Jeremiah 44:1
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,
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44:1-14 God reminds the Jews of the sins that brought desolations upon Judah. It becomes us to warn men of the danger of sin with all seriousness: Oh, do not do it! If you love God, do not, for it is provoking to him; if you love your own souls, do not, for it is destructive to them. Let conscience do this for us in the hour of temptation. The Jews whom God sent into the land of the Chaldeans, were there, by the power of God's grace, weaned from idolatry; but those who went by their own perverse will into the land of the Egyptians, were there more attached than ever to their idolatries. When we thrust ourselves without cause or call into places of temptation, it is just with God to leave us to ourselves. If we walk contrary to God, he will walk contrary to us. The most awful miseries to which men are exposed, are occasioned by the neglect of offered salvation.Migdol - Magdolum, a strong fortress on the northern boundary of Egypt.
The word which came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt,.... Or, "unto all the Jews" (t); the word came to him, that it might be delivered to them; or, "against all the Jews" (u); they having gone into Egypt contrary to the will of God, and committing idolatry; and the word or sermon is full of threatenings and judgments denounced upon them:

which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros: this prophecy was delivered after the Jews were come to Tahpanhes, or Daphne; see Jeremiah 43:7; and had divided themselves, and were settled in different parts of the kingdom: some continued at Tahpanhes, where were the king's court and palace: others went to Migdol, a place near the Red sea, just at the entrance into Egypt, from the land of Canaan, Exodus 14:2; called, by Herodotus, Magdolus (w); and by Adrichomius (x) said to be distant about a mile and a quarter from Pelusium, or Sin, the strength of Egypt, Ezekiel 30:15; others took up their residence at Noph, generally thought to be the city of Memphis. The Targum calls it Mappas; the same which is now called Grand Cairo; or, however, this city is near the place where Memphis stood: others dwelt in the country of Pathros, which perhaps had its name from Pathrusim, a son of Mizraim, Genesis 10:13. It is thought by Bochart and others to be the country of Thebais in Egypt, the same with the Nomos Phanturites, or Phaturites, of Pliny (y); and in this country Jeremiah seems to have been when this word came to him, Jeremiah 44:15; and from hence sent or carried it to the other places: saying; as follows:

(t) "ad omnes Judaeos", V. L. Castalio, Cocceius, Schmidt; "erga omnes", Pagninus, Montanus. (u) "Contra omnes Judaeos", Junius & Tremellius; "de, vel contra", Piscator. (w) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 159. (x) Theatrum Terrae Sanct. p. 121. (y) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 9.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who dwell in the land of Egypt, who dwell at Migdol, and at {a} Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,

(a) These were all famous and strange cities in Egypt, where the Jews that fled dwelt for their safety but the prophet declares that there is no hold so strong that can preserve them from God's vengeance.

Prediction regarding Egypt. - Jeremiah 43:8. "And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, Jeremiah 43:9. Take in thine hand large stones, and hide them in the clay in the brick-kiln, which is at the entrance to the house of Pharaoh in Taphanhes, in the eyes of the Jews; Jeremiah 43:10. And say to them: Thus saith Jahveh of hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and will place his throne over these stones which I have hidden, and he shall stretch his tapestry over them. Jeremiah 43:11. And he shall come and smite the land of Egypt, (he who is) for death, to death, - (he who is) for captivity, to captivity, - (he who is) for the sword, to the sword. Jeremiah 43:12. And I will kindle fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away; and he shall wrap the land of Egypt round him as the shepherd wraps his cloak round him, and thence depart in peace. Jeremiah 43:13. And he shall destroy the pillars of Beth-shemesh, which is in the land of Egypt, and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire."

