Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.
Jer 47:1-7. Prophecy against the Philistines.
1. Pharaoh-necho probably smote Gaza on his return after defeating Josiah at Megiddo (2Ch 35:20) [Grotius]. Or, Pharaoh-hophra (Jer 37:5, 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] (Am 1:6, 7).
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. waters—(Isa 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. Nebuzara-dan was left by Nebuchadnezzar, after he had taken Jerusalem, to subdue the rest of the adjoining cities and country.
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. (Compare Jer 4:29).
fathers … 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 instruments of action, shall have lost all power; their whole hope shall be in their feet.
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. every helper—The Philistines, being neighbors to the Ph�nicians of Tyre 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.
Caphtor—the Caphtorim and Philistines both came from Mizraim (Ge 10:13, 14). The Philistines are said to have been delivered by God from Caphtor (Am 9:7). Perhaps before the time of Moses they dwelt near and were subjugated by the Caphtorim (De 2:23) and 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 (Eze 25:16, Cherethims); Kitto, Cyprus. Between Palestine and Idumea there was a city Caparorsa; and their close connection with Palestine on the one hand, and Egypt (Mizraim, Ge 10:13, 14) on the other hand, makes this locality the most likely.
Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?
5. Baldness … cut thyself—Palestine is represented as a female who has torn off her hair and cut her flesh, the heathenish (Le 19:28) token of mourning (Jer 48:37).
their valley—the long strip of low plain occupied by the Philistines along the Mediterranean, west of the mountains of Judea. The Septuagint reads Anakim, the remains of whom were settled in those regions (Nu 13:28). Joshua dislodged them so that none were left but in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (Jos 11:21, 22). But the parallel (Jer 47:7), "Ashkelon … the sea-shore," established English Version here, "Ashkelon … their valley."
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. Jeremiah, in the person of the Philistines afflicting themselves (Jer 47:5), apostrophizes the "sword of the Lord," entreating mercy (compare De 32:41; Eze 21:3-5, 9, 10).
up thyself—Hebrew, "Gather thyself," that is, retire or return.
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. Jeremiah, from addressing the sword in the second person, turns to his hearers and speaks of it in the third person.
Lord … given it a charge—(Eze 14:17).
the sea-shore—the strip of land between the mountains and Mediterranean, held by the Philistines: "their valley" (see on Jer 47:5).
there hath he appointed it—(Mic 6:9). There hath He ordered it to rage.