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Jeremiah 46:1-2

Context
Prophecies Against Foreign Nations 1 

46:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah about the nations. 2 

The Prophecy about Egypt’s Defeat at Carchemish

46:2 He spoke about Egypt and the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt which was encamped along the Euphrates River at Carchemish. Now this was the army that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated in the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling 3  over Judah. 4 

Jeremiah 46:6

Context

46:6 But even the swiftest cannot get away.

Even the strongest cannot escape. 5 

There in the north by the Euphrates River

they stumble and fall in defeat. 6 

Jeremiah 46:10

Context

46:10 But that day belongs to the Lord God who rules over all. 7 

It is the day when he will pay back his enemies. 8 

His sword will devour them until its appetite is satisfied!

It will drink their blood until it is full! 9 

For the Lord God who rules over all 10  will offer them up as a sacrifice

in the land of the north by the Euphrates River.

1 sn Jeremiah was called to be a prophet not only to Judah and Jerusalem but to the nations (1:5, 10). The prophecies or oracles that are collected here in Jer 46-51 are found after 25:13a in the Greek version where they are also found in a different order and with several textual differences. The issue of which represents the original placement is part of the broader issue of the editorial or redactional history of the book of Jeremiah which went through several editions, two of which are referred to in Jer 36, i.e., the two scrolls written in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (605 b.c.), a third which included all the preceding plus the material down to the time of the fall of Jerusalem (cf. the introduction in 1:1-3) and a fourth that included all the preceding plus the materials in Jer 40-44. The oracles against the foreign nations collected here are consistent with the note of judgment sounded against all nations (including some not mentioned in Jer 46-51) in Jer 25. See the translator’s note on 25:13 for further details regarding the possible relationship of the oracles to the foreign nations to the judgment speeches in Jer 25.

2 tn Heb “That which came [as] the word of the Lord to Jeremiah about the nations.” See the translator’s note on 14:1 for the construction here.

3 sn The fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign proved very significant in the prophecies of Jeremiah. It was in that same year that he issued the prophecies against the foreign nations recorded in Jer 25 (and probably the prophecies recorded here in Jer 46-51) and that he had Baruch record and read to the people gathered in the temple all the prophecies he had uttered against Judah and Jerusalem up to that point in the hopes that they would repent and the nation would be spared. The fourth year of Jehoiakim (605 b.c.) marked a significant shift in the balance of power in Palestine. With the defeat of Necho at Carchemish in that year the area came under the control of Nebuchadnezzar and Judah and the surrounding nations had two options, submit to Babylon and pay tribute or suffer the consequences of death in war or exile in Babylon for failure to submit.

4 tn Heb “Concerning Egypt: Concerning the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt which was beside the Euphrates River at Carchemish which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah.” The sentence has been broken up, restructured, and introductory words supplied in the translation to make the sentences better conform with contemporary English style. The dating formula is placed in brackets because the passage is prophetic about the battle, but the bracketed words were superscription or introduction and thus were added after the outcome was known.

5 tn The translation assumes that the adjectives with the article are functioning as superlatives in this context (cf. GKC 431 §133.g). It also assumes that אַל (’al) with the jussive is expressing here an emphatic negative rather than a negative wish (cf. GKC 317 §107.p and compare the usage in Ps 50:3).

6 tn Heb “they stumble and fall.” However, the verbs here are used of a fatal fall, of a violent death in battle (see BDB 657 s.v. נָפַל Qal.2.a), and a literal translation might not be understood by some readers.

7 tn Heb “the Lord Yahweh of armies.” See the study note at 2:19 for the translation and significance of this title for God.

8 sn Most commentators think that this is a reference to the Lord exacting vengeance on Pharaoh Necho for killing Josiah, carrying Jehoahaz off into captivity, and exacting heavy tribute on Judah in 609 b.c. (2 Kgs 23:29, 33-35).

9 tn Or more paraphrastically, “he will kill them/ until he has exacted full vengeance”; Heb “The sword will eat and be sated; it will drink its fill of their blood.”

sn This passage is, of course, highly figurative. The Lord does not have a literal “sword,” but he uses agents of destruction like the Assyrian armies (called his “rod” in Isa 10:5-6) and the Babylonian armies (called his war club in Jer 51:20) to wreak vengeance on his foes. Likewise, swords do not “eat” or “drink.” What is meant here is that God will use this battle against the Egyptians to kill off many Egyptians until his vengeance is fully satisfied.

10 tn Heb “the Lord Yahweh of armies.” See the study note at 2:19 for the translation and significance of this title for God.



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