Jeremiah reproves the Jews in Egypt for continuing in idolatry after the exemplary judgments indicted by God on their nation for that sin, Jeremiah 44:1-14; and, upon their refusing to reform, denounces destruction to them, and to that kingdom wherein they sought protection, vv. 15-30.
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,The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews - Dahler supposes this discourse to have been delivered in the seventeenth or eighteenth year after the taking of Jerusalem.
Which dwell at Migdol - A city of Lower Egypt, not far from Pelusium.
Tahpanhes - Daphne Pelusiaca, the place to which the emigrant Jews first went.
Noph - מפס Maphes, Targum. Memphis. a celebrated city of Middle Egypt, and the capital of its district.
The country of Pathros - A district of Upper Egypt, known by the name of the Thebais. See Bochart, Lib. Phaleg, lib. iv., c. 22. Thus we find that the Jews were scattered over the principal parts of Egypt.
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,No man dwelleth therein - The desolation of the land of Judea must have been exceedingly great when this, in almost any sense, could be spoken of it.
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.
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.O, do not this abominable thing - A strong specimen of affectionate entreaty. One of the finest figures of poetry, when judiciously managed, the anthropopathia, the ascribing human passions to God, is often used by this prophet: so God is said to grieve, to mourn, to have his bowels moved with compassion, to repent, to be angry, etc. Here he is represented as tenderly expostulating: O, do not; or, I entreat you, do not that abominable thing which Ihate.
1. Do it not: your God commands.
2. O, do it not: your Father entreats.
3. It is an abominable thing, and should not be done.
4. I hate it, and on that account ye should abstain from it.
But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.But they hearkened not -
1. They disregarded the authority of their God.
2. They were not moved by the entreaties of their most affectionate Father.
3. In abominations they delighted. And,
4. They loved that which God hated; and, apparently, because he hated it.
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.
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;This great evil against your souls - Will not self-interest weigh with you? See what ruin your conduct has brought upon your country. Your fathers sinned as you are doing; and where are they now? Either destroyed, or in captivity. And you are now taking the same way to your own destruction.
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?
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?Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers - It seems that the women were principal agents in idolatrous practices; for the queens - the wives, of rulers and of common people, burnt incense to the queen of heaven, (the moon), Jeremiah 44:17, and poured out drink-offerings to her.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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,Then all the men - and all the women - We have not seen the women in determined rebellion before. Here they make a common cause with their idolatrous husbands.
As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.
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.
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.
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?And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven - The Moon seems to have been called מלכת melecheth, as the sun was called מלך molech. The Hindoos pour out water to the sun thrice a day; and to the moon whenever they worship her.
The idolatrous worship of these people was a sort of imitation of the worship of the true God; only sacrifice was not common in it. The factious women here tell us in what it consisted.
1. They burnt incense to the moon, and perhaps to the sun and the planets.
2. They poured out libations to her.
3. They made and consecrated cakes to her.
All these were prescribed in the worship of the true God. See, among others, Exodus 29:23, etc.; Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 23:16; and Numbers 6:15. And the women vindicate their conduct by asserting that they did all this by the consent of their husbands: "Did we worship her without our men?"
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,
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?
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.Therefore is your land a desolation - I grant that ye and your husbands have joined together in these abominations; and what is the consequence? "The Lord could no longer bear because of your evil doings; and therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without an inhabitant, this day."
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.Behold I will give Pharaoh-hophra - That is, Pharaoh Apries. How this and the prophecies in the preceding chapter were fulfilled, we learn from ancient historians. The sum of such information is this: the subjects of Pharaoh Apries rebelling, he sent Amasis, one of his generals, to reduce them to their duty. But no sooner had Amasis begun to make his speech, than they fixed a helmet on his head, and proclaimed him king. Amasis accepted the title, and confirmed the Egyptians in their revolt; and the greater part of the nation declaring for him, Apries was obliged to retire into Upper Egypt; and the country being thus weakened by intestine war, was attacked and easily overcome by Nebuchadnezzar, who on quitting it left Amasis his viceroy. After Nebuchadnezzar's departure, Apries marched against Amasis; but, being defeated at Memphis, was taken prisoner, carried to Sais, and was strangled in his own palace, thus verifying this prophecy. See Herodotus in Euterpe.
Thus Nebuchadnezzar made an easy conquest of the land. He conquered it as easily as "a shepherd puts on his cloak: he went thence in peace," having clothed himself with its spoils; and left all quiet under a viceroy of his own choosing. The rebellion of Pharaoh's subjects was the "fire that God kindled in Egypt," Jeremiah 43:12. And thus was he "delivered into the hands of his enemies," his revolted people; and "into the hand of him who sought his life," i.e., Amasis his general. And thus the whole prophecy was literally fulfilled.