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.”
- 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.
New International Version
A Message About Egypt
46 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations:(A)
2 Concerning Egypt:(B)
This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Necho(C) king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish(D) on the Euphrates(E) River by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim(F) son of Josiah king of Judah:
3 “Prepare your shields,(G) both large and small,
and march out for battle!
4 Harness the horses,
mount the steeds!
Take your positions
with helmets on!
Polish(H) your spears,
put on your armor!(I)
5 What do I see?
They are terrified,
they are retreating,
their warriors are defeated.
They flee(J) in haste
without looking back,
and there is terror(K) on every side,”
declares the Lord.
6 “The swift cannot flee(L)
nor the strong escape.
In the north by the River Euphrates(M)
they stumble and fall.(N)
7 “Who is this that rises like the Nile,
like rivers of surging waters?(O)
8 Egypt rises like the Nile,(P)
like rivers of surging waters.
She says, ‘I will rise and cover the earth;
I will destroy cities and their people.’(Q)
9 Charge, you horses!
Drive furiously, you charioteers!(R)
March on, you warriors—men of Cush[a](S) and Put who carry shields,
men of Lydia(T) who draw the bow.
10 But that day(U) belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty—
a day of vengeance(V), for vengeance on his foes.
The sword will devour(W) till it is satisfied,
till it has quenched its thirst with blood.(X)
For the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will offer sacrifice(Y)
in the land of the north by the River Euphrates.(Z)
11 “Go up to Gilead and get balm,(AA)
Virgin(AB) Daughter Egypt.
But you try many medicines in vain;
there is no healing(AC) for you.
12 The nations will hear of your shame;
your cries will fill the earth.
One warrior will stumble over another;
both will fall(AD) down together.”
14 “Announce this in Egypt, and proclaim it in Migdol;
proclaim it also in Memphis(AG) and Tahpanhes:(AH)
‘Take your positions and get ready,
for the sword devours(AI) those around you.’
15 Why will your warriors be laid low?
They cannot stand, for the Lord will push them down.(AJ)
16 They will stumble(AK) repeatedly;
they will fall(AL) over each other.
They will say, ‘Get up, let us go back
to our own people(AM) and our native lands,
away from the sword of the oppressor.’(AN)
17 There they will exclaim,
‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise;(AO)
he has missed his opportunity.(AP)’
18 “As surely as I live,” declares the King,(AQ)
whose name is the Lord Almighty,
“one will come who is like Tabor(AR) among the mountains,
like Carmel(AS) by the sea.
19 Pack your belongings for exile,(AT)
you who live in Egypt,
for Memphis(AU) will be laid waste(AV)
and lie in ruins without inhabitant.
20 “Egypt is a beautiful heifer,
but a gadfly is coming
against her from the north.(AW)
21 The mercenaries(AX) in her ranks
are like fattened calves.(AY)
They too will turn and flee(AZ) together,
they will not stand their ground,
for the day(BA) of disaster is coming upon them,
the time(BB) for them to be punished.
22 Egypt will hiss like a fleeing serpent
as the enemy advances in force;
they will come against her with axes,
like men who cut down trees.(BC)
23 They will chop down her forest,”
declares the Lord,
“dense though it be.
They are more numerous than locusts,(BD)
they cannot be counted.
24 Daughter Egypt will be put to shame,
given into the hands of the people of the north.(BE)”
25 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes,(BF) on Pharaoh,(BG) on Egypt and her gods(BH) and her kings, and on those who rely(BI) on Pharaoh. 26 I will give them into the hands(BJ) of those who want to kill them—Nebuchadnezzar king(BK) of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited(BL) as in times past,” declares the Lord.
27 “Do not be afraid,(BM) Jacob(BN) my servant;(BO)
do not be dismayed, Israel.
I will surely save you out of a distant place,
your descendants from the land of their exile.(BP)
Jacob will again have peace and security,
and no one will make him afraid.
28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant,
for I am with you,”(BQ) declares the Lord.
“Though I completely destroy(BR) all the nations
among which I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only in due measure;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.”
- Jeremiah 46:9 That is, the upper Nile region