Defeat of Pharaoh Foretold
The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the [Gentile] nations.
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:
“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.
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.
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].”
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]. 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.”
- 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.
Prophecy against Philistia
The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines before Pharaoh attacked and conquered [the Philistine city of] Gaza. 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 [a]Caphtor.
“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.”
- Jeremiah 47:4 A reference to the island of Crete, believed to be the original homeland of the Philistines.