Herod kills all the two-year old boys (Mt 2:16-2:16)

“When Herod saw

That he had been tricked

By the magi,

He was infuriated.

He sent men

To kill

All the male children

In and around Bethlehem

Who were two years old

Or under.

This was based

According to the time frame

That he had ascertained

From the magi.”

 

Τότε Ἡρῴδης ἰδὼν ὅτι ἐνεπαίχθη ὑπὸ τῶν μάγων ἐθυμώθη λίαν, καὶ ἀποστείλας ἀνεῖλεν πάντας τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς ἐν Βηθλέεμ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ὁρίοις αὐτῆς ἀπὸ διετοῦς καὶ κατωτέρω, κατὰ τὸν χρόνον ὃν ἠκρίβωσεν παρὰ τῶν μάγων.

 

Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, Herod realized that he had been tricked or outwitted by the magi (Τότε Ἡρῴδης ἰδὼν ὅτι ἐνεπαίχθη ὑπὸ τῶν μάγων), those tricky magicians.  He was very angry (ἐθυμώθη λίαν), so he sent out people (ἀποστείλας).  He ordered them to kill all the little infant boys (ἀνεῖλεν πάντας τοὺς παῖδας) under the age of 2 in the Bethlehem area and vicinity (τοὺς ἐν Βηθλέεμ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ὁρίοις αὐτῆς).  He picked the age of 2 and under (ἀπὸ διετοῦς καὶ κατωτέρω) based on the information about the time frame (κατὰ τὸν χρόνον ὃν ἠκρίβωσεν) about the birth of this child that he had understood from the magi (παρὰ τῶν μάγων).  However, since the Bethlehem area was sparsely populated, this might have meant that he only killed about 20 children at most.  Thus, there would not have been wide spread panic, except in Bethlehem itself.  This story of the killing of the infant male children is like that of the Israelite male children in Exodus, chapter 1:15-22, where Moses was saved, just like Jesus here.  There, the Egyptian king told the midwives to kill every male Israelite baby.  Finally, he had all the Israelite male babies thrown into the Nile River.

Oracle of restoration (Mic 7:11-7:13)

“This is a day

For the building

Of your walls!

In that day,

The boundary

Shall be far extended.

In that day,

They will come

To you,

From Assyria to Egypt,

From Egypt to the River,

From sea to sea,

From mountain to mountain.

But the earth

Will be desolate,

Because of its inhabitants,

For the fruit of their doings.”

This is a post-exilic call to restore Israel.  They would build walls around their buildings.  They would have an extended boundary for their country.  The Israelites would all return from Assyria to Egypt, from the Nile River to the Euphrates River, from sea to sea, and mountain to mountain, from everywhere.  However, the earth would be desolate, because of what the living people were doing.  The fruit of their activity left them in bad shape, desolate.

Yahweh will not forget (Am 8:7-8:8)

“Yahweh has sworn

By the pride of Jacob,

‘Surely,

I will never forget

Any of their deeds.

Shall not the land tremble

On this account?

Every one mourns

Who lives in it.

All of it rises

Like the Nile.

They will be tossed about.

They will sink again,

Like the Nile of Egypt.’”

Yahweh swore by the pride of Jacob, that is the land itself.  He was not going to forget their evil deeds.  The land would tremble on their account.  Everyone who lived there would be in mourning, since the land would move up and down.  They would be tossed about, as if they were on the Nile River in Egypt.

The dragon in the Nile River (Ezek 29:3-29:4)

“Speak!

Say!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I am against you!

Pharaoh!

King of Egypt!

The great dragon

Sprawling In the midst

Of its channels!

Saying!

‘My Nile is my own!

I made it for myself.’

I will put hooks

In your jaws.

I will make the fish

Of your channels

Stick to your scales.

I will draw you up

From your channels,

With all the fish

Of your channels

Sticking to your scales.’”

Ezekiel was told to speak against the Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, who was described as a great dragon in the midst of the various Nile channels in the Delta area. This great dragon Pharaoh was proclaiming that the Nile River belonged to him. Yahweh said that he was going to put hooks into this dragon’s jaws. The various fish in the Nile channels in the Delta area would have their scales stick to these tributaries. In other words, they would die. These offshoots of the Nile River were an allusion to the various countries that had mercenary troops in Egypt.

The destroying waters from the north (Jer 47:2-47:2)

“Thus says Yahweh!

‘See!

The waters are rising out

Of the north.

They shall become

An overflowing torrent.

They shall overflow

The land

With all that fills it.

They shall overflow

The city

With those who live in it.

Men shall cry out.

All the inhabitants

Of the land

Shall wail.”

Much like the preceding chapter with the rising waters from the Nile River, here the rising waters are from the north. Their overflowing torrent will destroy the land and everything in it. This roaring water will destroy the cities and all who live in them. Everyone shall cry out and wail since King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was coming.

King Nebuchadnezzar is going to invade Egypt (Jer 46:13-46:14)

“The word

That Yahweh spoke

To the prophet Jeremiah

About the coming

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

To attack the land of Egypt.

‘Declare in Egypt!

Proclaim in Migdol!

Proclaim in Memphis!

Proclaim in Tahpanhes!

Say!

‘Take your stations!

Be ready!

The sword shall devour

Those around you.’”

Once again, Yahweh speaks an oracle to Jeremiah. This time it is about the coming of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to attack Egypt. Exactly when this will take place is not clear. Jeremiah was to declare this attack in Egypt, especially in Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes. They should get ready. Migdol was an island in the Nile River, while Memphis was in the heart of the southern Egyptian delta. Tahpanhes was a northeastern border town, where the migrant Judeans had first gone. All these places should man their stations because the powerful sword of Babylon was going to devour all the people around them.

All the Judeans in Egypt (Jer 44:1-44:1)

“The word came

To Jeremiah

For all the Judeans

Living in the land

Of Egypt,

At Migdol,

At Tahpanhes,

At Memphis,

As well as in the land of Pathros.”

Jeremiah received an oracle that was to be addressed to all the Judeans living in Egypt. No longer was this a small group of the remnant led by Johanan at Tahpanhes, but this was addressed to all the other Judeans living in different cities and places in Egypt. How did these Judeans get there? How big were these Israelite colonies? Were they left over from Exodus times? Were they also recent immigrants? The remnant group with Jeremiah and Baruch at Tahpanhes had just arrived. Were there other Judeans before they arrived in that town? Migdol was an island in the Nile River, east of Tahpanhes. Memphis was the ancient capital of lower Egypt, in the Nile River delta area. Pathros was also in the southern part of Egypt where Judean colonies might have been. As these places are mentioned, the assumption is that there must have been some other Judeans there. At least the author of this work knew something about them. Like the preceding chapter, this section has a different numbered chapter in the Greek translation of the Septuagint, chapters 51, not chapter 44 as here.