Jeremiah 46:1
The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;
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(1) The word of the Lord . . .—We come here upon something like the traces of a plan in the arrangement of Jeremiah’s prophecies. Those that were concerned exclusively with the outside nations of the heathen were collected together, and attached as an appendix to those which were addressed directly to his own people. Most of those that follow were connected historically with Jeremiah 25:15-26, and may be regarded as the development of what is there given in outline, and belong accordingly to the reign of Jehoiakim (circ. B.C. 607).

Jeremiah 46:1. The word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah against the Gentiles — This is a general title to the collection of prophecies contained in this and the five following chapters, and refers to the denunciation of God’s judgments upon the countries round about Judea, namely, those of whom all enumeration is made Jeremiah 25:19-25. To some of these prophecies the date is annexed; in others it is left uncertain. It is evident they were not all delivered at the same time, and they seem to be here out of their proper place. In the Vatican and Alexandrian copies of the Septuagint, they follow immediately after Jeremiah 25:13, where express mention is made of the book which Jeremiah had prophesied against all the nations; which book is contained in this and the following chapters. It seems those who collected Jeremiah’s writings judged proper, without confining themselves to the order of time, to join together all those prophecies which respected the Gentile nations, and were not immediately connected with the affairs of the Jews.

46:1-12 The whole word of God is against those who obey not the gospel of Christ; but it is for those, even of the Gentiles, who turn to Him. The prophecy begins with Egypt. Let them strengthen themselves with all the art and interest they have, yet it shall be all in vain. The wounds God inflicts on his enemies, cannot be healed by medicines. Power and prosperity soon pass from one to another in this changing world.Against the Gentiles - Or, concerning the nations Jeremiah 46-49:33. CHAPTER 46

Jer 46:1-28. The Prophecies, Forty-sixth through Fifty-second Chapters, Refer to Foreign Peoples.

He begins with Egypt, being the country to which he had been removed. The forty-sixth chapter contains two prophecies concerning it: the discomfiture of Pharaoh-necho at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar, and the long subsequent conquest of Egypt by the same king; also the preservation of the Jews (Jer 46:27, 28).

1. General heading of the next six chapters of prophecies concerning the Gentiles; the prophecies are arranged according to nations, not by the dates.The overthrow of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah 46:1-12. The conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadrezzar, Jeremiah 46:13-26. God’s people comforted, Jeremiah 46:27,28.

This verse contains the title to all the ensuing discourses of this prophet; for though there be some particular verses in these chapters that relate to the Jews, yet they are all concerning their restoration. The prophecies of judgments from the beginning of this chapter to the 52nd chapter are all against foreign nations, which are called Gentiles; as to whom God revealed his will for the punishment of them, for the relief and satisfaction of his people, to whom the most of them had been bitter enemies. The 52nd chapter is by most concluded not to have been wrote by Jeremiah, who it is not probable would have repeated what he had related before, Jeremiah 39, but it was wrote (as it is supposed) by some of the captives in Babylon, as a preface to the Book of Lamentations. This particular chapter containeth the revelation of the will of God concerning Egypt, whither some of the Jews fled for refuge after this time, and which had been a great occasion of sin to the Jews before, not only through the Jews’ too many leagues with them, and confidence in them, but from their communicating in their idolatry with them: Jeremiah 2:16, The children of Noph and Tahpanhes brake the crown of their head.

The word of the Lord which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles. Or "nations"; distinguished from the Jews; not all the nations of the world, but some hereafter mentioned, as the Egyptians, Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Syrians, Arabians, Persians, and Chaldeans: or "concerning the nations" (p); the above mentioned; though the prophecies delivered out concerning them are all against them, and not in their favour. Mention is made of Jeremiah's prophesying against all the nations in Jeremiah 25:13; after which follow the several prophecies contained in the next chapters in the Septuagint and Arabic versions, as they stand in the Polyglot Bible.

(p) "super gentes", Montanus; "de gentibus", Cocceius.

The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the {a} Gentiles;

(a) That is, nine nations which are around the land of Egypt.

