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Jeremiah Chapter Forty-six                            


Jeremiah 46

Chapter Contents

The defeat of the Egyptians. (1-12) Their overthrow after the siege of Tyre. (13-26) A promise of comfort to the Jews. (27,28)

Commentary on Jeremiah 46:1-12

(Read Jeremiah 46:1-12)

The whole word of God is against those who obey not the gospel of Christ; but it is for those, even of the Gentiles, who turn to Him. The prophecy begins with Egypt. Let them strengthen themselves with all the art and interest they have, yet it shall be all in vain. The wounds God inflicts on his enemies, cannot be healed by medicines. Power and prosperity soon pass from one to another in this changing world.

Commentary on Jeremiah 46:13-28

(Read Jeremiah 46:13-28)

Those who encroached on others, shall now be themselves encroached on. Egypt is now like a very fair heifer, not accustomed to the yoke of subjection; but destruction comes out of the north: the Chaldeans shall come. Comfort and peace are spoken to the Israel of God, designed to encourage them when the judgments of God were abroad among the nations. He will be with them, and only correct them in measure; and will not punish them with everlasting destruction from his presence.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Jeremiah


Jeremiah 46

Verse 1

[1] The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;

The word — This verse contains the title of all the ensuing discourses; for, tho' there be some verses in these chapters that relate to the Jews, yet they are all concerning their restoration. The prophecies of judgments from the beginning of this chapter to the fifty-second, are all against foreign nations, which are called Gentiles.

Verse 4

[4] Harness the horses; and get up, ye horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears, and put on the brigandines.

Brigandines — Coats of mail.

Verse 6

[6] Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble, and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates.

Let not the swift — It is in vain for the swift to flee away, the mighty men shall not escape, but they shall stumble and fall at Carchemish, which was near the river Euphrates, and northward from Egypt.

Verse 9

[9] Come up, ye horses; and rage, ye chariots; and let the mighty men come forth; the Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield; and the Lydians, that handle and bend the bow.

And the Lydians — They were all auxiliaries to the Egyptians in this expedition.

Verse 10

[10] For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.

Made drunk — These phrases only metaphorically signify, the great slaughter God would make that day amongst the Egyptians.

Verse 12

[12] The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land: for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together.

Stumbled — Stumbling one upon another, so that both those that went before, and those who followed after, should fall together.

Verse 14

[14] Declare ye in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Noph and in Tahpanhes: say ye, Stand fast, and prepare thee; for the sword shall devour round about thee.

Declare — Publish this over all the land of Egypt.

Verse 17

[17] They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed.

Pharaoh — Hath made a great noise, but it cometh to nothing.

Passed — That is, he hath passed the time himself fixed when he would cone, and fight the Chaldeans.

Verse 18

[18] As I live, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts, Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall he come.

Surely — He shall as certainly come and encompass you with his armies, as Tabor is encompassed with mountains, and as Carmel is by the sea.

Verse 20

[20] Egypt is like a very fair heifer, but destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north.

A serpent — Egypt is now like an heifer that makes a great bellowing, but the time shall come when she shall make a lesser noise like the hissing of a serpent.

With axes — For the Chaldeans shall come with an army, armed with battle-axes, as if they came to fell wood in a forest.

Verse 23

[23] They shall cut down her forest, saith the LORD, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable.

Tho' — Tho' it seem impenetrable.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Jeremiah


46 Chapter 46


Verses 1-28

Verse 17

Jeremiah 46:17

Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise.

Religious judgments

How the Bible can torment its adversaries!--mock them, contemn them, dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Yet it is never mere contempt. The contempt of the Bible is the penal side of a profound philosophy. Its contempt is as necessary as its Gospel--nay, more, its Gospel renders its contempt necessary. Our God is a “consuming fire,” “God is love,” “the wrath of the Lamb.” So when Pharaoh-Necho--mighty man--is called by the contemptuous term of “noise” no mere sneer is employed. This is a righteous judgment, a moral estimate, a correct representation of things as they are in reality, not of things as they appear to be. In all judgments we must have regard to distance, proportion, perspective. Pharaoh king of Egypt, with horses, chariots, swords, spears, hosts of men, is a terrific power; but to a man standing in the quiet of the Divine sanctuary, “Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise”--a waft of wind, a curl of smoke dying whilst it rises. If men would but consider this law of proportion the whole estimate of life would undergo an instantaneous and complete reversion. The text brings before us the great subject of religious judgments--by religious judgments I mean estimates. We must call religion into the house if we would take a true appraisement of what we possess. Only religion, as interpreted in Holy Scripture, can tell you what you are and what you are worth.

1. With regard to those religious estimates or judgments, note how fearless they are. They are not judgments about personal manners, social etiquette, little and variable customs; they challenge the whole world. We are moved by their heroism. Religious judgments do not fritter away our time and patience in discussing little questions and petty problems: they summon kings to their bar and call nations to stand back and be judged. There is a national entity as well as a personal individuality. Blessed is the voice that, fills a nation; grand is the Gospel that spreads itself over the whole world. We cannot do without the heroic element, the heroic judgment, the broad estimate, the complete arbitrament, that takes within its purview and decision everything concerning individual life and general civilisation. You must have the great call, the sublime challenge, the heroic appeal, the white throne that stretches itself from horizon to horizon, and before which kings are as little men and little men as kings--the grand astronomical pomp and majesty before which all else settles into its right relation. That you have in the Bible, and nowhere else.

