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community itself against him, whose popular customs he attacked. Even the women did not hesitate publicly to raise objections against the word of the Lord; nay, they contended most zealously for the heathen practices to which they had become wedded. A special point in dispute was the worship of the queen of heaven common in many homes, as we know already from vii. 17 f. To her wives vowed offerings, no doubt in order to secure offspring, safe delivery, and the like; to her they ascribed the bestowal of prosperity and success. To such a degree did this sensuous goddess replace in their thoughts the strict, holy God of Moses and the prophets, that they regarded the former wellbeing of the nation as her work, and traced the misfortunes of the country to the neglect of her worship, which since Josiah's days had at least been limited, thus making a virtue of their evil propensities, as if it were their duty to keep their pledged word to this fictitious goddess. With more right they might plead that they were not alone responsible for their conduct (ver. 19). The men knew of it (ver. 15) and shut their eyes, instead of remembering their responsibility, and banishing such wickedness from their homes, if, indeed, they did not renounce their dignity with their better knowledge, and become partners with their wives in their foolish course, as Jeremiah described in vii. 8.
Vv. 20-28. The deceitful conclusion of ver. 17, which shows so well how the worst visitation fails to open the eyes, if the heart refuses to learn and repent, is not left by Jeremiah without a potent witness on the other side. He solemnly repeats once more what he has testified unceasingly for several decades, that nothing but disobedience to God's first commands has let loose the Lord's wrath against His people (vv. 20-23). He then turns to the crowd of apostates before him, and announces to it a doom of extermination as punishment for its obstinate persistence in its evil purpose; no Jew shall remain in Egypt to take Yahveh's name on his lips and profane it. At most, a few shall escape, and even these shall seek refuge in Judah (vv. 24-28). A difficulty arises here, in the circumstance that although the centre of Jewish national life remained as previously in Judah and Jerusalem, yet an exceedingly numerous Jewish colony always maintained itself in Egypt. It is well known, for example, how important was this colony at the time of Alexander the Great, who conceded to it a considerable part of his newly-founded city of Alexandria. There it grew and nourished until the time of Christ and afterwards, although at times engaged in severe conflict with heathens and Christians. Thus the statement of Jeremiah, so exceedingly definite and precise, seems not to have been fulfilled. We think, with Niigelsbach, that the explanation of the continuance of this Jewish population is to be sought in a salutary crisis, by which the heathen tendency of this colony, as among the exiles of Babylon, was overcome, and that this crisis is to be especially traced to the influence of our prophet's testimony, so that xviii. 7 f. found its application here. "Must not the powerful message of the old, honoured Jeremiah in ch. xliv., must not the literal fulfilment of the prophecy uttered by him in regard to the king (xliv. 29 f.), have made an overpowering impression on their hearts?" (Niigelsbach).
In ver. 29 f. a warning sign is given, by which the Jews may know how earnest the Lord is in His threats against them, a sign soon fulfilled. Pharaoh Hophrah, reigning so happily and powerfully, will perish just as miserably as the unhappy King Zedekiah. This oracle is specially illustrated by what Herodotus (ii. 169) relates of this king: "His idea was, that not even any of the gods could bring his kingdom to an end; so certain was he of his throne." Just there we read (ii. 161 ff.) of his sad end through the rebellion of Amasis, and the abandonment of the deposed ruler to the enraged people, so that ver. 30 was literally fulfilled.
Comforting Oracle To Baruch, Ch. Xlt.
XLV. 1. The word which the prophet Jeremiah spake to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these discourses in a book from the mouth of Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying: 2. Thus said Yahveh respecting thee, O Baruch: 3. Thou sayest: "Woe is me, Yahveh adds grief to my pain, I am weary of my groaning, and I find no rest." 4. Thus shalt thou say to him: Thus says Yahveh: Behold, that which I built I myself pull down, and that which I planted I myself pluck up, and it concerns the whole earth; 5. And wouldst thou seek great things for thyself? Seek them not: for, behold, I bring calamity upon all flesh, is Yahveh's oracle; but I give thee thy soul for a booty in all places whither thou shalt go.
Ver. 1. Cf. xxxvi. 1 ff. "These oracles" shows that the oracle to Baruch was added to the original edition, not indeed to the first one, but rather to the second, xxxvi. 28. Ver. 3. The more he was forced to write, the more his grief was intensified. To this bitter feeling of sorrow, falling on him because of the mournful contents of the divine oracles, he gave expression. Ver. 4 f. gives the answer thereto. Ver. 4. Properly: and indeed it is the whole earth which I so treat, better than "the whole land" on account of the "all flesh" in ver. 5, cf. xxv. 15 ff. TIKI, accusative, gives the preceding verbs a more definite object. Ver. 5. Cf. in xxxix. 18 the promise to Ebedmelech.
This message of personal comfort to Baruch belongs to the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when Baruch was first chosen as Jeremiah's helper, and entrusted with the recording of the prophet's oracles (xxxvi . 1 f.). If Jeremiah himself had his moments of deep despondency on receiving the divine threatenings, it cannot seem strange that his weaker disciple was overwhelmed with pain and grief at the mere writing of the book of doom. The comfort which Jeremiah gave him, according to ver. 4, was from the Lord; for this reason Baruch added it to the prophetic book. It is first of all (as in xii. 5) a rebuke of impatience and shrinking from pain. At a time when God is visiting the whole earth judicially, it is not for the individual to lay claim to great and high things, i.e. happiness and joy. And then the same promise is given to him as to the trusty Ebed-melech, xxxix. 18: he will not perish in the present affliction and impending catastrophe, but everywhere enjoy divine deliverance,—one of the numerous oracles in which Jeremiah pledges God's word for the fate of an individual.
Jeremiah's Oracles Respecting The Heathen, Chs. Xlvl-li.
XLVI. 1. That which came to the prophet Jeremiah as Yahveh's word respecting the heathen nations.
I. TWO ORACLES RESPECTING EGYPT.
2. To Egypt, respecting the army of Pharaoh - Necho, king of Egypt, which was on the river Euphrates at Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah.
Ver. 1. Form as in xiv. 1. This heading applies to the entire section respecting the heathen, ch. xlvi.-li. Ver. 2. To Egypt, concerning Egypt (see respecting this h on xxiii. 9), is a special heading to ch. xlvi. The following more precise definition of the subject and occasion refers only to the oracle, vv. 3-12. The oracle related to the army of Pharaoh-Necho lying on the Euphrates, which was afterwards, as the prophet here foretells to him, defeated at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar (who is here called, not quite accurately, king of Babylon, which was not the case at the moment). The date, written of course later, points to the fulfilment as in xlix. 28. Carchemish (Isa. x. 9) is not the Circesium of the Greeks and Komans lying at the fall of the Chaboras into the Euphrates, but Gargamis of the inscriptions, to be sought much farther north-west, and indeed north of the river Sajur, probably at the ruin Jerabis, somewhat south of Birejik. It was the capital of the Chatti country, and lay on the right bank of the Euphrates (Schrader, ii. 74; Delitzsch, Parodies, p. 265 ff.). The Egyptian army, as it seems, delayed longer there, perhaps engaged with the siege of the city, when the Babylonians approached for the decisive battle. At all events the battle was fought near the main passage over the