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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 47

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary



The destruction of the Philistines.

Before Christ 610.

Verse 1

Jeremiah 47:1. Before that Pharaoh smote Gaza When the country was in seeming quiet and security. The destruction of Gaza probably followed Pharaoh's victories at Megiddo and Carchemish, when Judaea became tributary to him. See 2Ch 35:20; 2 Chronicles 36:3. This prophesy was the more remarkable, as at the time of its delivery there was a common hatred to the Jews between the Chaldeans and the Philistines. See Grotius.

Verse 2

Jeremiah 47:2. Behold, waters rise up out of the north "Behold the army of Nebuchadrezzar, which, bursting forth like a deluge, shall cover the land of the Philistines." See the 7th and 8th verses of the last chapter.

Verse 3

Jeremiah 47:3. At the noise, &c.— At the clapping, or clattering sound of the hoofs of his horses, &c. The fathers look not back, &c. Every one is so possessed with a sense of his own danger, that he does not think of those who are most nearly and tenderly related to him. Compare chap. Jeremiah 9:4.Micah 7:5-6; Micah 7:5-6. Matthew 10:35-36.

Verse 4

Jeremiah 47:4. The remnant of the country of Caphtor The remains of the island of the Cappadocians. Houbigant. The word island, as we have before observed, is often used in Scripture for a country. See Deuteronomy 2:23.

Verse 5

Jeremiah 47:5. With the remnant of their valley Gaza and Ashkelon were about twelve miles distant from each other, near the sea, in a valley, of whose beauty and fertility an accurate traveller has given the following description: "We passed this day through the most pregnant and pleasant valley that ever eye beheld. On the right hand a ridge of high mountains (whereon stands Hebron); on the left hand the Mediterranean sea, bordered with continued hills, beset with variety of fruits;—The champion between about twenty miles over, full of flowery hills ascending leisurely, and not much surmounting their ranker vallies; with groves of olives, and other fruits, dispersedly adorned." Sandys's Travels, book 3: p. 150. The author adds, that in his time "this wealthy bottom (as are all the rest) was for the most part uninhabited, but only for a few small and contemptible villages:" A state of desolation owing to the oppressions of a barbarous and ill-advised government. But we may easily conceive the populousness which must have prevailed there in its better days, especially if we consider the power that the Philistines once possessed, and the armies they brought into the field; although their country was scarcely forty English miles in length, and much longer than it was broad.

Verse 6

Jeremiah 47:6. O thou sword of the Lord It is with great elegance that life is attributed to inanimate things. This dialogue between the sword of the Lord and the prophet, is a very bold, and at the same time a very sublime prosopopoeia, See Bishop Lowth's 13th Prelection. Schultens reads the latter clause, Retreat to thy scabbard; strike, and be still.

Verse 7

Jeremiah 47:7. Sea-shore Sea-coast.

REFLECTIONS.—The Philistines had been the inveterate enemies of Israel: they had received many a severe check in the days of David; but seem to have become a very powerful people, and were in peace, and strongly fortified, when this prophesy was delivered, which was before Pharaoh smote Gaza, an event supposed to have happened during his expedition to Carchemish.

1. The northern army of the Chaldeans is represented as a swelling flood, which bears down all opposition. In terrors at their approach, the Philistines will howl, unable to resist the torrent; affrighted at the stamping of the horses and the rattling of the chariots, and flying as if death was at their heels, their fears should overcome the strongest natural affection, so that they should not look back to their children, and through feebleness of hands be unable to defend or carry them away. It is the day of divine appointment for the destruction of the Philistines; and Tyre and Zidon must share the like fate, together with the remnant of the country of Caphtor, their near kin and neighbours. Their cities are spoiled, their country plundered, their inhabitants destroyed, and Gaza and Ashkelon are described with signs of deepest woe, shaving off their hair, and cutting themselves, bemoaning these desolations. Note; The strongest holds are no proof against the artillery of divine threatenings.

2. The prophet, tenderly affected with the scene, cries out, O thou sword of the Lord! (for though in the hand of the Chaldeans, yet God put it there), how long will it be ere thou be quiet? and the dire contention cease; put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest and be still. A good man prays thus for his bitterest enemies; and charity teaches us to pray that wars may cease in all the world, and a stop be put to the effusion of human gore so lavishly shed. But when God has a controversy, and his sword is drawn against a nation, how can it be quiet, till it has executed vengeance on God's enemies, and accomplished his purposes towards a guilty people? seeing the Lord hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea-shore, the places above-mentioned, there hath he appointed it? Note; Every thing here below is under the immediate government of God; even the ambition of princes, and the horrid ravages of war, are instruments in his hands to execute the decrees of his providence on those nations whose provocations call for judgment.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Jeremiah 47". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/jeremiah-47.html. 1801-1803.
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