Jeremiah 46:18 MEANING

Jeremiah 46:18
(18) Surely as Tabor is among the mountains . . .--Nebuchadnezzar in his high-towering greatness is compared to two of the most conspicuous mountains of Palestine, Tabor rising in solitary greatness 1,350 feet above the plain, Carmel 1,805 feet above the sea. So, in Jeremiah 22:6, the king of Judah is compared to "Gilead and the head of Lebanon."

Verse 18. - The threat implied in ver. 17 is set forth more fully; he who speaks is a very different "king" from the fallen Pharaoh. As Tabor is among the mountains. The sense is deformed by the insertion of "is." The King of Babylon is compared to "Tabor among the mountains and Carmel by the sea." Mount Tabor is a most prominent object, owing to the wide extent of the plain of Esdraelon, in which it is situated; and a similar remark applies to Mount Carmel. The view of Tabor differs considerably according to the point from which it is taken; but "its true figure is an elongated oval" (Thomson). Carmel, so called from the rich orchards and vineyards with which it was anciently adorned, is not lofty (being only about six hundred feet above the sea), but the form in which it breaks off towards the sea has a beauty of its own. It is now deprived of its rich forest and garden culture, but is still described as "a glorious mountain."

46:13-28 Those who encroached on others, shall now be themselves encroached on. Egypt is now like a very fair heifer, not accustomed to the yoke of subjection; but destruction comes out of the north: the Chaldeans shall come. Comfort and peace are spoken to the Israel of God, designed to encourage them when the judgments of God were abroad among the nations. He will be with them, and only correct them in measure; and will not punish them with everlasting destruction from his presence.As I live, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts,.... A greater King than either Nebuchadnezzar or Pharaoh; the Lord of the armies of heaven and earth; and who has them all at his command and service; swears by his life, by himself, because he can swear by no greater, to the truth of what follows; for this is the form of an oath:

surely, as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea,

so shall he come. Tabor is commonly said to be the mountain on which our Lord was transfigured; but that there is any just foundation for it is not certain. It was a mountain in Galilee, situated on the borders of the tribes of Issachar and Zebulun, Joshua 19:12; it was two leagues from Nazareth eastward (n); three miles from the lake of Gennesaret; ten miles from Diocaesarea to the east; and two days' journey from Jerusalem (o). Adrichomius (p) says it was a most beautiful mountain, situated in the midst of the plain of Galilee, remarkable for its roundness, and was about four miles or thirty furlongs high, abounding with vines, olives, and fruit trees, with which it was set all over; and gave to those at sea a most delightful sight at a considerable distance. Our countryman, Mr. Maundrell (q), who travelled up it, gives this account of it; that it

"stands by itself in the plain of Esdraelon (the same the Scripture calls the valley of Jezreel); after a very laborious ascent (says he), which took up near an hour, we reached the highest part of the mountain: it has a plain area at top, most fertile and delicious; of an oval figure, extended about one furlong in breadth, and two in length: this area is enclosed with trees on all parts, except towards the south.''

It is called by the Septuagint, Josephus, and other writers, Itabyrium. Carmel is with great propriety called "Carmel by the sea"; it was situated on the border of the tribe of Asher; and near to it was the river Kishon, Joshua 19:26. So Mr. Maundrell (r) says,

"we arrived in two hours at that ancient river, the river Kishon, which cuts his way down the middle of the plain of Esdraelon; and then, continuing his course close by the side of Mount Carmel, falls into the sea at a place called Caypha;''

by which it appears that the mount was near the sea; and Pliny (s) calls it a promontory, and places it on the Phoenician shore; on which he says were the promontory Carmel, and a town upon the mountain of the same name, formerly called Ecbatana. Adrichomius (t) gives it the name of "Carmel of the sea"; and says it was a very high mountain, and woody, abounding with most noble vines, olives, fruit trees, and odoriferous herbs. So Josephus (u) makes mention of Carmel and the sea together; he says, the Zebulonites obtained land as far as the lake of Genezareth, contiguous to Carmel and the sea; and their being near to each other appears from a passage in the Jerusalem Talmud (w); says

"R. Samuel Bar Chain Bar Judah, in the name of R. Chanina, when the orb of the sun begins to set, a man standing on Mount Carmel, and goes down and dips in the great sea (the Mediterranean sea), and goes up again, and eats his "teruma" (or offering), it is a presumption that he dipped in the daytime;''

and which is also evident from the passage in 1 Kings 18:42; where Elijah and his servant are said to be on the top of Mount Carmel, and from thence he bid his servant look towards the sea: now these mountains so situated are taken notice of, either to show the manner of the king of Babylon's coming against Egypt; that as Tabor and Carmel were high mountains in the land of Israel, so should Nebuchadnezzar lift up his head on high, and come with great pride and haughtiness of spirit against the Egyptians; or rather the certainty of his coming, that he should come as sure as those mountains were in the places they were; or, best of all, the certainty of the destruction of the Egyptians, and the truth of this prophecy concerning it; though the Egyptians were as firm, and might think themselves as secure and as immovable, as the above mountains, yet should certainly come to ruin, and the word of God concerning it should stand as firm as they. To this sense agrees the Targum,

"as this word stands firm, that Tabor is among the mountains, and Carmel in the sea, so shall his destruction come.''

The words, according to the accents, may be better rendered, "as Tabor among the mountains, and Carmel also, he shall come into the sea" (x); that is, Pharaoh, though he lift up his head as high as Tabor and Carmel, he shall be brought low into the depths of the sea; into a most forlorn and deplorable condition, into a very low estate; and perhaps there may be an allusion to the ancient Pharaoh being drowned in the sea; and with this agrees the Syriac version, "Pharaoh shall fall as the fragment of a mountain, and as Carmel, into the midst of the sea"; compare with this Matthew 11:23.

(n) Borchard, Breidenbach, &c. in Lightfoot, Chorograph. on John, vol. 2. p. 495. (o) Vid. Reland. Palestina Illustrata, l. 1, c, 51, 331, 383. (p) Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, Zabulon, No. 95. p. 143. (q) Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem, p. 113, 114. Ed. 7. (r) Ib. p. 57. (s) Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 19. (t) Ut supra (Theatrum Terrae Sanctae), Issachar, No. 19. p. 35. (u) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 22. (w) T. Bab. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 2. 2. (x) "quia sicut Tabor in montibus, et sicut Carmel (scil. in montibus est) ita in mare veniet", Schmidt.

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