Defeat of Pharaoh Foretold
46 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the [Gentile] nations.
2 Concerning Egypt, against the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon [a]defeated [decisively] in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah:(A)
“Line up the [b]buckler (small shield) and [large] shield,
And advance for battle!
“Harness the horses,
And mount, you riders!
Take your stand with your helmets!
Polish the spears,
Put on the coats of mail!
“Why have I seen it?
They are terrified
And have turned back,
And their warriors are beaten down.
They take flight in haste
Without looking back;
Terror is on every side!”
Says the Lord.(B)
Do not let the swift man run,
Nor the mighty man escape;
In the north by the river Euphrates
They have stumbled and fallen.
Who is this that rises up like the Nile [River],
Like the rivers [in the delta of Egypt] whose waters surge about?
Egypt rises like the Nile,
Even like the rivers whose waters surge about.
And [c]He has said, “I will rise, I will cover that land;
I will certainly destroy the city and its inhabitants.”
Charge, you horses,
And drive like madmen, you chariots!
Let the warriors go forward:
Ethiopia and Put (Libya) who handle the shield,
And the Lydians who handle and bend the bow.
For that day belongs to the Lord God of hosts,
A day of vengeance, that He may avenge Himself on His adversaries.
And the sword will devour and be satiated
And drink its fill of their blood;
For the Lord God of hosts has a sacrifice [like that of a great sin offering]
In the north country by the river Euphrates.
Go up to Gilead and obtain [healing] balm,
O Virgin Daughter of Egypt!
In vain you use many medicines;
For you there is no healing or remedy.
The nations have heard of your disgrace and shame,
And your cry [of distress] has filled the earth.
For warrior has stumbled against warrior,
And both of them have fallen together.
13 The word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt:
“Declare in Egypt and proclaim in [d]Migdol,
And proclaim in [e]Memphis and in Tahpanhes;
Say, ‘Take your stand and get yourself ready,
For the sword has devoured those around you.’
“Why have your strong ones been cut down?
They do not stand because the Lord drove them away.
“He will make many stumble and fall;
Yes, they have fallen one on another.
Then they said, ‘Arise, and let us go back
To our own people and to the land of our birth,
Away from the sword of the oppressor.’
“They cried there, ‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is destroyed and is merely a loud noise;
He has let the appointed time [of opportunity] pass by!’
“As I live,” says the King,
Whose name is the Lord of hosts,
“Surely like [f]Tabor among the mountains
Or like Carmel by the sea,
So shall he [the great king of Babylon] come.
“O you daughter who dwells in Egypt and you who dwell with her,
Prepare yourselves [with all you will need] to go into exile,
For Memphis will become desolate;
It will even be burned down and without inhabitant.
“Egypt is a very pretty heifer,
But a horsefly (Babylonia) is coming [against her] out of the north!
“Also her mercenaries in her army
Are like fattened calves,
For they too have turned back and have fled together;
They did not stand [their ground],
Because the day of their disaster has come upon them,
The time of their punishment.
“The sound [of Egypt fleeing from the enemy] is like [the rustling of] an escaping serpent,
For her foes advance with a mighty army
And come against her like woodcutters with axes.
“They have cut down her forest,” says the Lord;
“Certainly it will no longer be found,
Because they (the invaders) are more numerous than locusts
And cannot be counted.
“The Daughter of Egypt has been shamed,
Given over to the power of the people of the north [the Chaldeans of Babylonia].”
25 The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, says, “Behold, I am going to punish Amon [chief god of the sacred city] of Thebes [the capital of Upper Egypt], and Pharaoh, and Egypt along with her gods and her kings—even Pharaoh and those who put their trust in him [as a shield against Babylon]. 26 I will put them into the hand of those who seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of his servants. Afterward Egypt will be [g]inhabited as in the days of old,” says the Lord.
“But as for you, do not fear, O My servant Jacob,
Nor be dismayed, O Israel!
