have cracked your skulls, people of Israel. 2
46:14 “Make an announcement throughout Egypt.
Proclaim it in Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes. 3
‘Take your positions and prepare to do battle.
For the enemy army is destroying all the nations around you.’ 4
46:19 Pack your bags for exile,
you inhabitants of poor dear Egypt. 5
For Memphis will be laid waste.
It will lie in ruins 6 and be uninhabited.
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 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.
4 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.
5 tn Heb “inhabitants of daughter Egypt.” Like the phrase “daughter Zion,” “daughter Egypt” is a poetic personification of the land, here perhaps to stress the idea of defenselessness.
6 tn For the verb here see HALOT 675 s.v. II נָצָה Nif and compare the usage in Jer 4:7; 9:11 and 2 Kgs 19:25. BDB derives the verb from יָצַת (so BDB 428 s.v. יָצַת Niph meaning “kindle, burn”) but still give it the meaning “desolate” here and in 2:15 and 9:11.