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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Jeremiah 46:5

 

 

"Why have I seen it? They are terrified, They are drawing back, And their mighty men are defeated And have taken refuge in flight, Without facing back; Terror is on every side!" Declares the LORD.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Wherefore have I seen them dismayed - What! such a numerous, formidable, and well-appointed army panic-struck? So that they have turned back - fled apace, and looked not round; while their mighty ones - their generals and commanders, striving to rally them, are beaten down.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/jeremiah-46.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Literally, “Why have I seen? They are terror-stricken! they are giving way back!” The Egyptian host feels that the battle is lost, and overborne by the enemy loses heart, and in despair, yet not without a struggle, gives way. It is remarkable, that while Jeremiah in his warning addressed to Jerusalem uses the most simple and unadorned prose, his language concerning the Gentile nations is, on the contrary, full of brilliant poetry.

Look not back - turn not back. They make no halt, and no attempt to rally.

Fear was round about - The prophets watch-word, Magor-missabib (see Jeremiah 6:25).


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/jeremiah-46.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

THE ROUTE OF THE EGYPTIAN ARMY

"Wherefore have I seen it? they are dismayed and turned backward; and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: terror is on every side, saith Jehovah. Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; in the north by the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen. Who is this that riseth up like the Nile, whose waters toss themselves like the rivers: and he saith, I will rise up, I will cover the earth; I will destroy cities and the inhabitants thereof. Go up, ye horses; and rage ye chariots; and let the mighty men go forth: Cush and Put, that handle the shield; and the Ludim, that handle and bend the bow. For that day is a day of the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge himself of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour and be satiate, and shall drink its fill of their blood; for the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates. Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt: in vain dost thou use many medicines; there is no healing for thee. The nations have heard of thy shame, and the earth is full of thy cry; for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, they are fallen both of them together."

"Wherefore have I seen it? ..." (Jeremiah 46:5). These words are the dramatic introduction to a startling change in the scene, from that of the arrogant, advancing army of Egypt, to that of a hopelessly beaten and routed army.[10]

"Terror is on every side, saith Jehovah ..." (Jeremiah 46:5). Here is the key that demands our understanding of this passage, not as a record of something that has already occurred, but as a divine promise of what is going to happen. Therefore, this prophecy must be dated before the battle of Carchemish.

What brought about the defeat of such a large and impressive force? "It was panic, supernaturally induced, that did it."[11] In this long paragraph, note the words "terror" (Jeremiah 46:5), "they have fled ... look not back" (Jeremiah 46:5), "the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty" (Jeremiah 46:12), etc.

These verses (Jeremiah 46:3-12) do not contain a triumphal song over a defeat that has already taken place, but a prophecy of a defeat about to take place.[12]

"Cush ... Put... Ludim, etc. ..." (Jeremiah 46:9). These places were the sources of the mercenary troops upon which the Pharaohs relied to build and replenish their armies. The Ethiopians, or Nubian Negroes, made up a large part of these. Such foreign mercenaries were never very reliable; and a later Pharaoh-Hophra lost his kingship because of a mutiny against him.

"A day of the Lord ..." (Jeremiah 46:10). It is not "the day of the Lord," for there are no eschatological echoes in the place.

"A day of Jehovah of hosts, a day of vengeance ..." (Jeremiah 46:10). The Egyptians had quite recently slain the good King Josiah, and their defeat was a vengeance against that disaster for Israel. The possible reference here to Egypt's slaying of Josiah (in 609 B.C.), if this alleged reference is correct, would indicate that the exact date of this prophecy would fall between 609 B.C. and 605 B.C., but well before the fall of Carchemish to Babylon.

"The Lord hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates." Contrary to all that the proud Egyptian army anticipated, they were destined to be sacrificial victims in that day at Carchemish when the Lord would provide himself a sacrifice of their entire army!


