Against the Philistines (Ezek 25:15-25:15)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘With unending hostilities,

The Philistines

Acted in vengeance

With malice of heart.

They took revenge

In destruction.’”

The Philistines were often mentioned in the biblical literature, especially as the enemies of King David. They were perhaps originally from the island of Crete. They were the five main Philistine coastal cities mentioned from the time of Joshua, chapter 13, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Gath, and Ashdod, all on the Mediterranean coast line of present day Israel. Thus the mention of unending hostilities with the Philistines did not seem out of place. Jeremiah, chapter 47, had also spoken against them. These Philistines acted with vengeance and malice, as they brought revenge on the Israelites with their destruction.

Against Moab (Ezek 25:8-25:8)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Moab said.

‘The house of Judah is

Like all the other nations.’”

Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.

The defeat of Moab (Jer 48:1-48:2)

“Concerning Moab.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Woe for Nebo!

It is laid waste!

Kiriathaim is put

To shame!

It is taken!

The fortress is put

To shame!

It is broken down.

The renown of Moab

Is no more.

In Heshbon,

They planned evil

Against her.

‘Come!

Let us cut her off

From being a nation!’

You also!

O Madmen!

Shall be brought

To silence.

The sword shall

Pursue you.”

Strangely enough, this is a very long chapter on Moab, the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. Isaiah also had 2 chapters on Moab, chapters 15 and 16. The Moabites and Israelites had been involved in many quarrels and battles, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is the country of Jordan. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter in Genesis, chapter 19. Thus the Moabites had an on again, off again, relationship with the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Mount Nebo, the place where Moses died, had been laid waste. The powerful fortress and famous Kiriathaim was put to shame. It is not clear whether this is the same city as Kir, mentioned in Isaiah, chapter 15. Heshbon was a city in Ammon, north of Moab, where the madmen were looking to plan evil against the Moabites. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 31, not chapter 48 as here.

The Philistines (Jer 47:1-47:1)

“The word of Yahweh

Came

To the prophet Jeremiah

Concerning the Philistines,

Before Pharaoh attacked Gaza.”

The Philistines, perhaps from Crete, had been the enemies of King David with many mentions in the biblical literature. They were, of course, the five main Philistine cities mentioned from the time of Joshua, chapter 13. Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Gath, and Ashdod, all on the Mediterranean coast line of present day Israel. Gath and Ashdod were almost completely destroyed by the Egyptians in the 7th century. Here there is a mention of Pharaoh Neco invading Gaza. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 29, not chapter 47 as here.

Yahweh informs Jeremiah what to say (Jer 26:4-26:6)

“You shall say to them,

‘Thus says Yahweh.

If you will not listen to me,

To walk in my law

That I have set before you,

Then there will be a curse.

If you do not heed the words

Of my servants,

The prophets,

Whom I send to you urgently,

Even though you

Have not heeded them,

Then I will make this house

Like Shiloh.

I will make this city

A curse

For all the nations of the earth.’”

Yahweh tells Jeremiah exactly what to say to the people of Judah. If they do not listen to Yahweh and walk in the law that he gave them, he will curse them. If they do not heed the words of his servants, his prophets that he sent to them, then he would make their Temple like that of Shiloh in Samaria. Both the ancient Canaanites and the Israelites had used Shiloh as a cultic worship center, until the Temple was built in Jerusalem during the time of King David (1010-970 BCE) and King Solomon (970-931 BCE). Since they had not listened to the prophets of Yahweh, he was going to curse this city of Jerusalem in a way that all the countries of the world would know about it.

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.

Shiloh (Jer 7:12-7:15)

“‘Go now to my place

That was in Shiloh.

There I made

My name dwell at first.

See what I did to it,

Due to the wickedness

Of my people Israel.

Now,

Because you have done

All these things

Watch out!’

Says Yahweh.

‘When I spoke to you persistently,

You did not listen.

When I called you,

You did not answer.

Therefore I will do

To the house

That is called by my name,

In which you trust,

What I did to Shiloh.

This is the place

That I gave to you

As well as your ancestors.

I will do

Just what I did to Shiloh.

I will cast you out of my sight.

I will do

Just as I cast out all your kinsmen,

All the offspring of Ephraim.’”

Shiloh had been an ancient Canaanite shrine and then an Israelite shrine until it was destroyed by the Philistines around 1050 BCE. Shiloh was in the Ephraim territory, north of Bethel and Jericho, about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. It had been an Israelite shrine where the Ark of the Covenant was until Jerusalem was built by King David and King Solomon. Here Yahweh reminds Jeremiah that his name had lived at Shiloh. However, due to the wickedness of those people, he changed his living place to Jerusalem. Like them, these people in Jerusalem were not listening when Yahweh called. They did not answer him. Thus he was going to do to Jerusalem what he had done to Shiloh. He was going to cast them all out of his sight, as he had done to Ephraim and all its descendants.