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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.


To study elegance was not so much the object of the Prophet, as to confirm what he had taught. The figures, then, which he now uses, were not intended as ornaments of speech, but rather for the purpose of giving force and power to what he had said; for, as it has been said, prophecies had no credit with stupid men, unless stimulants were added to them.

He says now, that the voice of Egypt would go forth like that of a serpent: some read, “as though it were a serpent;” but I prefer to render it in the genitive case, and it is more suitable; for the Prophet means that the complaints of Egypt would not be obstreperous; as serpents, in creeping, send forth their hisses, so he intimates that the Egyptians, being overthrown, would be so broken down, as not to dare to utter open complaints, as those who freely cry out, but such as would remain alive would be so smitten with fear as only to mutter, as it has been said of serpents, who hiss as they creep. We now understand the real meaning of the Prophet: he says that the Egyptians would be so east down as not to dare openly to complain of their miseries, for they would only mutter, not otherwise than serpents who, on the ground, indistinctly hiss: its voice, then, shall advance, or go forth, like that of a serpent; and thus he points out their uneasiness, for they would seek hiding-places, and flee here and there, and never dare to remain in the same place. It is, indeed, a proof of the most miserable trepidation, when he who succumbs under his evils finds no place to set his foot on, but is forced, like serpents, to wander here and there. Jerome’s rendering is, “as that of brass,” as though it was written, נחשת, nuchashet; but I have already shewn what the Prophet meant.

He adds, For they shall come with an army, or with power. The word חיל, chil, means both. He now speaks of the Chaldeans. He said that the Egyptians would tremble, and be so broken down, as not to dare to utter their groans openly. Now follows the reason, because the Chaldeans would come with power, or with an army; they would come not only as soldiers to fight, but also as hewers of wood with their axes He intimates that the issue of the war would by no means be doubtful, but that the Chaldeans would come into Egypt as hired men come to cut down trees. Soldiers are, indeed, armed with swords and lances; for they have to do with enemies, nor can they overcome without danger, at least they cannot conquer without striving; but the Prophet says that the Chaldeans would be so filled with confidence, that they would not regard the Egyptians as enemies, for they would come, as it were, to cut down trees which offer no resistance: They shall come, then, as hewers of wood There is here an implied contrast between swords, lances, and axes, as there is between soldiers and hewers of wood. It follows, —

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