Jeremiah 46:5 MEANING

Jeremiah 46:5
(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 formulae (Jeremiah 6:25; Jeremiah 20:3; Jeremiah 20:10; Jeremiah 49:29).

Verse 5. - That so well equipped an army should flee seems incredible. Hence the astonished question, Wherefore have I seen, etc.? literally, Why do I see (that) they (are) dismayed, turning back? And look not back. With the object of rallying the scattered forces. For fear was round about. It is a pity that the Authorized Version has not kept one uniform rendering for this favourite expression of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 6:25 (see note) it is translated, "fear is on every side" (Hebrew, magor missabib).

46:1-12 The whole word of God is against those who obey not the gospel of Christ; but it is for those, even of the Gentiles, who turn to Him. The prophecy begins with Egypt. Let them strengthen themselves with all the art and interest they have, yet it shall be all in vain. The wounds God inflicts on his enemies, cannot be healed by medicines. Power and prosperity soon pass from one to another in this changing world.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" (s); 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.

(s) "et fortes corum contusi sunt, vel coutunduntur", Schmidt, Cocceius, Piscator; "contriti sunt", Vatablus.

Courtesy of Open Bible