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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 46

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-2

PART IV

PROPHECIES AGAINST FOREIGN NATIONS

(Chapters 46 -51)

AN ORACLE CONCERNING EGYPT

Vs. 1-2: CONFRONTATION AT CARCHEMISH

1. It is appropriate that Jeremiah’s prophecies against foreign nations should begin with Egypt - a nation that had always exercised far too great apolitical influence on the covenant people.

a. The Jewish people had once been in bondage there -tasting the severe oppression and affliction of Egyptian taskmasters; yet, they always remembered Egypt as a land of plenty, comfort and ease, and longed to return there l

1) Thus Egypt symbolizes "the world" - with all its attractions and allurements.

2) Carnal men seek satisfaction in its pleasures instead of

seeking God’s kingdom and glory, (Matthew 6:33).

3) Worldliness is an ATTITUDE wherein one lives to satisfy the senses.

b. The beloved king Josiah had been slain by Pharaoh­necho’s army at Megiddo, in 609 B.C., when he attempted to hinder an Egyptian relief force from going to assist the Assyrians in Haran, (2 Chronicles 35:20-25).

2. This prophecy is not dated, but it foretold the clash of Pharaoh­ necho and Nebuchadnezzar "by the river Euphrates at Carchemish", during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, (vs. 2).

a. This was during the first year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.

b. The defeat of Egypt, at the battle of Carchemish, was the political turning point of that age.

c. From that battle Babylon emerged as the principle power of the ancient world.

Verses 3-12

Vs. 3-12: A PREVIEW OF EGYPT"S DEFEAT

1. In verses 3-4 one hears a call for the mobilization and march of the proud and confident army of Egypt.

2. But the scene immediately changes to one of terror and dismay as the over-powered Egyptians try to beat a hasty retreat - not even daring to look back, (vs. 5).

3. The swift and mighty are not permitted to escape, but stumble so as to fall by the river Euphrates, (vs. 6).

4. Proud and self-confident, the Egyptians have risen up, like the mighty Nile - confident of overwhelming its enemies by the force of her multitudes, (vs. 7-8).

5. In addition to her own forces she has hired, as mercenary soldiers, Ethiopian, Abyssinian, Lydian and Sudim, (vs. 9).

6. What they did not know was that the Providence of Jehovah had arranged the whole affair; it was the day of His long-suspended vengeance, wherein He had prepared a sacrifice by the river Euphrates, (vs. 10).

7. The hopelessness of Egypt’s recovery is set forth in verse 11; noted for her medicinal superiority, there was no balm that would heal her wound, (comp. Jeremiah 8:22; Jeremiah 30:13; Micah 1:9; Nahum 3:19).

8. Her wound is deepened; her humiliation and shame made unbearable by the fact that the cry of her helplessness had been heard by the nations, (vs. 12; comp. Jeremiah 2:36; Nahum 3:8-10; Isaiah 19:2-4).

Verses 13-19

Vs. 13-19: THE BABYLONIAN CONQUEST OF EGYPT

1. Jeremiah left no doubt as to the identity of the force that would humble Egypt; it would be led by Nebuchadnezzar, whose service God would use for the punishment of the nation. (vs. 13).

2. A call has gone forth, in vs. 14, for the land of Egypt to stand up in resistance against the invading forces, (comp. 2 Samuel 23:12).

3. But the morale of the nation is crushed because Apis, her sacred bull, to whom she attributed her strength, has been thrust down by Jehovah, (vs. 15; comp. Psalms 22:12).

4. The hired mercenaries of Egypt were so confounded and routed by the Lord that they were ready to flee to the lands of their own nativity, (vs. 16).

5. Pharaoh is characterized by Jeremiah as a noisy, loud­mouthed braggart - "King Bombast!" (NEB) - who idly permitted time and opportunity to pass him by, when he might have averted disaster upon both himself and the nation, (vs. 17).

6. The great King, whose name is "Jehovah of hosts", announces the coming of one (Nebuchadnezzar) who will tower above his contemporaries like Tabor and Carmel above the surrounding hills, (vs. 18).

7. Thus, the Egyptians may as well prepare such things as will be for their comfort on the long journey into exile, (vs. 19; comp. Isaiah 20:4).

Verses 20-26

Vs. 20-26: STAMPEDED BY A GADFLY

1. Egypt is likened to a graceful heifer; -her hired soldiers are like calves of the stall - well nourished, but utterly impotent in the day of her calamity, (vs. 20-21).

a. The Babylonians are pictured as a gadfly (horsefly?) coming upon her from the north.

b. The calves, set for the defense of Egypt, are stampeded by a fly!

c. This is surely an ironic reference to the worthlessness of her chief deity.

2. Egypt has boasted that her army is as invulnerable and indestructible as the trees of the forest - more numerous than a plague of locusts, (vs. 22-23).

a. Pictured as axmen, the Chaldean army utterly humiliates Egypt -cutting down the trees of her forest.

b. The characterization of Egypt as hissing and gliding away like a snake is but a sarcastic reference to the humiliation of another of her most exalted deities which was so permanently displayed in her royal insignia.

3. The inhabitants of Egypt are put to shame - delivered into the hands of the Chaldeans, (vs. 24).

4. Jeremiah makes it clear that the Lord is specifically demonstrating the impotency of Amon (No.), the tutelary god of Thebes - punishing him, along with Pharaoh and all those who trusted in him, (vs. 25).

5. Jehovah will deliver Egypt, her gods and kings, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and his officers who seek their lives, (vs. 26a).

6. Here is seen the fallacy of trusting in Pharaoh for protection against the Chaldeans.

7. The Lord will not make a full end of Egypt; a day of restoration is promised wherein she will prosper, (vs. 26b; comp. Ezekiel 29:13-16).

Verses 27-28

Vs. 27-28: ASSURANCE FOR ISRAEL

1. Here is a repetition of . the message recorded in Jeremiah 30:10-11.

2. The covenant people must be disciplined because of their sins; God’s fidelity to the covenant - as to His own character -requires it.

3. He WILL ultimately destroy those nations whereunto He has driven His people in judgment.

4. But, He will NOT make a full end of His own rebellious people.

5. Disciplined, they will be restored to the covenant-land in peace, prosperity, security and fearlessness.

a. God is always faithful to remember His covenant, (Deuteronomy 30:1-3).

b. By the fiery trial of divine discipline God’s people are refined as silver.

c. This prophecy may have a two-fold fulfillment: one in the return from the exile; the other still future, (Romans 11:1-5; Romans 11:26-32).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/jeremiah-46.html. 1985.
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