have cracked your skulls, people of Israel. 2
43:7 They went on to Egypt 3 because they refused to obey the Lord, and came to Tahpanhes. 4
46:14 “Make an announcement throughout Egypt.
Proclaim it in Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes. 7
‘Take your positions and prepare to do battle.
For the enemy army is destroying all the nations around you.’ 8
1 tn Heb “the sons of…”
2 tc The translation follows the reading of the Syriac version. The Hebrew text reads “have grazed [= “shaved” ?] your skulls [as a sign of disgracing them].” Note that the reference shifts from third person, “him,” to second person, “you,” which is common in Hebrew style. The words “people of Israel” have been supplied in the translation to help identify the referent and ease the switch. The reading presupposes יְרֹעוּךְ (yÿro’ukh) a Qal imperfect from the verb רָעַע (ra’a’; see BDB 949 s.v. II רָעַע Qal.1 and compare usage in Jer 15:2; Ps 2:9). The MT reads יִרְעוּךְ (yir’ukh), a Qal imperfect from the root רָעָה (ra’ah; see BDB 945 s.v. I רָעָה Qal.2.b for usage). The use of the verb in the MT is unparalleled in the sense suggested, but the resultant figure, if “graze” can mean “shave,” is paralleled in Jer 47:5; 48:37; Isa 7:20. The reading of the variant is accepted on the basis that it is the rarer root; the scribe would have been more familiar with the root “graze” even though it is unparalleled in the figurative nuance implied here. The noun “head/skull” is functioning as an accusative of further specification (see GKC 372 §117.ll and compare usage in Gen 3:8), i.e., “they crack you on the skull” or “they shave you on the skull.” The verb is a prefixed form and in this context is either a preterite without vav (ו) consecutive or an iterative imperfect denoting repeated action. Some modern English versions render the verb in the future tense, “they will break [or shave] your skull.”
3 sn This had been their intention all along (41:17). Though they consulted the
4 sn Tahpanhes was an important fortress city on the northern border of Egypt in the northeastern Nile delta. It is generally equated with the Greek city of Daphne. It has already been mentioned in 2:16 in conjunction with Memphis (the Hebrew name is “Noph”) as a source of soldiers who did violence to the Israelites in the past.
5 tn Heb “The word came to Jeremiah concerning.” Though the phrase “from the
6 sn The first three cities, Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, are located in Northern or Lower Egypt. Memphis (Heb “Noph”) was located south of Heliopolis (which was referred to earlier as “the temple of the sun”) and was about fourteen miles (23 km) south of Cairo. For the identification and location of Tahpanhes see the study note on Jer 43:7. The location of Migdol has been debated but is tentatively identified with a border fortress about twenty-five miles (42 km) east-northeast of Tahpanhes. The “region of southern Egypt” is literally “the land of Pathros,” the long Nile valley extending north and south between Cairo and Aswan (biblical Syene). For further information see the discussion in G. L. Keown, P. J. Scalise, T. G. Smothers, Jeremiah 26-52 (WBC), 262-63. Reference here is to Judean exiles who had fled earlier as well as to those from Mizpah who were led into Egypt by Johanan and the other arrogant men (43:3, 5).
7 tn Heb “Declare in Egypt and announce in Migdol and announce in Noph [= Memphis] and in Tahpanhes.” The sentence has been restructured to reflect the fact that the first command is a general one, followed by announcements in specific (representative?) cities.
sn For the location of the cities of Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes see the note on Jer 44:1. These were all cities in Lower or northern Egypt that would have been the first affected by an invasion.
8 tn Heb “For the sword devours those who surround you.” The “sword” is again figurative of destructive forces. Here it is a reference to the forces of Nebuchadnezzar which have already destroyed the Egyptian forces at Carchemish and have made victorious forays into the Philistine plain.