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Jeremiah 46:1 The word of Yahweh which came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations- Ezekiel also at this point gave prophecies against Egypt and the surrounding nations. As noted on Ez. 29-32, many of the details didn't come true at that time. The essence will do in the last days. But the prophecies were part of a wider potential scenario in which Judah would repent, as would Israel who were already in captivity; and the nations conquered by Babylon would also come to "know Yahweh", to come into relationship with Him. But this didn't work out as hoped; and so the application of these prophecies has been transferred and reapplied to the last days.

Jeremiah 46:2 Of Egypt: concerning the army of Pharaoh Necoh king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon struck in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah- The significance of the victory is that it was a sure sign to Judah that their trust upon Egypt was futile; now Egyptian military power had been demonstrated useless. God was, for now, on the side of Babylon; they were His servants, and resistance to them was futile.

Jeremiah 46:3 Prepare the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle!-
This was the cry of "The Egyptian officers" (GNB).

Jeremiah 46:4 Harness the horses, rise up, you horsemen, and stand forth with your helmets; furbish the spears, put on the coats of mail-
Egypt is portrayed as replete with all the latest military technology and human strength, all of which was seen by Judah as so attractive, but by God as so abhorrent and meaningless.

Jeremiah 46:5 Why have I seen it?-
Now we have God's perspective, how He saw things. ""But what do I see?" asks the LORD" (GNB). However, this could be another interjection from Jeremiah, complaining that the visions which he had to preach, about violence and judgment, were quite against the grain of his sensitive soul (Jer. 46:5 RV; 47:6). The fact that true preaching is a carrying of the cross explains why Paul felt that the fact that to preach what he did went right against his natural grain, was the proof that indeed a “dispensation of the Gospel” had been given to him. Likewise Jeremiah complained. There is therefore no such person as a natural preacher in the ultimate sense.

They are dismayed and are turned backward; and their mighty ones are beaten down and have fled apace, and don’t look back: terror is on every side, says Yahweh- Although the Egyptians went forward so confidently into battle, God saw them as fleeing in terror.

Jeremiah 46:6 Don’t let the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; in the north by the river Euphrates have they stumbled and fallen-
Ez. 32:31 says that Pharaoh would die in this battle. However there is no record of Pharaoh being killed at Carchemish, although the Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle, now housed in the British Museum, claims that Nebuchadnezzar "crossed the river to go against the Egyptian army which lay in Carchemish. They fought with each other and the Egyptian army withdrew before him. He accomplished their defeat, decisively. As for the rest of the Egyptian army which had escaped from the defeat so quickly that no weapon had reached them, in the district of Hamath the Babylonian troops overtook and defeated them so that not a single man escaped to his own country". We would expect a mention of the death of Pharaoh but there is none. And the account of the battle of Carchemish here in Jer. 46:3-12 doesn't mention it either. Again we see that the prophetic scenario envisaged didn't completely come about, although the essence of it will in the last days.

Jeremiah 46:7 Who is this who rises up like the Nile, whose waters toss themselves like the rivers?-
This is said in retrospect, seeing that the Egyptians are now "dismayed and turned backward" (:5). They had once been seen as the rising power, rising up as the Nile, and Judah had been attracted by this, rather than trusting in Yahweh.

Jeremiah 46:8 Egypt rises up like the Nile, and his waters toss themselves like the rivers: and he says, I will rise up, I will cover the land; I will destroy cities and its inhabitants-
Egypt had its eyes upon dominating the eretz, "the land" promised to Abraham, including Judah. Yet Judah had sought their help against Babylon, refusing to see the obvious- that actually Egypt wanted to dominate them and destroy their cities just as Babylon was to do.

Jeremiah 46:9 Go up, you horses; and rage, you chariots; and let the mighty ones go forth: Cush and Put, who handle the shield; and the Ludim, who handle and bend the bow-
These are the mercenaries, from various African countries, who fought for Egypt and are being sent forth. The "mighty ones", horses and chariots are portrayed in these terms to show they are a pathetic imitation of Ezekiel's cherubim, which could have fought for Judah had they trusted in Yahweh.

Jeremiah 46:10 For that day is of the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, a day of vengeance, that He may avenge Himself of His adversaries: and the sword shall devour and be satiate, and shall drink its fill of their blood; for the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, has a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates-
Nebuchadnezzar was Yahweh's servant, and therefore the adversaries of Babylon were His adversaries; and He would destroy them. Judah's desperate trust in Egypt was therefore siding with Yahweh's enemies.

Jeremiah 46:11 Go up into Gilead and take balm, virgin daughter of Egypt: in vain do you use many medicines; there is no healing for you-
This "daughter" may be that of :19, the daughter "who dwells in Egypt", the Jewish communities in Egypt, who were to be joined by the unfaithful Jews who later joined them under Johanan (see on Jer. 44:1). Gilead's balm was well known (Gen. 37:25; Ez. 27:17). There was balm and a physician in Gilead which could heal the sick person- but they wouldn't go to it (Jer. 8:22). The cure had been readily available- but Judah had refused to make use of it.

Jeremiah 46:12 The nations have heard of your shame, and the earth is full of your cry; for the mighty man has stumbled against the mighty, they are fallen both of them together-
This may refer to the shame of the fact that a far smaller Babylonian army of 18,000 destroyed the Egyptian army of 40,000 at Carchemish. "The mighty man" would be they of :9, the mercenaries upon whom Egypt relied.
Jeremiah 46:13 The word that Yahweh spoke to Jeremiah the prophet, how that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon should come and strike the land of Egypt-
The language of smiting Egypt is that of the plagues (Ex. 3:20; 12:12,13 s.w.). Again there is the implicit hope that as a result of this, there would be a glorious exodus and reentry of the promised land by Judah. See on :23.

Jeremiah 46:14 Declare in Egypt, and publish in Migdol, and publish in Memphis and in Tahpanhes: say, Stand forth, and prepare; for the sword has devoured around you-
These were the very towns where the disobedient Jews went to live after the Babylonian invasion of Judah; from this prophecy, they ought to have already been aware of what Jeremiah declared to them- that even there in Egypt, the Babylonians would come and judge them (Jer. 44:1). The declaration to Egypt is effectively an appeal for repentance; as noted on :13, the predicted 'smiting' of Egypt was to be a repetition of that at the time of the Exodus. The gods of Egypt were smitten, but the smiting was ideally in order to elicit repentance. The word of judgment was as good as executed; but they were to "stand forth and prepare", a call to repentance.

Jeremiah 46:15 Why are your strong ones swept away? They didn’t stand, because Yahweh pushed them over-
GNB: "Why has your mighty god Apis fallen? The LORD has struck him down!'". As at the exodus there was the 'smiting' of Egypt's gods, so again it would be. But this was all ideally intended to elicit repentance.

Jeremiah 46:16 He made many to stumble, yes, they fell one on another: and they said, Arise, and let us go again to our own people, and to the land of our birth, from the oppressing sword- This speaks of the mercenaries fighting for Egypt running away to their homelands.

Jeremiah 46:17 They cried there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he has let the appointed time pass by-
GNB "Give the king of Egypt a new name—'Noisy Braggart Who Missed His Chance'". As the Pharaoh at the time of the exodus was given a chance to repent, so now again (see on :13-15). As explained on Ez. 30:21, God had worked to bring about the healing of Egypt in her repentance after her first defeat by the Babylonians. But she didn't respond. Therefore Jer. 46:17 AV says of Pharaoh: "he has let the appointed time pass by". He was given a window of repentance but he refused it. The breaking of Pharaoh's arm as prophesied in Ez. 30:21 was in fact by being a staff of reed to Judah which collapsed. This was all the very opposite narrative to that which the faithless Jews at the time wished to believe- that the strong arm of Pharaoh would save them from the Babylonians. Instead, both Judah and Egypt would collapse as it were in a heap together before the Babylonians. And from this debased state they were both intended to arise as repentant, knowing Yahweh. But they didn't.

Jeremiah 46:18 As I live, says the King whose name is Yahweh of Armies, surely like Tabor among the mountains, and like Carmel by the sea, so shall he come-
That is, with the same towering strength. The appeal to locations in Palestine was because those being addressed were not so much Egyptians as the Jews dwelling amongst them (:19).

Jeremiah 46:19 You daughter who dwells in Egypt, furnish yourself to go into captivity; for Memphis shall become a desolation and shall be burnt up without inhabitant-
The daughter refers to the Jewish communities in Egypt. This ought to have been understood by the Jews who wanted to go and join the Jewish communities already existing in Memphis and elsewhere in Egypt; they were to also go into captivity. See on Jer. 44:1.

Jeremiah 46:20 Egypt is a very beautiful heifer; but destruction out of the north has come, it has come-
GNB "Egypt is like a splendid cow, attacked by a stinging fly from the north".

Jeremiah 46:21 Also her hired men in the midst of her are like calves of the stall; for they also are turned back, they are fled away together, they didn’t stand: for the day of their calamity has come on them, the time of their visitation-
The apparent strength of Egypt was largely dependent upon their mercenaries; this prophecy emphasizes that. But Judah didn't seem to want to appreciate that. They were but "fatted calves fed in her" (LXX); they were loyal only insofar as they were fed and paid by Egypt.

Jeremiah 46:22 The sound of it shall go like the serpent; for they shall march with an army, and come against her with axes, as wood cutters-
This is just how the Babylonians came upon Jerusalem, with axes to cut down the cedarwork of the temple (Ps. 74:5,6). Judah were not to think they had cleverly escaped judgment through moving to Egypt; judgment would still come to them.

Jeremiah 46:23 They shall cut down her forest, says Yahweh, though it can’t be searched; because they are more than the locusts, and are innumerable-
Just as Egypt had been plagued by locusts (see on :13), so those plagues were to be repeated. And yet again there was therefore the hope for repentance and exodus because of that.

Jeremiah 46:24 The daughter of Egypt shall be disappointed; she shall be delivered into the hand of the people of the north-
This is the daughter of :19, the Jewish daughter of Zion who lived in Egypt. They would be disappointed in Egypt; and again there is an abiding lesson. All trust in idols or in the things of Egypt, the world, will end in such disappointment, just as in due course Babylon would be disappointed in her idols (Jer. 51:17).

Jeremiah 46:25 Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Behold, I will punish Amon of No-
GNB "Amon, the god of Thebes". Egypt was to be punished by Babylon, and in due course Babylon too was to be punished (s.w. Jer. 25:12). Jeremiah's prophecies ought to have enabled God's people to see that all human strength waxes and wanes, and all finally comes to His judgment.

And Pharaoh, and Egypt, with her gods, and her kings; even Pharaoh, and those who trust in him- Those who trusted in Egypt's idols and gods were the Jews (:24).

Jeremiah 46:26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those who seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants; and afterwards it shall be inhabited like in the days of old, says Yahweh- GNB "But later on, people will live in Egypt again, as they did in times past. I, the LORD, have spoken". This is the language of restoration; it was clearly God's plan to restore not only His own people and land, but those of the surrounding peoples.

Jeremiah 46:27 But don’t you be afraid, Jacob My servant, neither be dismayed, Israel: for, behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at ease, and none shall make him afraid-
The Jewish exiles in Egypt did indeed have something to fear and be dismayed about; but if they were repentant, then they would be restored even from Egypt into a new kingdom of God revived in the land of Israel. In the future, they would be unafraid; and even in the face of the Babylonian attack, they could still be unafraid. If they were truly penitent and on God's side, then they could live the kingdom life there and then, just as we can. This salvation from far off must be understood in the context of how God says that He was potentially near to Judah, but they had chosen to keep Him "far off" (s.w.) in their hearts; see on Jer. 12:2;23:23. Even from that situation, God's grace could work on their hearts. They were taken "far [off]" to captivity because they had Him far from their hearts.

Jeremiah 46:28 Don’t you be afraid, O Jacob My servant, says Yahweh; for I am with you: for although I will make a full end of all the nations where I have driven you, I will not make a full end of you-
Earlier God had threatened to make a full end, the same phrase is found in Is. 10:23 and Zeph. 1:18. But now God promises that He will not make a full end (Jer. 5:10,18; 4:27; 30:11; 46:28). God is not capricious; but His love and pity is such that He is unafraid to not do according to His wrath. In wrath God remembered mercy; or perhaps responded to some degree of repentance or intercession from a minority. And this God is our God.

But I will correct you in measure, and will in no way leave you unpunished- The frequent appeals for Judah to be "instructed" use the same word translated "punish" (Lev. 26:18). The idea was that the punishments were to be instruction; they were not the lashing out of an offended Deity. It was God's hope, even 'fantasy' would not be too strong a word, that His people would realize this, and come to say "You punished / instructed me, and I was instructed" (Jer. 31:18 s.w.). That correction / punishment was to be "in measure", the same phrase is used by Jeremiah as Judah's representative when he asked to be corrected "with justice / judgment" (Jer. 10:18). His personal reformation was to be that of Judah. The paradox is that Judah deserved total destruction, as Jeremiah and other prophets do state at times; and yet the "just" judgment was that which resulted in reformation and not total destruction. That justice involved them not being left "unpunished"; the guilty cannot be "cleared" (s.w. "unpunished"; Ex. 34:7; Nah. 1:3). That is a fundamental part of God's character. The problem was that the Jews of Jeremiah's time considered themselves "innocent" (Jer. 2:35 s.w. "unpunished"). They had to be convicted both of their sin and of God's grace, in punishing / correcting them less than their sins deserved (Ezra 9:13).