For behold, I will save you from [your captivity in] a distant land,
And your descendants from the land of their exile;
And Jacob will return and be quiet and secure,
And no one will make him afraid.
“Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the Lord,
“For I am with you.
For I will make a full and complete end of all the nations
To which I have driven you;
Yet I will not make a full end of you.
But I will discipline and correct you appropriately
And by no means will I declare you guiltless or leave you unpunished.”
Prophecy against Philistia
47 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines before Pharaoh attacked and conquered [the Philistine city of] Gaza.(C) 2 Thus says the Lord:
“Behold, waters are going to rise out of the north (Babylonia)
And become an overflowing stream
And overflow the land and all that is in it,
The city and those who live in it.
Then the people will cry out,
And all the inhabitants of the land [of Philistia] will wail.
“Because of the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of the war-horses [of the Babylonian king],
The rattling of his chariots, and the rumbling of his wheels,
The fathers have not looked and turned back for their children,
So weak are their hands [with terror]
Because of the day that is coming
To destroy all the Philistines
And to cut off from Tyre and Sidon
Every ally who remains.
For the Lord is going to destroy the Philistines,
The remnant [still surviving] of the coastland of [h]Caphtor.(D)
“Baldness [as a sign of mourning] will come on Gaza;
Ashkelon will be cut off and ruined.
O remnant of their valley,
How long will you gash yourselves [as a sign of mourning]?
“O you sword of the Lord,
How long will it be before you are quiet?
Put yourself into your sheath;
Rest and be still.
“How can His sword be quiet
When the Lord has given it an order?
Against Ashkelon and against the [whole Philistine] seashore
There He has assigned it.”
Prophecy against Moab
48 Concerning [i]Moab.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,
“Woe (judgment is coming) to [the city of] [j]Nebo, for it has been destroyed!
Kiriathaim has been shamed, it has been captured;
Misgab [the high fortress] has been shamed, broken down and crushed.(E)
“The glory of Moab is no more;
In [k]Heshbon they planned evil against her,
Saying, ‘Come, let us cut her off from being a nation!’
You also, O [city of] Madmen, shall be silenced;
The sword will pursue you.
“The sound of an outcry from Horonaim,
‘Desolation and great destruction!’
“Moab is destroyed;
Her little ones have called out a cry of distress [to be heard as far as Zoar].
“For the Ascent of Luhith
Will be climbed by [successive groups of] fugitives with continual weeping;
For on the descent of Horonaim
They have heard the distress of the cry of destruction.
“Run! Save your lives,
That you may be like a juniper in the wilderness.
“For because you have trusted in your works [your hand-made idols] and in your treasures [instead of in God],
Even you yourself will be captured;
And [l]Chemosh [your disgusting god cannot rescue you, but] will go away into exile [along with the fugitives]
Together with his priests and his princes.
“And the destroyer will come upon every city;
No city will escape.
The [Jordan] valley also will be ruined
And the plain will be devastated,
As the Lord has said.
“Give a gravestone to Moab,
For she will fall into ruins;
Her cities (pastures, farms) will be desolate,
Without anyone to live in them.
“Cursed is the one who does the work of the Lord negligently,
And cursed is the one who restrains his sword from blood [in executing the judgment of the Lord].
“Moab has been at ease from his youth;
He has also been undisturbed, and settled like wine on his dregs,
And he has not been emptied from one vessel to another,
Nor has he gone into exile.
Therefore his flavor remains in him,
And his scent has not changed.
12 Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will send to Moab those who will tip him over and who will empty his vessels and break his [earthenware] jars in pieces. 13 And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh [his worthless, disgusting god], as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their [misplaced] confidence.(F)
“How can you say, ‘We are great warriors
And valiant men in war?’
“Moab has been made desolate and his cities have gone up [in smoke and flame];
And his chosen young men have gone down to the slaughter,”
Says the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.
“The destruction of Moab will come soon,
And his disaster hurries quickly.
“Show sympathy for him, all you [nations] who are around him,
And all you [distant nations] who know his name;
Say, ‘How has the mighty scepter [of national power] been broken,
And the splendid staff [of glory]!’
