Jeremiah 46:16
He made many to fall, yes, one fell on another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword.
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(16) Arise, and let us go again to our own people.—The case contemplated is that of the settlers in Egypt, the Lydians, Ionians, and Carians (see Note on Jeremiah 46:9) whom Psammetichus had encouraged, or the fugitives from Judæa of Jeremiah 43:5-7. These should find that it was no longer a safe home for them. The “oppressing sword” is beyond question the right rendering, but it is curious that both the LXX. and Vulgate have taken the adjective in different senses: the former giving “from the Greek sword,” as if the word for oppressing (Ionah) meant Ionian; and the latter, the apparently strange version, a facie gladii columbœ (“from before the sword of the dove”). See, however, as giving a possible explanation of the words as referring to the dove as a symbol of the Chaldæan power, the Note on Jeremiah 25:38.

Jeremiah 46:16-17. He made many to fall — Or, as the Vulgate renders הרבה כושׁל, multiplicavit ruentes, he multiplied those falling, or more literally, the faller, as in the margin, the word being singular. Blaney connects this with the next clause, as the LXX. do, and reads the verse thus: “He hath caused many to stumble, yea, to fall; they said therefore one to another, Arise, and let us return to our people, and to our native country, because of the oppressor’s sword.” These are either the words of the Egyptian allies, resolving to return to their own countries, and not concern themselves any further with the affairs of Egypt; or else they are the words of the remains of the Egyptians, resolving to retire within their own borders, as thinking the Babylonians would not follow them thither. They did cry, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise — He is no more than an empty boaster: he has neglected the opportunities he ought to have laid hold on, and he is not prepared according to his appointment.46:13-28 Those who encroached on others, shall now be themselves encroached on. Egypt is now like a very fair heifer, not accustomed to the yoke of subjection; but destruction comes out of the north: the Chaldeans shall come. Comfort and peace are spoken to the Israel of God, designed to encourage them when the judgments of God were abroad among the nations. He will be with them, and only correct them in measure; and will not punish them with everlasting destruction from his presence.Literally, as in the margin, i. e., Yahweh hath made many to stumble.

Arise ... - The Egyptian army being composed of mercenaries, has no patriotic feeling and immediately that the battle is lost, they propose to abandon the country which has hired them, and return each to his native land.

16. He—Jehovah.

made many to fall—literally, "multiplied the faller," that is, fallers.

one fell upon another—(Jer 46:6, 12): even before the enemy strikes them (Le 26:37).

let us go again to our own people—the language of the confederates and mercenaries, exhorting one another to desert the Egyptian standard, and return to their respective homes (Jer 46:9, 21).

from the oppressing sword—from the cruel sword, namely, of the Chaldeans (compare Jer 25:38).

The prophet had before spoken of Nebuchadnezzar, as an instrument in the hand of God, who being armed with his commission and power, made many to fall, yea, God caused such a fear to fall upon them, that in their flight they fell upon one another. And though they had many soldiers that came to help them from Cush, and Phut, and Libya, yet all was too little; the prophet foretells they should all be glad to go home again, and should speak to one another to that purpose, for the success of the king of Babylon’s sword should be such, as they should quickly see there would be no standing before it. He made many to fall,.... That is, the Lord, by the hand of the Chaldeans, by whose sword multitudes fell in battle:

yea, one fell upon another; they fell in heaps, denoting the multitude of the slain; or rather they fell in flight one upon another; one fell, and then another upon him, as usually they do, when men are frightened and flee precipitantly, as in Jeremiah 46:12;

and they said, arise: not those that fell, which may seem at first sight; but either the strangers in the land of Egypt, as Kimchi, such as the Jews were; who, perceiving the destruction that was coming on Egypt, exhort one another to arise, and get out of it; or rather the auxiliaries of the Egyptians, as the Ethiopians, Lybians, and Lydians, Jeremiah 46:9; who finding the enemy too strong for them, and they themselves deserted or unsupported by Pharaoh's army, advise one another to quit his service, and provide for their own safety:

and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our nativity; their own country, where they were born, and their friends and relations lived; that so they might be safe

from the oppressing sword; the sword of the Chaldeans. The Septuagint version is a very bad one, followed by the Arabic, which renders it, "from the Grecian sword"; and so is the Vulgate Latin version, "from the face of the dove"; to countenance which it is said, that the Chaldeans and Assyrians had a dove in their ensigns; See Gill on Jeremiah 25:38; and so a most ancient Saxon translation in the library of Christ's Church in Oxford, "from the face of the sword of the culver" (k), or "dove"; that is, from their sword, who display their banners in the field with the ensign of a dove; meaning the Chaldeans. The Targum is,

"from the sword of the enemy, which is as wine inebriating;''

which sense is followed by Jarchi.

(k) Apud Gregory's Posthuma, p. 236.

He made many to fall, yea, one fell upon another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our {n} own people, and to the land of our nativity, from the oppressing sword.

(n) As they who would repent that they helped the Egyptians.

16. As the latter part of the v. implies that the speakers are foreigners, who, however, according to the present MT. have not been mentioned, Du. and others (with a certain amount of support from LXX) suggest that, with a slight emendation of the Hebrew, we should read, Thy mingled people (See on Jeremiah 25:20) have stumbled and fallen; and they said one to another, Arise, etc. Co., however, prefers to omit a considerable part of the v., so as to continue Apis as the subject.

to our own people] The “mingled people,” i.e. foreigners in the country, mercenary troops and traders, as belonging to various nations, propose among themselves to return to their several countries (cp. Jeremiah 46:21).

the oppressing sword] See on Jeremiah 25:38.Verse 16. - To fall; rather, to stumble. The fugitives are in such a wild confusion that they stumble over each other. The parallel passage in the earlier prophecy (ver. 12) suggests that the Egyptian warriors are here referred to, the most trustworthy portion of which, since the time of Psammetichus, was composed of mercenaries, the native troops having lost that military ardour for which they had been anciently renowned (see Herod., 2:152, and Sir Gardner Wilkinson's note ap. Rawlinson). Being devoid of patriotic feeling, it was natural that these hired soldiers should hasten from the doomed country, exclaiming, as the prophet puts it, Arise, and let us go again to our own people. Greeks were probably among the speakers, at any rate, Ionians and Carians formed the mercenary troops of Psammetiehus, according to Herodotus (2:152). This formidable army shall perish; for the day of the battle is the day of the Lord of hosts, on which He will take vengeance upon His enemies. Among these enemies are the Egyptians, who have grievously sinned against Israel, the people of the Lord, not merely of late, by making war upon and killing King Josiah, by carrying away Jehoahaz, and making Jehoiakim his vassal, but also from the earliest times. For this, Egypt is now to be brought low. The sword shall devour and be refreshed by drinking the blood of the Egyptians. For the Lord is preparing for a slaying of sacrifices (זבח) in the north, at the Euphrates. Isaiah 34:6 forms the basis of these words.
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