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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 44

 

 

Introduction

Jeremiah 27-29. Certain linguistic peculiarities (e.g. the incorrect spelling, Nebuchadnezzar) suggest that these three chapters may have circulated as a separate pamphlet, e.g. in Babylon. They deal with the rebuke of false hopes concerning a speedy return from exile.

Jeremiah 30-31. The Future of Israel and Judah.—These two chapters of prophecy, dealing with the future restoration of Israel and Judah, appear to be a later editorial insertion in the narrative scheme of Jeremiah 26-45, placed here perhaps because Jeremiah 32 and Jeremiah 33 contain narratives and prophecies dealing with the same subject (cf. also Jeremiah 29:10 ff.). In Jeremiah 30 and Jeremiah 31, there are numerous points of contact with Deutero-Isaiah, a fact which, with other features, has suggested to many scholars an exilic or post-exilic date for much that these chapters contain. The contrast with the general "pessimism" of earlier chapters is very noticeable. On the other hand, the internal evidence for Jeremiah 31:2-6, Jeremiah 31:15-22, Jeremiah 31:31-34 entitles us to regard these sections as Jeremianic.

Jeremiah 40-44. The next five chapters continue the biography of Jeremiah, including connected events, after the capture of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 46-51. The Foreign Prophecies.—These form the third principal division of the Book of Jeremiah. As already seen (Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 1:10, Jeremiah 25:15), Jeremiah's prophetic horizon naturally included the surrounding nations; how far the prophecies that follow are his can be decided only by detailed criticism in each case. They refer, though in somewhat different order, to the several nations enumerated in Jeremiah 25:19-26 (which may be regarded as an introduction to them), except that an oracle on Damascus here replaces the reference to Tyre, Sidon, and the Mediterranean. (The LXX, which places this group of prophecies after Jeremiah 25:13, follows a third order.) It is generally admitted that the long prophecy on Babylon (Jeremiah 50 f.) is not by Jeremiah (see prefatory note). As to Jeremiah 46-49, there is considerable difference of opinion, ranging from Duhm's rejection of the whole, through Giesebrecht's acceptance of Jeremiah 47 (except towards end), with the nucleus of Jeremiah 46:2-12, Jeremiah 49:7-11, up to Cornill's acceptance of most of Jeremiah 46-49 (so also Peake). It is in any case natural to suppose that there are genuine prophecies by Jeremiah which underlie these chapters, though they have been worked over, or incorporated with other non-Jeremianic prophecies (e.g. Jeremiah 48) by later writers. For details, the larger commentaries must be consulted.

Jeremiah 26-45. These chapters, usually ascribed in the main to Baruch, chiefly narrate selected incidents in the life of Jeremiah, often with connected prophecies; they form a second main section of the book, in contrast with 1-25, which consist chiefly of prophecies, with little narrative.


Verses 1-30

Jeremiah 44. Denunciation of the Jewish Worship of Ishtar in Egypt.—Jeremiah points to the desolation of Judah as the experienced consequence of idolatry, notwithstanding Yahweh's warnings (Jeremiah 44:1-6). Why, then, do they repeat the offence, forgetting the past? Yahweh will destroy the remnant in Egypt, leaving fugitives only (Jeremiah 44:7-14). The assembled men and women refuse to abandon the worship of Ishtar ("the queen of heaven", Jeremiah 7:18*), which they have vowed (Jeremiah 44:17, "out of our mouth", Judges 11:36); prosperity of old accompanied that worship, whereas, since its abandonment (i.e., in Jeremiah 6:21, at the Deuteronomic Reformation) there has been nothing but disaster (Jeremiah 44:15-19). Jeremiah urges his point, i.e. that the true connexion is between Jewish idolatry and Jewish disaster (Jeremiah 44:20-23), and ironically tells them to fulfil their vows of idolatrous worship. Yahweh solemnly declares (Jeremiah 44:26) that all Jewish reference to Him in Egypt shall cease (a grim hint that no Jews will be left). He is wakeful (Jeremiah 1:12, Jeremiah 31:28) to bring this penalty; as its token, He asserts that the fate of the Egyptian king shall be like that of the Jewish. Pharaoh Hophra (589-564) was defeated in 570 by a rebellion under Amasis (his successor), and was strangled in 564; see Herod, ii. 169.

Jeremiah 44:1. Migdol: E. of Tahpanhes, Jeremiah 43:7; Noph: Memphis, near Cairo, Jeremiah 2:16; Pathros: S. or Upper Egypt.

Jeremiah 44:2. The first ye is emphatic.

Jeremiah 44:3. burn incense: rather "offer sacrifice", Jeremiah 1:16; so Jeremiah 44:8; Jeremiah 44:17, etc.

Jeremiah 44:9. Read "princes" for the first "wives" with LXX cf. Jeremiah 44:17; Jeremiah 44:21.

Jeremiah 44:15. Egypt must denote Lower, Pathros Upper, Egypt; but such a gathering is improbable.

Jeremiah 44:19. Some MSS of LXX, with Syr., put this verse into the mouth of the women, as the closing words require, by prefixing "And (all) the women answered and said". The cakes were perhaps star-shaped; cf. RVm. For the point of the women's reference to their husbands, see the later law of vows in Numbers 30:3-16.

Jeremiah 44:25. Ye and your wives: read, with LXX, "ye women".

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 44:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-44.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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