Jeremiah 43:8
Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying,
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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.

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.On arriving at the frontiers of Egypt, the captains would be compelled to halt in order to obtain the king's permission to enter his country. Jeremiah therefore takes the opportunity to predict, first, the downfall of Egypt; and secondly, that of the false gods. 7. Tahpanhes—(See on [963]Jer 2:16); Daphne on the Tanitic branch of the Nile, near Pelusium. They naturally came to it first, being on the frontier of Egypt, towards Palestine. No text from Poole on this verse.

Then came the word of the Lord to Jeremiah, at Tahpanhes,.... Where he was with the rest the captains carried thither with them; and as soon as he and they had got here, the word of the Lord came unto him, declaring the destruction of this place, and of the whole land. Here Jerom says the prophet was stoned to death;

saying; as follows:

Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying,
8. in Tahpanhes] The exiles would be compelled to halt at this frontier-fortress (now Tell Defneh) in order to secure permission to sojourn in the country, and obtain if possible such recognition from the king as would help to supply them with means of subsistence.

Jeremiah 43:8Prediction 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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