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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Jeremiah 46

 

 

Verses 1-28

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 46. Egypt.—(a) Jeremiah 46:2-12, the defeat of Pharaoh Necho (610-594) in 605 at Carchemish (NW. Mesopotamia, near junction of Sagur with Euphrates) by Nebuchadrezzar (who became formally king of Babylon in 604). The prophet summons Egypt to battle array (Jeremiah 46:3 f.), and dramatically describes its defeat (Jeremiah 46:5 f.). He compares Egypt's efforts with an inundation of the Nile (Jeremiah 46:7; cf. Isaiah 8:7, of the Euphrates), and introduces Pharaoh (Jeremiah 46:8) as boasting of his strength, and calling his warriors to the fray (Jeremiah 46:9; the contingents here named are those of the Ethiopians, the Libyans, and some unknown peoples of NE. Africa, respectively; cf. Ezekiel 30:5). The prophet declares (Jeremiah 46:10) that the Babylonian sword is executing the vengeance of Yahweh, and (Jeremiah 46:11) ironically bids Egypt (famed for its skill in medicine) seek a plaster for its wounds (Jeremiah 8:22, Jeremiah 30:13).

Jeremiah 46:4. get up, ye horsemen: rather "mount the chargers".

Jeremiah 46:5. Begin, with LXX, "Wherefore are they dismayed, etc."; for the characteristic phrase, terror is on every side, see Jeremiah 6:25, Jeremiah 20:10, Jeremiah 49:29.

Jeremiah 46:10. Cf. Isaiah 34:6, and note the defeat of Israel by this Pharaoh at Megiddo, three years before the date of this prophecy.

Jeremiah 46:12. Cf. Leviticus 26:37.

(b) Jeremiah 46:13-26, the coming invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadrezzar, either as sequel to its defeat at Carchemish, or with reference to Jeremiah 43:8-13. The Egyptians are summoned to withstand the invaders, and their utter overthrow is described (Jeremiah 46:14-17; see critical notes). Nebuchadrezzar comes in towering strength (Jeremiah 46:18), and Egypt must prepare for exile (Jeremiah 46:19, mg.2; cf. Ezekiel 12:3), since the capital, Noph (Memphis) is to be destroyed. She is like a graceful heifer, stung by a gad-fly (Jeremiah 46:20, both mgg.), but her mercenary soldiers (e.g., the Ionians and Carians) are like fatted calves, useless to defend her (Jeremiah 46:21). The foe is irresistible (Jeremiah 46:22-24). Yahweh is punishing Amon the god of No (Thebes, Nahum 3:8) and Pharaoh, but promises ultimate restoration of the Egyptians to their land (Jeremiah 46:25 f.). A promise of comfort for Israel (found elsewhere as mg.) has been attached to this prophecy (Jeremiah 46:27 f.).

Jeremiah 46:14. Omit, with LXX, "in Egypt and publish", also "and in Tahpanhes"; cf. Jeremiah 2:16, Jeremiah 44:1.

Jeremiah 46:15. Read with LXX (cf. mgg.), "Why is Apis fled? Thy strong one (i.e. Apis, the sacred bull of Egypt—LXX, "thy choice calf") stood not, because Yahweh did thrust him down."

Jeremiah 46:16. Read, after LXX, "Thy mixed people (i.e. trading foreigners) have stumbled and fallen, and they said one to another, etc."

Jeremiah 46:17. The Hebrew consonants should be read, "Call ye the name of Pharaoh, king of Egypt (so far LXX) shâ'ôn he‘ebîr hammô‘çd. This mocking title (see on Isaiah 30:7) might be freely rendered, "Irretrievable Ruin" (lit. a Crash, he has let pass the fixed time"). The middle word, he‘ebîr, perhaps contains a play on the Egyptian name of Hophra (Uah-ab-ra), 589-564, cf. Jeremiah 44:30; this would fix the period of the prophecy (so Cornill).

Jeremiah 46:22. As mg., except that "the serpent as it goeth" should probably be "a hissing serpent", with LXX Egypt withdraws as a serpent into its forest (so Isaiah 10:18, of Assyria), whilst the invaders are like men advancing to hew the trackless forest down (Jeremiah 46:23 mg.).

Jeremiah 46:25. Omit, with LXX, "Pharaoh and Egypt with her gods and her kings even".

Jeremiah 46:26. Ezekiel 29:13 f. promises restoration to Egypt after forty years (from 587).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/jeremiah-46.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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