Jeremiah 46:11

11 Go up to Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter Egypt! In vain you have used many medicines; there is no healing for you.

Jeremiah 46:11 Meaning and Commentary

Jeremiah 46:11

Go up into Gilead
Still the irony or sarcasm is continued Gilead was a place in the land of Israel famous for balm or balsam, used in curing wounds; see ( Jeremiah 8:22 ) ; hence it follows: and take balm, O virgin, daughter of Egypt;
the kingdom of Egypt, as the Targum; so called because of its glory and excellency; and because as yet it had not been conquered and brought under the power of another: now the inhabitants of it are bid to take balm or balsam, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; but this grew not in Gilead beyond Jordan, but near Jericho on this side Jordan, as Bochart F26 has proved from various authors; particularly Strabo F1 says of Jericho, that there is the paradise of balsam, an aromatic plant, and of great esteem; for there only it is produced: and so Diodorus Siculus F2, speaking of places near Jericho, says, about these places, in a certain valley, grows what is called balsam, from which much profit arises; nor is the plant to be found in any other part of the world: and Justin F3 observes the same; that much riches accrue to the nation from the tax on balsam, which is only produced in this country, in Jericho, and the valley near it; yea, Kimchi himself elsewhere F4 says, that the balsam is not any where in the whole world but in Jericho. The word therefore should be rendered rosin, as also in ( Jeremiah 8:22 ) ; as it is by some F5; and which is used in cleansing, healing, and contracting wounds, and dispersing humours, as Pliny F6 relates; and this here is ordered to be taken, either literally, to cure the vast number of their wounded by the Chaldeans; or rather, figuratively, they are called upon to make use of all means to recover their loss sustained; by recruiting their army, fortifying their cities, and getting fresh allies and auxiliaries; all which would yet be to no purpose: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; [for] thou shall not be cured;
notwithstanding all means made use of to repair its losses; though it should not utterly be destroyed yet should never recover its former glory.


FOOTNOTES:

F26 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 51. col. 628, 629.
F1 Geograph. l. 16. p. 525.
F2 Bibliothec. l. 19. p. 734.
F3 E Trogo, l. 36. c. 3.
F4 Comment in 2 Kings xx. 13. So R. Levi Ben Gersom in ib.
F5 (yru yxq) "tolle resinam", Montanus, Munster, Calvin, Grotius.
F6 Nat. Hist. l. 24. c. 6.

Jeremiah 46:11 In-Context

9 Advance, O horses, and dash madly, O chariots! Let the warriors go forth: Ethiopia and Put who carry the shield, the Ludim, who draw the bow.
10 That day is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of retribution, to gain vindication from his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated, and drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord God of hosts holds a sacrifice in the land of the north by the river Euphrates.
11 Go up to Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter Egypt! In vain you have used many medicines; there is no healing for you.
12 The nations have heard of your shame, and the earth is full of your cry; for warrior has stumbled against warrior; both have fallen together.
13 The word that the Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah about the coming of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon to attack the land of Egypt: