Jeremiah 47:2
Thus said the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.
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(2) Behold, waters rise up out of the north.—The reference to the north indicates that the invasion which the prophet contemplates is that of Nebuchadnezzar, not of Pharaoh-necho. For the metaphor of the overflowing river see Jeremiah 46:7; Isaiah 8:7. For “the land and all that is therein” read, as in the margin, “the land and the fulness thereof.”

Jeremiah 47:2-3. Behold, waters rise out of the north — Waters sometimes signify multitudes of people and nations, Revelation 17:15; sometimes great and threatening calamities, Psalm 69:1, these waters mean both. By the north, in this prophecy, the country of the Chaldeans is intended, from whence it is here foretold an army should come and overflow the land like a deluge, spreading devastation and destruction everywhere. At the noise of the stamping, &c. — The word שׁעשׂת, here rendered stamping, occurs nowhere else in the Hebrew Scriptures. The LXX. render it, ορμης, impetus, force, rushing along: the Syriac and Chaldee, by words that respectively denote a progressive motion. “But Grotius,” says Blaney, “seems to have expressed it most happily, who has rendered מקול שׁעשׂת, a quadrupedante sono: having in view, no doubt, that line of Virgil, Æn. 8:596.

Quadrupedante putrem sonitu quatit ungula campum.

We may therefore render it, At the galloping sound, or, at the sound of the galloping,” of the hoofs of his strong horses — Hebrew, אביריז, of his mighty ones; namely, horses. At the rushing of his chariots, the rumbling of his wheels — Blaney unites these two particulars in one, and reads, “At the rattling of the multitude of his wheels as he drove along.” The fathers shall not look back to their children — To provide for their safety, or so much as to see what becomes of them; for feebleness of hands — Their bodily vigour being dissolved, or relaxed, through the impression made by fear on their minds, which shall be such as to incapacitate them from exerting their strength to any efficacious purpose.47:1-7 The calamities of the Philistines. - The Philistines had always been enemies to Israel; but the Chaldean army shall overflow their land like a deluge. Those whom God will spoil, must be spoiled. For when the Lord intends to destroy the wicked, he will cut off every helper. So deplorable are the desolations of war, that the blessings of peace are most desirable. But we must submit to His appointments who ordains all in perfect wisdom and justice.Waters rise up - A metaphor for the assembling of an army (compare the marginal references).

Out of the north - The Chaldaean army must cross the Euphrates at Carchemish.

An overflowing flood - Or, "torrent." To understand the metaphors of the Bible we must keep the natural phenomena of the country in mind. In Palestine rivers are torrents, dashing furiously along in the rainy seasons, and dry, or nearly so, in the summer.

All that is therein - The marginal rendering contrasts the wealth of Egypt, which forms its fullness, and the inhabitants.

2. waters—(Isa 8:7). The Chaldeans from the north are compared to the overwhelming waters of their own Euphrates. The smiting of Gaza was to be only the prelude of a greater disaster to the Philistines. Nebuzara-dan was left by Nebuchadnezzar, after he had taken Jerusalem, to subdue the rest of the adjoining cities and country. Calamities and afflictions are often in Scripture set out under the notion of waters; and as the miseries of Egypt were set out by the overflowings of their great river Nilus, so the calamities of the Philistines are expressed by the overflowings of the great river Euphrates; these miseries coming upon them by the Chaldeans, which were a northern people, their waters are said to

rise up out of the north. It is said to be an

overflowing flood that should

overflow the land, because it was to be a sweeping judgment, which like a flood should carry all before it, which should produce amongst the inhabitants of Gaza a great howling and lamentation. Thus saith the Lord, behold, waters rise up out of the north,.... Meaning an army of men, which should come in great numbers, and with great force and rapidity, like an overflowing flood. So the Targum,

"behold, people shall come from the north;''

that is, from Chaldea, which lay north of Palestine:

and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; or, "the fulness of it" (u); the land of the Philistines, and carry off the men and cattle, and all the riches thereof;

the city, and them that dwell therein; not any particular or single city, as Gaza; but the several cities of Palestine, and the inhabitants of them:

then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl; not being able to do anything else; not to defend themselves, their families, and property; and seeing nothing but ruin and destruction before their eyes.

(u) "et plenitudinem ejus", Schmidt, &c.

Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise out of the {b} north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is in it; the city, and them that dwell in it: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall wail.

(b) He means the army of the Chaldeans, Isa 8:7,8.

