Jeremiah 47

DateVersionReading Plan
@August 9, 2023ESV (2016)ESV Prophets Plan 2023


  • Judgment on the Philistines


The chapter opens with a word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah “concerning the Philistines, before Pharaoh struck down Gaza.” The Philistines were inhabitants of a coastal plain west of Judah. The Egyptian defeat of Gaza is part of a chronological notation because the real invader, Babylon, would come out of the north and not from Egypt. It is unknown whether this reference is linked to Pharaoh Neco’s slaying of king Josiah at Megiddo in 609 BC or if it is after Neco sent Nebuchadnezzar home to regroup while Neco captured Gaza.

Jer. 47:3-4 describes how the terror will be so great that the Philistines will be powerless to fight, even forsaking their own children. In Jer. 47:4, the Philistines and Phoenicians are grouped together; presumably pointing to an alliance between their cities. If so, Nebuchadnezzar’s actions against the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon were merely preparatory for what was to come to the Philistines cities.

In Jer. 47:5, it says that “Baldness has come upon Gaza; Ashkelon has perished.” Ashkelon was a Philistine seaport that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 604 BC.

The remaining verses (Jer. 47:6-7) speak to the “sword of the LORD”. A plea is made to rest His sword of judgment but this would prove futile. What had been decreed by the LORD against Ashkelon and the shore of the sea was finished when Nebuchadnezzar overran Ashkelon after a siege in 604-603 BC. When God’s sword comes out of its sheath, there is no stopping it until the work is done.


It is a bit more challenging to glean application from such a short and largely historic chapter, but I think the final verses offer some valuable insights into God’s heart. God’s sword was falling upon the Philistines and they implored that it be put away. However, it was not to be and Ashkelon (one of five main cities of the Philistines) fell to Nebuchadnezzar.

Bridging this into a personal context, life in a broken world often means finding ourselves in difficult and pressing situations. We can be quick to ask for God to lessen the load, neglecting the work He is doing by keeping it on us. Embracing our journey as a symphony of tension and release is the hallmark of a mature walk with the Lord; understanding that it is all meant to foster awareness of Himself as the source of all strength and provision. We are called to suffer well because of the One who suffered for us, the One who endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. Praise be to God that by our trials He would draw our eyes to Himself, who He is, what He has done, Lord Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

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