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Verse 1. • The word of the Lord ... against the Gentiles.' form of the famous shield (Ægis) which they gave to Mi- This is a general title appropriate to the five following nerva ; excepting only that the bordering fringe was, in chapters, which describe the Lord's judgments against va- the Libyan shield, of leathern thongs. rious foreign nations mentioned in the history of the Jews. * Lydians.'— The original is Ludim, and the people de. As here pat together, towards the end of the book, these noted must certainly not be confounded with the Lydians prophecies are evidently out of their proper chronological of Asia Minor, with whom the Egyptians, and the other order ; but those who collected and arranged the prophe- African nations usually associated with them, could have cies of Jeremiah appear to have considered it expedient no conceivable connection. There were two Luds, one thus to bring together those predictions which had no im- the son of Shem, from whom these Lydians are supposed mediate counection with the affairs of the Jews.
to have descended; the other, the son of Mizraim, the 2. Against the army of Pharaoh-necho.”—This chapter settler of Egypt, and whose descendants we should, from contains two prophecies against Egypt, referring to dif- this very circumstance, expect to be here denoted. From ferent transactions. That which begins here relates to their inclusion among African nations, they were probably that defeat of Necho's army, by Nebuchadnezzar, which settled in Africa, and doubtless near Egypt. But it is we have already noticed under 2 Chron. xxxv. 20. The impossible to point out the particular part of that contipassage which Josephus quotes from the third book of the nent which they occupied ; although, from their being Chaldaic history of Berosus appears to refer to this and always mentioned with the Libyans (Phut), and from the the other victories and conquests of Nebuchadnezzar in fact that they served with them as mercenary soldiers of early life, as he places them at the beginning of his reign, Tyre (Ezek. xxx. 5), which perhaps implies that there or rather at the end of his father's reign. The other pro- was a maritime communication between them and the phecy, beginning with verse 13, obviously relates to that Tyrians, we may obtain the conclusion that they were invasion of Egypt, in the latter days of Pharaoh-hophra, settled in the neighbourhood of the African coast, near or which has just engaged our attention.
among the Libyans. 9. Come up, ye horses; and ruge, ye chariots.'—Egypt 19. Noph shall be waste.'-T'his is generally, and with and its principal allies are here strikingly alluded to hy good reason, believed to have been the same as Memphis, their military characteristics. The present allusion to the the renowned capital of Lower Egypt. The site has been furious rapidity of the horses, and the raging force with much disputed. Dr. Shaw and others contended strongly which the chariots were whirled along in the Egyptian that it must be sought at Ghizeh, nearly opposite to Old armies, will appear remarkably characteristic to those who Cairo; but a great number of the most eminent travellers have had opportunities of observing the overpowering fury and geographers have rather been disposed, from a comof the horses and chariots, as exhibited in ancient paintings, parison of the statements in ancient authors with existing copied in the various splendid works on Egyptian anti- appearances and traditions, to fix its position considerably quities which have been published since the commence- more to the south, near the village of Metrahenny, on the ment of the present century,
western bank of the Nile, where there are manifest indi* The Ethiopians and the Libyans, that handle the shield.' cations of extensive ruin in the form of mounds, channels, –That the African Ethiopians are intended, as distin- and blocks of granite, many of which are covered with guished from those of Arabia, is rendered probable by the sculptures and hieroglyphics, and which are locally conconsideration stated under 2 Chron, xiv. 9, where we find sidered to form the remains of Memf (Memphis), the them associated in like manner with the Libyans, in the royal seat of the Pharaohs. So complete is the desolation army of Shishak, king of Egypt. Compare also the foretold by the prophets, that nothing remains to form an second note under 2 Chron. xii. 3 ; where we find ‘shields' object in a pictorial illustration; and we therefore are
only able to offer a representation of the village of Metrahenny, to mark the site of the ancient Memphis. Thebes and Memphis were the two most famous and magnificent cities of ancient Egypt. The latter was, like the former, the residence of mighty kings, and the capital of a great empire. From the confusion of dynasties and kingdoms, it is difficult to determine the commencement and duration of the metropolitan character in different cities, without entering into larger chronological and historical details than would be interesting or profitable to the Bible reader. We shall therefore only premise, that, although Memphis was a most ancient city, yet its foundation, and still
more its metropolitan rank, was posterior to that of Thebes, which it ultimately superseded as the capital of Egypt. To explain this a little, it should be observed that the Egyptian traditions, as preserved by the Greek historians, and confirmed by modern investigation, state that Upper Egypt was the first settled and brought under cultivation. From thence colonies proceeded into Middle and Lower Egypt, and these became the parents of other colonies, till the whole country was settled and cultivated. It appears that the
principal colonies either immediately assumed or soon MINERVA WITH Ægis.—British Museum.
