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The Destruction of the Philistines and the Egyptians foretold.


The destruction of the Philistines. 1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the pro- A.C. 589. phet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote * Gaza 25.

*Heb. Azzah.

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15 As no history, either sacred or profane, has mentioned the capture of Gaza, by the king of Egypt, there is no means of ascertaining the precise date of the delivery of this prophecy. Lightfoot has placed it in this ninth year of Zedekiah; on the supposition that Gaza was taken by Pharaoh's army soon after this time. In the fourth verse the Philistines are called the remnant of the country of Caphtor. This expression perhaps will serve as a clue to the right understanding of the history. On consulting the map of Palestine, we find that Gaza was a city of the tribe of Judah, and that it was near the sea coast. The circumstances related concerning it in the Old Testament prove the great importance attached to it, both by the Israelites and the surrounding nations. It was given to Judah, in the division of the country by Joshua; and it was one of the five principalities of the Philistines towards the southern extremity of Canaan. It was frequently taken and retaken by the Philistines and Hebrews ; and, after having been lost by Ahaz, it was finally conquered by Hezekiah, (2 Kings xviii. 8.)

These contests for the possession of Gaza are supposed, by Calmet, to have been occasioned by its favourable situation for commerce. The revolutions of preceding ages, however, furnish us with more powerful reasons for these contentions.

In Gen. x. 13, 14. we read Misraim begat Ludim, and Ananim, and Leha, bim, and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim) and Caphtorim. And in Deut. ii. 23. Moses, in commanding the Is. raelites not to interfere with the possessions of the Ammonites, leaves his iminediate subject, and gives a short history of the conquest of the Zamzummins by the Ammonites, in a prior age. This conquest leads us to allude to the defeat of the Horim by the Edomites, and in ver. 23. to overthrow of the Avims by the Caphtorim; his words are, “the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came out of Caphtor destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.” Azza is the same as Gaza: the y, which commences the Hebrew name, being by the Septuagint pronounced as a G.

From comparing these expressions, it evidently appears that the Philistim, who may be considered the same as the Egyptians, invaded Palestine, (to which they gave their name) by the south-west: and leaving the country of the Caphtorim, took possession of the sea coast as far as Gaza; before the Israelites entered the Holy Land on the eastern side over the river Jordan. Bishop Cumberland, in bis Dissertation on Deut. ii. 23. has plainly shewn that Caphtor was the same as Pelusium ; and, on referring to the map, it will be seen that the Pelusiac mouth of the Nile is the nearest branch of that river to the country

A.C. 589.


b 18. viii, 7. * Heb. the fulness thereof,

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2 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 then that dwell therein : then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.

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, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands;

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thus invaded. By keeping possession of Gaza, or of Ashkelon, on one side, and
Pelusium on the other, the Egyptians and Philistines maintained under their
dominion the whole of this part of the sea coast; a territory eminently valuable
to them. Besides which, it was the conquest of their ancestors, and a sure pro-
tection to their own territory : it was a certain source of revenue, and afforded
an easy admission into the country of the Israelites, whenever the distresses of
the Jews, or their own ambition prompted them to make an invasion. The
Egyptians and the Philistines therefore, who were the remnant of the country of
Caphtor, seeing at this juncture the distress of Judea, most probably attempted
to regain possession from the Jews, or Assyrians, of the sea coast, from Pelu-
sium to Ashkelon. Egypt and Assyria were the two powerful nations who
were contending for empire: the impoverished and crumbling dominion of Judea
was divided between them at their pleasure. The king of Assyria invaded it
from the east and north, had taken all its fortified towns, except Jerusalem,
Lachish, and Azekah, which two last places were not far distant from Gaza,
I have supposed, therefore, that on Nebuchadnezzar's rapid success in Pales-
tine, the king of Egypt, in union with the Philistines, was making an attempt
to recover possession of the much desired territory from Pelusium to Ashkelon.
In his progress through the country" he smote Gaza," and this conquest, with
the proximity of the Egyptian army, to those divisions of Nebuchadnezzar's
army which were besieging Lachish and Azekah, occasioned the raising of the
siege of Jerusalem by the larger part of the Chaldean army; on seeing which,
the Egyptians retreated to their own country, and left Zedekiah and the Jews
to their fate.

