Jeremiah 47:5
Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Baldness is come upon Gaza.—The baldness is the outward sign of extremest mourning (Jeremiah 48:37; Isaiah 15:2-3), perhaps, also, of extremest desolation (Isaiah 7:20).

Ashkelon is cut off . . .—Better, perhaps, Ashkelon is speechless. The LXX. apparently followed a different text, and gives “the remnant of the Anakim” instead of “the remnant of their valley.” Hitzig adopts this rendering, and connects it with the known fact that a remnant of the old gigantic non-Semitic race had taken refuge among the Philistines (1Samuel 17:4; 2Samuel 21:22; 1Chronicles 20:5-8) after they had been driven from Hebron (Joshua 14:12-15; Joshua 15:13-14). Others, without adopting the LXX. reading, interpret the word rendered “their valley” as meaning, as in Isaiah 33:19, those that speak an unintelligible language, barbarians (Amakim), and suppose this form to have passed in the LXX. into the more familiar form of Anakim. The English version, however, is accepted by many critics, and may refer to Ashkelon and Gaza as the “remnant,” the last resource of the valley (Emek) or low-country of the Philistines, more commonly known as the Shephelah.

How long wilt thou cut thyself?—The words point to a ritual of supplication, like that of the priests of Baal in 1Kings 18:28, as prevailing among the Philistines.

Jeremiah 47:5. Baldness is come upon Gaza; how long wilt thou cut thyself, &c. — Under great calamities, and for the loss of any near kindred, it was usual for men to express their grief by shaving their heads, and cutting their flesh. Instead of Ashkelon is cut off, &c., Blaney reads, Ashkelon is put to silence, observing, that “silence likewise is expressive of great affliction. Thus Job’s friends are said to have sat with him seven days and seven nights upon the ground without addressing a word to him, because they saw his grief was very great, Job 2:13. And so the Hebrew word here used, נדמה, is to be understood, (Isaiah 15:1,) of Moab’s being made speechless with grief and astonishment the night that its cities were spoiled: see chap. Jeremiah 48:2.” With the remnant of their valley — Instead of this interpretation, the LXX. read οι καταλοιποι Ενακιμ, the remnant of the Anakims. And this reading may be thought to derive some countenance from what is said Joshua 11:22. But we shall see reason to prefer the present reading of the text, if we consider the situation of Gaza and Ashkelon, about twelve miles distant from each other, near the sea, in a valley, of whose beauty and fertility an accurate traveller has given the following description: “We passed this day through the most pregnant and pleasant valley that ever eye beheld. On the right hand a ridge of high mountains; (whereon stands Hebron;) on the left hand the Mediterranean sea; bordered with continued hills, beset with variety of fruits. The champaign between, about twenty miles over, full of flowery hills, ascending leisurely, and not much surmounting their ranker valleys; with groves of olives, and other fruits, dispersedly adorned.” — Sandys’s Travels, book 3. p. 150. The author adds, that in his time, “this wealthy bottom (as are all the rest) was, for the most part, uninhabited, but only for a few small and contemptible villages” — a state of desolation, owing to the oppressions of a barbarous and ill-advised government. But we may easily conceive the populousness that must have prevailed there in its better days, especially if we consider the power which the Philistines once possessed, and the armies they brought into the field; although their country was scarcely forty English miles in length, and much longer than it was broad. — Blaney.

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.Baldness - Extreme mourning (see Jeremiah 16:6).

Is cut off - Others render, is speechless through grief.

With the remnant of their valley - Others, O remnant of their valley, how long wilt thou cut thyself? Their valley is that of Gaza and Ashkelon, the low-lying plain, usually called the Shefelah, which formed the territory of the Philistines. The reading of the Septuagint is remarkable: "the remnant of the Anakim," which probably would mean Gath, the home of giants 1 Samuel 17:4.

Jeremiah 47:6. Or, Alas, Sword of Yahweh, how long wilt thou not rest? For the answer, see Jeremiah 47:7.

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."

Both

Gaza and

Ashkelon were two principal cities belonging to the Philistines taken by Judah, Judges 1:18; we read of them 1 Samuel 6:17; both Amos, Zephaniah, and Zechariah prophesied their ruin, Amos 1:8 Zephaniah 2:4,7 Zec 9:5, as well as this prophet. By

the remnant of their valley, most understand those who lived in the valleys near about Ashkelon. Concerning the last clause in this verse there is some difference, whether the words should be joined with the next verse, and read,

how long wilt thou cut thyself, O thou sword of the Lord? or as they lie in our Bibles; and then the sense is, Why will you in so desperate a case afflict yourselves, when all your mourning will do you no good.

