Jeremiah 46:9
Come up, you horses; and rage, you chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.
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(9) The Ethiopians and the Libyans.—In the Hebrew, Cush and Put. The verse describes the prominent elements in the composition of the Egyptian army. The “chariots and horses” had long been proverbial (1Kings 10:28-29; 2Chronicles 1:16; Exodus 15:19). The Cushites were the Ethiopians of the Upper Valley of the Nile, sometimes, as under Zerah (2Chronicles 14:9) and Tirhakah (2Kings 19:9), asserting their independence, but at this time subject to Necho. The name Phut meets us, with Cush and Mizraim, in the list of the sons of Ham in Genesis 10:6; and presumably, therefore, belongs to an African people. Wherever it is mentioned by the prophets it is as an ally or tributary of Egypt (Nahum 3:9; Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 30:5; Ezekiel 38:5). The LXX. version renders it by Libyan, and is followed by the Vulgate and the English. In Nahum 3:9, however, Phut is distinguished from the Libyans (= Lubim); and the LXX. has but one word for both. The word PET is found on Egyptian inscriptions, both as meaning a “bow”and as the name of a people, and this may correspond to the Put of the Hebrew text. The Lydians, or Ludim, are named in the list of Hamite nations as descended from Mizraim (Genesis 10:13); the name is joined with Phut in Ezekiel 27:10, with Cush and Phut in Ezekiel 30:4-5. This would seem to point to an African rather than an Asiatic people like the Lydians. On the other hand, we learn from Herodotus (ii. 153) that, some thirty or forty years before the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Psammetichus I. had settled a large colony of Ionian and Carian emigrants on both banks of the Nile, between Bubastis and the Pelusiac mouth of that river, and that Amasis afterwards formed them into a bodyguard at Memphis. It is obvious that the fame of the monarchy which had its capital at Sardis might easily lead to these Greeks being classed as Lydians, and that thus the name (without entering into its earlier ethnological significance) would acquire a new prominence at the time when the prophets wrote in connexion with Egypt.

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.Rather, Go up, advance, ye horses; and drive furiously, ye chariots; and let the mighty men go forth. They march out of Egypt, arranged in three divisions, cavalry, chariots, and infantry, to begin the campaign. The armies of Egypt were composed chiefly of mercenaries.9. Ironical exhortation, as in Jer 46:3. The Egyptians, owing to the heat of their climate and abstinence from animal food, were physically weak, and therefore employed mercenary soldiers.

Ethiopians—Hebrew, Cush: Abyssinia and Nubia.

Libyans—Phut, Mauritania, west of Egypt (compare Ge 10:6).

shield—The Libyans borrowed from Egypt the use of the long shield extending to the feet [Xenophon, Cyropædia, 6 and 7].

Lydians—not the Lydians west of Asia Minor (Ge 10:22; Eze 30:5), but the Ludim, an African nation descended from Egypt (Mizraim) (Ge 10:13; Eze 30:5; Na 3:9).

handle and bend the bow—The employment of two verbs expresses the manner of bending the bow, namely, the foot being pressed on the center, and the hands holding the ends of it.

Their ancient way of fighting was with chariots and bows; the prophet calls, in the name of the commanders of the Egyptian armies, to the horses and chariots to come on, and engage in the fight. The

Ethiopians were the Cushites, who were neighbours to the Egyptians, so were the Libyans; both of them it should seem were famous for handling the shield: the

Libyans were descended from Phut; both the Cushites and the Phutites or Libyans were descended from Ham, Genesis 10:6. The

Lydians were as famous for the use of the bow in war; they were descended from Mizraim or Shem, Genesis 10:13,22: the Lydians here meant are thought to be those descended from Mizraim, and some think these were Ethiopians. They were all auxiliaries to the Egyptians in this expedition. Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots,.... These are either the words of Pharaoh, giving orders to his cavalry and charioteers to make haste and come up to battle, not doubting of victory: or rather of the Lord by the prophet, ironically calling upon the horsemen in the Egyptian army to come on and engage with the enemy, and behave gallantly; and those in the chariots to drive, Jehu like, 2 Kings 9:20, with great swiftness, force, and fury, to make their chariots rattle again, and run about here and there like madmen, as the word (u) signifies, to throw the enemy into confusion and disorder if they could:

