Between Egypt and Babylon are several smaller nations whose futures hang in the balance. To whom will they submit in the coming years? The first of these smaller states to receive a word of judgment is Philistia. At one time a formidable foe of Israel, this nation has seen its power and influence slowly weakening for the last 400 years, since the time of the great King David. In these days of political intrigue, it is likely that the Philistines have entered into a treaty with the city-states of Tyre and Sidon to the north. These allies are among those considering standing up to Babylon (27:3). Perhaps it is this rebellion against God’s greater plan to use Babylon that is the reason for this judgment, or perhaps it is something else He sees in these people who live along the coastal plains of the Mediterranean. Whatever the case, it is God, the mighty warrior, who now moves against the Philistines.
47 The word of the Eternal came to Jeremiah the prophet about the Philistines, before Pharaoh attacked Gaza, one of Philistia’s five major cities.
2 Eternal One: Do you see how the waters are rising in the north?
They will become an overwhelming flood.
They will flow across the land, covering everything—
including the towns and the people who live there.
Those people will cry out;
those who live in that land will weep loudly,
3 For they will hear the pounding hooves of the charging horses,
the clatter of enemy chariots, and the rumbling of their wheels.
Fathers will panic and abandon their children,
their hands limp with fear.
4 For the time will come
to destroy all the Philistines.
She will find no help in Tyre and Sidon—
these allies, too, will be cut off.
The Eternal will destroy the Philistines,
this remnant from the coasts of Caphtor.
5 The people of Gaza will shave their heads in mourning,
for Ashkelon is no more.
You who remain in the valley,
how long will you cut yourselves in grief?
6 You cry out, “O sword of the Eternal, when will you stop?
Return to your sheath, rest from your destruction, and be still!”
7 But how can His sword be still
when the Eternal has given it a direct order?
For Ashkelon and those along the coast will be no more!