acquired the character of independent states or kingdoms,
each with its own metropolis. But although Egypt thus mentioned prominently among the warlike instruments of contained several contemporary kingdoms, and Thebes a nation of African Ethiopia. Although the word here ceased to be the sole capital of the settled country, it is rendered • Libyans' is not the same (Lubims') as that evident, from the nature of things as well as from history, which, under the text just referred to, we have considered that it must long have remained the great metropolitan to enote the Libyans, but . Phut' (from the third son of city of Egypt. Memphis seems to have been the earliest, Ham), there is every probability that the same people, or one of the earliest, of those settlements below the or at least neighbouring people of similar habits—are in- Thebais which became the seat of an independent kingdom. tended by both words. In this view it is a remarkable It is said to have been founded by Menes, the first Egypfact that the Libyans were celebrated for their shields, tian king; and the tradition, that he gained its site by even by heathen writers. Herodotus says (Melpomene, changing the course of the Nile, which previously ran 189) that the Greeks borrowed from the Libyans the under the Libyan mountains, opening for it a new channel Noph: METRAHENNY. about half-way between the Arabian and Libyan chain, is, existing monuments on the site of Memphis as Thebes in the opinion of Sir J. G. Wilkinson and others, strongly still offers, it would be perhaps right to name those recorroborated by the actual appearance of the river at the mains of a different and not less striking kind-the spot where, according to Herodotus, the stream was pyramids-as the monuments of its desolation. For the
dyked off,' which he fixes at one hundred stades above situation of Memphis (regarded as near Metrahenny) is Memphis. This city gradually grew into importance as centrical with respect to the pyramids, being as it were in the metropolis of a distinct state, and, by the consolida- the midst of them, and the ancient historians usually contion of the several states into a single monarchy, ultimately sidered the pyramids as pertaining to Memphis. Other became the sole metropolis of Egypt. When it became monuments, more properly marking the city itself, there the paramount metropolis
, it may be difficult to determine are scarcely any, so literally has the prophetic denunprecisely ; but we feel quite safe in saying, that as the ciation been accomplished. Besides the mounds, or, as capital of Middle Egypt, as the paramount metropolis of Scripture describes them, “heaps, which mark desolate the country, and as still an important metropolitan city sites in Egypt and Western Asia, there are only a few after the residence of the court had been removed to Sais, fragments of granite, some substructions, and a colossal it appears that Noph or Memphis was that great city of statue of Rameses II. This complete desolation, extendthe Pharaohs with which the Old Testament Hebrews ing even to the absence of ruins, as compared with the were best acquainted, and to which there are the most grand remains of temples, palaces, and tombs at the more frequent references in Scripture, by name or allusion, ancient Thebes, is the more observable, when we know from the time that the Hebrew family went down into that the glory of Memphis was only impaired, not deEgypt to that of Jeremiah. At the former date it was stroyed, by the devastations and burnings of the Persians ; probably the capital of that part of Egypt with which the and that, when eclipsed by Alexandria, it continued to Hebrews were the most familiar; and at the latter, it re- be the second city of Egypt, as described by Strabo, so mained in effect the metropolis of Egypt; for although,
late as about the time of our Saviour. And even so since the reign of Psammetichus, the kings had usually lately as the fourteenth century, the Arabian geographer, resided at Sais, the city of Memphis continued to be re- Abulfeda, notices the extensive remains of Memi,' as garded as the capital of Egypt down to the conquest of still evincing the ancient importance of the renowned the country by the Persians, and indeed, still later, until city of the Pharaohs. The more entire desolation of it was superseded by Alexandria ; and even this was not Memphis than of the cities of Upper Egypt may at once, for it seems from inscriptions that, under the however be accounted for by the fact, that in the earlier Ptolemies, Memphis was still considered the latter region no great cities comparatively modern arose, proper metropolis, although Alexandria had become, in- as in Lower Egypt, to tempt their founders to renstead of Sais, the royal residence.
