Jeremiah 47:1–7 (NKJV)
47:1 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before Pharaoh attacked Gaza.
2 Thus says the Lord:
“Behold, waters rise out of the north,
And shall be an overflowing flood;
They shall overflow the land and all that is in it,
The city and those who dwell within;
Then the men shall cry,
And all the inhabitants of the land shall wail.
3 At the noise of the stamping hooves of his strong horses,
At the rushing of his chariots,
At the rumbling of his wheels,
The fathers will not look back for their children,
4 Because of the day that comes to plunder all the Philistines,
To cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper who remains;
For the Lord shall plunder the Philistines,
The remnant of the country of Caphtor.
5 Baldness has come upon Gaza,
Ashkelon is cut off
With the remnant of their valley.
How long will you cut yourself?
6 “O you sword of the Lord,
How long until you are quiet?
Put yourself up into your scabbard,
Rest and be still!
7 How can it be quiet,
Seeing the Lord has given it a charge
Against Ashkelon and against the seashore?
There He has appointed it.”
Jeremiah has begun a litany of pronouncements against the heathen nations that surround Israel. In this chapter, the Lord gives Jeremiah His judgment against Philistia. He uses imagery of a flood of wrath in verse two, then the hooves of the horses of a great army in verse three. Verse four speaks of the plunder of the Philistines, and verse five recounts their mourning, as they shave their heads until they cut themselves. Verse six speaks of their cry for mercy from the Sword of the Lord, but in verse seven the Lord replies with a question asking, “How can it be quiet…?”
In this tumultuous time in the history of the Middle East, with war between Israel and the nations surrounding it, between Egypt and Babylon, how can there be peace? God has exacted punishment on Israel and Judah, and is now paying back the nations surrounding them for their treachery against Israel and Judah, God’s chosen people. Be sure that when you fail God, mercy will be extended in plenteous supply, but eventually the grace of God will allow you to walk out of His protective covering in order to remind you of your need of Him. He is God. Follow Him! However, when the lesson is learned, you can also rest assured the Lord will acknowledge your confession and repentance, and the Sword of the Lord will deliver you and bring you back to the land of promise!