Devotional Commentary on Jeremiah 47


Have you ever heard of leaders misunderstanding and miscommunicating to each other almost with a fake news scenario and then they go to war and rip each other, each countries, cities, towns, and people apart with millions dying? Until one leader throws in the towel. Only then they stop. As crazy as such a situation sounds, there is a God Who’s Hand is pushing historical events for purposes we cannot yet understand or always totally comprehend. But, according to this chapter of Jeremiah, He is definitely involved and even through earthly instrumentalities carrying out His work with a sword of punishment. Is it just of God to punish the Philistines of Jeremiah’s day next to the coast in coastal cities? Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Ashkelon and Gaza. This is what this chapter is all about.


Tyre and Sidon are mentioned as well as Ashkelon and Gaza. Including Byblos, excavations were carried out by archaeological teams of different countries at each of these sites. I also have pictures where I am sitting in one of the fields digging with Tom Jull from Arizona University at the Harvard University Excavation at Ashkelon in the park during the Summer of I think 1990 or 1991. Michael Hasel and myself spent some weeks at Ashkelon and then went to Dor also. Good times, good experience.


As R. K. Harrison said in 1973 on page 173 that this pharaoh was Necho II when he went to Haran on that expedition in 609 BCE. Jeremiah was predicting before [betherem] that. Some people want to say a prophet is a speaker ex eventu, out of the event. When he is within the corridor of the events he make some educated guesses and sometimes he is right. That is a prophet. No. That is a weather-reporter not a prophet. A prophet is given the ability to see into the future even 2500 years later because God can see 2500 years later. Like the 2300 years prophecy in Daniel 8:14. Others are even worse. They say the prophet speaks only post-eventu, after the event. What a fake then.


Scholars want to date the event at Gaza to about 601 BCE but that is not possible. In this chapter is explained that Necho II was successful in his military campaign. It was in his earlier years before Neb that Necho II were successful and since Neb came on the scene things did not work out so well so he spent the rest of his years on ambitious projects of building and exploration. Harrison supra is probably closer to the truth.


“Water” will come from the north which is the armies of Neb (verse 2). It will become a flooding stream that will inundate the cities, people and the land shall wail (verse 2).


The noise of horses hoofs, chariots, the wheels will be heard and this shocking sounds will make the fathers run without grabbing the child’s hands (verse 3). Coward fathers. Leaving children unattended.


The Lord, through Neb has a plan to plunder Tyre, Sidon and remnant of the island of Caphtor (verse 4). Gaza and Ashkelon would become a waste and the remnant of the valley (verse 5). Is that the valley where Gezer is situated?


Then Isaiah talked to the sword of the Lord: “O Sword of the Lord [His Word] how long will you not be silent? Go into your sheath, rest and be silent” (6).  “How shall it be silent when the Lord commanded it?” (verse 7).


The sword was appointed by the Lord to Ashkelon and to the sea coast (verse 7). Rabbi Abarbanel identified the sword as Neb in 1500, but it is rather the audible voice of the Lord. His will is spoken and things happen as He spoke. And God said let there be light and there was light.


Dear Lord

We are fascinated in Your Word that came to Jeremiah and also the Word that functions as a Sword to punish nations or let events happen in history even in our times without us seeing it with this perspective. Open our eyes to see Your Hand and trust in You and how You have led the remnant in the past. In Jesus Name. Amen.