2. The judgments of the Bible are rational as well as fearless. Under all contempt there is a rock of logic. Why does the Bible contemn things? Because of their proportion. It knows the exact proportion which everything bears to the sum-total of things and to the sovereign purpose of the Divine government. Then the judgments of the Bible are rational because the matter or element of duration is continually present to the minds of the inspired writers. The inspired writer has been locked up with God, and turning away from that glory all other things become as the baseless fabric of a vision. If we could see God we should be filled with contempt regarding all things, in so far as they affected to hinder us by their greatness or overpower us by their solidity.

3. Then the judgments of the Bible are also critical. They are very dainty in their expression: they take the right word with an inspired ingenuity. “Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise.” You cannot amend that comment. Try to amend anything Jesus Christ ever said. As well amend a dewdrop; as well paint the lily. And the nations, according to the biblical estimate, are but “a wind” that cometh for a little time and then passeth away; and our life is but “a vapour,” dying in its very living. These are the condensations of Omniscience; these arc the sharpened points whetted in eternity; these stand incapable of amendment.

4. But “fearless,” “rational,” “critical”--is there no word that comes nearer to my own necessity? Yes, there is a word that touches us all to-day: these religious judgments are inspiring. Man wants inspiration every day. The Bible was not inspired once for all, in the sense of having its whole meaning shown in one disclosure. Inspiration comes with every dawn, distils in every dew-shower, breathes in every breeze; it is the daily gift of God. How are these judgments inspiring? Because they enable a man who is right in his spirit and purpose to say, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (J. Parker, D. D.)

Verse 18

Jeremiah 46:18

As I live, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.

The oaths of Jehovah

I. The Divine oaths recorded in Scripture exhibit and declare the glory of the Divine character.

1. As they show forth the infinite condescension of God. He has addressed us not only in the language of authority and goodness, but also actually condescended to confirm His own true sayings by the most solemn oaths, and this He has done, not only upon some one particular occasion, but in numerous instances, and in every variety of form. Sometimes, Jehovah swears by one or the other of His natural perfections. The Lord hath sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength. At other times He swears by one or the other of His moral perfections, as, “Once have I sworn by My holiness.” At other times by His great name, but the most expressive, as well as the most usual form is that in the text, “As I live, saith the Lord God.”

2. The Divine oaths furnish a sublime and awful manifestation of the sincere earnestness of the Divine mind in what He declares unto us in His Word, with such an attestation.

3. The Divine oaths exhibit also the benevolent solicitude of God for the welfare of the unworthy creatures whom He thus addresses; or as the apostle expresses it, “the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man.”

4. The Divine oaths intimate the unchangeableness of the Divine mind in relation to those arrangements in His natural and moral government which were in that manner established and confirmed.

II. The Divine oaths also serve to illustrate the moral character of man, and to exercise a powerful influence on his moral and spiritual interests.

1. They strongly corroborate the fact that the human heart is corrupt and alienated from God. In speaking to His holy angels, “who excel in strength,” and are swift to do His will, an oath in confirmation of His Word is altogether unnecessary. They know His character too well ever to entertain the slightest suspicion of His truthfulness; but in dealing with fallen and apostate man, He knew it was necessary to confirm His own faithful words by most solemn oaths, pledging His own eternal existence on their truth.

2. They serve also as fearful warnings of the perilous condition of the impenitent and unbelieving soul. Could not an angel have reasonably supposed that in the face of all the declarations and oaths of Jehovah, recorded in the Bible, unbelief on the part of man would have been a moral impossibility? After all, unbelief is the most common sin in the world, and the sin on account of which men generally feel the least compunction; the sin on account of which the Son of God marvelled and was grieved,--men neither marvel nor grieve. Just as if it was a thing of no moment to treat the eternal God as a liar and a perjurer! Be not deceived, God is not mocked.

3. They afford the strongest encouragement to believers in their onward progress to heaven. Christians, during their earthly pilgrimage, have to contend against many things in themselves and in the world, which are calculated to exert a most depressing influence upon their hearts. But they are, nevertheless, favoured with abundant sources of consolation in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, and in the great and precious truths and promises of the Gospel “God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of the promises the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” The firm stability of the ordinances of the covenant made with Noah, is employed to illustrate the stability and unchangeableness of the covenant of redemption. The mountains and the hills are referred to as fit emblems of its eternal immutability. (W. Rees, D. D.)

Verse 28

Jeremiah 46:28

But correct thee in measure.

Chastisement duly proportioned

Correction is like physic, not to be given without good advice and caution. We use a difference when we go about to hew a rugged piece of timber, and to smooth a little stick, which you can bend as you please. A fit season must be observed. Cut your trees at some time of the year, and you kill them; prune them at other times, and they thrive much the better. Horses too straight reined in are apt to rise up with their forefeet; when they are allowed convenient liberty with their heads they go better. (G. Swinnock.)

──The Biblical Illustrator