Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Migdol--meaning a "tower." A city east of Egypt, towards the Red
Noph--Memphis, now Cairo
2. evil . . . upon Jerusalem--If I spared not My own sacred city, much
less shall ye be safe in Egypt, which I loathe.
3. they went--implying perverse assiduity: they
went out of their way to burn incense (one species of idolatry put
for all kinds), &c.
7. now--after so many warnings.
commit . . . this . . . evil against your souls--
It is not God whom you injure, but yourselves.
8. in . . . Egypt--where they polluted themselves to ingratiate
themselves with the Egyptians.
ye be gone--not compelled by fear, but of your own accord, when I
forbade you, and when it was free to you to stay in Judea.
that ye might cut yourselves off--They, as it were, purposely courted their own ruin.
9. Have you forgotten how the wickednesses of your fathers were
the source of the greatest calamities to you?
their wives--The Jews' worldly queens were great promoters of
(1Ki 11:1-8; 15:13; 16:31).
the land of Judah--They defiled the land which was holy unto God.
10. They . . . you--The third person puts them to a distance from
God on account of their alienating themselves from Him. The second
person implies that God formerly had directly addressed them.
neither . . . feared--
11. Behold, I will set my face against you for evil--(See on
and to cut off all Judah--that is, all the idolaters;
shows that some returned to Judea (compare
14. none . . . shall escape . . . that they should return, &c.--The
Jews had gone to Egypt with the idea that a return to Judea, which
they thought hopeless to their brethren in Babylon, would be an easy
matter to themselves in Egypt: the exact reverse should happen in the
case of each respectively. The Jews whom God sent to Babylon were there
weaned from idolatry, and were restored; those who went to Egypt by
their perverse will were hardened in idolatry, and perished there.
have a desire--literally, "lift up (their) soul," that is,
their hopes (compare
none shall return but such as shall escape--namely, the "small number"
who were brought by force into Egypt, as Jeremiah and Baruch, and those
who, in accordance with Jeremiah's advice, should flee from Egypt
before the arrival of the Chaldeans (see on
CALVIN less probably refers the words to the
return of the exiles in Babylon, which the Jews in Egypt regarded as
15. their wives--The idolatry began with them
Their husbands' connivance implicated them in the guilt.
16. we will not--
17. whatsoever . . . goeth . . . out of our . . . mouth--whatever
vow we have uttered to our gods
The source of all superstitions is that men oppose their own will and
fancies to God's commands.
queen of heaven--(See on
Ashtaroth or Astarte.
we . . . fathers . . . king, &c.--The evil was restricted to no one
class: all from the highest to the lowest shared the guilt.
then had we plenty--Fools attribute their seeming prosperity to God's
connivance at their sin: but see
In fact, God had often chastised them for their idolatry (see
but it is the curse of impiety not to perceive the hand of God in
victuals--Men cast away the bread of the soul for the bread that
18. They impute their calamities to their service of God, but these
are often marks of His favor, not of wrath, to do His people good at
their latter end
19. make . . . cakes to worship
her--MAURER translates, "to form her
image." Crescent-shaped cakes were offered to the moon. Vulgate supports English Version.
without our men--The women mentioned
"a great multitude" here speak: we have not engaged in secret night
orgies which might justly be regarded unfavorably by our
husbands: our sacred rites have been open, and with their privity.
They wish to show how unreasonable it is that Jeremiah should oppose
himself alone to the act of all, not merely women, but men also.
The guilty, like these women, desire to shield themselves under the
complicity of others. Instead of helping one another towards heaven,
husband and wife often ripen one another for hell.
21. The incense . . . did not the Lord
remember--Jeremiah owns that they did as they said, but in retort
asks, did not God repay their own evil-doing? Their very land in its
present desolation attests this
as was foretold
(Jer 25:11, 18, 38).
23. law--the moral precepts.
(Da 9:11, 12).
25. Ye . . . have both spoken with . . . mouths, and fulfilled with
. . . hand--ironical praise. They had pleaded their obligation to
fulfil their vows, in excuse for their idolatry. He answers, no one can
accuse you of unsteadiness as to your idolatrous vows; but steadfastness
towards God ought to have prevented you from making, or, when made, from
keeping such vows.
ye will surely accomplish . . . vows--Jeremiah hereby gives them up
to their own fatal obstinacy.
26. I have sworn--I, too have made a vow which I will fulfil.
Since ye will not hear Me speaking and warning, hear Me swearing.
by my great name--that is, by Myself
the greatest by whom God can swear
(Heb 6:13, 14).
my name shall no more be named--The Jews, heretofore, amidst all
their idolatry, had retained the form of appeal to the name of God and
the law, the distinctive glory of their nation; God will allow this no
there shall be none left there to profane His name thus any more.
27. watch over . . . for evil--
The God, whose providence is ever solicitously watching over His people
for good, shall solicitously, as it were, watch for their hurt.
Jer 31:28; 32:41.
28. small number--(see on
A band easily counted, whereas they were expecting to return
triumphantly in large numbers.
shall know--most of them experimentally, and to their cost.
whose words . . . mine, or theirs--Hebrew, "that from Me and them."
Jehovah's words are His threats of destruction to the Jews; theirs, the
assertion that they expected all goods from their gods
&c. "Mine"; by which I predict ruin to them. "Theirs"; by which they
give themselves free scope in iniquity.
29. this . . . sign unto you--The calamity of
Pharaoh-hophra (see on
shall be a sign to you that as he shall fall before his enemy, so you
shall subsequently fall before Nebuchadnezzar
[GROTIUS]. CALVIN makes the
"sign" to be simultaneous with the event signified, not antecedent to
it, as in
The Jews believed Egypt impregnable, so shut in was it by natural
barriers. The Jews being "punished in this place" will be a sign
that their view is false, and God's threat true. He calls it "a sign
unto you," because God's prediction is equivalent to the event,
so that they may even now take it as a sign. When fulfilled it would
cease to be a sign to them: for they would be dead.
HERODOTUS called Apries. He succeeded Psammis, the
successor of Pharaoh-necho, who was beaten by Nebuchadnezzar at
Carchemish, on the Euphrates. Amasis rebelled against, and overcame him,
in the city Sais.
them that seek his
life--HERODOTUS, in curious accordance with this,
records that Amasis, after treating Hophra well at first, was
instigated, by persons who thought they could not be safe unless he were
put to death, to strangle him. "His enemies" refer to Amasis, &c.; the
words are accurately chosen, so as not to refer to Nebuchadnezzar, who
is not mentioned till the end of the verse, and in connection with
(Eze 20:3; 30:21).
Amasis' civil war with Hophra pioneered the way for Nebuchadnezzar's
invasion in the twenty-third year of his reign [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 10.11].