Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. Jeremiah 47:1-7 (= LXX. Ch. Jeremiah 29:1-7). Prophecy against the Philistines
Gi. (see introd. note on 46–51) accepts this prophecy as genuine, and is supported by Co., who refers to the four parallels in subject, viz. Amos 1:6-8; Isaiah 14:29-32; Ezekiel 25:15-17, and Zephaniah 2:4-7, with none of which does this ch. exhibit any points of contact, as in all probability it would, had it been a late composition. Erbt, however, accepts Jeremiah 47:6 f. only. Du. and others (see introd. note on the whole group) place the ch. late.
We may summarize thus.
(i) Jeremiah 47:1. Title and date of the prophecy. (ii) Jeremiah 47:2-7. Nebuchadnezzar’s host, as a flood from the north, shall bring destruction and woe on the land. Fathers in their terror at the invasion flee in panic, forgetting their children. The cities of Philistia shall be spoiled and empty. Will the sword of Jehovah never be sheathed? Yet how can it be so, seeing that He has charged it with this terrible duty?
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.1. This v. in LXX consists simply of the words “Concerning the Philistines.” At any rate we shall probably be right in considering “before that … Gaza” as a gloss added by a scribe who had regard to Jeremiah 47:5, but failing to see that the disaster there spoken of was to come on Gaza from the north, not from Egypt, identified it with Pharaoh-neco’s capture of “Kadytis,” probably Gaza (Herod. II. 159), after the battle of Megiddo (b.c. 608).
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.2–7. The Prophecy regarding Philistia
2. waters rise up] In Jeremiah 46:8 the same figure was used for an army. Cp. Isaiah 8:7 (on which Co. thinks this v. to be based), where the Assyrian army is likened to the floods of the Euphrates.
an overflowing stream] a river suddenly swelling up through the effect of the winter rains; a frequent occurrence in Palestine.
and the men … shall howl] Co. rejects this part of the v. both as over-passing the proper limits of the metre, and suggesting a universal judgement, which would be, according to him, a later conception.
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;3. At the noise … wheels] Gi. omits all three clauses, Co. the middle one; both objecting on metrical grounds.
strong ones] See on Jeremiah 8:16.
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.4. The text is difficult, and may be corrupt. As Co. points out, the Hebrew for “that remaineth” is rather a survivor, one who has escaped. Moreover, he remarks that we have no reason from other sources to suppose that, as the v. implies, the Philistines were the chief allies of the Phoenicians (“Tyre and Zidon”). He therefore reads (changing slightly the MT.) “all the remnant of their excellency.” Both Gi. and Co. make the next clause (“for … Philistines”) a gloss. The LXX support this view, and render the last clause of the v. “and the Lord will destroy the remnant of the islands,” omitting “Caphtor.”
every helper that remaineth] in other words the Philistines, the other helpers having been already cut off.
the remnant of the isle of Caphtor] the few of the Philistine nation that still survive after the wars with Egypt and Assyria, from which they had long suffered. Caphtor is spoken of also in Deuteronomy 2:23; Amos 9:7, as the original abode of the Philistines. It is probably to be identified with Crete.
isle] For mg. sea coast See on Jeremiah 25:22.
Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?5. Baldness] in token of mourning. See on Jeremiah 16:6.
Gaza] important from its situation at the junction of the roads for caravans from Egypt and Arabia.
Ashkelon] mentioned again in Jeremiah 47:7. Co., however, proposes to substitute here Ashdod, while Rothstein thinks that the latter has fallen out through the similarity of the two words. Peake suggests that, if so, it should not precede but follow Ashkelon on account of its connexion (Joshua 11:22) with the Anakim. See next note.
the remnant of their valley] better, as LXX, the remainder of the Anakim (the old race of giants, see Numbers 13:33; Deuteronomy 2:10, and elsewhere). This avoids the unsuitable description of the country referred to as a “valley.” But with a change of one consonant Co. conjectures (for “their valley”) Ekron, and cps. Amos 1:7-8.
cut thyself] in mourning. See on Jeremiah 16:6; cp. Deuteronomy 14:1. The question is addressed to the survivors.
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.6, 7. These vv. have been suspected, but on insufficient (partly metrical) grounds. They contain (a) the cry of the Philistines for mercy, (b) the prophet’s reply.
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.7. How canst thou] rather, with LXX, Syr., Vulg. How can it.… So correct “thee” by mg. it, the sea shore, the Philistine and Phoenician coast.