Jeremiah 43:12
And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace.
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(12) I will kindle a fire.—The change of person is full of significance. Jehovah Himself kindles the fire which is to destroy the temples of the gods of Egypt, and the Chaldæan king is but His instrument.

As a shepherd putteth on his garment.—The words may point simply to the easiness of the conquest. To take possession of the whole country will be as quick and light a matter as when the shepherd takes up his garment at night and wraps it round him. Possibly (as Hitzig suggests) there may be a reference to the fact that when the shepherd so wraps himself he turns the fleecy coat which he wears inside out (the “pellibus inversis” of Juvenal, Sat. xiv. 136). So, the prophet may suggest, shall the conqueror turn the whole land upside down. (Comp. 2Kings 21:13).

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, Psalm 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.

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.I will kindle - Or, "he shall kindle."

He shall burn them ... - i. e., he shall burn the temples, and carry away the gods.

And he shall array - literally, "And he shall wrap himself in the land of Egypt as the shepherd wrappeth himself in his cloak, and shall (go forth thence in peace;" i. e., With as great ease as a shepherd throws his cloak round him when going forth to watch his flock by night in the field, so easily shall the king of Babylon take possession of all the glory of Egypt, throw it round him, and depart without anyone resisting his progress.

12. houses of … gods—He shall not spare even the temple, such will be His fury. A reproof to the Jews that they betook themselves to Egypt, a land whose own safety depended on helpless idols.

burn … carry … captives—burn the Egyptian idols of wood, carry to Babylon those of gold and other metals.

array himself with the land, &c.—Isa 49:18 has the same metaphor.

as a shepherd, &c.—He shall become master of Egypt as speedily and easily as a shepherd, about to pass on with his flock to another place, puts on his garment.

God by his prophet declares a particular hatred to the idols of Egypt, that he would burn up their temples, i.e. by the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.

And carry them away captives; he shall carry away both the idols and the inhabitants of Egypt captives.

He shall array himself with the land of Egypt; that is, with the spoils and plunder of the land of Egypt the king of Babylon shall clothe his army.

As a shepherd putteth on his garment: our unacquaintedness with the fashions of shepherds causeth divers guesses at the sense of this phrase; that which the best interpreters fix in as the best is, that as a shepherd that while he hath been attending his flocks goes in any rags and is careless of his clothes, but when he goes home at night he puts on his coat; so the Babylonish soldiers, when they have finished their work in the conquest of Egypt, shall go home clothed in the better habits of the Egyptians.

And he shall go forth from thence in peace; and the armies shall go home in peace, as conquerors not foiled in their undertaking.

And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt,.... Not only men should not be spared, but their gods also, and their temples should be burnt, as was usually done when cities were taken and destroyed: this is ascribed to God, to his wrath and vengeance; idolatry being a sin highly displeasing to him; though the Chaldeans were the instruments of it, yet it being done by the order, direction, and providence of God, it is rightly attributed to him:

and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives; that is, Nebuchadnezzar shall do this; he shall burn their temples, and carry away their idols of gold and silver; so Kimchi, who adds, or the sense is, he shall carry captive their worshippers; but rather the meaning is, he shall burn their idols, such as are made of wood, or any base matter, not worth saving; and he shall carry away with him their idols, such as are made of gold and silver, or any precious matter:

and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment. The Targum is,

"he shall spoil the land of Egypt.''

The meaning is, that he shall load and cover himself and his army with the spoil of the land of Egypt, as a shepherd covers himself with his garment; and he shall do it as easily as a shepherd puts on his coat; and as completely he shall roll up all the spoil, wealth, and riches of the land, and carry it off, even as a shepherd rolls up the covering of his tent; and, as Kimchi's father observes, as well as puts on his garment, and leaves nothing behind him, when he removes from place to place; and as he is unmindful of his clothes, or what he wears in the heat of the day; but at night, when he returns home from keeping his sheep, puts on his clothes, the best he has; so should the king of Babylon and his army return richly laden with the spoil of Egypt, when he should leave it. Or the sense rather is, he shall cover the land of Egypt with his forces, as a shepherd is covered and wrapped up in his garment against the inclemency of the weather; or else, as Bochart (k) suggests, the destruction of Egypt may be compared to an old worn out garment, or such a mean and sordid garment as shepherds wear:

and he shall go forth from thence in peace: there shall be none to molest and disturb him, to stop him and take away the spoil from him, or hinder his return to his own country; whither he should go in safety, and with great booty.

(k) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 44. col. 456.

And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a {m} shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from there in peace.

(m) Meaning most easily and suddenly will he carry the Egyptians away.

12. I will kindle] LXX (better) he will kindle.

array himself … garment] The Heb. verb means to roll up, or to wrap round, as a garment, but interpretations of the figure here used differ: viz. (a) Nebuchadnezzar shall have no more difficulty in carrying off the spoil of Egypt than the shepherd has in rolling up his possessions in his garment and carrying them off (so Erbt); (b) the king of Babylon will take possession of the land itself, as easily as the shepherd wraps himself in his garment (so apparently R.V.), a figure, however, which is too violent to be probable. The LXX reading (so Co.), however unacceptable to modern taste, has a good deal to be said for its likelihood as expressive of the prophet’s attitude towards Babylon and Egypt respectively; i.e. for Nebuchadnezzar the utter devastation of the land of Egypt will be as easy a matter as it is for the shepherd to cleanse his garment by removing one by one the vermin which infest it.

Verse 12. - Burn them; viz. the temples. Egypt was full of gorgeous and imposing temples, which could not, however, always be burned, nor were the conquerors of Egypt anxious to display hostility to Egyptian religion. Carry them away captives; viz. the idol gods (comp. Jeremiah 48:7, "Chemosh shall no forth into captivity:" and Isaiah 46:2, "Their soul [or, 'personality'] hath gone into captivity"). The prophet speaks from the point of view of a believer in the idol gods. He shall array himself with the land of Egypt, etc. (For "array himself with" and "putteth on,"read wrap himself in and wrappeth himself in.) Ewald well explains this figure. "As easily as the shepherd in the open field wraps himself in the cool night in his mantle, will he be able to grasp Egypt with his hand and fling it round him like an easily managed garment, in order then to leave the land as an absolute conqueror, clothed in this attire of booty, in peace, without an enemy." Jeremiah 43:12He shall burn the temples of the gods of Egypt, and carry away the idols. The first person הצּתּי, for which lxx, Syriac, and Vulgate have the third, must not be meddled with; it corresponds to שׂמתּי in Jeremiah 43:10. What Nebuchadnezzar does as Jahveh's servant (עבדּי, Jeremiah 43:10) is done by God. The suffixes in שׂרפם and שׁבּם are assigned in such a way that the one is to be referred to the temples, the other to the idols; see on Jeremiah 48:7. - ועטה has been variously interpreted. עטה with the accus. מעיל or שׂלמה means the envelope one's self with a garment, put on a garment, wrap the cloak round; cf. 1 Samuel 28:14; Psalm 109:19; Isaiah 59:17, etc. This is the meaning of the verb here, as is shown by the clause expressing the comparison. The point of likeness is the easiness of the action. Ewald has very well explained the meaning of the whole: "As easily as any shepherd in the open field wraps himself in his cloak, so will he take the whole of Egypt in his hand, and be able to throw it round him like a light garment, that he may then, thus dressed as it were with booty, leave the land in peace, without a foe, - a complete victor." Other explanations of the word are far-fetched, and lexically untenable.
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