Moreover Jeremiah said to all the people, and to all the women, Hear the word of the LORD, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Hear the word of the Lord . . .—The appeal to the experience of the past is followed by a prediction of the future, addressed to the wives as well as to the husbands. The new sin would lead to a new punishment. A tone of irony is perceptible in the words, “Ye will surely accomplish your vows.” That, at all events, was a promise they were likely to keep, however faithless they might have shown themselves in keeping their vows to the God of their fathers. But the Lord of Israel meets that vow by another. By that “great name” (Genesis 22:16) of the Lord God (Jehovah Adonai), which they had slighted and profaned, He declares that it shall be profaned no more by the Egyptian exiles, not because they, of their own accord, would cease to use it, but because none of them should be left there. The small remnant that survived the sword and the famine should return to Judah as a witness of the judgment that had fallen on them, and of the truth of the prophet’s warning. The words of Jehovah should stand, while those of men should fail.Jeremiah 44:24-28. Jeremiah said, Hear all Judah that are in the land of Egypt — That is, all you men and women that belong to Judah, and are now come to dwell in Egypt; ye and your wives have spoken — The Hebrew word תדברנה, rendered have spoken, is of the feminine gender, and implies that the women were first and principally concerned in this idolatry, and that the men’s guilt lay chiefly in conniving at them, and suffering themselves to be seduced by them; saying, We will surely perform our vows, &c. — They insist on their unlawful vows as obligations in conscience, which could not be dispensed with, just as Herod did on his unlawful oath, Matthew 14:9 : as if, though to burn incense to the queen of heaven were a sin, yet their having vowed to do it were sufficient to justify them in the doing of it; whereas no man can, by his vow, make that lawful to himself, much less his duty, which God had before made sin. Ye will surely accomplish your vows, &c. — You are resolved upon it, and there is no moving you from your resolution. Therefore hear ye the word of the Lord — Hear what is God’s resolution. Behold, I have sworn by my great name, saith the Lord — I also have made a solemn vow, in opposition to that wicked one of yours, and have confirmed it by an oath. I have sworn and will not repent: That my name shall no more be named by any man of Judah in the land of Egypt, &c. — “These Jews seem to have joined the worship of the true God with that of idols, as the Samaritans did before them, 2 Kings 17:33. Thereupon God declares he will not receive any such polluted worship at their hands, (compare Ezekiel 20:39,) nor suffer his name to be any longer profaned by such hypocrites, but will consume them by a sudden and general destruction” — Lowth. Behold, I will watch over them for evil — God here represents himself as one who would be solicitous and industrious to bring evil upon them, as men, who are so in any business, watch all opportunities for doing it: as if he had said, No opportunity shall be let slip to bring some judgment upon them, until there be an end of them, and they be quite rooted out. Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return, &c. — A very few, next to none in comparison of the great number that shall return out of the land of the Chaldeans: see note on Jeremiah 44:14. And all the remnant of Judah shall know whose words shall stand, mine or theirs — They said they should recover themselves when they returned to worship the queen of heaven. God says they shall hereby ruin themselves: and now the event will show who was in the right. The contest between God and sinners is, whose word shall stand, whose will shall be done, who shall prevail? Sinners say, We shall have peace, though we go on in sin: God says, Ye shall have no peace. And when God judges, he will overcome: his word shall stand, and not the sinner’s.
testimonies—the judicial (Da 9:11, 12).
hear the word of the Lord, all Judah that are in the land of Egypt; all of the tribe of Judah that were in Egypt; not in Pathros only, but in other parts of Egypt; this distinguishes them from those of Judah that were in Babylon, and in other provinces; and tacitly points at their sin in going to Egypt, which was the leading step to then fresh acts of idolatry they had been guilty of; these are called upon to hear the word of the Lord: what the prophet had said before was what was upon his mind without immediate inspiration, or as a direct message from the Lord; but what follows is.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:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. Here and in Jeremiah 44:25 we return to Baruch’s memoirs.
