Jeremiah 46

1 The word of the Lord that came to the prophet Jeremiah concerning the nations.
2 Concerning Egypt, about the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish and which King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah:
3 Prepare buckler and shield, and advance for battle!
4 Harness the horses; mount the steeds! Take your stations with your helmets, whet your lances, put on your coats of mail!
5 Why do I see them terrified? They have fallen back; their warriors are beaten down, and have fled in haste. They do not look back— terror is all around! says the Lord.
6 The swift cannot flee away, nor can the warrior escape; in the north by the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen.
7 Who is this, rising like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge?
8 Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge. It said, Let me rise, let me cover the earth, let me destroy cities and their inhabitants.
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:
14 Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol; proclaim in Memphis and Tahpanhes; Say, "Take your stations and be ready, for the sword shall devour those around you."
15 Why has Apis fled? Why did your bull not stand? —because the Lord thrust him down.
16 Your multitude stumbled and fell, and one said to another, "Come, let us go back to our own people and to the land of our birth, because of the destroying sword."
17 Give Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the name "Braggart who missed his chance."
18 As I live, says the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts, one is coming like Tabor among the mountains, and like Carmel by the sea.
19 Pack your bags for exile, sheltered daughter Egypt! For Memphis shall become a waste, a ruin, without inhabitant.
20 A beautiful heifer is Egypt— a gadfly from the north lights upon her.
21 Even her mercenaries in her midst are like fatted calves; they too have turned and fled together, they did not stand; for the day of their calamity has come upon them, the time of their punishment.
22 She makes a sound like a snake gliding away; for her enemies march in force, and come against her with axes, like those who fell trees.
23 They shall cut down her forest, says the Lord, though it is impenetrable, because they are more numerous than locusts; they are without number.
24 Daughter Egypt shall be put to shame; she shall be handed over to a people from the north.
25 The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, said: See, I am bringing punishment upon Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt and her gods and her kings, upon Pharaoh and those who trust in him.
26 I will hand them over to those who seek their life, to King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and his officers. Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, says the Lord.
27 But as for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Israel; for I am going to save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and no one shall make him afraid.
28 As for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the Lord, for I am with you. I will make an end of all the nations among which I have banished you, but I will not make an end of you! I will chastise you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.

Jeremiah 46 Commentary

Chapter 46

The defeat of the Egyptians. (1-12) Their overthrow after the siege of Tyre. (13-26) A promise of comfort to the Jews. (27,28)

Verses 1-12 The whole word of God is against those who obey not the gospel of Christ; but it is for those, even of the Gentiles, who turn to Him. The prophecy begins with Egypt. Let them strengthen themselves with all the art and interest they have, yet it shall be all in vain. The wounds God inflicts on his enemies, cannot be healed by medicines. Power and prosperity soon pass from one to another in this changing world.

Verses 13-28 Those who encroached on others, shall now be themselves encroached on. Egypt is now like a very fair heifer, not accustomed to the yoke of subjection; but destruction comes out of the north: the Chaldeans shall come. Comfort and peace are spoken to the Israel of God, designed to encourage them when the judgments of God were abroad among the nations. He will be with them, and only correct them in measure; and will not punish them with everlasting destruction from his presence.

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or [Nubia]; Heb [Cush]
  • [b]. Cn: Heb [who grasp, who draw]
  • [c]. Gk: Heb [Why was it swept away]
  • [d]. Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  • [e]. Gk: Heb [and fell one to another and they said]

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains two prophecies relating to Egypt; one concerning the overthrow of Pharaohnecho, king of it, which was quickly accomplished; and the other concerning the destruction of the land, fulfilled many years after, and both by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and the chapter is concluded with a word of comfort to the people of Israel. It begins with a general title to prophecies in this and the five following chapters, Jer 46:1; then follows a particular prophecy of the route of Pharaoh's army; of the place where, and time when, Jer 46:2; the preparations of the Egyptians for the battle, with a variety of warlike instruments, Jer 46:3,4; the consternation, flight, and destruction of them, Jer 46:5,6; notwithstanding their confidence of getting the victory, Jer 46:7-9; the reason of it, because it was the day of the Lord's vengeance on them, and therefore their ruin was inevitable, Jer 46:10,11; the consequence of which was shame and confusion, Jer 46:12; next follows another prophecy of the destruction of the land itself by Nebuchadnezzar, Jer 46:13; the places that should be destroyed, Jer 46:14,19,25; the multitude that should be slain, Jer 46:15-17; a description of the calamity; the instrument, manner, and consequence of it, Jer 46:20-24; the certainty of it, Jer 46:18,25,26; and the whole is closed with a promise of the return of the Jews, and of their salvation; though they should not be without divine corrections, Jer 46:27,28.

Jeremiah 46 Commentaries

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.