Prophecy against the Philistines.

V. 1. The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah, the prophet, against the Philistines, the ancient enemies of the people of Israel on the west, along the shores of the Mediterranean, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza. The exact occasion of this conquest is a matter of conjecture. It may be that Pharaoh-necho took the city after the battle of Megiddo, or that Pharaoh-hophra smote the city after his vain attempt to drive the Chaldeans out of the country. At any rate, Gaza was strong enough after its conquest by Pharaoh to be an object of anxious concern and to demand stern measures on account of its opposition to Jehovah. V. 2. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, waters rise up out of the North, namely, the Chaldean armies, and shall be an overflowing flood and shall overflow the land and all that is therein, the city and them that dwell therein, like a winter torrent, carrying everything before it. Then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl, for terror at the impending calamity. The figurative description is now explained. V. 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, all expressive of the Chaldean power, the fathers shall not look back to their children, thereby denying even the natural affections, for feebleness of hands, a general powerlessness having taken hold of them, making it impossible for them even to think of defending themselves, v. 4. because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth, so that all the allies would withdraw their assistance; for the Lord will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor, most likely Crete; for it was from this island that the Philistines, although descended from the Mizraim, Gen. 10, 13. 14, originally emigrated to the shores of the Mediterranean. Cp. Amos 9, 7; Deut. ;2, 23. V. 5. Baldness is come upon Gaza, one of the city-states of Philistia, due to tearing out the hair because of great grief; Ashkelon, another of the Philistine cities, is cut off with the remnant of their valley, the long coastal plain which was the territory of Philistia. How long wilt thou cut thyself? with incisions in the flesh, after the manner in which the heathen expressed the height of sorrow and mourning. V. 6. O thou sword of the Lord, so the prophet apostrophizes Jehovah's weapon of punishment, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? desisting from further slaughter. Put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still. But the prophet, after addressing the sword in the second person, turns to his hearers and explains in the third person why this deliverance is impossible, why God cannot rest, desist from punishing. V. 7. How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord hath given it a charge against Ashkelon and against the seashore? Not only Philistia, but also Phenecia was included in the Lord's punishment. There hath He appointed it, ordering the sword of His anger to work havoc against these obstinate enemies of His plans; for those who rebel against His authority make themselves subject to His condemnation.