Jeremiah 43:13 MEANING

Jeremiah 43:13
(13) He shall break also the images of Bethshe-mesh.--This name, which means "Home of the Sun" (so the Vulgate renders it here by domus solis), was naturally not an uncommon one where sun-worship had prevailed, and we find it accordingly in Judah (Joshua 15:10; 1 Samuel 6:9; 1 Samuel 6:12), in Issachar (Joshua 19:22), and in Naphtali (Joshua 19:38; Judges 1:33). Here the context shows that it was the name of an Egyptian city. The LXX. renders the words "he shall break the pillars of Heliopolis, which are in On," and so identifies it with the city of that name on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, just below the point of the Delta, and about twenty miles north-east of Memphis. Under the name of On it appears in Genesis 41:45. The "images" or "pillars" are now represented by a solitary obelisk of red granite, sixty-eight feet high, its companion having been brought to Rome and erected in the Vatican Circus in front of St. Peter's (Herod. II., III.; Plin. Hist. Nat. xxxvi. 11). There were at one time many others, besides colossal statues. The fulfilment of the prediction, as far as it referred to the defeat and death of Pharaoh-hophra, is related by Josephus (Ant. x. 9, ? 7).

Verse 13. - The images of Beth-shemesh; rather, the pillars of Beth-shemesh; i.e. the obelisks of the temple of Ra, the sun god, from Which Heliopolis derived its sacred name "Pe-Ra" "the abode of Ra." It was the custom to place obelisks in pairs at the entrance of their temples. Only one of those of Heliopolis is still standing, though that, indeed, is the oldest in Egypt, for it was "set up at least four thousand years ago" (R. S. Poole, 'The Cities of Egypt,' p. 131). That is in the land of Egypt. To distinguish it from the Beth-shemesh in Palestine. But we may also render "which are," etc.; comp. "the gods of Egypt" in the second verse half. The Septuagint reads, "which are in On."

43:8-13 God can find his people wherever they are. The Spirit of prophecy was not confined to the land of Israel. It is foretold that Nebuchadnezzar should destroy and carry into captivity many of the Egyptians. Thus God makes one wicked man, or wicked nation, a scourge and plague to another. He will punish those who deceive his professing people, or tempt them to rebellion.He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh, that is in the land of Egypt,.... Or, "of Heliopolis", as the Septuagint; the "city of the sun"; and so "Bethshemesh" here signifies the "house of the sun"; either it designs the temple of the sun, or the city where it was worshipped; as Heliopolis was famous for the worship of the sun, and for a magnificent temple in it, built for that purpose, and where abundance of persons resorted on that account, as Herodotus (l) observes; here were many images of the sun; and these now should be broke to pieces, when this city should become the city of destruction, as is foretold it should by Isaiah, Isaiah 19:18; where the Targum expressly calls it the city Bethshemesh, that is to be destroyed; See Gill on Isaiah 19:18. This is the same city that was formerly called On, and had a priest in Joseph's time, Genesis 41:45;

and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire; which is repeated, that it might be taken notice of, and for the confirmation of it; though the words may be rendered, so as to remove the tautology, "and with the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn it with fire" (m); that is, Bethshemesh, or "the house of the sun", that shall not escape, being a principal temple. The gods they worshipped were Mnevis and Apis, which were oxen consecrated to the sun and moon (n). So says Porphyry (o), speaking of the Egyptians,

"they consecrate oxen to the sun and moon: that which is sacred to the sun at Heliopolis is called Mnevis, and is the greatest of them: it is very black, because much sun makes human bodies black; and the hairs of its tail, and of its whole body, contrary to other oxen, turn upwards, as the sun makes its course contrary to the pole; its testicles are the largest, because by the heat of the sun venereal desires are excited; hence the sun is said to make nature fruitful. To the moon they dedicate Taurus (or the bull), which they call Apis, and is blacker than others, bearing the signs of the sun and moon, because the light of the moon is from the sun; and the sign of the sun is the blackness of its body, and also the beetle that is under its tongue;''

and these were the images and gods of Bethshemesh or Heliopolis, that were to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Of his expedition into Egypt, whereby this prophecy was fulfilled, not only Josephus makes mention, but some Heathen writers gave plain hints of it. The Jewish historian says (p), that Nebuchadnezzar, five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, led his army into Coelesyria, and took it; and made war with the Ammonites and Moabites; and, having subdued these nations, made a push into Egypt, in order to destroy that, and slew the king of it: and Berosus says (q), that

"Nebuchadnezzar having settled his affairs in Egypt, and other countries; and having committed to his friends the captives of the Jews, Phoenicians, Syrians, and the nations about Egypt, went to Babylon:''

and Megasthenes (r) relates, that

"he conquered the greatest part of Lybia (or Africa) and Iberia;''

or, as it is elsewhere (s) expressed,

"he led his army into Lybia and Iberia; and, having subdued these, carried colonies of them to the right of Pontus.''

(l) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 59. (m) So Schmidt. (n) Vid. Aelian. de Animal. l. 11. c. 11. (o) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 3. c. 13. p. 117. (p) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7. (q) Apud Josph. Antiqu. ib. c. 11. sect 1. & contra Apion. l. 1. sect. 19. & Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 40. p. 455. (r) Apud Joseph. Antiqu. ib. & contra Apion. l. 1. sect. 20. (s) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 41. p. 456.

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