Jeremiah – Chapter 47

Smiting the Philistines

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d spoke to Jeremiah regarding the Philistines; this prophecy was given in the time of King Tzidkiyahu, before Pharaoh invaded Gaza.

Water (symbolizing the Chaldean army) is coming from the north and will flood the land and its people. The inhabitants of the land of Philistia will cry out. The noise from the horses and chariots will be so overwhelming that fathers won’t even be able to turn to save their sons. The day is coming when the Philistines will be plundered, cutting off those who would otherwise assist them. G-d will allow Philistia to be plundered, as well as their homeland of Kaftor.

Gaza is “plucked bald” and Ashkelon has been laid waste; how long will they tear their flesh in mourning? How can the metaphorical “sword of G-d” be still when He has commanded it to battle? G-d has sent it against Ashkelon and the coast.

That the Philistines are not indigenous to Israel is explicit in Amos 9:7. Their native land of Kaftor is generally accepted to be the island of Crete, although some say it is Cappadocia in Asia Minor (in modern-day Turkey).

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