New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary


Jeremiah 43:1 It happened that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking to all the people all the words of Yahweh their God, with which Yahweh their God had sent him to them, even all these words- The response of the people was immediate; they allowed themselves no time to meditate, but just followed their gut reaction of not accepting God's message because it was not what they wanted to hear.

Jeremiah 43:2 then spoke Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying to Jeremiah, You speak falsely: Yahweh our God has not sent you to say, You shall not go into Egypt to live there-
As explained through Jer. 42. these people had set their hearts and faces on going to Egypt, and their enquiry of Yahweh was simply seeking His confirmation of their own hunches and desires. When they didn't receive this, they sought to get out of things by simply denying Jeremiah's Divine inspiration. Naturally this begs the question as to why they had asked for Yahweh's word through him, if they considered him uninspired. We see here the root reason why people disbelieve the Bible as Divinely inspired- it interferes too much with their own preferred way of life and thought.

Jeremiah 43:3 but Baruch the son of Neriah sets you on against us, to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they may put us to death, and carry us away captive to Babylon-
Baruch was Jeremiah's secretary, so maybe they were implying that these words had been written by Baruch but had not actually come from Jeremiah himself. This is typical of how those who don't want to accept God's word will try to find all manner of problems with the mechanism of inspiration; when the root issue is their refusal to accept any Divine word which goes against their own gut desires.

Jeremiah 43:4 So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, didn’t obey the voice of Yahweh, to dwell in the land of Judah-
They of course had denied the inspiration of Jeremiah to the point that they considered these words just the uninspired words of Baruch, Jeremiah's secretary. But the reality was that they were being disobedient to nothing less than the "voice of Yahweh".

Jeremiah 43:5 But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the captains of the forces took all the remnant of Judah, who were returned from all the nations where they had been driven, to live in the land of Judah-
These people had been restored to the land as some kind of incipient fulfillment of the prophecies of restoration. To take them off from the land to Egypt was to disallow that potential restoration of "the remnant of Judah".

Jeremiah 43:6 the men, and the women, and the children, and the king’s daughters, and every person who Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan; and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah-
Jeremiah and his secretary Baruch surely could have refused to move to Egypt. Jeremiah had been offered a luxury retirement in Babylon, underwritten by none less than the king of Babylon personally. But he died in poverty and perhaps of famine, without any respect, in Egypt... just because of his huge devotion to God's apostate people, willing to try to bring restoration even to the condemned... even at the cost of his own life and happiness.

Jeremiah 43:7 and they came into the land of Egypt; for they didn’t obey the voice of Yahweh: and they came to Tahpanhes- 
This was a border town, whose inhabitants had not been kind of Judah previously (Jer. 2:16).

Jeremiah 43:8 Then came the word of Yahweh to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying-
This was as it were one last appeal before the people officially entered into Egypt; for Tahpanhes was the border.

Jeremiah 43:9 Take great stones in your hand, and hide them in mortar in the brick work, which is at the entry of Pharaoh’s house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah-
This would only have been possible if the palace was crumbling; which would have served to warn them of the waning power of Pharaoh.

Jeremiah 43:10 and tell them, Thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon-
This would have been by Angelic action. The same phrase is used of God sending forth an Angel to take a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24:7,40).

My servant- Judah liked to imagine that they were the "servant of Yahweh" spoken of in Isaiah's recent prophecies. But this didn't make them God's people and therefore inviolate from judgment. Nebuchadnezzar was also Yahweh's servant but would be judged for his actions.

And will set his throne on these stones that I have hidden; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them- They would not escape the King of Babylon; he would spread his pavilion over the stones hidden in the palace of Pharaoh at Tahpanhes.

Jeremiah 43:11 He shall come, and shall strike the land of Egypt; such as are for death shall be put to death, and such as are for captivity to captivity, and such as are for the sword to the sword-
This is a quotation from Jer. 15:2. This is what could have happened had they received their judgment in Jerusalem. By grace they were spared that, and then by grace again, they would have been spared it at the hands of the Babylonians who were tempted to revenge the murders performed by Ishmael. But since they were ungrateful for that great grace shown, then those judgments would catch up with them. Fleeing to Egypt would not save from Divine judgment; only repentantly casting themselves in humility upon His grace would do so.

Jeremiah 43:12 I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captive: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd puts on his garment-
When refugees arrive in a host country, totally at the peoples' mercy, they scarcely start condemning the people. But Jeremiah had to inform Egypt that Nebuchadnezzar would soon "pick clean the land of Egypt like a shepherd picking lice from his clothing and then depart unmolested" (Jer. 43:12). Our position with this world, and our message to it, is no different in essence. See on Jer. 51:59.

And he shall go forth from there in peace- This can be read as meaning that it was God's intention that Babylon too should find peace with Him; Babylon's peace was to be that of Judah (see on Jer. 29:7).

Jeremiah 43:13 He shall also break the pillars of Beth Shemesh that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of Egypt shall he burn with fire
- Beth Shemesh is 'house of the sun' and probably refers to Heliopolis, which has the same meaning. "The pillars" refer to an avenue of obelisks in front of the temple erected by Thothmes III (BC 1500), one of which remain, and the other is “Cleopatra’s Needle,” placed on the Thames Embankment in London in 1878.