2–7. The Prophecy regarding Philistia

2. waters rise up] In Jeremiah 46:8 the same figure was used for an army. Cp. Isaiah 8:7 (on which Co. thinks this v. to be based), where the Assyrian army is likened to the floods of the Euphrates.

an overflowing stream] a river suddenly swelling up through the effect of the winter rains; a frequent occurrence in Palestine.

and the men … shall howl] Co. rejects this part of the v. both as over-passing the proper limits of the metre, and suggesting a universal judgement, which would be, according to him, a later conception.Verses 2-4. - Hostile bands advance from the north; horror seizes the Philistines. Verse 2. - Waters rise up. The prophets think in figures, and no figure is so familiar to them (alas for the unstable condition of those times!) as that of an overflowing torrent for an invading army (see on Jeremiah 46:8, and add to the parallel passages Isaiah 28:18; Ezekiel 26:19; Daniel 11:10). Out of the north. To suppose that this refers to Pharaoh-necho returning from Carchemish seems forced and unnatural. If Necho conquered Gaza at the period supposed, it would be on his way to Carchemish, and not on his return. Besides," the north" is the standing symbol for the home of the dreaded Assyrian and Babylonian foes (see on Jeremiah 1:14). Isaiah had uttered a very similar prediction when the Assyrian hosts were sweeping through Palestine (Isaiah 14:31). An overflowing flood; rather, torrent. The same phrase occurs in Isaiah 30:28, where the "breath" of the angry God is described with this figurative expression. It is in autumn time that the torrents of Palestine become dangerous, and water courses, dry or almost dry in summer (comp. Jeremiah 15:18), become filled with a furiously rushing stream. In Jeremiah 46:24. the result of the overthrow of Egypt, which has hitherto been set forth in figurative language, is stated in words which describe the exact realities: Egypt will be given up to ignominy, delivered into the power of a people from the north, i.e., the Chaldeans. The Lord of hosts, the Almighty God of Israel, punishes it for its sins. He visits, i.e., punishes, Amon of No, the chief idol of Egypt; Pharaoh, and the land, with all its gods and its kings, and with Pharaoh, all those who place their trust in his power. Words are accumulated for the purpose of showing that the judgment will be one which shall befall the whole land, together with its gods, its rulers, and its inhabitants. First of all is mentioned Amon of No, as in Ezekiel 30:14. נא is an abbreviation of נא אמון , i.e., dwelling of Amon, the sacred name of the royal city in Upper Egypt, famous in antiquity, which the Greeks called Διὸς πόλις, or Θήβη, or Θῆβαι it is supposed, after the vulgar Egyptian name Tapet or Tape (Throne or Seat); see on Nahum 3:8. Amon - in Greek ̓Αμμοῦν (Herodotus, ii. 42), ̓Αμοῦν (Plutarch, de Is. Ch. 9), ̓Αμῶν (Jamblichus, de myst. 5, 8) - was a sun-god (Amon-R), probably a symbol of the sun as it appears in the spring, in the sign of the Ram; hence he was represented with rams' horns. By the Greeks he was compared to Jupiter, or Zeus, and named Jupiter Ammon. The chief seat of his worship was Thebes, where he had a temple, with a numerous learned priesthood and a famous oracle (cf. Strabo, xvii. 1. 43; Justin. xi. 11), which Cambyses destroyed (Diodorus, Siculus, Fragm. Lib. x.). Under the expression "kings of Egypt" we are not to include governors or vassal-kings, but all the kings who ever ruled Egypt; for in the judgment now falling on Egypt, all the kings it ever had, together with all its gods, are punished. In the last part of the verse the name of Pharaoh is once more given, for the purpose of attaching to it the words "and all who trust in him;" these are intended for the Jews who expected help from Egypt. The punishment consists in their being all given into the hand of their enemies, namely (ו explic.) into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar and his servants. This defeat, however, is not to be the end of the Egyptian kingdom. The threat of judgment concludes, in Jeremiah 46:26, with a promise for the future. "Afterwards, it shall be inhabited, as in the days of yore." שׁכן is used in a neuter sense, as in Jeremiah 17:6; Jeremiah 33:16, etc. Since this verb also signifies to settle down, be encamped (Numbers 24:2), and to lie quiet, to rest, or keep oneself quiet, inactive (Judges 5:17; Proverbs 7:11), Hitzig and Graf, with Kimchi, give the explanation: "because the power of Egypt shall be broken, it will keep quiet, and remain at home in its own country, instead of marching forth and fighting other nations, as it has lately begun again to do (Jeremiah 46:7) after centuries of peace." But although, in support of this view, we are pointed to Ezekiel 29:13, where the restoration of Egypt is predicted, with the further remark, "it will be an abject kingdom," yet this idea is not contained in the words of our verse. To render שׁכן by "to keep quiet, be inactive," does not suit the words "as in the days of old." In former days, Egypt was neither inactive nor remained at home in peace in its own land. From the remotest antiquity, the Pharaohs made wars, and sought to enlarge their dominions by conquest. Add to this, that we must view the concluding portion of this prophecy in a manner analogous to the closing thought of the prophecies regarding Moab (Jeremiah 48:47), Ammon (Jeremiah 49:6), and Elam (Jeremiah 49:39), where the turning of the captivity in the last times is given in prospect to these nations, and "afterwards," in Jeremiah 49:6, alternates with "in the latter days" found in Jeremiah 48:47 and Jeremiah 49:39. From this it follows that, in the verse now before us also, it is not the future in general, but the last time, i.e., the Messianic future, that is pointed out; hence שׁכן does not express the peaceful condition of the land, but its being inhabited, in contrast with its depopulation in the immediate future, in consequence of its inhabitants being killed or carried away. On the fulfilment of this threatening, see p. 351ff.
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