Jeremiah 44:14
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.
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(14) To the which they have a desire to return.—Literally, unto which they lift up their souls to return. The words are significant as showing that the exiles still cherished the hope of getting back to the land of their fathers.

None shall return but such as shall escape.—The words seem at first a truism, but they imply that the escape would be difficult. The formula seems to have been not uncommon (Ezekiel 7:16). In Jeremiah 44:28 we have the fact more definitely stated: there should be, as in previous chastisements, a remnant, and a remnant only (Isaiah 1:9; Isaiah 6:13). By some critics the limiting clause has been looked on as an interpolation, inserted to bring the verse into agreement with Jeremiah 44:28.

44:1-14 God reminds the Jews of the sins that brought desolations upon Judah. It becomes us to warn men of the danger of sin with all seriousness: Oh, do not do it! If you love God, do not, for it is provoking to him; if you love your own souls, do not, for it is destructive to them. Let conscience do this for us in the hour of temptation. The Jews whom God sent into the land of the Chaldeans, were there, by the power of God's grace, weaned from idolatry; but those who went by their own perverse will into the land of the Egyptians, were there more attached than ever to their idolatries. When we thrust ourselves without cause or call into places of temptation, it is just with God to leave us to ourselves. If we walk contrary to God, he will walk contrary to us. The most awful miseries to which men are exposed, are occasioned by the neglect of offered salvation.Literally, "And there shall not be to the remnant of Judah, which are going to sojourn there in the land of Egypt, one that escapes or remains etc." The word rendered "escapes" means one who slips away, saves himself by a stealthy flight Genesis 14:13; the word "remains," one who survives when all the rest perish Job 18:19. Of all those now going down to Egypt none shall return to Judaea except a few miserable fugitives, who shall steal away as men who flee in battle 2 Samuel 19:3. For really years Jewish settlers had gone to Egypt in great numbers, and these old settlers would be treated in the same way as the Egyptians, but these fugitives, with no knowledge of the Egyptian language or ways, would have no friends in the country to aid them, and would also be recognized by the Chaldaeans as inveterate enemies, and mercilessly slain. 14. none … shall escape … that they should return, &c.—The Jews had gone to Egypt with the idea that a return to Judea, which they thought hopeless to their brethren in Babylon, would be an easy matter to themselves in Egypt: the exact reverse should happen in the case of each respectively. The Jews whom God sent to Babylon were there weaned from idolatry, and were restored; those who went to Egypt by their perverse will were hardened in idolatry, and perished there.

have a desire—literally, "lift up (their) soul," that is, their hopes (compare Jer 22:27, Margin; De 24:15, Margin).

none shall return but such as shall escape—namely, the "small number" (Jer 44:28) who were brought by force into Egypt, as Jeremiah and Baruch, and those who, in accordance with Jeremiah's advice, should flee from Egypt before the arrival of the Chaldeans (see on [967]Jer 42:17). Calvin less probably refers the words to the return of the exiles in Babylon, which the Jews in Egypt regarded as hopeless.

There is a great variety in the reading of the words, Jeremiah 44:14; some reading besides such as have a desire to return; others, although they have a desire to return; others, for they have a desire to return. The words seem to hint that these Jews went into the land of Egypt, not with a design to live there always, but to stay for a while till the heat of the Chaldeans in inquiring after the blood of Gedaliah should be over, then thinking to return into their own country; which one would think were true, considering it not only as their native soil, but also a place where was now room enough, and they might live in much greater plenty than they could in Egypt. The only difficulty is in the last words, compared with what in the same verse went before; it is said in the beginning of the verse that none of them should escape, and in the close,

none shall return but such as shall escape. But reason will guide us to interpret the first none in a restrained sense, i.e. none of those who have been the authors of this counsel and rebellion against God, and who went into Egypt willingly; for none can think that God involved Jeremiah and Baruch who were in Egypt (at least the first of them) in the same punishment with which he punished the rebellious Jews. Or none of those who in Egypt have burnt incense to idols, and defiled themselves with the idolatry of Egypt; but there shall some escape, such as have been forced into Egypt against their wills; and such as, being so forced, when they came here did not fall in with the idolatry of the Egyptians, (for we may gather from the next verse that all of them did not,) these men shall again return into the land of Judah. This to me seemeth the fairest and most probable sense of the words.

So that none of the remnant of Judah,.... Which were left in the land of Judea after the captivity:

which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain; escape either the sword, or the famine, or the pestilence, or remain in the land of Egypt, or in the land of the living; so general should be the destruction:

that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return there; or, "have lift up their souls (b) to return there": most earnestly desire it, and have raised hopes and expectations of it; for it seems that those Jews that went into Egypt did not go with a design to settle there for ever; but to return to their own land, when there should be better times, and more safety and security there; particularly when they thought the affair of the death of Gedaliah would be no further inquired into:

for none shall return but such as shall escape; out of the hands of Johanan, and the rest of the captains; and should get out of the land of Egypt before the Chaldeans came into it. Some understand this of those that should escape out of Babylon; that none should return to Judea but those of that captivity, who should be released by the proclamation of Cyrus. Jarchi interprets it of Jeremiah and Baruch, whom Nebuchadnezzar removed to Babylon, when Egypt fell into his hands, in the twenty seventh year of his reign, as is related in the Jewish chronicles (c).

