Jeremiah 46:2
Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.
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(2) Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaoh-necho.—The king of Egypt thus named was the last of its great native sovereigns. He was the sixth king of the twenty-sixth dynasty of Manetho, and succeeded his father Psammetichus in B.C. 610, and reigned for sixteen years. Herodotus (ii. 158, 159) relates as his chief achievements that he anticipated the Suez Canal by endeavouring to connect the Nile with the Red Sea, but was stopped by an oracle, and sent a fleet of Phœnician ships to circumnavigate Africa. One hundred and twenty thousand lives were said to have been sacrificed in the former enterprise. On desisting from it, he turned his attention to other plans of conquest, defeated the Syrians at Magdolus, near Pelusium, and took Cadytis, a great city of Syria, which Herodotus describes as not much less than Sardis. By some writers this has been identified with the capture of Jerusalem in 2Chronicles 36:3, the name Cadytis being looked on as equivalent to Kadusha (=the holy city),and so anticipating the modern Arabic name of El-Khuds. Herodotus, however (iii. 5), describes it as being near the coast, and this has led to its being identified with Gaza, or Kedesh-Naphtali, or a Hittite city—Ketesh—on the Orontes, near which the great commercial and. military road turned off for Damascus and the Euphrates. In any case, it was in the course of this invasion, directed against the Babylonian Empire, then ruled by Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, that he defeated and slew Josiah at Megiddo (2Chronicles 35:20-24), deposed Jehoahaz, and appointed Jehoiakim (2Chronicles 36:4). By some writers, accordingly (R. S. Poole, in Smith’s Dict. Bible, Art. Pharaoh-necho), Megiddo is identified with the Magdolus of Herodotus. His army advanced, and took the city of Carchemish, by some (Hitzig) identified with Circesium, an island formed by the confluence of the Chaboras and the Euphrates; by others (Rawlinson) with a Hittite city, now Jerablus, a corruption of the Greek Hierapolis, much higher up the Euphrates. (See Note on Isaiah 10:9). After the capture Necho appears to have returned to Egypt. Three years later (B.C. 606) Carchemish was taken by Nebuchadnezzar with the almost total defeat of Necho’s army, he himself having returned to Egypt, and it is this defeat of which Jeremiah now proceeds to speak as in a song of anticipated triumph at the downfall of the Egyptian oppressor.

Jeremiah 46:2. Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaoh-necho — Pharaoh- necho was king of Egypt in Josiah’s time, and it was by his army that Josiah was killed at Megiddo, as is related 2 Kings 23:29, where see the note. That army was then marching under the conduct of Necho against the Medes and Babylonians, who, having by the capture of Nineveh destroyed the Assyrian empire, had become formidable to the neighbouring states. Josiah opposed it in its march through the country, but was defeated, and received a wound in the battle which proved mortal. Necho continued his march after this victory, defeated the Babylonians, took Carchemish, and securing it with a strong garrison, returned into his own country. Nabopolassar, the king of Babylon, observing that all Syria and Palestine had revolted on account of the reduction of Carchemish by the Egyptians, sent his son Nebuchadnezzar with an army to retake that city, and recover the revolted provinces. Necho marched with a powerful army to oppose him; and it appears it was at the time when the Egyptian army lay along the banks of the Euphrates, waiting to oppose the entrance of Nebuchadnezzar into Syria, that this prophecy was delivered, namely, as is here said, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. The two armies came to an engagement near the city of Carchemish, and the event of the battle proved very disastrous to the Egyptians, who were routed with prodigious slaughter, as is here foretold by the prophet in a very animated style, and with great poetic energy and liveliness of colouring.

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 ... - i. e., relating to, concerning. So Jeremiah 48:1; Jeremiah 49:1; see the note at Jeremiah 46:13.

Pharaoh-necho - See 2 Kings 23:29 note.

In - (at) Carchemish - (The Gargamis of the inscriptions, now Jerabis, on the Euphrates, about 16 miles south of Birejik.)

2. Inscription of the first prophecy.

Pharaoh-necho—He, when going against Carchemish (Cercusium, near the Euphrates), encountered Josiah, king of Judah (the ally of Assyria), at Megiddo, and slew him there (2Ki 23:29; 2Ch 35:20-24); but he was four years subsequently overcome at Carchemish, by Nebuchadnezzar, as is foretold here; and lost all the territory which had been subject to the Pharaohs west of the Euphrates, and between it and the Nile. The prediction would mitigate the Jews' grief for Josiah, and show his death was not to be unavenged (2Ki 24:7). He is famed as having fitted out a fleet of discovery from the Red Sea, which doubled the Cape of Good Hope and returned to Egypt by the Mediterranean.

Pharah-necho was king of Egypt in Josiah’s time; it was by his army that Josiah was killed at Megiddo, 2 Kings 23:29; it was he that made Jehoiakim king of Judah, taking away Jehoahaz, 2 Kings 23:34; but though he prevailed at that time, and that was one time when he came out against Carchemish, 2 Chronicles 35:20, yet he was overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar in a battle with him afterwards, as appears from 2 Kings 24:7, and Jehoiakim was made tributary to Nebuchadnezzar, as we read, 2 Kings 24:1; and the king of Egypt was brought so low by that victory, that he stirred no more out of Egypt, for the king of Babylon had taken from him all from Nilus, the great river of Egypt, to Euphrates; and this, saith this verse, was in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. This prophecy must be before that time.