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/jeremiah-46.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back?.... The Egyptians, after all this preparation for war, and seeming ardent to engage in battle; and yet, when they came to it, were seized with a panic, and thrown into the utmost consternation, and turned their backs upon their enemy: these are either the words of the prophet, who had a view by a spirit of prophecy, of the consternation, confusion, and flight of the Egyptian army; or of the Lord, who foresaw all this, and represents it as if it was done because of the certainty of it; upbraiding the Egyptians with their pusillanimity and cowardice:

and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back; or, "their mighty ones are broken"F19וגבוריהם יכתו "et fortes corum contusi sunt, vel coutunduntur", Schmidt, Cocceius, Piscator; "contriti sunt", Vatablus. ; their valiant soldiers and officers, their best troops were broken to pieces, their ranks and files, and thrown into the utmost disorder; and therefore made all the haste they could to escape the fury of the enemy, and fled with the utmost precipitation, and never stopped to look back upon their pursuers; so great their fear:

for fear was round about, saith the Lord; from whence it came; it was he that put it into them, took away their courage, and made them a "magormissabib", or "fear round about", the word here used; see Jeremiah 20:3. The Targum is,

"they looked not back to resist them that slay with the sword, who are gathered against them round about, saith the Lord;'

their enemies surrounded them, and that was the reason fear was round about them, and both were from the Lord; or as he had said, determined, and foretold it should be.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/jeremiah-46.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

d Why have I seen them dismayed [and] turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and have fled apace, and look not back: [for] fear [was] on all sides, saith the LORD.

(d) The prophet had this vision of the Egyptians who would be put to flight by the Babylonians at Carchemish.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/jeremiah-46.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(See on Jeremiah 46:3). The language of astonishment, that an army so well equipped should be driven back in “dismay.” The prophet sees this in prophetic vision.

fled apace — literally, “fled a flight,” that is, flee precipitately.

look not back — They do not even dare to look back at their pursuers.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/jeremiah-46.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

For it immediately follows, Why, or how, have I seen them broken? Here the Prophet, on the other hand, disregards all the things which he before enumerated in such high terms, for he spoke, as it were, according to the common judgment of men. And, as I have said, he undertook the person of a herald, as though Pharaoh himself had commanded the Egyptians immediately to take up arms. This then was apparently very formidable. But the Prophet now speaks as though standing on an eminence, and says, How or what is this? for מדוע, meduo, is a particle of wonder, How! He then passes over from the common opinion of the flesh to the prophetic Spirit, as though he had said, “Were any one to judge of the Egyptians by their external splen-dour, he would say that they would be victorious over their enemies; but were any one to ascend higher and to form a judgment, not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit, he would see that all this is frail and evanescent.”

But the question, How? is to be taken as emphatical; for it could have been hardly believed that an army so well equipped could have become a prey to the Babylonians, and that it was hastening to its own ruin. As then this seemed incredible to any one attending to the subject, the Prophet asks, How have I seen them? He however says that he saw them, even because God had set him, as we have said, as it were on a watch-tower. This, however, may be applied to the body as well as to the mind. I saw them turned backward:, when yet they were rushing forward, as he says afterwards, like a flood. Their valiant men, he says, have been smitten, and by flight they have fled. He means, in short, that there would not be so much courage in the Egyptians as to withstand the onset of their enemies, because they would be broken down by the hidden power of God. He also adds, that their flight would be accompanied with so much dread, that they would not dare to look behind, so that their danger would increase their haste.

He at length adds in God’s name, Terror on every side, says Jehovah Here he changes the person the third time, for he declares as from God’s mouth that there would be terror on every side; and thus it is an answer to the question, How, or why? even because God, he says, executes his judgment on them. Whenever, therefore, we see that nothing is wanting to our enemies for victory even over the Church of God, let what the Prophet says here be remembered by us, that there is no reason why we should despond, though we may be filled with wonder and amazement; for God will so work as to break down, without the hand of man, those who shake the whole world with terror. It afterwards follows, —


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/jeremiah-46.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Jeremiah 46:5 Wherefore have I seen them dismayed [and] turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: [for] fear [was] round about, saith the LORD.

Ver. 5. Wherefore have I seen them dismayed?] Surprised with a panic terror.

And are fled apace.] Heb., Fled to flight.