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.

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

(f) They who shaved their heads for sorrow and heaviness.

(g) As the heathen used in their mourning, which the Lord forbade his people to do, De 14:1.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. Baldness] in token of mourning. See on Jeremiah 16:6.

Gaza] important from its situation at the junction of the roads for caravans from Egypt and Arabia.

Ashkelon] mentioned again in Jeremiah 47:7. Co., however, proposes to substitute here Ashdod, while Rothstein thinks that the latter has fallen out through the similarity of the two words. Peake suggests that, if so, it should not precede but follow Ashkelon on account of its connexion (Joshua 11:22) with the Anakim. See next note.

the remnant of their valley] better, as LXX, the remainder of the Anakim (the old race of giants, see Numbers 13:33; Deuteronomy 2:10, and elsewhere). This avoids the unsuitable description of the country referred to as a “valley.” But with a change of one consonant Co. conjectures (for “their valley”) Ekron, and cps. Amos 1:7-8.

cut thyself] in mourning. See on Jeremiah 16:6; cp. Deuteronomy 14:1. The question is addressed to the survivors.

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. Jeremiah 47:5The prophet sees, in the spirit, the threatened desolation as already come upon Philistia, and portrays it in its effects upon the people and the country. "Baldness (a sign of the deepest and most painful sorrow) has come upon Gaza;" cf. Micah 1:16. נדמתה is rendered by the Vulgate conticuit. After this Graf and Ngelsbach take the meaning of being "speechless through pain and sorrow;" cf. Lamentations 2:10. Others translate "to be destroyed." Both renderings are lexically permissible, for דּמה and דּמם have both meanings. In support of the first, the parallelism of the members has been adduced; but this is not decisive, for figurative and literal representations are often interchanged. On the whole, it is impossible to reach any definite conclusion; for both renderings give suitable ideas, and these not fundamentally different in reality the one from the other. שׁארית עמקם, "the rest of their valley" (the suffix referring to Gaza and Ashkelon), is the low country round about Gaza and Ashkelon, which are specially mentioned from their being the two chief fortresses of Philistia. עמק is suitably applied to the low-lying belt of the country, elsewhere called שׁפלה, "the low country," as distinguished from the hill-country; for עמק does not always denote a deep valley, but is also sometimes used, as in Joshua 17:16, etc., of the plain of Jezreel, and of other plains which are far from being deeply-sunk valleys. Thus there is no valid reason for following the arbitrary translation of the lxx, καὶ τὰ κατάλοιπα ̓Ενακείμ, and changing עמקם into ענקים, as Hitzig and Graf do; more especially is it utterly improbable that in the Chaldean period Anakim were still to be found in Philistia. The mention of them, moreover, is out of place here; and still less can we follow Graf in his belief that the inhabitants of Gath are the "rest of the Anakim." In the last clause of Jeremiah 47:5, Philistia is set forth as a woman, who tears her body (with her nails) in despair, makes incisions on her body; cf. Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:5. The question, "How long dost thou tear thyself?" forms a transition to the plaintive request, "Gather thyself," i.e., draw thyself back into thy scabbard. But the seer replies, "How can it rest? for Jahveh hath given it a commission against Ashkelon and the Philistine sea-coast." For תּשׁקטי, in Jeremiah 47:7, we must read the 3rd pers. fem. תּשׁקט, as the following להּ shows. The form probably got into the text from an oversight, through looking at תּשׁקטי in Jeremiah 47:6. חוף, "the sea-coast," a designation of Philistia, as in Ezekiel 25:16.

The prophecy concludes without a glance at the Messianic future. The threatened destruction of the Philistines has actually begun with the conquest of Philistia by Nebuchadnezzar, but has not yet culminated in the extermination of the people. The extermination and complete extirpation are thus not merely repeated by Ezek; Ezekiel 25:15., but after the exile the threats are once more repeated against the Philistines by Zechariah (Zechariah 9:5): they only reached their complete fulfilment when, as Zechariah announces, in the addition made to Isaiah 14:30., their idolatry also was removed from them, and their incorporation into the Church of God was accomplished through judgment. Cf. the remarks on Zephaniah 2:10.

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