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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 47

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes


B. The oracle against the Philistines ch. 47

It is not possible to date this oracle exactly, but Jeremiah probably gave it sometime late in Josiah’s reign (640-609 B.C.; Jeremiah 47:1).

Verse 1

Jeremiah received a message from the Lord concerning the Philistines before Pharaoh conquered Gaza in 609 or 601 B.C. [Note: Herodotus, 2:159, mentioned that Pharaoh Necho conquered Gaza (Gr. Kadytis) in 609 B.C., and the Chronicles of the Chaldean Kings indicate that Necho may have attacked and defeated Gaza in 601 B.C. See Wiseman, pp. 23-25, 67-69. See Feinberg, "Jeremiah," pp. 654-55; Graybill, p. 688; or Dyer, "Jeremiah," p. 1194, for a brief history of the Philistines.] The 609 B.C. date is more probable, since we know that Nebuchadnezzar invaded Ashkelon in 604 B.C., and an invasion of that town was still in the future when Jeremiah gave this oracle (cf. Jeremiah 47:7).

Verse 2

An invader from the north would sweep in like a flood and overwhelm the land and Gaza. Everyone would bewail this situation. After the battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C., the likely invader would have been Babylon, but this oracle may date from before that battle.

Verse 3

The invading horses and chariots would so terrorize the people that parents would not even think to protect their children. They would be too concerned with finding safety for themselves in the panic.

Verse 4

The day would come when the Lord would use this enemy to destroy all the Philistines who had originally fled to Canaan from the islands of the northeastern Mediterranean, particularly Crete (Caphtor; cf. Deuteronomy 2:23; Amos 9:7). This is not a reference to the eschatological day of the Lord. Yahweh would cut off Tyre and Sidon, north of the Philistine coast in Phoenicia, from all their allies. Perhaps Tyre and Sidon were allies of the Philistines at this time, and therefore fell under their judgment.

Verse 5

Gaza and Ashkelon, in the southern part of Philistia, would suffer ruin, and the Philistines in that area would mourn and wail for a long time. Shaving the head and cutting oneself were signs of mourning (cf. Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:5; Jeremiah 48:37).

Verse 6

Jeremiah called on the Lord to sheath His sword, to stop the slaying. The prophet did not relish the prospect of such a slaughter.

Verse 7

Then Jeremiah remembered that the Lord’s sword (the invader from the north) had to continue to slay the Philistines until it had finished the job He had given it to do. Nebuchadnezzar may have fulfilled this prophecy in 604 B.C. when he destroyed Ashkelon. [Note: See Wiseman, pp. 68-69.] It was the sacking of Ashkelon at this time that moved the people in Jerusalem to fast during Jehoiakim’s reign, which led to the reading, followed by the burning, of Jeremiah’s scroll (cf. ch. 36).

"A Babylonian prism, now in Istanbul, mentions the presence-presumably with little choice in the matter-of the kings of Tyre and Sidon (cf. Jeremiah 47:4), of Gaza (5) and of Ashdod, at the court of Nebuchadrezzar; while a prison list now in Berlin records the rations for the king of Ashkelon (5), among other noted prisoners (including Jehoiachin of Judah)." [Note: Kidner, p. 141. See Pritchard, ed., p. 308, for extracts from both lists.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 47". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/jeremiah-47.html. 2012.
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