all Judah … Egypt] LXX, probably rightly, omit.Jeremiah 44:15. "Then all the men who knew that their wives burned incense to other gods, and all the women standing [there], a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, Jeremiah 44:16. [As for] the word which thou hast spoken unto us in the name of Jahveh, we will not hearken unto thee: Jeremiah 44:17. But we will certainly perform every word that has proceeded out of our own mouth, by burning incense to the queen of heaven, and pouring out libations to her, just as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem; and we were filled with bread, and became prosperous, and saw no evil. Jeremiah 44:18. But since we ceased to offer incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out libations to her, we have been in want of everything, and are consumed by sword and famine. Jeremiah 44:19. And when we [women] have been burning incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out libations to her, have we made cakes to her without our husbands, making an image of her, and offering libations to her?" To the word of the prophet the men and women oppose their pretended experience, that the adoration of the queen of heaven has brought them comfort and prosperity, while the neglect of this worship, on the other hand, has brought want and misfortune. No doubt they inferred this, by the argument post hoc, ergo propter hoc, from the fact that, after idolatry had been rooted out by Josiah, adversity had befallen the land of Judah; while, up till that time, the kingdom of Judah had been independent, and, for more than a century before, had been spared the suffering of misfortune. Thus, through their blindness, peculiar to the natural man, they had overlooked the minor transient evils with which the Lord visits His people when they sin. Not till near the end of Josiah's reign did misfortune fall on Judah: this was when the Egyptian army, under Pharaoh-Necho, marched through Palestine; Josiah was slain in the battle he had lost, the land was laid waste by the enemy, and its inhabitants perished by sword and famine. In Jeremiah 44:15, those who are represented speaking are all the men who knew of their wives' idolatry, i.e., who permitted it, and all the women, "a great company," i.e., gathered together in great numbers, and all the rest of the people who lived in Egypt. The specification "in Pathros" is not in apposition to the words "in the land of Egypt," but belongs to the verb ויּענוּ; it tells where the gathering took place, viz., in a district of Upper Egypt. From the presence of a large number of women, we may conclude that the assembly was a festival in honour of the queen of heaven. The former portion of Jeremiah 44:16 forms an absolute clause, from הדּבר to בּשׁם, "as regards the word which...we will not listen to thee," i.e., with regard to this word we obey thee not. The expression, "the word which has gone forth out of our mouth," points to the uttering of vows: cf. Numbers 30:13; Deuteronomy 23:24. 'כּל־הדּבר means "all that we have uttered as a vow," every vow to offer incense, etc., i.e., to present meat and drink offerings to the queen of heaven, - that shall we keep, fulfil, as we and our fathers have done in the land of Judah. On this mode of worship, cf. Jeremiah 7:17., and the remarks there made. "And we were satisfied with bread," i.e., in consequence of this worship we had amply sufficient food. Towbiym טובים, "good," well, comfortable; cf. Jeremiah 22:16. מן אז, "from that time" equals since. תּמנוּ is for תּמּנוּ, from תּמם, as in Numbers 17:1-13 :28; cf. Ewald, 197, a. To this statement on the part of the men, the women further add, Jeremiah 44:19, that they do not engage in this sacrificial worship or prepare the sacrificial cakes without their husbands, i.e., without their knowledge and approval. This is put forward by the women in the way of self-vindication; for, according to the law, Numbers 30:9., the husband could annul, i.e., declare not binding, any vow which had been made by his wife without his knowledge. Although it is women who are speaking, the masc. מקטּרים is used as being the gender which most commonly occurs; it also pretty often stands for the feminine. The inf. constr. וּלהסּך (with ל) is here employed, in conformity with later usage, instead of the inf. abs., for the finite verb, by way of continuation; cf. Ewald, 351, c, where, however, many passages have been set down as falling under this rule that demand a different explanation. The meaning of להעצבה is disputed; the final ה is a suffix, written with Raphe, though Mappik also occurs in some MSS. The Hiphil of this verb is found elsewhere only in Psalm 78:40, and there in the signification of vexing, grieving, like the Piel in Isaiah 63:10; Psalm 66:6. Ewald translates "in order to move her," i.e., make her well-disposed, - but quite arbitrarily, for to provoke is the very opposite of rendering propitious. The verb עצּב also signifies "to form, shape," Job 10:8; and in this sense the Hiphil is used here, "in order to put them into shape," i.e., to form the moon-goddess (queen of heaven) in or on the sacrificial cakes (Kimchi, Raschi, Dahler, Maurer, Graf, etc.). The sacrificial cakes (כּוּנים, see on Jeremiah 7:18) probably had the form of a crescent, or even of the full moon, like the σελῆναι of the Greeks, which used to be offered in Athens at the time of the full moon in the month of Munychion, to Artemis, as goddess of the moon; cf. Hermann, gottesdienstliche Alterthmer der Griechen, 2 Ausg. S. 146, Anm. 13, u. S. 414.
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