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He will also break the standing-stones of the House of the Sun that is in the land of Egypt, and the houses of the gods of Egypt he will burn with fire.’” Bible

“standing stones of Beth-shemesh.” In the context of Egypt, the “standing-stones” were the obelisks, of which there were many in Heliopolis. In the rest of the Middle East, most standing-stones were natural stones, or slightly worked stones, that were set up as part of the worship of pagan gods. God commanded that they be destroyed. What is noteworthy here in Jeremiah 43:13 is that it is Nebuchadnezzar, not the forces of Yahweh, that destroy the obelisks in Egypt and burn the pagan temples. Rulers knew that people drew strength from relying on their gods, and if a foreign king could destroy a country’s gods then the people were more easily defeated and controlled. Nebuchadnezzar burned the Temple in Jerusalem for the same reason. [For more on standing-stones, see commentary on Gen. 28:18. For more on idols being harmful, see commentary on Deuteronomy 7:5].

“House of the Sun.” The Hebrew is Beth-shemesh, but that means “the House of the Sun,” or, since “house” in this context can mean “temple,” it means “the Temple of the Sun.” There was also a Beth-shemesh in Judah (2 Kings 14:11), but that was a city. This “Beth-shemesh,” Temple of the Sun, was almost certainly in the city that is better known by its Greek name, Heliopolis, though it was called “On” (Gen. 41:45). Heliopolis was well know for all the obelisks there, and of the many that were there, only one remains.


Commentary for: Jeremiah 43:13