and let the mighty men come forth: out of the land of Egypt, as Abarbinel; or let them come forth, and appear in the field of battle with courage and greatness of mind, and do all their might and skill can furnish them with, or enable them to do:

the Ethiopians and the Lybians, that handle the shield; or Cush and Phut, both sons of Ham, and brethren of Mizraim, from whence Egypt had its name, Genesis 10:6; the posterity of these are meant. The Cushites or Ethiopians were near neighbours of the Egyptians, and their allies and confederates. The Lybians or Phuteans, as the Targum, were the posterity of Phut, who dwelt to the westward of Egypt, and were the auxiliaries of that nation, and with the Ethiopians and Lydians are mentioned as such in Ezekiel 30:4; as here. The shield was a weapon they much used in war, and were famous for their skill in it, and are described by it. The Egyptians were remarkable for their shields: Xenophon (w) describes them as having shields reaching down to their feet; and which covered their bodies more than the breast plates and targets of the Persians did; which helped them to push forward, having them on their shoulders, so that the enemy could not withstand them:

and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow; these were the posterity of Ludim the son of Mizraim, Genesis 10:13; and were the Lydians in Africa, and not in Asia, who sprung from Lud the son of Shem, Genesis 10:22; they were famous for their skilfulness in the use of bows and arrows; see Isaiah 66:19; now these are called together to use their military skill, and show all the courage they were masters of; and yet all would be in vain. Bochart (x) endeavours to prove, by various arguments, that these Lydians were Ethiopians; and, among the rest, because they are here, and in Isaiah 66:19; described as expert in handling, bending, and drawing the bow; which he proves, by the testimonies of several writers, the Ethiopians were famous for; that bows were their armour; and that theirs were larger than others, even than the Persians, being four cubits long; that they were very dexterous in shooting their arrows; took sure aim, and seldom missed.

(u) "insanite", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Schmidt; "insano impetu agitamini", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (w) Cyropaedia, l. 6. c. 14. & l. 7. c. 9. (x) Phaleg. l. 4. c. 26. col. 266.

Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; {g} the Cushites and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.

(g) For these nations took part with the Egyptians.

9. Probably a continuation of Pharaoh’s appeal to his warriors, as put into his mouth by Jeremiah.

Go up] The summons is to cavalry, chariots, and infantry that they should set forth from Egypt.

Cush and Put … and the Ludim] the mercenary troops, who formed from the days of Psammetichus the chief part of the Egyptian armies. The Ethiopians (Cush) were children of Ham (Genesis 10:6). The situation of Put is doubtful. It is generally placed on the N. coast of Africa, W. of Egypt, but may have been Punt, a country on the Red Sea. The Ludim (see Genesis 10:13) were also Africans. Possibly, however, we should read Lubim here, as in Nahum 3:9, i.e. the people of Libya (W. of Egypt). We have the three peoples here mentioned spoken of again as Egyptian mercenaries in Ezekiel 30:5.

bend] literally, tread, string.Verse 9. - A call to the army, particularizing its two grand divisions, viz. the warriors in chariots, and the light and heavy armed infantry. M. Piorret, of the Egyptian Museum at the Louvre, writes thus: "The army was composed

(1) of infantry equipped with a cuirass, a buckler, a pike or an axe, and a sword; they manoeuvred to the sound of the drum and the trumpet;

(2) of light troops (archers, slingers, and other soldiers carrying the axe or the tomahawk);

