Jeremiah 46:1
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations.

King James Bible
The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;

American Standard Version
The word of Jehovah which came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The word of the Lord that came to Jeremias the prophet against the Gentiles,

English Revised Version
The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations.

Webster's Bible Translation
The word of the LORD which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Gentiles;

Jeremiah 46:1 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

In confirmation of this threatening, the Lord gives them another sign which, when it is fulfilled, will let them know that the destruction announced to them shall certainly befall them. The token consists in the giving up of King Hophra into the hand of his enemies. As certainly as this shall take place, so certainly shall the extermination of the Jews in Egypt ensue. The name חפרע is rendered Οὐάφρις in Manetho, in the classical writers ̓Απρίης, Apris, who, according to Herodotus (ii. 161), reigned twenty-five years, but nineteen according to Manetho (cf. Boeckh, Manetho, etc., p. 341ff.). His death took place in the year 570 b.c. This date is reached by a comparison of the following facts: - Cambyses conquered Egypt in the year 525; and in the preceding year Amasis had died, after a reign of forty-four years (Herod. iii. 10). Hence Amasis - who took Apris prisoner, and gave him up to the common people, who killed him (Herod. ii.-161-163, 169) - must have commenced his reign in the year 570. On the death of Apris, or Hophra, cf. the explanation given on p. 353f., where we have shown that the words, "I will give him into the hand of his enemies, and of those who seek his life," when compared with what is said of Zedekiah, "into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar his enemy," do not require us to assume that Hophra was killed by Nebuchadnezzar, and can very well be harmonized with the notice of Herodotus regarding the death of this king.

Hitzig and Graf have taken objection to this sign given by Jeremiah, and regard Jeremiah 44:29, Jeremiah 44:30 as a spurious vaticinium ex eventu, the work of another hand. The reasons they urge are, that it is scarcely possible Jeremiah could have lived till 570; that Jeremiah 44:29. would be the only place where Jeremiah offered such a criterion; and that, even as it is, these verses contain nothing original, but, by their stiff and lifeless parallelism, are easily seen to be an artificial conclusion. Of these three arguments, the last can prove nothing, since it is merely a subjective opinion on an aesthetic point. The second, again, rather declares for than against the genuineness. For "if it were not Jeremiah's usual, elsewhere, to offer some criterion, then such an interpolation would have been all the more carefully avoided" (Ngelsbach). Of course we do not find any other signs of this kind in Jeremiah; but it does not follow from this that he could not offer such a thing in a special case. Yet the ground taken up by Ngelsbach, as sufficient to establish this position, seems quite untenable, viz., that the announcement of the fate in store for the king must have been the answer of the true God to the presumptuous boast of Apris, mentioned by Herodotus, "that even God could not dethrone him, so firmly did he think he was established:" this view of the matter seems too remote from the object of Jeremiah's address. And finally, the first-named objection receives importance only on the supposition that "an event which was intended to serve as אות, a sign or criterion, must be something that was to happen immediately, or within a brief appointed period of time, so that a person might be able, from the occurrence of the one, to conclude that what had been foretold about a later period would as certainly take place" (Graf). But there are no sufficient grounds for this hypothesis. If no definite time be fixed for the occurrence of this sign, then it may not appear till a considerable time afterwards, and yet be a pledge for the occurrence of what was predicted for a still later period. That Jeremiah 54ed till the year 570 is certainly not inconceivable, but it is not likely that he uttered the prophecy now before us at the advanced age of nearly eighty years. Now, if his address is allowed to be a real prophecy, and not a mere vaticinium ex eventu, as Hitzig, looking from his dogmatic standpoint, considers it, then it must have been uttered before the year 570; but whether this was two, or five, or ten years before, makes no material difference. The address itself contains nothing to justify the assumption of Graf, that it is closely connected with the prophecy in Jeremiah 43:8-13, and with the warning against the migration into Egypt, Jeremiah 42. That the Jews spoken of had not been long in Egypt, cannot be inferred from Jeremiah 44:8, Jeremiah 44:12, and Jeremiah 44:18; on the contrary, the fact that they had settled down in different parts of Egypt, and had assembled at Pathros for a festival, shows that they had been living there for a considerable time before. Nor does it follow, from the statement in Jeremiah 44:14 that they longed to return to Judah, that they had gone to Egypt some months before. The desire to return into the land of their fathers remains, in a measure, in the heart of the Jew even at the present day. After all, then, no valid reason can be assigned for doubting the genuineness of these verses.

