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Commentary On Jeremiah And Lamentations Volume 4 by Jean Calvin

Jeremiah 43:12

12. And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace.

12. Et accendam ignem in aedibus deorum Aegypti; et comburet eas (vel, ipsos deos) et captivos abducet et involvet terram Aegypti, quemadmodum involvere solet pastor vestem suam; et egredietur illinc in pace.

He goes on with the same subject; and he ascribes to God the kindling of the fire, that the Jews might know that the war would be conducted by a divine power, and that Nebuchadnezzar would not come except through God's providence. For though, as it has been said, he had his own reasons, yet God, by his wonderful power, led him, as it were, by the hand, to punish the Egyptians. They, indeed, deserved such a destruction, because they had by their fiat-teries deceived the miserable Jews, and had corrupted them. Besides, their allurements had been very ruinous, for through them the aid of God had been despised, and all the prophecies rejected. As then they had been the authors of all kinds of evils to the Jews, we hence infer that they deserved a dreadful vengeance; and this had been in due time made known to the Jews, but they did not believe it. Then the Prophet fully confirms what had been declared in his former prophecies.

I will kindle a fire, says God, in the temples of the gods of Egypt And he mentions temples, that the Jews might understand that no part of the land would be safe or secure from destruction: for it often happens that when the cruelty of enemies rages greatly, the temples are spared; for religion commands respect, and honor has been given also to idols, so that their temples have often remained untouched, when enemies have wholly overthrown all other things. But it is probable, that the Chaldeans had so great a presumption and pride, that they wished to destroy all the temples, that there might be no religion anywhere except among themselves. And some also among the Persians had this barbarity, as Xerxes, who, when he entered into Greece, and some parts of Asia, burnt and destroyed all the temples, and said also in derision, that all the gods in Greece were taken captive, and were shut up in the temples, and that he accomplished everything through his own valor. There is, indeed, no doubt but that Xerxes thus arrogantly triumphed over the gods of the Greeks; and such was probably the insolence displayed by the Chaldeans. However this may have been, yet God shews, that no place in Egypt would be held sacred: for the Chaldeans would even burn their temples. But at the same time he meant to cast a reproach on the obstinacy of the Jews, because they went down to Egypt, whose safety depended on idols. God then shews that they were more than blind, and wholly beside themselves, as though they were brute animals, when they hoped for a quiet port in Egypt, which was under the protection of false gods. God then says, that he would kindle a fire by which the temples of the gods of Egypt would be burned.

And he adds, and it or he will burn them This may be applied to the fire; but he, no doubt, speaks of the King Nebuchadnezzar, for it immediately follows, and shall carry them captives, and shall roll up the land of Egypt, as a shepherd his garment The verb properly means to cover, but it means also sometimes to gather up. It may be rendered here to roll up, as we say in French, trousser et entortiller. He intimates, that Nebuchadnezzar would, according to his own will, so rule in Egypt, that he would heap together all the wealth of the whole land: and as a shepherd, when he leads his flock to another place, collects his utensils, and rolls up his garments, or folds himself in them; so Nebuchadnezzar, says the Prophet, would gather together, or roll up the whole land of Egypt He mentions land, as signifying the wealth which Nebuchadnezzar accumulated. At length he adds, and thence shall he depart in peace He shews that the conquest would be complete, for the Egyptians would not dare to mutter, nor dare to follow their enemy on his departure; for he would be as though he were in a peaceable place, and in his own kingdom.

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