|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
47:1-7 The calamities of the Philistines. - The Philistines had always been enemies to Israel; but the Chaldean army shall overflow their land like a deluge. Those whom God will spoil, must be spoiled. For when the Lord intends to destroy the wicked, he will cut off every helper. So deplorable are the desolations of war, that the blessings of peace are most desirable. But we must submit to His appointments who ordains all in perfect wisdom and justice.
Verses 5-7. - The prophet changes his style. In ecstasy or imagination, he sees the calamity which he has foretold already come to pass. Philistia is not, indeed, altogether annihilated; it was not the will of God to make a full end as yet with any of the nations round about. But it is reduced to extremities, and fears the worst. Verse 5. - Baldness. A sign of the deepest sorrow (comp. on Jeremiah 16:6). Ashkelon is cut off. Ruins of Ashkelon are still visible. "It is evident that the walls of the old city were built on a semicircular range of rocky hills, which ended in perpendicular cliffs of various heights on the seashore. Wherever nature failed, the weak places were strengthened by the help of earthworks or masonry. On the southern and southeastern sides, the sand has penetrated the city by means of breaches in the walls, and every day it covers the old fortifications more and more, both within and without. The ancient towns alone rise distinctly, like rocky islands, out of the sea of sand. The ruins on the north are bordered by plantations of trees. They lie in such wild confusion that one might suppose that they were thrown down by an earthquake. There is no secure landing place; the strip of sand at the foot of the western wall is covered at high tide, when the waves beat against the cliffs. Still J.G. Kinnear, in 1841, found some remains of a mole, and this discovery is confirmed by Schick [the able German architect now at Jerusalem]." Thus writes Dr. Guthe, in the Journal of the German Palestine Exploration Society (1880), remarking further that, in a few generations, the ruins of Ashkelon will be buried under the drifting sand. It is partly the sand hills, partly the singular fragmentariness of the ruins of Ashkelon, which gives such an air of desolation to the scene, though, where the deluge of sand has not invaded, the gardens and orchards are luxuriant. Dr. W.M. Thomson, in the enlarged edition of 'The Land and the Book' (London, 1881, p. 173), observes that "the walls and towers must have been blown to pieces by powder, for not even earthquakes could throw these gigantic masses of masonry into such extraordinary attitudes. No site in this country has so deeply impressed my mind with sadness." With the remnant of their valley. "With" should rather be "even." "Their valley" means primarily the valley of Ashkelon; but this was not different from the valley or low-lying plain (more commonly called the Shefelah) of the other Philistian towns; and the whole phrase is an enigmatical, poetic way of saying "the still surviving population of Philistia." But this addition certainly weakens the passage, and leaves the second half of the verse abnormally short. It is far better to violate the Massoretic tradition, and attach "the remnant," etc., to the second verse half. But "their valley" is still a rather feeble expression; a proper name is what we look for to make this clause correspond to those which have gone before. The Septuagint reads differently, for it renders καὶ τὰ κατὰλοιπα Ἐνακείμ. We know from Joshua 11:22 that some of the Anakim were left "in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod;" and in David's time the Philistines could still point to giants in their midst (1 Samuel 17:4; 2 Samuel 21:16-22), who, like the Anakim (Deuteronomy 2:20), are called in the Hebrew, Rephaim. It may be objected, indeed (as it is by Keil), that the Anakim would not be traceable so late as Jeremiah's time; but Jeremiah was presumably a learned man, and was as likely to call the Philistines Anakim, as an English poet to call his countrymen Britons. No one who has given special attention to the phenomena of the Hebrew text elsewhere can doubt that "their valley" is a corruption; the choice lies between the "Anakim" of the Septuagint and the plausible correction of a Jewish scholar (A. Krochmal), "Ekron." How long wilt thou cut thyself? Shall thy lamentation never cease? (comp. on Jeremiah 16:6). The question is in appearance addressed to "the remnant" (personified as a woman), but in reality the judicial Providence who sends the calamity.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Baldness is come upon Gaza,.... The Targum is,
"vengeance is come to the inhabitants of Gaza.''
It is become like a man whose hair is fallen from his head, or is clean shaved off; its houses were demolished; its inhabitants slain, and their wealth plundered; a pillaged and depopulated place. Some understand this of shaving or tearing off the hair for grief, and mourning because of their calamities; which agrees with the latter clause of the verse:
Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley; this was one of the live cities of the Philistines; it lay north of Gaza. Herodotus (x) calls Ashkelon a city of Syria, in which was the temple of Urania Venus, destroyed by the Scythians; said to be built by Lydus Ascalus, and called so after his name (y). Of this city was Herod the king, and therefore called an Ashkelonite; it was now destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, but afterwards rebuilt and inhabited; and with it were destroyed the remainder of the cities, towns, and villages, in the valley, adjoining to that and Gaza; or Ashkelon and Gaza, now destroyed, were all that remained of the cities of the valley, and shared the same fate with them. The Targum is,
"the remnant of their strength;''
so Kimchi, who interprets it of the multitude of their wealth and power;
how long wilt thou cut thyself? their faces, arms, and other parts of their body, mourning and lamenting their sad condition; the words of the prophet signifying hereby the dreadfulness of it, and its long continuance.
(x) Clio, sive l. 1. c. 105. (y) Vid. Bochart. Phaleg l. 2. c. 12. p. 88.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Baldness … cut thyself—Palestine is represented as a female who has torn off her hair and cut her flesh, the heathenish (Le 19:28) token of mourning (Jer 48:37).
their valley—the long strip of low plain occupied by the Philistines along the Mediterranean, west of the mountains of Judea. The Septuagint reads Anakim, the remains of whom were settled in those regions (Nu 13:28). Joshua dislodged them so that none were left but in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (Jos 11:21, 22). But the parallel (Jer 47:7), "Ashkelon … the sea-shore," established English Version here, "Ashkelon … their valley."
Jeremiah 47:5 Parallel Commentaries
Jeremiah 47:5 NIV
Jeremiah 47:5 NLT
Jeremiah 47:5 ESV
Jeremiah 47:5 NASB
Jeremiah 47:5 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible