The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleJeremiah 43:13
He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh, that [is] in
the land of Egypt…
Or, "of Heliopolis", as the Septuagint; the
"city of the sun"; and so "Bethshemesh" here signifies the "house of
the sun"; either it designs the temple of the sun, or the city where it
was worshipped; as Heliopolis was famous for the worship of the sun,
and for a magnificent temple in it, built for that purpose, and where
abundance of persons resorted on that account, as Herodotus F12
observes; here were many images of the sun; and these now should be
broke to pieces, when this city should become the city of destruction,
as is foretold it should by Isaiah, (Isaiah 19:18) ; where the Targum
expressly calls it the city Bethshemesh, that is to be destroyed;
(See Gill on 19:18). This is the same city that was formerly
called On, and had a priest in Joseph's time, (Genesis 41:45) ;
and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire;
which is repeated, that it might be taken notice of, and for the
confirmation of it; though the words may be rendered, so as to remove
the tautology, "and with the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall
he burn [it] with fire" F13; that is, Bethshemesh, or "the house of the
sun", that shall not escape, being a principal temple. The gods they
worshipped were Mnevis and Apis, which were oxen consecrated to the sun
and moon F14. So says Porphyry F15, speaking of the Egyptians,
``they consecrate oxen to the sun and moon: that which is
sacred to the sun at Heliopolis is called Mnevis, and is the
greatest of them: it is very black, because much sun makes
human bodies black; and the hairs of its tail, and of its
whole body, contrary to other oxen, turn upwards, as the sun
makes its course contrary to the pole; its testicles are the
largest, because by the heat of the sun venereal desires are
excited; hence the sun is said to make nature fruitful. To
the moon they dedicate Taurus (or the bull), which they call
Apis, and is blacker than others, bearing the signs of the
sun and moon, because the light of the moon is from the sun;
and the sign of the sun is the blackness of its body, and
also the beetle that is under its tongue;''
and these were the images and gods of Bethshemesh or Heliopolis, that
were to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Of his expedition into Egypt,
whereby this prophecy was fulfilled, not only Josephus makes mention,
but some Heathen writers gave plain hints of it. The Jewish historian
says F16, that Nebuchadnezzar, five years after the destruction of
Jerusalem, led his army into Coelesyria, and took it; and made war with
the Ammonites and Moabites; and, having subdued these nations, made a
push into Egypt, in order to destroy that, and slew the king of it: and
Berosus says F17, that
``Nebuchadnezzar having settled his affairs in Egypt, and other
countries; and having committed to his friends the captives
of the Jews, Phoenicians, Syrians, and the nations about
Egypt, went to Babylon:''
and Megasthenes F18 relates, that
``he conquered the greatest part of Lybia (or Africa) and
or, as it is elsewhere F19 expressed,
``he led his army into Lybia and Iberia; and, having subdued
these, carried colonies of them to the right of Pontus.''
F12 Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 59.
F13 So Schmidt.
F14 Vid. Aelian. de Animal. l. 11. c. 11.
F15 Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 3. c. 13. p. 117.
F16 Joseph. Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7.
F17 Apud Josph. Antiqu. ib. c. 11. sect 1. & contra Apion. l. 1. sect.
19. & Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 40. p. 455.
F18 Apud Joseph. Antiqu. ib. & contra Apion. l. 1. sect. 20.
F19 Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 41. p. 456.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 43:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=jer&chapter=043&verse=013>. 1999.