Carchemish appeareth, from Isaiah 10:9, to have been a place in Syria where the Egyptian army had been in Josiah’s time, and then went away conquerors, as appears from 2 Chronicles 35:20, &c.

Against Egypt,.... This is the title of the first prophecy against Egypt; which is the first mentioned, because first accomplished; and because the Jews placed great confidence in and much relied on the Egyptians for help:

against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt; who is by Herodotus (q) called Necos; he was the son and successor of Psammitichus, and was succeeded by his son Psammis; and he by Apries, the same with Pharaohhophra, Jeremiah 44:30; the Targum calls this king Pharaoh the lame:

which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish; of which place See Gill on Isaiah 10:9; this being in the land of the king of Assyria, as appears from the same place. Pharaohnecho, in Josiah's time, came up against him, in order to take it from him; but whether he did or no is not certain; see 2 Kings 23:29; however, he appeared at the same place a second time, against the king of Babylon, into whose hands it was now very probably fallen, with the whole Assyrian monarchy; and here, in this second battle, his army was routed, as follows:

which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; when he took away from the king of Egypt all that belonged to him between the Nile and Euphrates, so that he came no more out of his land, 2 Kings 24:7. Kimchi and Abarbinel think there was but one expedition of Pharaohnecho; and that the siege of Carchemish continued to the fourth year of Jehoiakim; when he met with an entire overthrow from the king of Babylon, which God suffered as a judgment on him for killing Josiah. This, according to Bishop Usher, was in the year of the world 3397, and before Christ 607; and, according to the Universal History, in the year of the world 3396, and before Christ 608.

(q) L. 2. sive Euterpe, c. 158.

Against Egypt, against the army of {b} Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, who was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.

(b) Read 2Ki 23:29,24:7, 2Ch 35:20.

2. Pharaoh-neco] This monarch (b.c. 610–594) had defeated and slain Josiah at Megiddo (b.c. 608). In three months he had deposed Josiah’s successor, Jehoahaz, and imprisoned him at Riblah, and had set up Jehoiakim. He was extending his conquests in the Asiatic direction when he was overthrown at Carchemish (b.c. 605).

Carchemish] Gargamish in Assyrian inscriptions, was not Circesium at the junction of the rivers Chaboras and Euphrates, but considerably higher up the latter stream and some distance to the north of lat. 36°. Professor Rawlinson (Anc. Mon. II. 475) describes it as the key of Syria on the east and as commanding the ordinary passage of the Euphrates. It was, he adds, the only great city in that quarter. The meaning of the name is unknown.

2–12. Co. declines to accept objections which have been brought by some recent commentators to the substantial genuineness of these vv., and Gi. on the whole agrees, but considers the passage to have been expanded.

Verse 2. - Against Egypt, against the army; rather, concerning Egypt, concerning the army. Pharaoh-necho. Necho II., a member of the twenty-sixth Egyptian dynasty, sou of Psametik I. (Psammetichus), who had for a time revived the declining power of Egypt. Herodotus (2:158) credits him with being the first to construct a canal to the Red Sea, which seems an exaggeration (see Sir Gardner Wilkinson's note ap. Rawlinson), also (4:42) with having caused the circumnavigation of Africa, after which the Phoenician seamen brought back the startling news that they had had the sun upon their right hand. This energetic monarch noticed the decline of Assyria, and, at the battle of Megiddo (Herodotus, 2:159, wrongly says Magdolus or Migdol), reattached Judah to the Egyptian empire. Four years later, at the battle of Carchemish, he himself sustained a crushing defeat at the hands of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 35:20). Carehemish. This was the great emporium of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine. Its true site was discovered by Mr. George Smith, in his last fatal journey, to be at Jerabis or Jirbas, on the right bank of the Euphrates. It was anciently a city of the Kheta (equivalent to Khittim, "Hittites"), but passed to the Assyrians, under Sargon, under whom it attained the highest commercial prosperity, especially after the overthrow of Tyre by Sennacherib. The "mana," or mina, "of Gargamis" is constantly referred to as a standard weight in the commercial cuneiform inscriptions. In the fourth year, etc. Marcus Niebuhr wishes to put a stop before these words, so as to make them a definition of the date of the prophecy. He thinks the date of the battle of Carchemish was the third and not the fourth year of Jehoiakim. This view, however, is very uncertain (see Keil), and it is exegetieally very unnatural to detach the closing words of ver. 2 from those which precede. The obvious inference, moreover, from the prophecy (vers. 2-12) is that it was written at or about the time of the battle; a special date for the prophecy did not require to be given. Should Niebuhr's chronological combinations, however, turn out to be correct, the mistake would probably not be that of Jeremiah, nor of his scribe, but of his editor, who may easily have fallen into error in the mere minutiae of chronology. Jeremiah 46:2Superscriptions. - 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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