|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
46:1-12 The whole word of God is against those who obey not the gospel of Christ; but it is for those, even of the Gentiles, who turn to Him. The prophecy begins with Egypt. Let them strengthen themselves with all the art and interest they have, yet it shall be all in vain. The wounds God inflicts on his enemies, cannot be healed by medicines. Power and prosperity soon pass from one to another in this changing world.
Verse 11. - Go up into Gilead (see on Jeremiah 8:22). In vain shalt thou use, etc.; rather, in vain hast thou used, etc.; a much more vigorous, pictorial expression. Thou shalt not be cured. The literal rendering is more forcible, there is no plaster for thee; i.e. no bandage will avail to heal the wound (comp. Jeremiah 30:13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Go up into Gilead,.... Still the irony or sarcasm is continued Gilead was a place in the land of Israel famous for balm or balsam, used in curing wounds; see Jeremiah 8:22; hence it follows:
and take balm, O virgin, daughter of Egypt; the kingdom of Egypt, as the Targum; so called because of its glory and excellency; and because as yet it had not been conquered and brought under the power of another: now the inhabitants of it are bid to take balm or balsam, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; but this grew not in Gilead beyond Jordan, but near Jericho on this side Jordan, as Bochart (z) has proved from various authors; particularly Strabo (a) says of Jericho, that there is the paradise of balsam, an aromatic plant, and of great esteem; for there only it is produced: and so Diodorus Siculus (b), speaking of places near Jericho, says, about these places, in a certain valley, grows what is called balsam, from which much profit arises; nor is the plant to be found in any other part of the world: and Justin (c) observes the same; that much riches accrue to the nation from the tax on balsam, which is only produced in this country, in Jericho, and the valley near it; yea, Kimchi himself elsewhere (d) says, that the balsam is not any where in the whole world but in Jericho. The word therefore should be rendered rosin, as also in Jeremiah 8:22; as it is by some (e); and which is used in cleansing, healing, and contracting wounds, and dispersing humours, as Pliny (f) relates; and this here is ordered to be taken, either literally, to cure the vast number of their wounded by the Chaldeans; or rather, figuratively, they are called upon to make use of all means to recover their loss sustained; by recruiting their army, fortifying their cities, and getting fresh allies and auxiliaries; all which would yet be to no purpose:
in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shall not be cured; notwithstanding all means made use of to repair its losses; though it should not utterly be destroyed yet should never recover its former glory.
(z) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 51. col. 628, 629. (a) Geograph. l. 16. p. 525. (b) Bibliothec. l. 19. p. 734. (c) E Trogo, l. 36. c. 3.((d) Comment in 2 Kings 20.13. So R. Levi Ben Gersom in ib. (e) "tolle resinam", Montanus, Munster, Calvin, Grotius. (f) Nat. Hist. l. 24. c. 6.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Gilead … balm—(See on Jer 8:22); namely, for curing the wounds; but no medicine will avail, so desperate shall be the slaughter.
virgin—Egypt is so called on account of her effeminate luxury, and as having never yet been brought under foreign yoke.
thou shalt not be cured—literally, "there shall be no cure for thee" (Jer 30:13; Eze 30:21). Not that the kingdom of Egypt should cease to exist, but it should not recover its former strength; the blow should be irretrievable.
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