(b) "elevant, vel elevantes animam, suam", Pagninus, Vatablus, Calvin; "attolunt animam suam", Schmidt. (c) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 26. p. 77.

So that none of the remnant of Judah, who have gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but {g} such as shall escape.

(g) Meaning but a few.

14. have a desire] For lit. Heb. See on Jeremiah 22:27.

for none … escape] perhaps added afterwards as a correction to the earlier part of the v. on account of the actual return of certain fugitives. So Co.

Verse 14. - They have a desire; literally, they lift up their soul (comp. Jeremiah 22:27). Jeremiah 44:14In Jeremiah 44:7-10 follows the application of what has been said to those present, who are asked how they come to continue in the old sins, to their own destruction, "doing evil in regard to your souls," i.e., for the injury, destruction of your souls, yourself; cf. Jeremiah 26:19, where על־נ' stands for אל־נ'. This is immediately afterwards more exactly specified by 'להכרית וגו, to exterminate the whole of you, without an exception. As to the enumeration "man and woman," etc., cf. 1 Samuel 15:3; 1 Samuel 22:19. The infs. להכעיסני and לקטּר are used as gerundives: "inasmuch as (through this that) ye provoke me." For the expression "the works of your hands," see on Jeremiah 1:16. In Jeremiah 44:8, an object must be supplied from Jeremiah 44:7 for the expression למען הכרית לכם; for, to take לכם (with Hitzig) in a reflexive sense is a very harsh construction. On 'לקללה וגו, cf. Jeremiah 42:18; Jeremiah 26:6. The answer to the question now asked follows in Jeremiah 44:9 and Jeremiah 44:10, in the form of the further question, whether they have forgotten those former sins, and that these sins have been the cause of the evil which has befallen the land. The interrogation expresses the reproach that they have been able to forget both, as is evidenced by their continuance in sin. In Jeremiah 44:9, the expression "the evil deeds of his wives" (נשׁיו) is remarkable. Hitzig and Ngelsbach, following Kimchi, refer the suffix to the kings, since there was always but one king at a time. But this is an unnatural explanation; the suffix refers to Judah as a nation, and is used in order to comprehend the wives of the fathers and of the kings together. It is quite arbitrary in Ewald and Graf to change נשׁיו to שׂריו, following the lxx τῶν ἀρχόντων ὑμῶν; for these translators have mutilated the text by the omission of the following ואת רעתיכם. רעות נשׁיו is not merely conserved, but even required, by ואת רעת נשׁיכם. But the prophet gives special prominence to the evil deeds of the wives, since it was they who were most zealous in worshipping the queen of heaven; cf. Jeremiah 44:15 and Jeremiah 44:19. לא דכּאוּ, "they have not been crushed," viz., by repentance and sorrow for these sins. The transition to the third person is not merely accounted for by the fact that the subject treated of is the sins of the fathers and of the present generation, - for, as is shown by the expression "till this day," the prophet has chiefly his own contemporaries in view; but he speaks of these in the third person, to signify the indignation with which he turns away from men so difficult to reform. On the expression, "they had not walked in my law," cf. Jeremiah 26:4; Jeremiah 9:12. For this the Lord will punish them severely, Jeremiah 44:11-14. All those who have fled to Egypt, with the intention of remaining there, will be quite exterminated. On "Behold, I will set my face," etc., cf. Jeremiah 21:10. "For evil" is more exactly defined by "to cut off all Judah," i.e., those of Judah who are in Egypt, not those who are in Babylon. This limitation of the words "all Judah" is necessarily required by the context, and is plainly expressed in Jeremiah 44:12, where "Judah" is specified as "the remnant of Judah that were determined to go to Egypt." לקחתּי has the meaning of taking away, as in Jeremiah 15:15. ותמּוּ are to be taken by themselves; and בּארץ מצרים, as is shown by the accents, is to be attached to what follows, on which, too, the emphasis is placed; in like manner, 'בּחרב are to be attached to the succeeding verb. The arrangement of the words, like the accumulation of sentences all expressing the same meaning, reveals the spirit of the address in which God vents His wrath. On "they shall become an execration," etc., see Jeremiah 42:18. In Jeremiah 44:13, Jeremiah 44:14, the threatened extermination is further set forth. Those who dwelling Egypt shall be punished with sword, famine, and plague, like Jerusalem. The inhabitants of Egypt generally are meant; and by the judgment which is to fall on that country, the remnant of Judah there shall be so completely destroyed, that none shall escape. The leading member of the sentence is continued by ולשׁוּב, "and that they should return to the land of Judah, after which their soul longs, that they may live there." A reason is further assigned, and with this the address, reduced within becoming limits, concludes: "for there shall return none except (כּי אם) fugitives," i.e., except a few individual fugitives who shall come back. This last clause shows that we are not to understand the declaration "none shall escape" in the strictest meaning of the words. Those who escape and return to Judah shall be so few, in comparison with those who shall perish in Egypt, as to be quite inconsiderable. Cf. the like instance of a seeming contradiction in Jeremiah 44:27, Jeremiah 44:28. On נשּׂא את־נפשׁם, cf. Jeremiah 22:27.
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