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inflicted judgment, the great power of Egypt, to which two oracles are devoted, the first of which (xlvi. 1-12) falls in the moment hefore the battle of Carchemish; the second (vv. 13-28) later, when the Babylonian army had penetrated to Syria and Palestine, and is probably to be put in the time of the last siege of Jerusalem.
a. Vv. 1-12. Announcement of the defeat of Egypt on the Euphrates. It was a critical moment when the Egyptian army of Pharaoh-Necho, who had already some years before subjugated Syria up to the Euphrates, encountered the army of the son of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, on the border river, which he was just preparing to cross. The prince had hastened at his old father's command to make head against the Egyptians. Whilst all eyes at Jerusalem were directed thither with eager expectation, this "word of the Lord" came to Jeremiah, enabling him "to see" a complete defeat of the Egyptians. The subject is treated in more poetical colours and dramatic style than elsewhere in Jeremiah and in his foreign oracles generally. He calls on the Egyptian host to arm itself, and makes it march past us with its different nations and weapons. But already in the first brief strophe (vv. 3-6) he sees this army that had advanced in confidence of victory hurrying away in wild flight on the bank of the Euphrates. In vv. 7-12 the drama is repeated, the several Bcenes standing out still more distinctly. The masses of Egyptians, rolling along in their devastating march, are compared by the seer to the rising and overflowing of the Nile, their native stream. He again calls on them to display all their activity and speed in order to fall into the hands of the Lord, Yahveh (ver. 10), who on that approaching day will take vengeance on His foes. The same Pharaoh-Necho a few years before with the same army had ruthlessly smitten Judah, and killed the noble King Josiah. For this the retribution is now to come. The conflict proceeding between foreign nations is nothing but a judgment-act ordained by Yahveh, like a sacred sacrificial feast in His own honour. But the blow will be fatal to Egypt's supremacy over the nations (ver. 11 f.).
b. The Second Oracle (vv. 13-28) has for its contents a new disclosure given in the heading: that the Babylonian king will seek the Egyptians in their own land, defeat them there, and lay waste their land without finding serious resistance. As to the fulfilment, see on xliii. 8-12. The situation here is more advanced. According to ver. 14, the Babylonian army has already devastated the districts touching Egypt on the north and north-east. The most probable period is the last part of Zedekiah's reign, when Jerusalem was already invested, and the prophet had to comfort it (cf. ver. 27 f.). Then the king reigning in Egypt is Pharaoh Hophrah. The seer first calls on Lower Egypt to prepare for vigorous defensive war; then he sees its army, consisting mainly of contingents of neighbouring vassals (ver. 9), completely beaten and scattered to their homes (ver. 15 f.). In contrast with the phantom King Pharaoh, who wastes his power and neglects his season of grace by folly and arrogance (ver. 17), appears the true King, Yahveh of hosts, who brings into the country a ruler far surpassing his enemies in power and greatness (ver. 18), one who will banish the Egyptians. The effeminate nation, revelling in its beautiful land, is compared to a stately young heifer, the beast of Isis, which represents fertility also in Gen. xli. 18 ff., whose smooth skin and delicate blood attract the gad-fly—the Babylonian army (ver. 20), before which the effeminate bands of inland mercenaries will be unable to stand (ver. 21). Then will boastful Egypt rise out of the dust like the serpent, when the blows of the fellers apprise it of the fall of the forest, in which it had its lurkingplace (ver. 22 f.). The fall of the splendid structures of the country is a reckoning of the true God with the god of Egypt, —Amon who claims to be father of the gods, as well as with the human god on the throne, Pharaoh, who is bold enough to lay claim to divine honour (ver. 25 f.). Yet Egypt will not perish on Nebuchadnezzar's invasion, but will revive and see calmer days. But Judah, whose God is the Yahveh who judges foreign powers as the true King of all, has no need to fear, but may be full of comfort. For He Himself has pledged His word, that He will not destroy it, but only chasten it in measure (ver. 27 f.).
