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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments
Jeremiah 43

 

 

Verse 2-3

Jeremiah 43:2-3. Then spake Azariah, the son of Hoshaiah — Called Jazaniah, Jeremiah 42:1. We may observe many like instances in the books of Kings and Chronicles, of the same persons being called by two different names. And all the proud men — They who refused to obey Almighty God when his commands crossed their own inclinations. Saying unto Jeremiah, The Lord hath not spoken by thee — The constant method of hypocrites and infidels, who pretend they are not satisfied of the truth of divine revelation, when the true cause of their unbelief is, that God’s commands contradict their own lusts and appetites. But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us — They would not directly accuse Jeremiah of partiality toward, or confederacy with the Chaldeans, as his enemies had done formerly, (Jeremiah 37:13,) but they lay the blame upon Baruch, whom they knew to be an intimate companion of Jeremiah’s, and to have been kindly used by the Chaldeans upon Jeremiah’s account. — Lowth.


Verses 4-7

Jeremiah 43:4-7. So Johanan and all the captains, &c., obeyed not, &c. — That is, they resolved not to obey the message God had sent them by Jeremiah; but took all the remnant of Judah that were returned, &c. — The resolution which they had formed they presently put in practice. Though Jeremiah and Baruch, and probably many of the people, were not willing to go along with them, yet these rebellious captains forced them to go; so that the prophet and his pious friends were now a kind of prisoners to their own countrymen. So they came into the land of Egypt — Their great inclination to go into Egypt arose, as has been intimated, from a supposition that they should be safer there from the Babylonians, who, they thought, might injure them at any time while they stayed in Judea; but would not venture to attack Egypt, on account of its strongly fortified cities, which commanded the passes into the country, and the various channels of the Nile, which were great obstructions to the march of an army. Thus they came even to Tahpanhes — One of the principal cities of Egypt, and a place of residence for their kings. The word is contracted to Hanes, Isaiah 30:4, and joined with Zoan, the chief city of the kingdom. Tahpanhes gave a name to a queen of Egypt, (1 Kings 11:19,) and is supposed by many to be the same city which was afterward called Daphnæ Pelusiacæ. In this behaviour of the Jews we have an instance of great impiety joined to hypocrisy. They had promised with an oath to follow the advice of the prophet; but, because his counsel was not agreeable to their inclinations, they went down into Egypt, and even charged the prophet with speaking falsely in the name of the Lord. In these Jews we see a picture of those persons who, upon some occasions, express their zeal and good intentions, but reject the most wholesome counsels when those counsels thwart their passions, and are in opposition to what they have secretly purposed. With respect to Jeremiah, it may be observed, God suffered him to be carried to Egypt, that he might there denounce the ruin of the Egyptians as well as of the Jews, who had put their trust in them. Wherever the wicked are, the hand of God finds them out; and those who think, by disobeying him, to avoid the evils which they dread, and to that end make use of unlawful means, fall by those very means into the evils they expect to shun, and are confounded in their hope.


Verse 8-9

Jeremiah 43:8-9. Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah in Tahpahnes — Jeremiah was now among idolatrous Egyptians and treacherous Israelites, yet here the word of the Lord came to him, and he prophesied. God can visit his people with his grace, and the revelations of his mind and will, wherever they are; and when his ministers are bound, his word is not bound. When Jeremiah went into the land of Egypt, not out of choice, but by constraint, God withdrew not his wonted favour from him. And what he received of the Lord he delivered to the people. Wherever we are, we must endeavour to do good; for that is our business in this world. Saying, Take great stones in thy hand — Such as are used as foundation-stones; and hide them in the clay in the brick-kiln — Or furnace. The Vulgate reads, in crypta, quæ est sub muro lateritio, in the hollow place, or vault, which is under the brick wall; and the LXX., εν προθυροις, in the place before the gate which is at the entry of Pharaoh’s house — Which, however, might be a great way from the palace itself; the courts of great kings being almost equal to a city, for extent, in ancient times: particularly the palace of Babylon was four miles in compass, according to Diodorus Siculus: in the sight of the men of Judah — Hebrew, אנשׁים יהודים, literally, of men Jews; which signifies indefinitely some of that nation; not as in our present translation, which seems to imply, that the presence of all the Jewish emigrantswas required; for in that case the reading would at least have been, with the definite article prefixed, האנשׁים היהודים, the men the Jews, see Blaney. Jeremiah was not ordered to place these stones thus in the presence of the Egyptians, who were unacquainted with his prophetic character, but in the sight of the Jews to whom he was sent; at least some of them, who might attest what they had seen to others; in order that, since he could not prevent their going into Egypt, he might bring them to repent of their going.


Verse 10-11

Jeremiah 43:10-11. And say, Thus saith the Lord, I will send Nebuchadrezzar, &c. — God now commands his prophet to expound to the Jews the design of the order given him in the preceding verse. The stones hid in the clay, at the entry of Pharaoh’s house, were intended to be a sign that the king of Babylon should make himself master of that royal city, and set his throne in that very place. This minute circumstance is particularly foretold, that, when it was accomplished, they might be put in mind of the prophecy, and confirmed in their belief of the extent and certainty of the divine prescience; to which the smallest and most contingent events are evident. God calls Nebuchadnezzar his servant, because in this instance he should execute God’s will, accomplish his purposes, and be instrumental in carrying on his designs. And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt — Though Egypt has always been a warlike nation, it shall not be able to withstand the king of Babylon; but whom he will he shall slay, and in what way he pleases; and deliver such as are for death to death — See note on Jeremiah 15:2. Death here signifies the pestilence which the prophet foretels would overspread the country of Egypt by reason of the famine occasioned by sieges and other ravages of war.


Verse 12-13

Jeremiah 43:12-13. And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt — I will cause the temples of the gods of Egypt to be set on fire, and their images to be consumed, or carried away, as being neither able to save their worshippers nor themselves. God here speaks of himself as the prime mover, or principal agent in this business, no doubt with a design to inculcate this necessary and important lesson, that in the punishing of idolatrous or ungodly nations both the plan is his, and the power of carrying it into execution, whatever instruments he may choose to employ as the subordinate ministers of his providence. And he shall array himself with the land of Egypt — That is, he shall clothe, or enrich himself and his army with the spoils and plunder of the country: or he shall add Egypt to his dominions, and possess himself of the riches of it, with as much ease as the shepherd puts on his garment. So calamities, when they surround men on every side, are compared to a garment, Psalms 109:19. “The expression shows,” says Rollin, “the prodigious ease with which all the power and riches of a kingdom are carried away, when God appoints the revolution.” And he shall go forth from thence in peace — None daring or attempting to resist him, or give him any molestation. He shall also break the images of Beth-shemesh — Or, the house of the sun, as the word signifies. The LXX. render the clause, και συντριψει στυλους ηλιουπολεως, He shall break in pieces the pillars of Heliopolis, that is, the city of the sun, where, as we learn from Herodotus, lib. 2. c. 59, the Egyptians celebrated a grand festival annually, in honour of the sun, that had a temple there. But בית שׁמשׁ, the house of the sun, seems rather to mean the temple itself, in which the images of their deity were erected.

 


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Bibliography Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Jeremiah 43:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/jeremiah-43.html. 1857.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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