“I went to
All the kings
Of the land of the Philistines,
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.
“Yahweh has sent a word
It fell on Israel.
All the people knew it.
Ephraim with the inhabitants of Samaria
In pride with arrogance of heart,
‘The bricks have fallen.
But we will build
With dressed stones.
The sycamores have been cut down.
But we will put cedars in their place.’
Thus Yahweh raised adversaries
He stirred up their enemies.
The Syrians were on the east.
The Philistines were on the west.
They devoured Israel
With an open mouth.
For all this,
His anger has not turned away.
His hand is still stretched out.”
This poem shows how Israel in the north is being devastated by the Philistines on the west coast and Syrians to the northeast. Yahweh sent his word of vengeance on them via these invaders. The people of Samaria and the whole territory of Ephraim knew it was coming. Nevertheless their pride and their arrogance told them not to worry. Although bricks of ordinary houses were falling and sycamores were chopped down, they contended that they would rebuild with fine stones and fine cedar wood in place of them, so that the new houses would be more like palaces. Yahweh, the Lord, stirred up their enemies so that they devoured the northern territory of Israel. Yahweh had stretched out his hand against them and he continued to do so up to the present time. This refrain will be repeated twice more in the next few sections. The various 8th century BCE disputes between Judah and Israel, as well as between Israel with the Syrians can be found in 2 Kings, chapters 14-17, and 2 Chronicles, chapters 25-28.