Verse 1. - Against the Gentiles; rather, concerning the nations (as distinguished from Israel). This heading relates to all the seven prophecies in Jeremiah 46-49:33. Jeremiah 46:1Superscriptions. - Jeremiah 46:1 contains the title for the whole collection of prophecies regarding the nations (הגּוים, as contrasted with Israel, mean the heathen nations), Jeremiah 46-51. As to the formula, "What came as the word of Jahveh to Jeremiah," etc., cf. the remarks on Jeremiah 14:1. - In Jeremiah 46:2, the special heading of this chapter begins with the word מצרים .למצרים is subordinated by ל to the general title, - properly, "with regard to Egypt:" cf. למואב, etc., Jeremiah 48:1; Jeremiah 49:1, Jeremiah 49:7,Jeremiah 49:23, Jeremiah 49:28, also Jeremiah 23:9. This chapter contains two prophecies regarding Egypt, Jeremiah 46:2-12, and vv. 13-28. למצרים refers to both. After this there follows an account of the occasion for the first of these two prophecies, in the words, "Concerning the army of Pharaoh-Necho, the king of Egypt, which was at the river Euphrates, near Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah." נכו, as in 2 Chronicles 35:20, or נכּה, as in 2 Kings 23:29, in lxx Νεχαώ; Egyptian, according to Brugsch (Hist. d'Egypte, i. p. 252), Nekaaou; in Herodotus Νεκώς, - is said by Manetho to have been the sixth king of the twenty-sixth (Sate) dynasty, the second Pharaoh of this name, the son of Psammetichus I, and grandson of Necho I. Brugsch says he reigned from 611 to 595 b.c. See on 2 Chronicles 23:29. The two relative clauses are co-ordinate, i.e., אשׁר in each case depends on חיל. The first clause merely states where Pharaoh's army was, the second tells what befall it at the Euphrates. It is to this that the following prophecy refers. Pharaoh-Necho, soon after ascending the throne, in the last year of Josiah's reign (610 b.c.), had landed in Palestine, at the bay of Acre, with the view of subjugating Hither Asia as far as the Euphrates, and had defeated the slain King Josiah, who marched out against him. He next deposed Jehoahaz, whom the people had raised to the throne as Josiah's successor, and carried him to Egypt, after having substituted Eliakim, the elder brother of Jehoahaz, and made him his vassal-king, under the name of Jehoiakim. When he had thus laid Judah under tribute, he advanced farther into Syria, towards the Euphrates, and had reached Carchemish on that river, as is stated in this verse: there his army was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim (606 b.c.); see on 2 Kings 23:29. Carchemish is Κιρκήσιον, Circesium, or Cercusium of the classical writers,

(Note: See the opinion of Rawlinson in Smith's Bible Dictionary, vol. i. p. 278. - Tr.)

Arabic karqi equals si equals yat, a fortified city at the junction of the Chebar with the Euphrates, built on the peninsula formed by the two rivers (Ammian. Marc. xxiii. 5, Procop. bell. Pers. ii. 5, and Maras. under Karkesija). All that now remains of it are ruins, called by the modern Arabs Abu Psera, and situated on the Mesopotamian side of the Euphrates, where that river is joined by the Chebar (Ausland, 1864, S. 1058). This fortress was either taken, or at least besieged, by Necho. The statement, "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim," can be referred exegetically only to the time of the defeat of the Egyptians at Carchemish, or the year of the battle, and is actually so understood by most interpreters. No one but Niebuhr (Gesch. Ass. u. Babl. S. 59, 86, 370ff.) alters the date of the battle, which he places in the third year of Jehoiakim, partly from consideration of Daniel 1:1, partly from other chronological calculations; he would refer the date given in our verse to the time when the following song was composed or published. But Daniel 1:1 does not necessarily require us to make any such assumption (see on that passage), and the other chronological computations are quite uncertain. Exegetically, it is as impossible to insert a period after "which Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon smote" (Nieb. p. 86, note 3), as to connect the date "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim" with "which word came to Jeremiah" (Jeremiah 46:10). The title in Jeremiah 46:1 certainly does not refer specially to the prophecy about Egypt, but to על־הגּוים. But if we wished to make the whole of Jeremiah 46:2 dependent on 'אשׁר היה דבר , which would, at all events, be a forced, unnatural construction, then, from the combination of the title in Jeremiah 46:1 with the specification of time at the end of Jeremiah 46:2, it would follow that all the prophecies regarding the nations had come to Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, - which would contradict what is said in the heading to the oracle against Elam (Jeremiah 49:34), not to mention the oracle against Babylon.

Moreover, there is nothing to prevent us from assuming that the first prophecy against Egypt was revealed to Jeremiah, and uttered by him, in the same fourth year of Jehoiakim in which Necho was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar. In this way, the argument brought forward by Niebuhr in support of his forced interpretation, viz., that all specifications of time in the addresses of Jeremiah refer to the period of composition, loses all its force. In Jeremiah 45:1 also, and in Jeremiah 51:9, the time when the event occurred coincides with the time when the utterance regarding it was pronounced. Although we assume this to hold in the case before us, yet it by no means follows that what succeeds, in Jeremiah 46:3-12, is not a prophecy, but a song or lyric celebrating so important a battle, "the picture of an event that had already occurred," as Niebuhr, Ewald, and Hitzig assume. This neither follows from the statement in the title, "which Nebuchadnezzar in the fourth year of Jehoiakim smote," nor from the contents of the succeeding address. The superscription does not naturally belong to what Jeremiah has said or uttered, but must have been prefixed, for the first time, only when the address was committed to writing and inserted in the collection, and this not till after the battle had been fought; but it is evident that the address is to be viewed as substantially a prophecy (see Jeremiah 46:6 and Jeremiah 46:10), although Jeremiah depicts, in the most lively and dramatic way, not merely the preparation of the mighty host, Jeremiah 46:3, and its formidable advance, Jeremiah 46:7-9, but also its flight and annihilation, in Jeremiah 46:5 and in Jeremiah 46:10-12.

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