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Judgment on Egypt


The word of the L ord that came to the prophet Jeremiah concerning the nations.

2 Concerning Egypt, about the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish and which King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah:


Prepare buckler and shield,

and advance for battle!


Harness the horses;

mount the steeds!

Take your stations with your helmets,

whet your lances,

put on your coats of mail!


Why do I see them terrified?

They have fallen back;

their warriors are beaten down,

and have fled in haste.

They do not look back—

terror is all around!

says the L ord.


The swift cannot flee away,

nor can the warrior escape;

in the north by the river Euphrates

they have stumbled and fallen.



Who is this, rising like the Nile,

like rivers whose waters surge?


Egypt rises like the Nile,

like rivers whose waters surge.

It said, Let me rise, let me cover the earth,

let me destroy cities and their inhabitants.


Advance, O horses,

and dash madly, O chariots!

Let the warriors go forth:

Ethiopia and Put who carry the shield,

the Ludim, who draw the bow.


That day is the day of the Lord G od of hosts,

a day of retribution,

to gain vindication from his foes.

The sword shall devour and be sated,

and drink its fill of their blood.

For the Lord G od of hosts holds a sacrifice

in the land of the north by the river Euphrates.


Go up to Gilead, and take balm,

O virgin daughter Egypt!

In vain you have used many medicines;

there is no healing for you.


The nations have heard of your shame,

and the earth is full of your cry;

for warrior has stumbled against warrior;

both have fallen together.


Babylonia Will Strike Egypt

13 The word that the L ord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the coming of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon to attack the land of Egypt:


Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol;

proclaim in Memphis and Tahpanhes;

Say, “Take your stations and be ready,

for the sword shall devour those around you.”


Why has Apis fled?

Why did your bull not stand?

—because the L ord thrust him down.


Your multitude stumbled and fell,

and one said to another,

“Come, let us go back to our own people

and to the land of our birth,

because of the destroying sword.”


Give Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the name

“Braggart who missed his chance.”



As I live, says the King,

whose name is the L ord of hosts,

one is coming

like Tabor among the mountains,

and like Carmel by the sea.


Pack your bags for exile,

sheltered daughter Egypt!

For Memphis shall become a waste,

a ruin, without inhabitant.



A beautiful heifer is Egypt—

a gadfly from the north lights upon her.


Even her mercenaries in her midst

are like fatted calves;

they too have turned and fled together,

they did not stand;

for the day of their calamity has come upon them,

the time of their punishment.



She makes a sound like a snake gliding away;

for her enemies march in force,

and come against her with axes,

like those who fell trees.


They shall cut down her forest,

says the L ord,

though it is impenetrable,

because they are more numerous

than locusts;

they are without number.


Daughter Egypt shall be put to shame;

she shall be handed over to a people from the north.


25 The L ord of hosts, the God of Israel, said: See, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him. 26I will hand them over to those who seek their life, to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and his officers. Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, says the L ord.


God Will Save Israel


But as for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob,

and do not be dismayed, O Israel;

for I am going to save you from far away,

and your offspring from the land of their captivity.

Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,

and no one shall make him afraid.


As for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob,

says the L ord,

for I am with you.

I will make an end of all the nations

among which I have banished you,

but I will not make an end of you!

I will chastise you in just measure,

and I will by no means leave you unpunished.


The Prophet adds here nothing new, but confirms by another metaphor what he had said before. He then says, that the slaughter would be like a fatal plague, as though God would take away from the Egyptians every hope. We indeed know that the kingdom of Egypt did not then perish; for the nation itself remained. But the kingdom was so depressed, that, as it was stated yesterday, they kept themselves as shut up within their own borders, and did not afterwards bring out their forces. And yet it is well known how great was the pride and audacity of that nation; but they saw that they were wholly broken down and weakened. Hence the Prophet says, not without reason, that that would be an incurable wound, by which God would so smite Egypt, that it would no more recover its ancient strength; for after that time the kingdom of Egypt never flourished; and after a few years, as we shall see in another prophecy, it was brought under the power of Babylon.

he now turns his discourse to Egypt: he says, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt, a mode of speaking common in the Prophets. They call Babylon, The daughter of Babylon; they call Judea, The daughter of Judah. But this may be applied to the people or to the kingdom. And he calls Egypt virgin on account of its delicacies, as though he had said, that the Egyptians were tender and delicate, because they had during a long peace gathered strength and all kinds of wealth. As then they were so inebriated with their pleasures, Egypt by way of mockery is called a virgin.

Ascend, he says, into Gilead, and take rosin, or, as some render it, “balm.” Jerome, in another place, rendered it “honey,” but without reason; and it is probable that the word means rosin rather than balm. It may be also concluded from other places that the best rosin was found on Mount Gilead, as we have also stated in the eighth chapter of this book (Jeremiah 8). The rosin was a juice flowing from trees, especially from the terebinth; and hence the best rosin is the terebinthine, which we call terebenthine. There is at the same time a rosin from firs and other trees. But as I have already said, Mount Gilead was fruitful in rosin, and is celebrated not only for the abundance of its rosin but also for its excellency; and its medicinal qualities are found better and more efficacious in some places than in others.

According, then, to the common mode of speaking, he says, O daughter of Egypt, ascend into Gilead, and take to thee rosin; but it will be, he says, in vain; that is, “Wert thou earnestly to seek a remedy for thy evils, thou couldst never find it; for thy stroke is incurable.” Not that the kingdom of Egypt perished or was wholly overthrown, but that its strength would be lost, so that the Chaldean king would take possession of all that part of Asia which the Egyptians had occupied, even as far as Pelusium, to the very borders of the Nile. He at length adds, —

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