Lecture One Hundred and Sixtieth
13. He shall break also the images of Beth-shemesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.
13. Et conteret statuas Beth-semes (vel, Heliopolios) quae est in terra Aegypti, et domos deorum.Aegypti (hoc est, templa) exuret igni.
WE stated yesterday why Jeremiah spoke especially of the temples of the gods, even that the Jews might understand that nothing would escape destruction: for even the cruel-est enemies have usually withheld their hands from the temples of gods. If sanctity and religion would not preserve the temples, what then would become of private houses? He intimates, in short, that such would be the ruin of Egypt, that no part would escape.
But as Heliopolis was then in the greatest repute, he says, that the statues of all the gods in that city would be broken, for there the gods were especially worshipped. All heathen writers call it Heliopolis, to which the Hebrew word corresponds; for Bethsemes means the city of the sun; and Heliopolis means the same. As then this was the chief place where the gods of Egypt were found, the Prophet, in order to shew that the ruin of the whole land would be extreme, says that no temple would be there inviolate. So also Isaiah says, when speaking of the ruin of Egypt,
"Behold, God will come into Egypt, and will cut down before him all the idols." (Isaiah 19:1)
He spoke of God's coming, because, under his guidance it was, that Nebuchadnezzar led there his army, as it has been stated. God did not, indeed, appear from heaven, but the army of Nebuchadnezzar was a living representation of God's power, when he punished the Egyptians. Now, he says, that when God came there armed, and carried on a warlike expedition, all the idols would be destroyed; for God would thus shew that the gods in whom the Egyptians trusted were false, that they were mere fictions, which could give no help when things came to an extremity. Now follows, --
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