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.

Pre-exilic times (Jer 25:1-25:1)

“This is the word

That came to Jeremiah

Concerning all the people of Judah,

In the fourth year of King Jehoiakim,

The son of King Josiah,

Of Judah.

This was the first year

Of King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon.”

This oracle of Yahweh to Jeremiah about Judah is set in a very specific time frame. This was the 4th year of the rule of King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim, around 605 BCE. This was also the first year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, after his victory of Pharaoh Neco of Egypt during the same year, 605 BCE. Thus, this preceded any of the exiles from Judah.

The death of King Jehoahaz (609 BCE) (2 Kings 23:33-23:35)

“Pharaoh Neco confined King Jehoahaz at Riblah in the land of Hamath, so that he might not reign in Jerusalem. The Pharaoh imposed tribute on the land of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim the son of King Josiah king in the place of his father King Josiah. He changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away. He came to Egypt, and died there. King Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to the Pharaoh. He taxed the land in order to meet Pharaoh’s demand for money. He exacted the silver and the gold from the people of the land, from every all according to his assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Neco”

King Jehoahaz was dethroned by King Neco of Egypt who took him to Egypt where he died. Unfortunately, there is no notation about the Annals of the Kings of Judah mentioned here as things are falling apart. Instead King Neco put his brother Eliakim as the new king of Judah. King Neco changed his name from Eliakim to King Jehoiakim. On top of this, he also imposed a tribute on the land of 100 talents of silver and a talent of gold, worth about $2 million dollars in current USA$, a $1,000,000 each of gold and silver. King Jehoiakim paid the money to King Neco because he made the people of Judah pay a tax on their land according to his assessment.

 

The death of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:28-23:30)

“Now the rest of the acts of King Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the Euphrates River. King Josiah went to meet him. But when Pharaoh Neco saw him at Megiddo, he killed him. His servants carried him dead in a chariot from Megiddo. They brought him to Jerusalem. They buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land took Jehoahaz son of King Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father.”

Once again for more information about King Josiah, you can check out the lost “Book of the Annals. Apparently, there was fight with Egypt as King Neco met King Josiah at Megiddo, in the upper Manasseh territory and killed him there. King Neco of Egypt was probably King Nekau II (610-594 BCE). As the Assyrian empire was falling apart he took a lot of land from Assyria. He had a battle at Megiddo with the Assyrians and King Josiah, where Josiah was killed. It seems that Judah and King Josiah sided with the Assyrians. They took his body back to Jerusalem and buried it in a separate tomb. Then his son King Jehoahaz took over as the king of Judah.