And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, even all these words,
Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:
Verse 2. - All the proud men. It would seem as if the "proud men" were distinguished from others. Jeremiah had called the whole people together (Jeremiah 42:8); but a few domineering men assumed to represent the rest.
But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon.
Verse 3. - Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on. A singular supposition - Jeremiah leaving the initiative to his secretary! It may be conjectured that Baruch had somehow made himself specially unpopular; he may have been a more practical man (comp. Jeremiah 45:5) than Jeremiah.
So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the LORD, to dwell in the land of Judah.
But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, whither they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah;
Verse 5. - All the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations. The specification is peculiar, as it seems to leave out of sight the most important part of the gathering at Mizpah, via. the "men, and women, and children, and those of the poor of the land" (Jeremiah 40:7) - the very persons who are mentioned just afterwards. Possibly there is some confusion in the text. "All nations" doubtless means especially Moab, Ammon, and Edom.
Even men, and women, and children, and the king's daughters, and every person that 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.
So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to Tahpanhes.
Verse 7. - Tahpanhea. An Egyptian frontier city (see Ezekiel 30:18 and note on Jeremiah 2:16), where the fugitives had to wait till the views of the Egyptian government respecting them were made known. The supposed site of the Pelusiac Daphnae has not yet been explored; a single inscribed fragment would reveal the Egyptian name, and probably ratify the identity of Daphnae with the Tahpanhes of the prophets (R.S. Poole, 'The Cities of Egypt,' p. 177).
Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying,
Take great stones in thine hand, and hide them in the clay in the brickkiln, which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house in Tahpanhes, in the sight of the men of Judah;
Verse 9. - Take great stones, etc. A strange symbolic act of Jeremiah's is here described. "We must not suppose, arguing from our Western and precise notions, that he would be at all necessarily interfered with. In fact, he would have a twofold security, as a prophet of God to those who acknowledged him as such, and in the opinion of others as insane, and, according to Eastern ideas, thus especially under Divine promptings in his acts" (Streane). He is directed to take great stones and embed them in the mortar (not "clay") in the brick pavement at the entry of the palace. When the events predicted came to pass, these stones would testify that Jeremiah had predicted them. The word rendered "brick pavement" is of doubtful meaning. In Nahum 3:14 it signifies "brick kiln."
And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them.
Verse 10. - And will set his throne, etc.; viz. for the victorious king to hold judgment (comp. Jeremiah 1:15, 16; Jeremiah 49:38). He shall spread his royal pavilion; rather, his tapestry (the root means "brilliance"); i.e. the bright coloured covering of the throne.
And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity to captivity; and such as are for the sword to the sword.
Verse 11. - He shall smite the land of Egypt. On the invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar, wrongly controverted by some, see note on Jeremiah 46:13. Such as are for death. Such as are destined for death (i.e. pestilence, as Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 18:21). The words, "and deliver," prefixed in the Authorized Version, are unnecessary; "land" is equivalent to "population."
And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace.
Verse 12. - Burn them; viz. the temples. Egypt was full of gorgeous and imposing temples, which could not, however, always be burned, nor were the conquerors of Egypt anxious to display hostility to Egyptian religion. Carry them away captives; viz. the idol gods (comp. Jeremiah 48:7, "Chemosh shall no forth into captivity:" and Isaiah 46:2, "Their soul [or, 'personality'] hath gone into captivity"). The prophet speaks from the point of view of a believer in the idol gods. He shall array himself with the land of Egypt, etc. (For "array himself with" and "putteth on,"read wrap himself in and wrappeth himself in.) Ewald well explains this figure. "As easily as the shepherd in the open field wraps himself in the cool night in his mantle, will he be able to grasp Egypt with his hand and fling it round him like an easily managed garment, in order then to leave the land as an absolute conqueror, clothed in this attire of booty, in peace, without an enemy."
He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.
Verse 13. - The images of Beth-shemesh; rather, the pillars of Beth-shemesh; i.e. the obelisks of the temple of Ra, the sun god, from Which Heliopolis derived its sacred name "Pe-Ra" "the abode of Ra." It was the custom to place obelisks in pairs at the entrance of their temples. Only one of those of Heliopolis is still standing, though that, indeed, is the oldest in Egypt, for it was "set up at least four thousand years ago" (R. S. Poole, 'The Cities of Egypt,' p. 131). That is in the land of Egypt. To distinguish it from the Beth-shemesh in Palestine. But we may also render "which are," etc.; comp. "the gods of Egypt" in the second verse half. The Septuagint reads, "which are in On."