“Come down from your glory,
O Daughter living in [m]Dibon,
And sit on the parched ground [among the thirsty]!
For the destroyer of Moab has advanced against you;
He has destroyed your strongholds.
“O inhabitant of Aroer,
Stand by the road and keep watch!
Ask [of] him who flees and [ask of] her who escapes,
Saying, ‘What has happened?’
“Moab is shamed, for she has been broken down and shattered.
Wail and cry out!
Tell by [the banks of] the Arnon
That Moab has been destroyed.
21 “Judgment has come on [the land of] the plain—upon Holon, Jahzah, and against Mephaath, 22 against Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim, 23 against Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon, 24 against Kerioth, Bozrah and all the cities of the land of Moab, far and near. 25 The horn (strength) of Moab has been cut off and his arm [of authority] is shattered,” says the Lord. 26 “Make him drunk, for he has become arrogant and magnified himself against the Lord [by denying Reuben’s occupation of the land the Lord had assigned him]. Moab also will wallow in his vomit, and he too shall become a laughingstock.(G) 27 For was not Israel a laughingstock to you? Was he caught among thieves? For whenever you speak of him you shake your head in scorn.
“You inhabitants of Moab,
Leave the cities and live among the rocks,
And be like the dove that makes her nest
In the walls of the yawning ravine.
“We have heard of the [giddy] pride of Moab, the extremely proud one—
His haughtiness, his arrogance, his conceit, and his self-exaltation.
“I know his [insolent] wrath,” says the Lord,
“But it is futile;
His idle boasts [in his deeds] have accomplished nothing.
“Therefore I will wail over Moab,
And I will cry out for all Moab.
I will sigh and mourn over the men of Kir-heres (Kir-hareseth).(H)
“O vines of Sibmah, I will weep for you
More than the weeping of Jazer [over its ruins and wasted vineyards].
Your tendrils [of influence] stretched across the sea,
Reaching [even] to the sea of Jazer.
The destroyer has fallen
On your summer fruits and your [season’s] crop of grapes.
“So joy and gladness are taken away
From the fruitful field and from the land of Moab.
And I have made the wine cease from the wine presses;
No one treads the grapes with shouting.
Their shouting is not joyful shouting [but is instead, a battle cry].
34 From the outcry at Heshbon even to Elealeh, even to Jahaz they have raised their voice, from Zoar even to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah; for even the waters of Nimrim will become desolations. 35 Moreover, I will cause to cease in Moab,” says the Lord, “the one who ascends and offers sacrifice in the high place and the one who burns incense to his gods.
36 “Therefore My heart moans and sighs for Moab like flutes, and My heart moans and sighs like flutes for the men of Kir-heres (Kir-hareseth); therefore [the remnant of] the abundant riches they gained has perished. 37 For every head is [shaven] bald and every beard cut off; there are cuts (slashes) on all the hands and sackcloth on the [n]loins [all expressions of mourning].(I) 38 On all the housetops of Moab and in its streets there is lamentation (expressions of grief for the dead) everywhere, for I have broken Moab like a vessel in which there is no pleasure,” says the Lord. 39 “How it is broken down! How they have wailed! How Moab has turned his back in shame! So Moab will become a laughingstock and a [horrifying] terror to all who are around him.”
40 For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, one (Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon) will fly swiftly like an eagle
And spread out his wings against Moab.(J)
“Kerioth [and the cities] has been taken
And the strongholds seized;
And the hearts of the warriors of Moab in that day
Shall be like the heart of a woman in childbirth.
“Moab will be [o]destroyed from being a nation (people)
Because he has become arrogant and magnified himself against the Lord.
“Terror and pit and snare are before you,
O inhabitant of Moab,” says the Lord.(K)
“The one who flees from the terror
Will fall into the pit,
And the one who gets up out of the pit
Will be taken and caught in the trap;
For I shall bring upon it, even upon Moab,
The year of their punishment,” says the Lord.
