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Verse 14

The Prophet seems to be inconsistent with himself; for at the beginning of the verse he says that there would be no residue, but at the end he adds an exception, that there would be few alive, who would flee, and, by some miracle, escape from death. Some take this view, that none of the ungodly despisers would remain, but that some would yet be preserved alive, even those who had been drawn there against their own will, such as Jeremiah, Baruch, and such as were like them. But this explanation may seem forced at the first view; and yet if the Prophet is speaking of the Jews who had fled into Egypt, it is necessary so to take it; otherwise there would be a manifest inconsistency and contradiction. But we may also refer what he says at the end of the verse to the exiles in Babylon; for they who had concealed themselves in Egypt thought that it was all over with all others, because they had been led away into a distant country. As, then, a return to their country was closed up against them, they thought that they themselves would become the sole heirs of the land; for as Egypt was not far from the land of Judah, a return was easy, and also free, because they had made a treaty with the Egyptians; and further, they had gone to them as friends to partake of their hospitality. They, then, who dwelt in Egypt thought that the land of Judah would be their own.

But God says that none would return into that land except those who should escape, even those to whom permission to return would be given at the end of their captivity and exile. I take then the word פלטים, pelethim, at the end of the verse, as referring to the remnant which God would at length gather, when liberty to return was granted to the Jews by the edict of Cyrus, at the end of the seventy years, which the Prophet had before mentioned. And this seems to me a simpler meaning, that. is, that none would remain of that remnant which had gone down to Egypt, who came, as it is expressed, to sojourn in the land of Egypt and to return to the land of Judah, for this was their purpose. (132)

He then adds, To which they lift up their souls to return there The Prophet here exposes the confidence by which the Jews still deceived themselves; for the lifting up of which he speaks, means to aspire or to hope, and denotes pride and presumption. So by saying that they lifted up their souls, he reproves them, because they were still inflated with a foolish hope, and persuaded themselves that a return would soon be open for them, as the land was without any possessors. As, then, they were cherishing themselves with such delusions, they were to know that they were never to return there, They shall not return, he says. And then follows an exception, Except those who escape, even those of whom the Jews in Egypt despaired, who thought that they did well, and had taken a prudent counsel, because they had for a time a quiet hiding-place in Egypt. It now follows, —

And those who shall escape the sword
who shall have returned from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah)
shall be few in number;
but all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to sojourn there,
shall know the word, which shall stand,
what is from me or from them.


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