For fear was round about.] A proverbial form. [Jeremiah 6:25]


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/jeremiah-46.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

God had either in a vision showed Jeremiah this army of the Egyptians flying, or else had revealed to him that they should be put to flight, which the prophet here publisheth. God made a fear to fall upon the Egyptians, so as when the king of Babylon came to join battle with them, they were not able at all to stand, but turned their backs, and their greatest commanders were either killed, or fled away as fast as they could.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/jeremiah-46.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5. Thus far the description of the embattled host. Now comes the picture of the defeat and discomfiture.

Wherefore have I seen them, etc. — The original is more expressive and poetical. Why have I seen? They are terror-stricken! They are giving away back. Their heroes are broken, and utterly fled, and turn not back. Terror is round about (on every side) saith Jehovah. The swift shall not flee and the hero shall not escape. Towards the north, by the side of the river Euphrates, they shall stumble and fall.

In graphic force this passage is masterly. However simple and unadorned may be the style of Jeremiah when treating of plain matters which were near to his own people, here we have a brilliancy and poetic beauty not often surpassed.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/jeremiah-46.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Utter Defeat (Jeremiah 46:5).

In deliberately stark contrast we are now given the picture of this once proud army fleeing in tatters. It is as though it was written by an onlooker behind the lines who had observed with awe the initial preparations and advance, and now saw the same army streaming back in desperate and terror-stricken flight.

Jeremiah 46:5

‘Why have I seen it? (or ‘What do I see concerning it?)

They are dismayed and are turned backward,

And their mighty ones are beaten down,

And are fled hastily,

And they look not back,

Terror is on every side,

the word of YHWH.’

‘What have I seen concerning it?’ The observer is astonished at what he sees. What could have caused this turnaround? For he now describes what follows the advance of the proud army. Its total humiliation. What follows is a picture of total defeat. The Egyptian army is no longer proud. They are filled with dismay and turn backwards, their mighty men are beaten down, all flee hastily not daring to look back, and all is terror. They are the remnants of an army fleeing in tatters. And all this in accordance with the prophetic word of YHWH (neum YHWH), which both prophesied it and brought it about.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/jeremiah-46.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

He soon expressed shock, however, at seeing the Egyptians terrified and retreating. "Terror on every side" may have been a proverbial curse formula (cf. Jeremiah 6:25; Jeremiah 20:3; Jeremiah 20:10; Psalm 31:13). [Note: Thompson, p688.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/jeremiah-46.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

CHAPTER XLVI.

Seen. The prophets usually speak as if things were already past. (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/jeremiah-46.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

beaten down = crushed.

fled apace. Figure of speech Polyptoton. Hebrew fled a flight. Well rendered "fled apace".

fear was round about. Hebrew. magor missabib = terror round about. See note on Jeremiah 6:25.

saith, &c. See note on Jeremiah 45:5.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/jeremiah-46.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: for fear was round about, saith the LORD.

Wherefore have I seen them dismayed (note, Jeremiah 46:3). The language of astonishment that an army so well equipped should be driven back in "dismay." The prophet sees this in prophetic vision.

Fled apace - literally, fled a flight, i:e., flee precipitately.

Look not back - they do not even dare to look back at their pursuers.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/jeremiah-46.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) Wherefore have I seen them dismayed . . .?—The prophet speaks as seeing already in his mind’s eye the confusion of the defeated army, with no way to escape, driven back on the Euphrates. In the “fear round about” (Magor-missabib) we have one of his characteristic formulæ (Jeremiah 6:25; Jeremiah 20:3; Jeremiah 20:10; Jeremiah 49:29).


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/jeremiah-46.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Wherefore have I seen them dismayed and turned away back? and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace, and look not back: for fear was round about, saith the LORD.
and their
Revelation 6:15
beaten down
Heb. broken in pieces. fled apace. Heb. fled a flight.
15; Genesis 19:17; 2 Kings 7:6,7; Nahum 2:8
fear
6:25; 20:3,4; *marg:; 10; 49:29; Isaiah 19:16; Ezekiel 32:10; Revelation 6:15-17

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 46:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/jeremiah-46.html.

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