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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 47

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.

Pharaoh-necho probably smote Gaza on his return after defeating Josiah at Megiddo (2 Chronicles 35:20). (Grotius.) Or Pharaoh-hophra (Jeremiah 37:5; Jeremiah 37:7) is intended: probably, on his return from his fruitless attempt to save Jerusalem from the Chaldeans, he smote Gaza, in order that his expedition might not be thought altogether in vain (Calvin). (Amos 1:6-7.)

Verse 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.

Waters rise up out of the north - (Isaiah 8:7). The Chaldeans from the north are compared to the overwhelming waters of their own Euphrates. The smiting of Gaza was to be only the prelude of a greater disaster to the Philistines. Nebuzaradan was left by Nebuchadnezzer, after he had taken Jerusalem, to subdue the rest of the adjoining cities and country.

Verse 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;

At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses - (cf. Jeremiah 4:29, "The whole city shall flee from the noise of the horsemen").

Fathers shall not look back to ... children - each shall think only of his own safety, not even the fathers regarding their own children. So desperate shall be the calamity that men shall divest themselves of the natural affections.

For feebleness of hands - the hands, the principal instrument of action, shall have lost all power; their whole hope shall be in their feet.

Verse 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.

To cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper. The Philistines, being neighbours to the Phoenicians of Tyro and Sidon, would naturally make common cause with them in the case of invasion. These cities would have no helper left when the Philistines should be destroyed.

The remnant of the country of Caphtor - the Caphtorim and Philistines both came from Mizraim (Genesis 10:13-14). The Philistines are said to have been delivered by God from Caphtor (Amos 9:7). Perhaps before the time of Moses they dwelt near, and were subjugated by the Caphtorim (Deuteronomy 2:23), and were subsequently delivered. "The remnant" means here those still left after the Egyptians had attacked Gaza and Palestine; or rather, those left of the Caphtorim after the Chaldeans had attacked them previous to their attack on the Philistines. Some identify Caphtor with Cappadocia; Gesenius, with Crete (Ezekiel 25:16, "Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims"); Kitto, Cyprus. Between Palestine and Idumea there was a city Caparorsa; and their close connection with Palestine on the one hand, and Egypt (Mitsraim, Genesis 10:13-14) on the other hand, makes this locality the most likely.

Verse 5

Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?

Baldness is come upon Gaza ... how long wilt thou cut thyself? Palestine is represented as a female who has torn off her hair and cut her flesh, the paganish (Leviticus 19:28) token of mourning (Jeremiah 48:37).

Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley - the long strip of low plain occupied by the Philistines along the Mediterranean, west of the mountains of Judea. The Septuagint read 'Anakim,' the remains of whom were settled in those regions (Numbers 13:28). Joshua dislodged them, so that none were left but in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (Joshua 11:21-22). But the parallel (Jeremiah 47:7), "Ashkelon ... the seashore," establishes the English version here, "Ashkelon ... their valley."

Verse 6

O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and 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.

O thou sword of the Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? Jeremiah, in the person of the Philistines afflicting themselves (Jeremiah 47:5), apostrophizes the sword of the Lord, entreating mercy (cf. Deuteronomy 32:41; Ezekiel 21:3-5; Ezekiel 21:9-10).

Put up thyself - Hebrew, 'Gather thyself' - i:e., Retire or Return.

Verse 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.

How can it be quiet? Jeremiah, from addressing the sword in the second person, turns to his hearers and speaks of it in the third person.

Seeing the Lord hath given it charge - (Ezekiel 14:17, "Sword, go through the land").

The sea-shore - the strip of land between the mountains and Mediterranean held by the Philistines: "their valley" (note, Jeremiah 47:5).

There hath he appointed it - (Micah 6:9). There hath He ordered it to rage.


(1) The Philistines had been always enemies of Israel, and as a thorn in their side. Occupying the narrow strip of territory between the mountains and the western shore the Holy Land, they had countless opportunities of harassing God's elect people; so much so, that they at one time got forcible possession of the sacred ark of God in the battle in which Hophni and Phinehas were killed. The divine judgment against them, though long deferred, overtook them at last. The Chaldean hosts, like "an overflowing flood," deluged their land. Nor could those most powerful of the maritime cities of old, the neighbouring Tyre and Zidon, render them any substantial help. Nay, those cities too fell before Nebuchadnezzar; nor could the Philistines, disabled as they were. render them, as formerly, any help (Jeremiah 47:4).

(2) The opponents and injurers of the people of God may seemingly flourish for a time, but they shall ere long perish forever. No helper can avail to mitigate the stroke of vengeance, much less to save them altogether from it, when God has given His charge to the sword of justice (Jeremiah 47:6-7).

(3) It is impossible, in the eternal nature of things, as constituted by God, but that unatoned sin must sooner or later bring down vengeance. Wherever "the carcass" case of corruption is, there must "the eagles" of heaven be gathered together (Matthew 24:28).

(4) Blessed be God, the sword of justice, which was unsheathed against our guilty race, is put up again into (4) Blessed be God, the sword of justice, which was unsheathed against our guilty race, is put up again into the scabbard, rests, and is still (Jeremiah 47:6), in the case of all who are one with Christ our Saviour by a living faith. For God the Father gave it a charge against Him who, though He knew no sin, became sin for us, "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my Fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." Since the shepherd has been smitten for us, according to the eternal "appointment" of God's love, the sword has no charge from God against thee of us who believe. But unbelievers are still under the abiding wrath of God, which hangs over their heads like a sword suspensed by a thread, and ready to fall at any moment. May the readers of this Commentary be all led now, while there is time, to Him who alone can save them from the wrath to come!

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 47". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/jeremiah-47.html. 1871-8.
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