the people of the land, did not the LORD remember them, and came it [not] into his mind?

Ver. 21. Ye, and your fathers, your kings, and your princes.] This was another thing they stood much upon, that their fathers had done it: so had their grandees. If men can say, "We have sinned with our fathers," they think it is enough. The heretic Dioscurus cried out, I hold with the fathers, I am cast out with the fathers, &c. Yea, Jerome once desired leave of Augustine to err with seven fathers whom he found of his opinion. But what saith the Scripture? "Be not ye the servants of men." [1 Corinthians 7:23] And what said a great politician? I will not live by example, but by rule; neither will I pin my faith on another’s sleeve, because I know not whither he may carry it.

Did not the Lord remember them?] When you thought he had forgot them. Sin may sleep a long time, like a sleeping debt, not called for of many years, &c.


Verse 22

Jeremiah 44:22 So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, [and] because of the abominations which ye have committed; therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, as at this day.

Ver. 22. So that the Lord could no longer bear.] His abused mercy turned into fury. See Jeremiah 15:6.


Verse 23

Jeremiah 44:23 Because ye have burned incense, and because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, nor walked in his law, nor in his statutes, nor in his testimonies; therefore this evil is happened unto you, as at this day.

Ver. 23. Because ye have burnt incense, &c.] See Jeremiah 42:21; Jeremiah 43:7.


Verse 24

Jeremiah 44:24 Moreover Jeremiah said unto all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that [are] in the land of Egypt:

Ver. 24. Hear the word of the Lord.] Not my word only. See on Jeremiah 44:20.


Verse 25

Jeremiah 44:25 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.

Ver. 25. Ye and your wives.] Who ought to be the better, but are much worse the one for the other, the devil having broken your head with your own rib.

We will surely perform our vows.] A little better than many Popish votaries (and others also not a few) do today; not unlike him in Erasmus, who in a storm promised the Virgin a picture of wax as big as St Christopher, but when he came to shore would not give a tallow candle. (a)


Verse 26

Jeremiah 44:26 Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD liveth.

Ver. 26. Behold, I have sworn by my great name.] Jehovah, my incommunicable name, my proper name, or by myself, and that is no small oath.


Verse 27

Jeremiah 44:27 Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that [are] in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.

Ver. 27. Behold, I will watch over them for evil.] I will watch them a shrewd turn, as we say. I will take my time to hit them when I may most hurt them.


Verse 28

Jeremiah 44:28 Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or theirs.

Ver. 28. Yet a small number.] Methe mispar, men of number, a poor few: still God reserveth a remnant for royal use.

Shall know whose word shall stand.] Because they are so peremptory and resolute, I shall try it out with them. I shall be as cross as they, yet still in a way of justice.


Verse 29

Jeremiah 44:29 And this [shall be] a sign unto you, saith the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil:

Ver. 29. That I will punish you in this place.] Which you looked upon as a place of surest security and safeguard, and would not hearken to me opening my bounties bosom to you at home.


Verse 30

Jeremiah 44:30 Thus saith the LORD Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.

Ver. 30. Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra.] Called also Vaphres, and by Herodotus, Apries, being nephew to Necho, who slew Josiah. A very proud prince he saith Apries was, slain by Amasis, who succeeded him. But others gather from this text, and from Ezekiel 29:19; Ezekiel 31:11; Ezekiel 31:15; Ezekiel 31:18, that he was slain by Nebuchadnezzar. Josephus (a) also and Jerome say as much. (b)

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 44:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-44.html. 1865-1868.

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Thursday, December 12th, 2019
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