The Philistine cities (Jer 25:20-25:20)

“I went to

All the kings

Of the land of the Philistines,

Ashkelon,

Gaza,

Ekron,

With the remnant of Ashdod.”

Next up, Jeremiah went to the west coast where the enemies of King David had been, the Philistines. There were, of course, the 5 main Philistine cities mentioned from the time of Joshua, chapter 13. Ashkelon, Gaza, and Ekron seemed to be still standing at this time of Jeremiah. Gath, not mentioned here, was completely destroyed by the Egyptians in the 7th century. Ashdod was almost completely destroyed at the same time. These old Philistine cities are all part of modern day Israel.

The vicious request of Jeremiah (Jer 18:21-18:23)

“Therefore give their children

Over to famine!

Hurl them out

To the power of the sword!

Let their wives become childless!

Let their wives become widowed!

May their men meet death

By pestilence!

May their youths be slain

By the sword in battle!

May a cry be heard

From their houses,

When you bring the marauder

Suddenly upon them.

They have dug a pit

To catch me.

They laid snares

For my feet.

Yet you!

Yahweh!

Know all their plotting

To kill me.

Do not forgive their iniquity!

Do not blot out their sin

From your sight!

Let them be tripped up before you!

Deal with them

While you are angry!”

Jeremiah does not hold back his contempt for his adversaries. He is vicious in this lament to Yahweh. First, he wanted their children to die whether by famine or by the sword. He wanted their wives to be childless and widows. He hoped that they might die from a pestilence. He wanted their young men killed in battle. He wanted a marauder to suddenly attack them. They had plotted to catch him and kill him in a pit, as they laid snares for his feet. He told Yahweh not to forgive their iniquity, not to blot out their sins. They should be tripped up. He wanted Yahweh to deal with them while he was angry, so that they would receive a worse sentence. There was no sense of Jeremiah’s mercy or compassion here. He wanted his enemies completely destroyed.