der desolation more desolate by employing, according to Most of the ancient writers speak in general terms of general practice, the materials which the old sites offered the wealth and glory of Memphis, but enter little into for their new constructions; while also, the remains in details, and Noph is so utterly waste, that we are not able Middle and Lower Egypt are more exposed than in the to supply the deficiency from the evidence of existing Upper to be gradually covered by the encroaching sands remains as at Thehes. They speak much however of its of the desert, or the alluvions of the Nile. In conclusion, magnificent temples, particularly those of Apis and it claims to be noticed that the Oriental writers furnish Vulcan; and, in connection with the former, it will be a corroboration of Scripture, by stating that the first great recollected that Memphis was the principal seat of the blow to the prosperity of Memphis was given by Nebuworship of the ox of that name. Diodorus describes the chadnezzar, in that great expedition which Scripture forecity as about 150 stades in circumference, or between told, but which the Greek historians omit to notice. See seventeen and eighteen miles, which may give some idea Heeren's Egyptians, passim ; Rennell's Geog. of Herodotus, of its extent and importance, even after allowance is made sect. xviii.; Descript, de l’Egypte, tome v.; Wilkinson's for the loose manner in which the Oriental towns were Topography of Thebes, etc. and are usually built. And although there are no such 25. •No.'—This name occurs several times in the prophets as that of a great and populous Egyptian city; and Thebes has the distinction of being mentioned by Hois sometimes distinguished by the addition of 'Ammon’ mer, who speaks of its great wealth, and mentions its (No-Ammon). This addition would naturally suggest hundred gates, from each of which issued two hundred that the city denoted was the chief seat of the worship of men, with horses and chariots. This passage has occaJupiter Ammon; and this was Thebes. The Septuagint sioned more discussion than a poetical allusion appears renders it by “Diospolis,' which was a name of Thebes, to demand. Diodorus seems to intimate that this force on account of its devotion to the worship of Jupiter. It is was not raised in the immediate vicinity of Thebes : and true that there were two other cities in Egypt which bore as to the hundred gates, he states the conjecture of some the same name; but as Thebes was the principal, and as persons, that the city derived its title of Hecatompylos other circumstances concur in its favour, we have little from the numerous propyla, or gateways of temples and hesitation in acquiescing in the general conclusion that public buildings. Some understand it to denote so many this famous city is intended by the No of Scripture. palaces of princes, each of whom, on pressing occasions,
In the preceding note we have incidentally introduced furnished the stated number of men, horses, and chariots. Thebes to our readers as the most ancient capital and A strong objection to the notion that city gates can be inrenowned city of Egypt, the origin of which is lost in tended arises from the fact, as noticed by Pococke, Wilthe remote infancy of human settlements and institu- kinson, and others, that not the least indication can be tions. Long the metropolis of the country; and con- discovered that Thebes was ever enclosed by a wall. We tinuing, as the independent capital of Upper Egypt, to have no detailed descriptions of the city from ancient eclipse the metropolitan cities which arose in Middle sources, but only of the conspicuous public monuments; and Lower Egypt--enriched by commerce, by devotion, and it is very possible that, in this and other ancient and by the spoils of conquered kings—and always looked to cities of Egypt, while the temples seem adapted, from with veneration as the parent city,
and the prime seat of the their massive character and durable materials, to resist sacred mysteries, and of learning and the arts,- Thebes the utmost power of time, the mass of the private dwellsurvived in splendour and magnificence long after Mem. | ings were of a very humble character-probably of mud phis had become the political metropolis of the united or brick ; some suppose they were of wood, but this would kingdom, and, from its more advantageous situation for be hardly possible in Egypt, where timber is and ever has trade, had diverted from it the wealth it derived from been scarce and costly. But it is now well apprehended commerce. This, however, doubtless gave the first im- that, in speaking of the splendour of ancient cities, we pulse to its decline; but, from the reports of ancient understand exclusively its public buildings and monuwriters, it may well be questioned whether, at any point ments, and nothing of handsome streets and comfortable of time which the Old Testament history embraces, the abodes, in which our modern cities as far exceed the ansubtraction which the rivalry of Memphis made from the cient as the ancient probably exceeded ours in temples, wealth and population of Thebes enabled her to eclipse, theatres, palaces, and tombs. However, the very complete or even equal, the remaining glory of that most renowned information obtained from the painted walls and tombs at city. And even at this day, while Noph, and Zoan and Thebes, concerning the usages in peace and war, the arts, On, have scarcely left a trace of their existence, the deso- the costumes, and the manner of life and action of the late temples of Thebes, which remain fresh, fair, and ancient inhabitants, furnishes a very satisfactory and most strong, promise to carry down to remote future ages the authentic corroboration of the ancient accounts of their record of her glory and desolation.
luxury and wealth.
