Matthew Poole's Commentary
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.The destruction of the Philistines, Tyrians, Zidonians, and others by the sea-side.
In the former chapter the prophet foretold the judgments of God upon the Egyptians, who were the Jews’ seeming friends, but their real enemies, as they were occasions to them of idolatry, and of a sinful confidence in them. He comes in this chapter to foretell the judgments of God upon the Philistines, who were inveterate enemies to the Jews, against whom also Isaiah, Isaiah 14:29 of his prophecy, and Ezekiel, and Amos prophesied, Ezekiel 25:15 Amos 1:6; and also Zephaniah, in Zephaniah 2:4,5 of his prophecy. When the king of Egypt took Gaza, one of the five cities of the Philistines, the Scripture doth not tell us. Some think it was either in his way to Carchemish, or as he came back a conqueror from the battle at Megiddo, where Josiah was slain. The time when Jeremiah had this revelation is set down to let us know that it was in the time of the Philistines’ prosperity, when the prophet could see no such effect existent, or probable in its causes.
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.Calamities and afflictions are often in Scripture set out under the notion of waters; and as the miseries of Egypt were set out by the overflowings of their great river Nilus, so the calamities of the Philistines are expressed by the overflowings of the great river Euphrates; these miseries coming upon them by the Chaldeans, which were a northern people, their waters are said to
rise up out of the north. It is said to be an
overflowing flood that should
overflow the land, because it was to be a sweeping judgment, which like a flood should carry all before it, which should produce amongst the inhabitants of Gaza a great howling and lamentation.
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;This is all but a description of the march of an army, so terrible as should make parents forget their natural affection, and flee away to save themselves, looking upon themselves as lost, and unable to protect their children.
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.Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines; the day which God hath set and appointed for the ruin of the Philistines. Tyre and Zidon were neighbouring to the Philistines, as appears from Genesis 10:14,15 Joe 3:4, and so were often called to their help. God threateneth both to destroy them, and also those that helped them. It appeareth, from Genesis 10:14, that the Philistines and Caphtorims were related; for their first progenitors, Philistim and Caphtorim, were both the sons of Mizraim the son of Ham, one of the sons of Noah. It appears, from Deu 2:23, that they expelled the Avites, and dwelt in Hazerim to Azzah; whether their country be what was afterwards called Cappadocia or Damiata is not much material for us to know, they were a people confederate with the Philistines, whom God here threateneth to destroy with them.
Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?Both
Ashkelon were two principal cities belonging to the Philistines taken by Judah, Judges 1:18; we read of them 1 Samuel 6:17; both Amos, Zephaniah, and Zechariah prophesied their ruin, Amos 1:8 Zephaniah 2:4,7 Zec 9:5, as well as this prophet. By
the remnant of their valley, most understand those who lived in the valleys near about Ashkelon. Concerning the last clause in this verse there is some difference, whether the words should be joined with the next verse, and read,
how long wilt thou cut thyself, O thou sword of the Lord? or as they lie in our Bibles; and then the sense is, Why will you in so desperate a case afflict yourselves, when all your mourning will do you no good.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Some make the words of the 6th verse to be the words of the Philistines in their mourning and cutting themselves, crying to God to stop the sword drawn against them, and to return it again into its scabbard: others make them the words of the prophet, lamenting the havoc which he by the eye of the prophecy saw was like to be made amongst the Philistines by the Chaldeans (for good men are affected with the miseries even of the worst of men).
The latter verse must be expounded according to the former; for if the words of the former verse be understood as the words of the Philistines, those of this verse must be understood as the words of the prophet putting them out of hopes of the sword’s stopping, because what it did was by commission from God, which it must execute. If the words of the former verse be to be understood as the prophet’s words, the words of this verse are either the prophet’s words correcting himself, and concluding that this sword could not be quiet, because it was edged by God himself, who had given it his commission, which it must execute; or the words of God, letting the prophet know that he had given this sword its commission, and therefore it could not stop till Ashkelon and the people on the sea-shore were destroyed by it.