|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-8 Here are judgements foretold on several nations. While the Macedonians and Alexander's successors were in warfare in these countries, the Lord promised to protect his people. God's house lies in the midst of an enemy's country; his church is as a lily among thorns. God's power and goodness are seen in her special preservation. The Lord encamps about his church, and while armies of proud opposers shall pass by and return, his eyes watch over her, so that they cannot prevail, and shortly the time will come when no exactor shall pass by her any more.
Verse 5. - Ashkelon shall see it. The ruin of so mighty a city as Tyre naturally filled neighbouring people with dismay. The prophet directs his attention to Philistia, and threatens its chief cities. The cities are enumerated in the same order as in Jeremiah 25:20. Gath is omitted, as in Amos 1:6-8 and Zephaniah 2:4:. It seems never to have recovered its destruction by Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:6). (For Ashkelon, Gaza, and Ekron, see note on Amos 1:6.) Her expectation shall be ashamed. The hope of aid from Tyre shall not be fulfilled. After the fall of Tyre, Alexander continued his march southwards towards Egypt, subduing the cities on his way. The siege of Gaze delayed him some months; and when it was taken, it shared the treatment of Tyre. Its governor, one Batis, a eunuch, was tied alive to the conqueror's chariot, and dragged round the walls, in cruel imitation of the fate of Hector. The king shall perish from Gaza. No particular king is meant; but the prediction says that henceforward no king should reign in Gaze. In contrast with the Eastern policy of allowing conquered nations to retain their own rulers as tributary sovereigns, Alexander always deposed or slew reigning monarchs, and consolidated his empire by replacing them with governors of his own. The various chastisements are meted out by the prophet among the various cities, though they equally apply to all.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Ashkelon shall see it, and fear,.... That is, as Kimchi explains it, when Ashkelon shall see that Tyre humbles herself and submits, she shall humble herself and submit also: and the sense may be, that the inhabitants of Ashkelon, seeing that Tyre, with all her wisdom and strong reasoning, could not stand before the power of the Gospel, but submitted and embraced the Christian religion, were induced, through the efficacy of divine grace, to do the same; and certain it is that this place became Christian; we read (h) of a bishop of Ashkelon, in the synod of Nice, and of other bishops of this place in later councils: it belonged to Palestine, and was one of the five lordships of the Philistines, Joshua 13:3.
Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful; this was a city of Palestine, near to Ashkelon; they are mentioned together, Judges 1:18 the Gentile inhabitants of this place, when they saw the progress the Gospel made in Tyre, Zidon, and Ashkelon, were grieved at it, but many among them submitted to it: very likely Philip the evangelist first preached the Gospel here; see Acts 8:26 there was a Christian bishop of this place in the Nicene council, and others in after ones (i).
And Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; this was also one of the five lordships of the Philistines, Joshua 13:3 which, being near to Tyre, had its dependence on that, expecting it could never be taken; but when they saw that it was taken by Alexander, it was ashamed of its vain expectation, hope, and confidence: and so the inhabitants of this place, when the Gospel came to it, were "ashamed of the house of their confidence", as the Targum paraphrases the words; the confidence they had in their idols, and in the works of their own hands; and were also "ashamed because of their iniquities", as the Arabic version renders them; being convinced of them, and humbled for them, and betaking themselves to Christ for salvation from them. It is probable, that Philip preached the Gospel here, seeing it was not far from Azotus or Ashdod, next mentioned, where Philip is heard of after the baptism of the eunuch: and if Ekron is the same with Caesarea, that was called Strato's tower, as say the Jews (k); and which also Jerom (l) observes, some say are the same it is certain that Philip was there, Acts 8:40 there were several Christian bishops of this place in later times (m).
And the king shall perish from Gaza; some understand this of Batis, who was governor of Gaza, when it was taken by Alexander; who was fastened to a chariot, and dragged about the city, as Curtius (n) relates; but this man was not a king, but governor of the city under one: I rather think the idol Marnes, which signifies "the lord of man", and was worshipped in this place, is here meant; which when it became Christian was destroyed, and a Christian church built in the room of it, as is reported by Jerom (o).
And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited; by Heathens, but by Christians.
(h) Reland. Palestina Illustrata, l. 3. p. 594. (i) Ib. p. 795. (k) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 6. 1.((l) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 88. D. (m) Reland. ib. p. 676, &c. (n) Hist. l. 4. c. 6. (o) Comment in Isaiah 17.tom. 5. fol. 39. H. Epist. ad Laetam, tom. 1. fol. 19. E.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Ashkelon, &c.—Gath alone is omitted, perhaps as being somewhat inland, and so out of the route of the advancing conqueror.
Ekron … expectation … ashamed—Ekron, the farthest north of the Philistine cities, had expected Tyre would withstand Alexander, and so check his progress southward through Philistia to Egypt. This hope being confounded ("put to shame"), Ekron shall "fear."
king shall perish from Gaza—Its government shall be overthrown. In literal fulfilment of this prophecy, after a two month's siege, Gaza was taken by Alexander, ten thousand of its inhabitants slain, and the rest sold as slaves. Betis the satrap, or petty "king," was bound to a chariot by thongs thrust through the soles of his feet, and dragged round the city.
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