Jeremiah 43:11
And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword.
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(11) Such as are for death to death.—Again we note the re-appearance of a characteristic formula (Jeremiah 11:2).

43:8-13 God can find his people wherever they are. The Spirit of prophecy was not confined to the land of Israel. It is foretold that Nebuchadnezzar should destroy and carry into captivity many of the Egyptians. Thus God makes one wicked man, or wicked nation, a scourge and plague to another. He will punish those who deceive his professing people, or tempt them to rebellion.According to each man's destiny, he will either die of famine, pestilence, or in battle; or he will be led captive; or be put to death by the executioner. 11. such as are for death to death—that is, the deadly plague. Some he shall cause to die by the plague arising from insufficient or bad food; others, by the sword; others he shall lead captive, according as God shall order it (see on [964]Jer 15:2). He prophesieth the certain ruin of the Egyptians by the king of Babylon, some of whom the king of Babylon should slay, others of them he should lead away into captivity as prisoners of war. See the like phrases Jeremiah 15:2.

And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt,.... Here is a various reading: the "Cetib", or textual writing, is, "when it cometh, it shall smite"; which Kimchi rightly interprets of the camp or army of Nebuchadnezzar; and the "Keri", or marginal reading, which we follow, is, "when he cometh, he shall smite"; that is, the king of Babylon; both are to be received: when Nebuchadnezzar should come with his army to Tahpanhes, he would not only take that, but go through the land of Egypt, and subdue and destroy the inhabitants of it, all that dwelt in it, sojourners as well as natives; and so the Jews that were come hither to dwell, against the express command of God, to whom this prophecy was delivered, and to whom it has a particular respect:

and deliver such as are for death to death; who are appointed to death, either by pestilence or famine; that is, he shall oblige them to flee to, or block them up in, places where they shall perish by one or other of these:

and such as are for captivity to captivity: such as are designed to be carried captive, these shall be taken by him, and carried captive into Babylon, and the provinces of it:

and such as are for the sword to the sword; who are destined to fall by the sword, these should be slain by the sword of Nebuchadnezzar, and his soldiers; so that, what by one way or another, a general destruction should be made.

And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver {l} such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword.

(l) Everyone will be slain by the means that God has appointed, Jer 15:2.

11. to death] See on Jeremiah 15:2.

Verse 11. - He shall smite the land of Egypt. On the invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, wrongly controverted by some, see note on Jeremiah 46:13. Such as are for death. Such as are destined for death (i.e. pestilence, as Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 18:21). The words, "and deliver," prefixed in the Authorized Version, are unnecessary; "land" is equivalent to "population." Jeremiah 43:11Prediction regarding Egypt. - Jeremiah 43:8. "And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, Jeremiah 43:9. Take in thine hand large stones, and hide them in the clay in the brick-kiln, which is at the entrance to the house of Pharaoh in Taphanhes, in the eyes of the Jews; Jeremiah 43:10. And say to them: Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and will place his throne over these stones which I have hidden, and he shall stretch his tapestry over them. Jeremiah 43:11. And he shall come and smite the land of Egypt, (he who is) for death, to death, - (he who is) for captivity, to captivity, - (he who is) for the sword, to the sword. Jeremiah 43:12. And I will kindle fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away; and he shall wrap the land of Egypt round him as the shepherd wraps his cloak round him, and thence depart in peace. Jeremiah 43:13. And he shall destroy the pillars of Beth-shemesh, which is in the land of Egypt, and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire."

This prophecy is introduced by a symbolical action, on which it is based. But in spite of the fact that the object of the action is stated in the address which follows, the action itself is not quite plain from the occurrence of בּמּלבּן, whose usual meaning, "brick-kiln" (cf. Nahum 3:14), does not seem suitable here. Eichhorn and Hitzig think it absurd that there should be found before the door of a royal habitation a brick-kiln on which a king was to place his throne. From the Arabic malbin, which also signifies a rectangular figure like tile or brick, and is used of the projecting entablature of doors, - from the employment, also, in the Talmud of the word מלבּן to signify a quadrangular tablet in the form of a tile, - Hitzig would claim for the word the meaning of a stone floor, and accordingly renders, "and insert them with mortar into the stone flooring." But the entablatures over doors, or quadrangular figures like bricks, are nothing like a stone flooring or pavement before a palace. Besides, in the way of attaching to the word the signification of a "brick-kiln," - a meaning which is well established, - or even of a brickwork, the difficulties are not so great as to compel us to accept interpretations that have no foundation. We do not need to think of a brick-kiln or brickwork as being always before the palace; as Neumann has observed, it may have indeed ben there, although only for a short time, during the erecting of some part of the palace; nor need it have been just at the palace gateway, but a considerable distance away from it, and on the opposite side. Alongside of it there was lying mortar, an indispensable building material. טמן, "to hide," perhaps means here not merely to embed, but to embed in such a way that the stones could not very readily be perceived. Jeremiah was to press down the big stones, not into the brick-kiln, but into the mortar which was lying at (near) the brick-kiln, - to put them, too, before the eyes of the Jews, inasmuch as the meaning of this act had a primary reference to the fate of the Jews in Egypt. The object of the action is thus stated in what follows: Jahveh shall bring the king of Babylon and set his throne on these stones, so that he shall spread out his beautiful tapestry over them. שׁפרוּר (Qeri שׁפריר), an intensive form of שׁפר, שׁפרה, "splendour, beauty," signifies a glittering ornament, - here, the decoration of the throne, the gorgeous tapestry with which the seat of the throne was covered. The stones must thus form the basis for the throne, which the king of Babylon will set up in front of the palace of the king of Egypt at Tahpanhes. But the symbolical meaning of this action is not thereby exhausted. Not merely is the laying of the stones significant, but also the place where they are laid, - at the entrance, or opposite Pharaoh's palace. This palace was built of tiles or bricks: this is indicated by the brick-kiln and the mortar. The throne of the king of Babylon, on the contrary, is set up on large stones. The materials of which the palace and the throne are formed, shadow forth the strength and stability of the kingdom. Pharaoh's dominion is like crumbling clay, the material of bricks; the throne which Nebuchadnezzar shall set up opposite the clay-building of the Pharaohs rests on large stones, - his rule will be powerful and permanent. According to Jeremiah's further development of the symbol in Jeremiah 43:11., Nebuchadnezzar will come to Egypt (the Kethib באה is to be read בּאה, "he came down," to Egypt, בּוא being construed with the accus.), and will smite the land together with its inhabitants, so that every man will receive his appointed lot, viz., death by pestilence, imprisonment, and the sword, i.e., death in battle. On the mode of representation here, cf. Jeremiah 15:2.

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