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Jeremiah Chapter 47
Chapter 47 contains a prophecy of the destruction of the Philistines for the most part; and also of Tyre and Zidon. The title of the prophecy, Jer.47:1; the instruments of this destruction, who are compared to overflowing waters; which would cause great mourning to the people of the places where they would come, Jer.47:2. The noise of their horses and chariots would be so awful, that it would make parents flee and leave their children behind, Jer.47:3. At the same time Tyre and Zidon would fall into the hands of the enemy, and have none to help, Jer.47:4. Specific places in Palestine are mentioned that would be destroyed, Jer. 47:5. All of this was owing to a command the LORD gave to the sword, and which therefore would continue to ravage, Jer. 47:6.
This chapter brings the Philistines their doom, as the former brought the Egyptians their doom, and by the same hand, that of Nebuchadnezzar. It shall be short, but terrible; and Tyre and Zidon, although they were some distance from away, shall share with them in the destruction here threatened. (1). It is foretold that the forces of the northern crowns would come upon them, to their great terror (vs. 1-5). (2). That the war would be long, and their tries to put an end to it would be in vain (vs.6-7).
Forces of the North Would Come Upon Them,
To Their Great Terror (Jer.47:1-5)
Jer. 47:1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza. (KJV)
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines . . . just as the former prophecies were against the Egyptians, the friends and allies of the Jews, in whom they trusted; this is against the Philistines, the near neighbors of the Jews, and their cruel, hard-hearted enemies: the time of this prophecy was,
Before Pharaoh smote Gaza . . . Gaza was one of the five cities of the Philistines, and a very strong and fortified place (Am.1:6-7). The Jews, in their record, say this was fulfilled in the eighth year of Zedekiah, when Pharaoh came out of Egypt, while the Chaldeans were besieging Jerusalem; which when they heard of it, broke up the siege, and went to meet him; upon which he went to Gaza, and destroyed it, and then returned to Egypt. But it is more likely that this Pharaoh was Pharaohnecho, and that he fell upon Gaza, and smote it, either when he came to Carchemish, or when he returned from there, after he had killed Josiah. This prophecy was delivered before any of this happened, and when the Philistines were in the utmost peace, and had no fear nor expecting any destruction; and the smiting of this single city by the king of Egypt is foretold, as the forerunner and pledge of a greater destruction of the land by the king of Babylon, next mentioned.
Jer. 47:2 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl. (KJV)
Thus saith the LORD, behold, waters rise up out of the north . . . meaning an army of men, which should come in great numbers, and with great force and swiftness, like an overflowing flood. The Targum is, behold, people shall come from the north; meaning, from Chaldea, which lay north of Palestine.
And shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein . . . or the fullness of it; the land of the Philistines, and carry off the men and cattle, and all the riches within.
The city, and them that dwell therein . . . not any particular or single city, such as Gaza; but many cities of Palestine, and the people of them.
Then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl . . . not being able to do anything else; not able to defend themselves, their families and property; and seeing nothing but ruin and destruction before them.
Jer. 47:3 At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands; (KJV)
At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses . . . the noise of the cavalry of Nebuchadnezzar's army, as they came marching on towards the country of the Philistines; who being mounted on strong horses, made a great noise as they came along, and were heard at quite a distance.
At the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling, of his wheels . . . the rattling and clatter the chariot wheels made; in which rode the chief officers and generals, with other mighty men. Chariots were commonly used in war in those times.
The fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands . . . they would be so terrified at the approach of the enemy, and flee with only their own safety in mind, that they would not think of their children, nor stay to save them. The Targum is, the fathers shall not look back to have mercy on their children, in their fright would forget their natural affection for them, and not so much as look back with pity and compassion on them; they being so intent on their own escape and safety.
Jer. 47:4 Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth: for the LORD will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor. (KJV)
Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines . . . the time appointed by the LORD for their destruction, which would be widespread.
And to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth . . . these were cities in Phoenicia, which bordered on the country of the Philistines, who were their helpers in time of distress; but now, being wasted themselves, could give them no help when Nebuchadnezzar attacked them; as he did Tyre in particular, which he besieged thirteen years, and at last destroyed it, and Zidon with it.
For the LORD will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor . . . these last are not put by way of being side by side, as if they were the same with the Philistines, although they were near of kin to them, coming from Casluhim; who were the posterity of Mizraim, as well as Caphtorim (Gen.10:13); actually the Philistines are said to be brought from Caphtor (Am.9:7); very probably being taken captive by them, but rescued from them; and now in confederacy with them, and likely to share the same fate as they.
Jer. 47:5 Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself? (KJV)
Baldness is come upon Gaza . . . the Targum is, vengeance is come to the inhabitants of Gaza. It is become like a man whose hair is fallen from his head, or is shaved off; its houses were demolished; its inhabitants slain, and their wealth plundered; a looted and abandoned place.
Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley . . . this was one of the cities of the Philistines, located north of Gaza. Some say Ashkelon was a city of Syria, in which was the temple of Urania Venus, destroyed by the Scythians. Of this city, Herod was the king, and therefore called an Ashkelonite; it was now destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, but afterwards rebuilt and inhabited.
How long wilt thou cut thyself? . . . cutting their faces, arms and other parts of their body, mourning for their sad condition; the words of Jeremiah indicating the dreadfulness of it, and its long continuation.
War Would Continue, Their Tries to End It,
Would Be in Vain 47:6-7
Jer. 47:6 O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still. (KJV)
O thou sword of the LORD . . . for although it was the sword of the Chaldeans, yet it had been appointed and sent by the LORD, having a command from Him, and being ordered and directed in His wisdom to do His will, it is called His sword.
How long will it be ere thou be quiet? . . . and stop destroying men; wilt Thou not cease until Thou hast no more to destroy?
Put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still . . . and make no more destruction among the people . . . these are either the words of the Philistines, begging that a stop might be put to the ravages of the sword, and that the war might cease, and the many desolations of it . . . or maybe the words of the prophet, showing compassion on their state as a man, even though they had been the avowed enemies of God’s people; to which the following words of him are an answer, either to the Philistines, showing why their request could not be granted, or as correcting himself.
Jer.47:7 How can it be quiet, seeing the LORD hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? there hath he appointed it. (KJV)
How can it be quiet . . . there is no reason to believe it will, nor can it be expected that it would be quiet. To stop it is impossible, and to ask that it might be stopped would be in vain.
Seeing the LORD hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the seashore? . . . for it had instruction from the LORD to destroy the inhabitants of Ashkelon, and other places, which lay still more towards the sea, such as Joppa and Jamne; and actually all Palestine lay on the coast of the Mediterranean sea.
There hath he appointed it . . . by an irreversible decree of the LORD, done in righteousness to punish the inhabitants of these places for their sins.
*****How can it be quiet . . . The Sword is that of the LORD! It is the officer of God's judgments, and He has given a command against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore; all the coast where the Philistines have their territories. The measure of their iniquities is full; and to these God hath appointed this sword to ravage. The Philistines were always the cruel, hard-hearted enemies of the Jews, and the basest and worst of all idolaters. On these accounts the sword of the LORD had its instruction against them; and it did its work most fearfully and effectually by the hand of the Chaldeans.
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