In Nahum iii. 8, 10, there is a striking passage in long. Under the Romans, some small buildings seem to which there is an implied comparison between No and have been erected for the convenience of their local estaNineveh (which was then in its glory), with an apparent blishments; but it was again punished for rebellion by preference to the former, and which could be true of no Gallus, in the reign of Augustus; and from that time we other city then known to exist except Thebes. Nineveh hear no more of it as a living town. Strabo describes it is asked, Art thou better than populous No ?' of which in his time as ruined, the only inhabitants being collected We are afterwards told, Ethiopia and Egypt were her (as at present) in a few hamlets constructed on its site. strength, and it was infinite. How strong and great No The zeal of the early Christians against the forms of outwas, history and existing monuments of stone testify; and rageous idolatry there displayed, led them to do their best its population may be inferred from its being called to deface and destroy its remaining monuments. Thus
populous' even in comparison with Nineveh that great was Thebes at last reduced to a desolation-but perhaps city,' as it is called in Jonah-as well as from the accounts the grandest desolation in the world—by a succession of of its extent. These accounts indeed differ considerably, destructions and spoliations which were foretold by the but, from a comparison and analysis of the varying state- inspired prophets, whose predictions were, in their day, ments, D'Anville deduces that its circuit was equal to derided and laughed to scorn. And here we may pause. twenty-seven Roman miles, or about nine French leagues The temples, obelisks, statues, and tombs of Thebes, offer -being an extent which few modern capitals approach, a wide field for description. But as these do not directly and which even London does not much exceed. Of its tend to Scriptural illustration, and could not be satisfacwealth, some idea may be formed from the accounts of torily examined within the limits of a note, it seems best the spoil obtained by the Persians, under Cambyses, and to avoid the subject altogether. There is, however, one the quantity of precious metal collected after the burning point in which we feel too much interest not to allude to of the city, which last, according to Diodorus, amounted it. Thebes has again in our own day risen to an importto upwards of 300 talents (about 26,020 pounds troy) of ance peculiarly its own, and which has drawn towards it gold; and 2300 talents (or 199,518 pounds) of silver- the strong attention of all Europe. This arises not only the former worth 1,249,960 pounds sterling, and the latter from the peculiar character of its monuments, and the 598,544l. This great destruction is said not only to have facility of access to them, but from the fact that the paintdestroyed the private houses, but the greater part of the ings and sculptures which decorate the walls of its temples numerous temples by which Thebes was adorned. This and the interior of its long-hidden tombs, furnish a vast is however not the first time that Thebes had suffered mine of information, of the most authentic and intelligible from the desolations of war. Nahum, in the text already kind, concerning the manners, usages, and habits of re. referred to, mentions a devastation of No, prior to the motely ancient times, which might elsewhere be sought ruin of Nineveh, and which appears to correspond to the in vain, and which had long been vainly desired. On first direct blow which the splendour of Thebes received commencing the present undertaking, we were not slow on the invasion of Egypt by the Ethiopians, B.c. 769. to perceive that, from the many allusions in Scripture to Between this and the invasion of Cambyses, it probably Egyptian customs, as well as from the proximity of Paagain suffered in the incursion of Nebuchadnezzar; and lestine to Egypt, and the connection which subsisted beafter it was burnt by the Persian king we cease to hear tween the Hebrew and Egyptian nations—this source of its great importance as a city, though it still survived might furnish, for our purpose, much valuable illustration and was held in high consideration, and something seems which had not previously been sought or obtained. We to have been done towards its restoration ; and, B.C. 86, it therefore to some extent acted on this impression, and, was still of such strength and consequence as to dare to as we have reason to hope, with a satisfactory result, as rebel against Ptolemy Lathyrus, and stood a three years' many others have since followed the line of illustration siege before it was taken and plundered. Perhaps this which we opened. To ourselves it has been an interesting fact may be set in opposition to the opinions already employment to assist in drawing forth from the desolations stated, that Thebes was never walled; for if it was not, it of Thebes elucidations of that divine Book which foretold is difficult to understand how it could have held out so its ruin.
4 Because of the day that cometh to
spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from The destruction of the Philistines.
Tyrus and Zidon every helper that_reThe word of the LORD that came to Jere- maineth: for the LORD will spoil the Phimiah the prophet against the Philistines, be- listines, the remnant of the country of Caphfore that Pharaoh smote 'Gaza.
tor. 2 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, 'waters 5 Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon rise up out of the north, and shall be an over- is cut off with the remnant of their valley : flowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and how long wilt thou cut thyself? 'all that is therein; the city, and them that 6 O thou sword of the Lord, how long dwell therein : then the men shall cry, and all will it be ere thou be quiet? Sput up thyself the inhabitants of the land shall howl.
into thy scabbard, rest, and be still. 3 At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs 7 'How can it be quiet, seeing the LORD of his strong horses, at the rushing of his hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and chariots, and at the rumbling of his wheels, against the sea shore ? there hath he apthe fathers shall not look back to their children pointed it. for feebleness of hands; * Heb. the fulness thereof.
