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Against the Philistines. 1The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines, before Pharaoh attacked Gaza:a

2Thus says the LORD:

* See: waters are rising from the north,

to become a torrent in flood;

They shall flood the land and all it contains,

the cities and their inhabitants.

People will howl and wail,

every inhabitant of the land.

3At the noise of the pounding hooves of his steeds,

the clanking chariots, the rumbling wheels,

Parents do not turn back for their children;

their hands hang helpless,

4Because of the day that is coming

to destroy all the Philistines

And cut off from Tyre and Sidon*

the last of their allies.

Yes, the LORD is destroying the Philistines,

the remnant from the coasts of Caphtor.b

5Baldness is visited upon Gaza,c

Ashkelon is reduced to silence;

Ashdod, remnant of their strength,

how long will you gash yourself?*

6Ah! Sword of the LORD!

When will you find rest?

Return to your scabbard;

stop, be still!

7How can it find rest

when the LORD has commanded it?

Against Ashkelon and the seacoast,

there he has appointed it.d

* [47:27] Nebuchadnezzar’s military campaign against Ashkelon in 604 B.C. may provide some historical background for this poem.

* [47:4] Tyre and Sidon: Phoenician seaports allied commercially with the Philistines and often rebelling against Nebuchadnezzar; cf. 27:14. After the capture of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar carried out a partially successful thirteen-year siege of Tyre. Caphtor: Crete and other Aegean islands, points of origin for the Philistines and other sea peoples; cf. Am 9:7.

* [47:5] Baldness…gash yourself: close-cropped hair, silence, and ritual slashing of the body express mourning and grief and here represent the mourner’s awareness that chaos has overcome order (cf. 41:5).

a. [47:1] Ez 25:1516; Zep 2:4.

b. [47:4] Jer 25:22; Ez 25:1617; Am 1:8; 9:7.

c. [47:5] Am 1:7.

d. [47:7] Zep 2:56.

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