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Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:
Azariah - the author of the project of going into Egypt. A very different man from the Azariah in Babylon (Daniel 1:7; Daniel 3:12-18). All the proud men - pride is the parent of disobedience and contempt of God.
Baruch - he being the younger, spake out the revelations which he received from Jeremiah more vehemently. From this cause, and from their knowing that he was in favour with the Chaldeans, arose their suspicion of him. Their perverse fickleness was astonishing. In Jeremiah 42:1-22 they acknowledged the trustworthiness of Jeremiah, of which they had for so long so many proofs: yet here they accuse him of a lie. The mind of the unregenerate man is full of deceits.
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Remnant ... returned from all nations - (Jeremiah 40:11-12).
Even men, and women, and children, and the king's daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah.
The king's daughters - Zedekiah's (Jeremiah 41:10).
Tahpanhes - (Jeremiah 2:16, note) Daphne, on the Tantitic branch of the Nile, near Pelusium. They naturally came to it first, being on the frontier of Egypt toward Palestine.
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Take great stones - to be laid as the foundation beneath Nebuchadnezzar's throne (Jeremiah 43:10).
Clay - mortar.
Brick-kiln. Bricks in that hot country are generally dried in the sun, not burned. The palace of Pharaoh was being built or repaired at this time: hence, arose the mortar and brick-kiln at the entry. Of the same materials as Pharaoh's house was built of, the substructure of Nebuchadnezzar's throne should be constructed by a visible symbol implying that the throne of the latter shall be raised on the downfall of the former. Egypt at that time contended with Babylon for the empire of the East.
And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them.
Nebuchadnezzar, my servant. God often makes one wicked man or nation a scourge to another (Ezekiel 29:18-20).
Royal pavilion - the rich tapestry (literally ornament) which hung round the throne from above.
Such as are for death, to death - i:e., the deadly plague. Some he shall cause to die by the plague arising from insufficient or bad food, others by the sword; others he shall lead captive, according as God shall order it (Jeremiah 15:2, note).
And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace.
Houses of ... gods - he shall not spare even the temples, such will be his fury. A reproof to the Jews that they betook themselves to Egypt, a land whose own safety depended on helpless idols.
He shall burn them, and carry them away captives - he shall burn the Egyptian idols of wood, and carry to Babylon those of gold and other metals.
He shall array himself with the land ... - Isaiah 49:18. "Thou shalt clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament," has the same metaphor. As a shepherd putteth on his garment. He shall become master of Egypt as speedily and easily as a shepherd, about to pass on with his flock to another place, puts on his garment.
Images - statues or obelisks.
Beth-shemesh - i:e., the house of the sun, in Hebrew; called by the Greeks Heliopolis; by the Egyptians, On (Genesis 41:45); east of the Nile, and a few miles north of Memphis. Ephraim Syrus says, the statue rose to the height of 60 cubits; the base was 10 cubits. Above, there was a mitre of 1,008 pounds weight. Hieroglyphics are traced around the only obelisk remaining there in the present day, 60 or 70 feet high. On the 5th year after the overthrow of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar, leaving the siege of Tyre, undertook, his expedition to Egypt (Josephus, 'Antiquities,' 10:9,7). The Egyptians, according to the Arabs, have a tradition that their land was devastated by Nebuchadnezzar in consequence of their king having received the Jews under his protection, and that it lay desolate 40 years. But see note Ezekiel 29:2; Ezekiel 29:13.
The house of the gods shall he burn. Here the act is attributed to Nebuchadnezzar, the instrument, which in Jeremiah 43:12 is attributed to God. If even the temples be not spared, much less private houses.
(1) When bad men are resolved on a bad act, they never are in want of a lying pretext to execute it. So Johanan and Azariah, and "all the proud men," accused Jeremiah of falsehood; the very sin which they were themselves committing in this their accusation. They had many proofs of the truthfulness of the prophet; their city and temple in ashes attested his prophecies as being the very word of God: and they themselves had just before, as suppliants to him, acknowledged his prophetic trustworthiness (Jeremiah 42:1-3). Their charge, therefore, against him now must have been a willful and gratuitous fabrication. But there is no limit to the self-deceits of the corrupt heart when men are determined to persist in their own sinful course. Instead of judging themselves, they attribute the salutary counsel of the minister to sinister motives: just as the Jews accused Baruch of setting Jeremiah on against them, in order to deliver them into the hand of the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 43:3).
(2) Pride (Jeremiah 43:2) is the parent of contention. And "where strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work" (James 3:16). The proud are reckless of obeying God's will and command (Jeremiah 43:7); and so, in their self-will, thinking to better their condition they make it infinitely worse.
(3) Johanan and his captains forced Jeremiah and Baruch to go with them to Egypt (Jeremiah 43:6). All that they gained by this daring act of defiance of God was, that God employed Jeremiah, in his involuntary detention there, to be the prophet of their doom. The word of the Lord by Jeremiah declared that, so far from Pharaoh saving the Jews from the Chaldeans, he should not be able to save even himself and his own people from destruction by Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 43:8-11). The very mortar and bricks (Jeremiah 43:9) of which Pharaoh's palace was then being built, were doomed to be the substructure of Nebuchadnezzar's throne, which should be raised on the downfall of the Egyptian throne (Jeremiah 43:10).
(4) The perversity of the Jews was herein especially convicted, that they fled from Yahweh's Almighty protection (Jeremiah 43:7) to a land whose helpless idols could not protect themselves and their temples from being burnt by Nebuchadnezzar, much less protect from destruction the Egyptians, and the Jews sojourning for shelter among them (Jeremiah 43:12-13).
(5) How miserable is the condition of those who abandon the living God for an arm of flesh, and for earthly idols of any kind! God employs one bad man to be the scourge of another, as Nebuchadnezzar was of Pharaoh and the Jewish apostate fugitives: and none need flatter themselves with the hope of escape from His wrath by fleeing anywhere, except to Himself.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 43". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26