6 Heb. gather thyself.
1 Heb. Azzah,
2 Isa, 8. 7.
4 Heb. the isle.
6 Heb. How canst thou.
Verse 1. · The Philistines.'--As this is the last oppor- of the appearance of feathers, set in a jewelled tiara, or tunity we shall have of noticing this remarkable nation, metal band, to which were attached scales of the same we may point out that there is a people who make some material, for the defence of the back of the head and the figure in the monuments of Egypt, whom there is con- sides of the face. The corslet seems to have been quilted siderable reason to regard as the Philistines, notwith- with leather or plates of metal, and like that of the Moabstanding that some recent travellers, beguiled by the ites reached only to the chest, and was supported by plume-like head-dress which they wore, set them down shoulder straps, leaving the shoulders and arms at fall as Indians. Taking the identification to be correct-and liberty. At the waist it was confined by a girdle, from there is at least a strong probability in its favour-we see which depended a skirt, which was quilted like the
corslet, and hung down nearly to the knee. They were provided with a circular shield, and their weapons are seen to have been the javelin and spear for distant fight, and the poniard and long sword for closer combat. They had war-chariots like those of the Egyptians ; and, which is more to the purpose, they had carts or wains of various kinds, drawn by oxen, which at once reminds us of the cart drawn by oxen in which the lords of the Philistines sent home the ark of Israel.
- Before that Pharaoh smote Gaza'-When this was is uncertain. We have scarcely any information concerning the Philistines but that which we obtain from the sacred books, and they do not notice the smiting of Gaza by Pharaoh. The most probable conjecture seems to be that the destruction of Gaza followed the victories of Pharaoh-necho at Megiddo and Carchemish, when Judea became subject to him. The Jews, however, fol. lowed by many Christian interpreters, suppose that this
prophecy was fulfilled by Pharaoh-hophra, who, having HEAD OF PHILISTINE.-From Rosellini, M. R. cxxii,
marched to Egypt with the intention, or affectation of an that they were a tall well-proportioned race, with regular intention, to release Jerusalem, then besieged by the features, and with complexions somewhat lighter than Chaldæans, retired again when the latter raised the siege that of the Egyptians. They shaved the beard and and marched against him. It is supposed that, to prevent whiskers entirely, as did the southern Canaanites; but his expedition from appearing, altogether fruitless, he
smote Gaza on his return, to do which, he could, he had a strong inducement, as this strong city, from its proximity to the Egyptian frontier, must, in the hands of an enemy, have proved a great annoyance to the Egyptians.
5. Their valley.'—The country occupied by the Philistines was part of the valley which extends from the Mediterranean coast to the base of the central hills of Judea. That part of this valley to which the prophet refers is doubtless what extends from Gaza to Askelon, and the following description of this very tract, as given by. Sandys, will therefore be interesting :- We passed this day through the most pregnant and pleasant valley that ever eye beheld. On the right hand a ridge of high mountains (whereon stands Hebron): on the left hand the Mediterranean Sea, bordered with continued hills, beset with variety of fruits: as they are for the most part of this day's journey. The champaign between, about twenty miles over, full of flowery hills ascending leisurely, and not much surmounting their ranker valleys, with
groves of olives and other fruits dispersedly adorned. PHILISTINE WARRIORS.-From Rosellini, M. R. cxxiii.
Yet is this wealthy bottom (as are all the rest) for the their arms and accoutrements distinguish them remarkably most part uninhabited, but only for a few small and confrom all the other nations of Palestine, and seem clearly temptible villages, possessed by barbarous Moors (Arabs); to evince their distinct origin. Their head-dress was of who till no more than will serve to feed them :- the grass a peculiar and unusually elegant form, having something waist-high, unmowed, uneaten, and uselessly withering.'
2 There shall be no more praise of Moab: 1 The
judgment of Moab, 7 for their pride, 11 for their in Heslabon they have devised evil against it; security, 14 for their carnal confidence, 26 and for come, and let us cut it off from being a nation. their contempt of God and his people. 47 The Also thou shalt "be cut down, O Madmen ; restoration of Moab.
the sword shall Spursue thee. Against Moab thus saith the Lord of hosts, 3 A voice of crying shall be from Horothe God of Israel ; Woe unto Nebo ! for it naim, spoiling and great destruction. is spoiled: Kiriathaim is confounded and 4 Moab is destroyed; her little ones have taken: 'Misgab is confounded and dismayed. caused a cry to be heard. I Or, the high place. ? Or, be brought to silence.
3 Heb. go after thee.