Dr. Blayney suggests the idea, that Gaza might have been taken by the
Egyptians on their retiring before the army of Nebuchadnezzar; but it is not
probable that an army, which was hastily retreating to its own territory for safety,
would stop before a strongly fortified town, besiege, and capture it. Others have
supposed that it was taken by Pharoah Necho, on his return from the battle of
Megiddo, where Josiah was killed, and when all the country submitted to his
victorious arms. But we have no authority, either for supposing that the whole
country submitted to Pharaoh, or that Jeremiah should predict the destruction
of the Philistines, on the capture of that town, more than on the capture of any

On considering the various authorities, it seems most probable, that the capture of Gaza must either have been the cause of Nebuchadnezzar's raising the siege of Jerusalem; or, that it was taken about the time when Lachish and Azekah were besieged by the Chaldean army Vide Bishop Cumberland's Origines Gentium, Tract 2nd ; Paber's Pag. Idol. vol. iii. p. 567; Lightfoot in joc. ; Dr. Blayney in loc. ; Calmet's Dictionary, art. Gaza.

* Heb. the isie.

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4 Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philis- A.C. 589. tines, 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.

5 Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?

6 thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? + put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and Heb, gather

thyself. be still.

7 How can it be quiet, seeing the Lord hath given it a Heb. How
charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore ? there
hath he appointed it.

6 9 Then came the word of the LORD unto the prophet
Jeremiah, saying,
7 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Thus shall

say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to enquire
of me; Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help
you, shall return to Egypt into their own land.

8 And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire.

9 Thus saith the LORD; Deceive not yourselves, say- 9 Heb. souls.
ing, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us : for they
shall not depart.

10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the
Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but
wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every | Heb, thrust

through. man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.

On the Departure of the Chaldeans the Hebrew Slaves are

11 But afterward they turned, and caused the servants
and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return,
and brought them into subjection for servants and for hand-

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maids 16.

16 The prophet, in this part of chap. xxxiv. reproaches the people of Judah for the utter hollowness of their pretended reformation ; and for their perfidious conduct to their Hebrew slaves; whom they again reduced, in despite of their covenant, to their former unlawful bondage, as soon as the danger that threatened them from the Chaldeans appeared to be past. God threatens to punish

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c Ex. xxi. 2, Deut. xv, 12. * Or, hath sold himsels.


1 Heb. where. upon my name is called.

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A.C. 589. 12 Therefore the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah

from the LORD, saying,

13 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondmen, saying,

14 At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew, which * hath been sold unto thee; and when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee : but your fathers hearkened not unto me,

neither inclined their ear. + Heb. to day

15 And ye were now +turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbour ; and

ye had made a covenant before me in the house I which is called by my name :

16 But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids.

17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to bis brother, and every man to his neighbour : behold, I proclaim a

liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestiHebs for a lence, and to the famine; and I will make you & to be drem A Deut. xxviii. moved into all the kingdoms of the earth. 25, 64. ch.

18 And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covevenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof,

19 The princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf;

20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies,

and into the hand of them that seek their life: and their e ch. vii. 33. & e dead bodies shall be for meat unto the fowls of the heaven,

and to the beasts of the earth.

21 And Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which are gone up from you.

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xxix. 18.

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xvi. 4.

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them by giving liberty to the sword, to the pestilence, and the famine. He
assures them he will deliver them into the hands of those enemies “ who are
gone up from you," that he will cause them to return, and make Judah "a de-
solation without an inhabitant."-See note on the first part of chapter xxxix.

22 Behold, I will command, saith the LORD, and cause A. C. 589. them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.


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Jeremiah, attempting to make his Escape from Jerusalem, is

again imprisoned.
11 ! And it came to pass, that when the army of the
Chaldeans was * broken


from Jerusalem for fear of Pha- * Heb. made


raoh's army,

to ascend.

away from thence in thc midst of the

12 Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, † to separate himself thence in the 10t, to slip midst of the people.

13 And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain people. of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans. 14 Then said Jeremiah, It is I false; I fall not away to Heb. false

hood, or. the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes,

15 Wherefore the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe: for they had made that the prison.

16 When Jeremiah was entered into the dungeon, and into the g cabins, and Jeremiah had remained there many Or, cells.


17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is : for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.

18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison ?

19 Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto
you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against
you, nor against this land?

20 Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the king:
I let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee ; | Heb. let my
that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan fun

supplication the scribe, lest I die there.

** The place and date of this part of Jeremiah xxxvii. are assigned in ver. 11.

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