“In the shadow of Heshbon
The fugitives stand powerless [helpless and without strength],
For a fire has gone out from Heshbon,
A flame from the midst of Sihon;
It has destroyed the forehead of Moab
And the crowns of the heads of [the arrogant Moabites] the ones in tumult.
“Woe (judgment is coming) to you, O Moab!
The people of [the pagan god called] Chemosh have perished;
For your sons have been taken away captive
And your daughters into captivity.
“Yet I will return the captives and restore the fortunes of Moab
In the latter days,” says the Lord.
Thus far is the judgment on Moab.
- Jeremiah 46:2 This stunning defeat by the Babylonian army cost Egypt all of its lands west of the Euphrates.
- Jeremiah 46:3 In ancient warfare these shields usually were round, worn on the forearm and used mainly as weapons with which to strike an enemy. Large, oblong shields were used to protect the entire body.
- Jeremiah 46:8 This may be viewed as an ironic declaration by God: the Nile rises and floods Egypt providing irrigation, and God says He will do the same thing, but in a sense destroying Egypt (see v 10).
- Jeremiah 46:14 Perhaps an island in the Nile, location uncertain.
- Jeremiah 46:14 See note 2:16.
- Jeremiah 46:18 Tabor and Carmel are landmark mountains in Israel.
- Jeremiah 46:26 God, through His prophets, accurately foretold the future of the prominent nations of Old Testament times, often specifying the fate of particular rulers and major cities as well. The fulfillment of these prophecies is usually indicated in the textual references or the notes. The prophecies are specific; what was said of Babylon, for instance, would not have been applicable to Egypt or Ammon or Sidon. History records their fulfillment. If there was no other evidence that there is a God and that the Bible is inspired by Him, the fulfillment of prophecy in history should be sufficient proof for anyone capable of thinking it through. Nor are the prophecies against some nations recorded by only one writer, but a number of them, widely separated by time and circumstances.
- Jeremiah 47:4 A reference to the island of Crete, believed to be the original homeland of the Philistines.
- Jeremiah 48:1 The Moabites were descendants of Lot through his elder daughter. Chemosh was the primary god of the territory of Moab. The territory of Moab was located east of the Dead Sea.
- Jeremiah 48:1 The towns of Nebo and Kiriathaim were located in the rich pasturelands allotted to the tribe of Reuben. Their exact location, as well as that of the other towns mentioned, is uncertain.
- Jeremiah 48:2 A border town between territories of Reuben and Gad, east of the Jordan River.
- Jeremiah 48:7 Chemosh was the national god revered by the Moabites. Burning children as a sacrifice was part of the ritualistic worship. Solomon, in response to requests from his Moabite wives, established an altar to Chemosh on a hill east of Jerusalem (1 Kin 11:7). This repulsive idol remained in place for nearly three hundred years.
- Jeremiah 48:18 Dibon, known today as Dhiban, stands on two hills. The famous Moabite Stone, a stela of black basalt, was found among the ruins of Dibon in 1868, and had been inscribed in 850 b.c. to commemorate certain accomplishments of King Mesha of Moab, including a victory in his revolt against Israel. Also recorded on the Moabite Stone was the fact that King Mesha built (or restored) the city of Aroer and made the road over the Arnon. The city of Aroer mentioned in this chapter (v 19) stood on the north side of the river Arnon (v 20), just south of Dibon. The inscriptions on the stone are written in a Phoenician dialect similar to an early form of the Hebrew language.
- Jeremiah 48:37 The midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips.
- Jeremiah 48:42 Nebuchadnezzar (605-562 b.c.) subjugated the Moabites, but they continued to exist as a people into the first century a.d. (though the national existence of both Moab and Ammon seems to have ended long before the time of Christ). This in itself is a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy; but the fact that Moab’s fortunes are to be restored “in the latter days” (v 47) and have proceeded toward that end is even more amazing. Yet Moab is only one of the numerous nations whose fate was accurately written down in advance by the ancient prophets of God.