(3) warriors in chariots. Cavalry, properly so called, was not employed ... The Egyptians also enlisted auxiliaries, such as Mashawash, a tribe of Libyans, who, after the defeat of a confederation of northern peoples hostile to Menephtah, into which they had entered, refused to leave Egypt, and entered the Egyptian army; the Kahakas, another Libyan tribe; the Shardanas (Sardinians); the Madjaiu, who, after having been in war with the Egyptians under the twelfth dynasty, enrolled themselves under the standard of their conquerors, and constituted a sort of gendarmerie," etc. ('Dictionnaire d'Archdologie Egyptienne,' pp. 64, 65). Among the mercenaries mentioned by Jeremiah, the Ludim deserve special mention. They are generally supposed to be a North African people (and so Ezekiel 30:5). Professor Sayce, however, thinks they may be the Lydian soldiers by whose help Psammetichus made Egypt independent of Assyria, and his successors maintained their power (Cheyne's 'Prophecies of Isaiah,' 2:287). Come up, ye horses; rather, bound (or, prance), ye horses. The verb is literally go up, and seems to be used in the same sense, only in the Hiphil or causative conjugation, in Nahum 3:3 (which should begin, "Horsemen making (their horses) to rear"). Ewald and others render, "Mount the horses," the phrase being substantially the same as in ver. 4 (see above). But the parallelism here is opposed to this; and the prophet has evidently been a reader of the prophecy of Nahum, as the very next clause shows. Rage, ye chariots; rather, rush madly, ye chariots (alluding to Nahum 2:5). The Ethioplans; Hebrew, Cush; often mentioned in connection with Egypt. The whole Nile valley, as far as Abyssinia, had been reduced to an Egyptian province. At last Cush had its turn of revenge, and an Ethiopian dynasty reigned in the palaces of Thebes (s.c. 725-665). The Libyans; Hebrew, Put (which occurs in combination with Lud, as here with Ludim, in Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 30:5). This appears to be the Egyptian Put (nasalized into Punt), i.e. the Somali country on the east coast of Africa, opposite to Arabia (Brugsch). "Prepare shield and target, and advance to the battle. Jeremiah 46:4. Yoke the horses [to the chariots]; mount the steeds, and stand with helmets on; polish the spears, put on the armour. Jeremiah 46:5. Why do I see? they are terrified and turned back, and their heroes are beaten, and flee in flight, and do not turn: terror is round about, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 46:6. Let not the swift one flee, nor let the hero escape; towards the north, by the side of the river Euphrates, they stumble and fall. Jeremiah 46:7. Who is this that cometh up like the Nile? his waters wave like the rivers. Jeremiah 46:8. Egypt cometh up like the Nile, [his] waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, I will cover the earth; I will destroy the city, and those who dwell in it. Jeremiah 46:9. Go up, ye horses; and drive furiously, ye chariots; and let the heroes go forth; Cushites and Phutites, bearing the shield; and Lydians, handling [and] bending the bow. Jeremiah 46:10. But that day [belongs] to the Lord Jahveh of hosts, a day of vengeance for avenging Himself on His enemies: and the sword shall devour and be satisfied, and shall drink its fill of their blood; for the Lord Jahveh of hosts holdeth a slaying of sacrifices in the land of the north at the river Euphrates. Jeremiah 46:11. Go up to Gilead, and take balsam, O virgin, daughter of Egypt: in vain hast thou multiplied medicines; cure there is none for thee. Jeremiah 46:12. The nations have heard of thine ignominy, and thy cry hath filled the earth: for heroes stumble against heroes, both of them fall together."

This address falls into two strophes, Jeremiah 46:3-6 and Jeremiah 46:7-12. In both are depicted in a lively manner, first the advance of the Egyptian host to the battle, then their flight and destruction. The whole has been arranged so as to form a climax: in the first strophe, the admirable equipment of the armies, and their sudden flight and defeat, are set forth in brief sentences; in the second, there is fully described not merely the powerful advance of the host that covers the earth, but also the judgment of inevitable destruction passed on them by God: the reason for the whole is also assigned. Jeremiah 46:3. In order to represent the matter in a lively way, the description begins with the call addressed to the army, to make ready for the battle. "Make ready shield and target," the two main pieces of defensive armour. מגן was the small [round] shield; צנּה, scutum, the large shield, covering the whole body. "Advance to the fight," i.e., go forward into the battle. Then the address turns to the several portions of the army: first to those who fight from chariots, who are to yoke the horses; then to the horsemen, to mount the steeds. פּרשׁים are not horsemen, but riding-horses, as in 1 Kings 5:6; 1 Kings 10:26; Ezekiel 27:14. עלה is construed with the accus., as in Genesis 49:4. The rendering given by Dahler and Umbreit, "Mount, ye horsemen," and that of Hitzig, "Advance, ye horsemen," are against the parallelism; and the remark of the last-named writer, that "Mount the steeds" would be רכבוּ, does not accord with 1 Samuel 30:17. Next, the address is directed to the foot-soldiers, who formed the main portion of the army. These are to take up their position with helmets on, to polish the spears, i.e., to sharpen them, and to put on the pieces of armour, in order to be arrayed for battle. מרק, to rub, polish, remove rust from the spear, and thereby sharpen it. סריון, here and in Jeremiah 51:3 for שׁריון, a coat of mail, pieces of armour.

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