This prophecy is introduced by a symbolical action, on which it is based. But in spite of the fact that the object of the action is stated in the address which follows, the action itself is not quite plain from the occurrence of בּמּלבּן, whose usual meaning, "brick-kiln" (cf. Nahum 3:14), does not seem suitable here. Eichhorn and Hitzig think it absurd that there should be found before the door of a royal habitation a brick-kiln on which a king was to place his throne. From the Arabic malbin, which also signifies a rectangular figure like tile or brick, and is used of the projecting entablature of doors, - from the employment, also, in the Talmud of the word מלבּן to signify a quadrangular tablet in the form of a tile, - Hitzig would claim for the word the meaning of a stone floor, and accordingly renders, "and insert them with mortar into the stone flooring." But the entablatures over doors, or quadrangular figures like bricks, are nothing like a stone flooring or pavement before a palace. Besides, in the way of attaching to the word the signification of a "brick-kiln," - a meaning which is well established, - or even of a brickwork, the difficulties are not so great as to compel us to accept interpretations that have no foundation. We do not need to think of a brick-kiln or brickwork as being always before the palace; as Neumann has observed, it may have indeed ben there, although only for a short time, during the erecting of some part of the palace; nor need it have been just at the palace gateway, but a considerable distance away from it, and on the opposite side. Alongside of it there was lying mortar, an indispensable building material. טמן, "to hide," perhaps means here not merely to embed, but to embed in such a way that the stones could not very readily be perceived. Jeremiah was to press down the big stones, not into the brick-kiln, but into the mortar which was lying at (near) the brick-kiln, - to put them, too, before the eyes of the Jews, inasmuch as the meaning of this act had a primary reference to the fate of the Jews in Egypt. The object of the action is thus stated in what follows: Jahveh shall bring the king of Babylon and set his throne on these stones, so that he shall spread out his beautiful tapestry over them. שׁפרוּר (Qeri שׁפריר), an intensive form of שׁפר, שׁפרה, "splendour, beauty," signifies a glittering ornament, - here, the decoration of the throne, the gorgeous tapestry with which the seat of the throne was covered. The stones must thus form the basis for the throne, which the king of Babylon will set up in front of the palace of the king of Egypt at Tahpanhes. But the symbolical meaning of this action is not thereby exhausted. Not merely is the laying of the stones significant, but also the place where they are laid, - at the entrance, or opposite Pharaoh's palace. This palace was built of tiles or bricks: this is indicated by the brick-kiln and the mortar. The throne of the king of Babylon, on the contrary, is set up on large stones. The materials of which the palace and the throne are formed, shadow forth the strength and stability of the kingdom. Pharaoh's dominion is like crumbling clay, the material of bricks; the throne which Nebuchadnezzar shall set up opposite the clay-building of the Pharaohs rests on large stones, - his rule will be powerful and permanent. According to Jeremiah's further development of the symbol in Jeremiah 43:11., Nebuchadnezzar will come to Egypt (the Kethib באה is to be read בּאה, "he came down," to Egypt, בּוא being construed with the accus.), and will smite the land together with its inhabitants, so that every man will receive his appointed lot, viz., death by pestilence, imprisonment, and the sword, i.e., death in battle. On the mode of representation here, cf. Jeremiah 15:2.

CHAPTER 44

Jer 44:1-30. Jeremiah Reproves the Jews for Their Idolatry in Egypt, and Denounces God's Judgments on Them and Egypt Alike.

1. Migdol—meaning a "tower." A city east of Egypt, towards the Red Sea (Ex 14:2; Nu 33:7).

Noph—Memphis, now Cairo (Jer 2:16).

Pathros—Upper Egypt (Isa 11:11).

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews - Dahler supposes this discourse to have been delivered in the seventeenth or eighteenth year after the taking of Jerusalem.

Which dwell at Migdol - A city of Lower Egypt, not far from Pelusium.

Tahpanhes - Daphne Pelusiaca, the place to which the emigrant Jews first went.

Noph - מפס Maphes, Targum. Memphis. a celebrated city of Middle Egypt, and the capital of its district.

The country of Pathros - A district of Upper Egypt, known by the name of the Thebais. See Bochart, Lib. Phaleg, lib. iv., c. 22. Thus we find that the Jews were scattered over the principal parts of Egypt.

44:1 At Migdol - It seems the Jews that went into Egypt had planted themselves at these four places. Migdol was a city upon the borders of the Red Sea. Noph was a city, which the Greeks and Latines called Memphis; it is thought to be that, which is now called Cairo. Pathros was the province, since called Thebais.
Jeremiah 43:13
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