On the fulfilment of these threatenings Ngelsbach remarks: "Every one must be struck on finding that, in Jeremiah 44, the extermination of the Jews who dwelt in Egypt is predicted; while some centuries later, the Jews in Egypt were very numerous, and that country formed a central point for the Jewish exiles (cf. Herzog, Real-Encycl. xvii. S. 285). Alexander the Great found so many Jews in Egypt, that he peopled with Jews, in great measure, the city he had founded and called after himself (cf. Herzog, i. S. 235). How did these Jews get to Egypt? Whence the great number of Jews whom Alexander found already in Egypt? I am inclined to think that we must consider them, for the most part, as the descendants of those who had come into the country with Jeremiah. But, according to this view of the matter, Jeremiah's prophecy has not been fulfilled." Ngelsbach therefore thinks we must assume that idolatrous worship, through time, almost entirely ceased among the exiled Jews in Egypt as it did among those in Babylon, and that the Lord then, in return, as regards the penitents, repented of the evil which He had spoken against them (Jeremiah 26:13, Jeremiah 26:19). But this whole explanation is fundamentally wrong, since the assertion, that Alexander the Great found so many Jews in Egypt, that with them mainly he peopled the city of Alexandria which he had founded, is contrary to historic testimony. In Herzog (Real-Encycl. i. S. 235), to which Ngelsbach refers for proof on the point, nothing of the kind is to be found, but rather the opposite, viz., the following: "Soon after the foundation of Alexandria by Alexander the Great, this city became not merely the centre of Jewish Hellenism in Egypt, but generally speaking the place of union between Oriental and Occidental Jews. The external condition of the Jews of Alexandria must, on the whole, be characterized as highly prosperous. The first Jewish settlers had, indeed, been compelled by Alexander the Great to take up their residence in the city (Josephus, Antt. xv. 3. 1); so, too, were other Jews, by Ptolemy I. or Lagi (ibid. xii. 2. 4). But both of these monarchs granted them the same rights and privileges as the Macedonians, including Greek citizenship; and in consequence of the extremely advantageous position of the city, it speedily increased in importance. A still larger number, therefore, soon went thither of their own accord, and adopted the Greek language." In this account, the quotation from Josephus, Antt. xv. 3. 1, is certainly incorrect; for neither is there in that passage any testimony borne to the measures attributed to Alexander, nor are there any other historical testimonies given from antiquity. But as little can we find any proofs that Alexander the Great found so many Jews in Egypt that he could, to a large extent, people with them the city he had founded. It is merely testified by Josephus (Antt. xi. 8. 5), and by Hecataeus in Josephus (contra Ap. i. 22; p. 457, ed. Haverc.), that Alexander had Jewish soldiers in his army; it is further evident, from a notice in Josephus, de bell. Jud. ii. 18. 7, contra Ap. ii. 4) cf. Curtius Rufus, iv. 8), that the newly founded city, even under Alexander, immediately after it was commenced, and still more under Ptolemy Lagi (cf. Josephus, Antt. xii. 1, and Hecataeus in Jos. contra Ap. i. 22, p. 455), attracted a constantly increasing multitude of Jewish immigrants. This same Ptolemy, after having subdued Phoenicia and Coele-Syria in the year 320, and taken Jerusalem also, it would seem, by a stratagem on a Sabbath day, transported many captives and hostages out of the whole country into Egypt; many, too, must have been sold at that time as slaves to the inhabitants of such a wealthy country as Egypt: see a statement in the book of Aristeas, at the end of Havercamp's edition of Josephus, ii. p. 104. In the same place, and in Josephus' Antt. xii. 1, Ptolemy is said to have armed 30,000 Jewish soldiers, placed them as garrisons in the fortresses, and granted them all the rights of Macedonian citizens (ἰσοπολιτεία). Ewald well says, History of the People of Israel, vol. iv. of second edition, p. 254: "When we further take into consideration, that, in addition to all other similar disasters which had previously befallen them, many Jews were removed to Egypt (especially by Ochus, after Egypt had been reconquered), we can easily explain how Ptolemy Philadelphus can be said to have liberated 100,000 Egyptian Jews. Aristeas' Book, p. 105." This much, at least, is proved by these various notices, - that, in order to understand how such a vast increase took place in the number of the Jews in Egypt, we do not need to regard them as the descendants of those who removed thither with Jeremiah, and so to question the fulfilment of the prophecy now before us. Jeremiah does not, of course, threaten with destruction all those Jews who live in Egypt, but only those who at that time went thither against the divine will, and there persevered in their idolatry. We do not know how great may have been the number of these immigrants, but they could hardly exceed two thousand, - perhaps, indeed, there were not so many. All these, as had been foretold them, may have perished in the conquest of Egypt by the Chaldeans, and afterwards, through the sword, famine, and pestilence; for the myriads of Jews in Egypt at the time of Ptolemy Lagi could easily have removed thither during the period of 250 years intermediate between the immigration in Jeremiah's time and the foundation of Alexandria, partly as prisoners and slaves, partly through voluntary settlement.

Jeremiah 46:1 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The word This is a general title to the prophecies contained in this and the following chapters, concerning different nations which had less or more connection with the Jews, either as enemies, neighbours, or allies. They were not delivered at the same time: to some the date is annexed; in others it is left uncertain.


Jeremiah 1:10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down...

Jeremiah 4:7 The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way...

Jeremiah 25:15-29 For thus said the LORD God of Israel to me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you...

Genesis 10:5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.

Numbers 23:9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: see, the people shall dwell alone...

Zechariah 2:8 For thus said the LORD of hosts; After the glory has he sent me to the nations which spoiled you...

Romans 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

Cross References
Jeremiah 1:10
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."

Jeremiah 25:15
Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: "Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.

Jeremiah 43:11
He shall come and strike the land of Egypt, giving over to the pestilence those who are doomed to the pestilence, to captivity those who are doomed to captivity, and to the sword those who are doomed to the sword.

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