H. ORACLE RESPECTING THE LAND OF THE PHILISTINES, CH. XLVII.
XLVII. 1. That which came to Jeremiah as a word of Yahveh concerning the Philistines, before Pharaoh smote Gaza. 2. Thus says Yahveh: Behold, waters rise up from the north and become an overflowing river, and overflow the land and that which is therein, the city and them that dwell therein; and the men shall cry out, and all the inhabitants of the land howl. 3. At the thundering tread of the hoofs of his strong ones, at the rush of his chariots, at the rumbling of his wheels, fathers pay no regard to their children; so slack are their hands, 4. because of the day that comes to lay waste all the
Ver. 1. Form of heading as in xiv. 1, xlvi. 1.—The clause, "before Pharaoh smote Gaza," cannot mean that by this event the whole oracle was fulfilled, since Gaza only figures in it among other cities, and the vengeful foe comes from the north. Eather this clause explains why Gaza also appears among the threatened cities. Even before the Chaldaean invasion, but later than the threatening message, it was utterly destroyed by Pharaoh. The reference is to the famous conquest of the city by Pharaoh-Necho after the battle of Megiddo, related by Herod- ii. 159, where Gaza is meant by the Syrian city Kd&urof. Necho had come by sea to the bay of Accoh, and thence penetrated to Megiddo; by the capture of Gaza he secured a road to Egypt. It is improbable, on the other hand, that he did this after his defeat at Carchemish. The oracle is therefore somewhat earlier than this battle. Ver. 2. Nebuchadnezzar is not yet named, as usual before the battle of Carchemish.—D'by, cf. xlvi . 7. pK, here and often in Jeremiah land or earth, without any intentional distinction between the two. Ver. 3. VT3K, see on viii. 16. Ver. 4. TIB6, Ges. § 45. 2.—ity, in rhilistines, to destroy for Tyre and Sidon the last one able to help; for Yahveh will lay waste the Philistines, the remnant of the isle of Caphtor. 5. Baldness comes upon Gaza, Ascalon is brought to nothing, the remnant of their lowland.: how long wilt thou wound thyself? 6. Alas, sword of Yahveh, how long wilt thou not be quiet? Eeturn to thy scabbard, be quiet and be still! 7. How canst thou be quiet, when Yahveh has given thee charge against Ascalon and. against the sea-coast? Thither has he ordered it.
apposition to the last who could be regarded as helper, ally. Remnant of tlie isle of Caphtor the Philistines are called, because they came over from this island = Crete; according to others, Caphtor is the coast of the Egyptian Delta, which might also signify (see on xxv. 22). Ver. 5. Baldness, as in the case of mourners, to which also the cutting refers, see on xvi. 6. —Instead of DpDjJ, their lowland, LXX read D'pJy, remnant of the giants, which would suit well, especially if the seer had Gath in view, on whose name he plays in Trunn (Hitzig). Cf. 1 Sam. xvii. 4; 2 Sam. xxi. 16 ff. But this emendation is by no means necessary, and in xlix. 4 the LXX are decidedly wrong in their reading; even in 1 Chron. xii. 15, cf. viii . 13, the matter is doubtful.
Contents of ch. xlvii. Oracle against the Philistines.
As in xxv. 20, so here the neighbouring Philistines follow at once on Egypt. An oracle is added, which Jeremiah uttered respecting them somewhat earlier between the first and the fourth year of Jehoiakim. They also are threatened with the foe from the north, who, though he is not named, is well known to the hearers from Jeremiah's discourses. One is so deafened and distracted with the great uproar of the chariots advancing from that quarter, that the fathers cannot hear the imploring cry of their children (ver. 3). And with the strong cities of the Philistines falls also the last hope of the allied Phoenicians, whose chief cities, Tyre and Sidon, will likewise be besieged. The proud Philistine cities crouch like weeping women on the ground and cry out for mercy, ver. 6. But the sword of the Lord, as the prophet knows, cannot cease to rage until it has finished the sanguinary work committed to it.
III. ORACLES RESPECTING MOAB, CH. XLVIII.
XLVIII. 1. To Moab. Thus says Yahveh of hosts, the God of Israel: Alas for Nebo, for she is laid waste! Kiriathaim is put to shame, is taken! The high fort is put to shame and broken! 2. Moab's fame is at an end, at Heshbon evil is devised against her: Up, let us destroy her, that she be no more a people! Thou also, Madmen, art worn out; the sword hastens after thee. 3. A cry sounds from Horonaim: Devastation and great overthrow! 4. Moab is broken to pieces, her little ones cause a cry to be heard; 5. for men go up the ascent of Luhith with weeping,—with weeping, because on the descent of Horonaim the anguished cry of destruction is heard. 6. Flee ye, save your life, and be like a juniper-plant in the
Ver. 1. To Moab, heading as in xlvi. 2 and usually in this group. Nebo, city in Moab, see Isa. xv. 2. Kiriathaim, according to Eusebius, Onom., ten Eoman miles west of Medeba, which points to the ruin Krejat (a little south-east of Mkaur = Machaerus).—The high fort, either simply appellative, or better, a surname of Kir Moab (=Kir Heres), the proud capital of Moab, Isa. xv. 1. Ver. 2. There are word-plays on Heshbon and Madmen, as often in Isaiah and Micah. Heshbon, an Ammonite town according to xlix. 3, formerly Moabite (Isa. xv. 4, xvi. 8, 9). The population was perhaps made up of both races. Thence the northern conqueror breaks into the Moabite country.—Madmen (dung-heap), name of a place in Moab, not occurring elsewhere. Wn might be Kal; better, Niphal. Ver. 3. Horonaim, see on Isa. xv. 5.—i3c, see on iv. 6. Ver. 4. Moab, not the town Ar Moab (Graf), but the land as mother of the small towns and people, which can offer no resistance. Instead of ivnjre (written as in xiv. 3), many prefer to read mjnv, towards Zoar (cf. ver. 34; Isa. xv. 5), after LXX; but it is not necessary. Ver. 5, freely after Isa. xv. 5. The fugitives go, weeping continually, up the steep Luhith (Kethib, Luhoth), fleeing southward (Zoar). — TV, difficult (hence omitted by LXX), properly, agonies of the cry of sorrow = anguished cry of sorrow for the destruction. Ver. 6.