Jeremiah: Prophet Of Judgment Followed By Blessing

Part LXXVIII: God's Judgment For Long-Time Oppressions Of His People

(Jeremiah 47:1-7)


I.                 Introduction

A.    Since God is a God of infinite righteousness, He must always thoroughly judge sin.

B.     However, He is also a longsuffering Lord Who is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy (Psalm 103:8), so He may take a long time to address sin with His punishment.

C.     Nevertheless, He always judges wickedness, the lesson of Jeremiah 47:1-7 that we view for our insight:

II.              God's Judgment For Long-Time Oppressions Of His People, Jeremiah 47:1-7.

A.    God waited a long time to punish the Philistines' oppression of His people, but He finally did so, Jer. 47:1:

1.      God gave the prophetic message of Jeremiah 47:1-7 to Jeremiah before Pharaoh Neco marched north through Israel en route to the Battle of Carchemish in 609 B. C., but after Jeremiah had begun his ministry in 627 B. C.; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1194; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, p. 1045; Jeremiah 47:1.

2.      These dates are significant, for no specific sin that led to this judgment of the Philistines is recorded in the Jeremiah 47:1-7 prophetic message itself, so we must look elsewhere for insight on identifying that sin.

3.      In doing so, we note that "Philistia occupied the coastal plain of Judah and had been a thorn in Israel's side since the time of the Conquest (cf. Jud. 3:1-4).  Whenever the Philistines were strong, they tried to expand from the coastal plain into the hill country of Judah." (Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T.)  Indeed, as late as 731 B. C. in Ahaz's reign (Ibid.; Ibid., Ryrie, p. 684-685), the Philistines plagued Judah's people.

4.      Joshua's conquest of the Promised Land occurred around 1400 to 1370 B. C. (Ibid., p. 328), so the Philistines had been an oppressive foe of God's people for over 600 years, and all during that time God had been keeping a record of this oppression, one day to administer judgment for it!

B.     Accordingly, Jeremiah 47:2-7 predicts that judgment for Philistia's long-term oppression of God's people:

1.      God likened the invading Babylonians to a flood, much like the flooding Euphrates River in Babylonia that would rise in the north and be an overflowing torrent to sweep away the Philistines, Jeremiah 47:2a,b.

2.      The site of galloping horses and rushing chariots in the land would leave the Philistines crying out in anguish and terror as the enemy overwhelmed them in their attack, Jeremiah 47:2c-3a.

3.      The Philistine men would be so terrified that they would not even turn back to help their own children (Jeremiah 47:3b), nor would they be able to help their allies Tyre and Sidon to the north, Jer. 47:4.

4.      Mention of two of five major cities in Philistia, the cities of Gaza and Ashkelon, is made to stress the calamity the Philistines would face, Jer. 47:5a: "Gaza was attacked by the Egyptians (cf. Jer. 47:1), and Ashkelon was later destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar" (Ibid.), indicating that "the Philistines would be caught in the middle of the struggle between Babylon and Egypt and would be destroyed," Ibid.  This is a fitting judgment for Philistia because it had long hounded God's people as a foreign nation, and now she would be destroyed by being caught between two foreign powers in their struggle against one another!

5.      Consequently, the Philistines would shave their heads and cut themselves, both signs of mourning or grief (Ibid., p. 1150) as the nation was finally completely destroyed, Jeremiah 47:5b.

6.      Jeremiah asked how long would the sword of the Lord strike the Philistines until it was quiet, satiated of the shedding of the  blood of the Philistine people, Jeremiah 47:6a.  He even called for the Lord's sword to return to its sheath, to rest and be quiet, Jeremiah 47:6b.

7.      However, Jeremiah answered his own question by asking how the Lord's sword against Philistia could possibly be quiet seeing that the Lord had given it a charge against Ashkelon and against the people on the seashore, Jeremiah 47:7a.  God had appointed the sword to smite these people for over 600 years of oppression against His people, and it would not stop until God's righteous judgment was fulfilled, v. 7b.


Lesson: Though it took over 600 years for God to administer final judgment on Philistia for all of her long oppressions against His people, when God began to administer final judgment upon her, it was full of fury and continued unabated until God's wrath was fully satisfied and His righteous demands fully met.


Application: (1) If we have sinned, may we immediately confess it to God to avoid His discipline that will otherwise surely, fully come!  (2) If we have been wronged by another, may we leave the matter with God to handle, for vengeance belongs to Him, Romans 12:19.  God may take a long time to address it, but He will certainly address it.