Scripture reading – Jeremiah 47; Jeremiah 48

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Jeremiah’s prophecies concerning the Gentile nations began with Egypt in Jeremiah 46 and continued in today’s Scripture reading (Jeremiah 47-48). Let me start today’s study by suggesting my perspective on history.  

A Perspective on the Middle East and Mass Immigration

The Middle East has always been a warring region. Following the flood (Genesis 6-9) and the disbursement of humanity at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), it has been a site for conflict and war between people and nations through the centuries. Imagine living where your home’s landscape evidences the scars of war that date back 4,000 years! Is it any wonder that modern inhabitants of the Middle East know little of peace and accept violence, carnage, and death as a way of life?

Be forewarned: The mass immigration of the 21st century is bringing millions of lost souls whose ancestry has known only war to Western Europe and our Western Hemisphere (North and South America). The opportunity to evangelize and reach the world with the Gospel of Christ is astounding. However, those who refuse to assimilate into our culture historically shaped by Biblical ideals may bring a spirit of hate and violence that is foreign to those who have been taught to love their neighbors and their enemies (Matthew 5:43-45).

Jeremiah 47


A Prophecy Against the Philistines (Jeremiah 47:1)

The Philistines were first mentioned in Genesis 21 when it was recorded that “Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days” (Genesis 21:34). Since Abraham lived around 2100 B.C., it is incredible to realize that the Philistines were still present in the land the LORD promised Israel in 600 B.C. (although Israel was commanded to drive the Canaanites out of the land). Nevertheless, when Nebuchadnezzar rose to power in the region in 600 B.C., he faced the Philistines among the many nations Babylon would conquer.

A Prophecy Against the Philistines (Jeremiah 47:1)

In Jeremiah 47, we read, “The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza” (Jeremiah 47:1). Consider the last phrase, “before that Pharaoh smote Gaza” (Jeremiah 47:1b). Why Pharaoh attacked Gaza is not stated; however, perhaps that Philistine stronghold served as a defense for the Egyptian army as it retreated from Judah to its country.

The Rise of the Chaldean Army: Like Flood Waters (Jeremiah 47:2-5)

Nebuchadnezzar’s army was pictured as flood waters rising from the north that flowed over the land, devastating everything and killing everyone in its path (Jeremiah 47:2). The swiftness and devastation of the Babylonian army were described as “the noise of the stamping of the hoofs…At the rushing of his chariots” (Jeremiah 47:3). Philistine fathers were said to be so overcome with fear that they failed to look back and wait upon their children (Jeremiah 47:3). The ancient Philistine strongholds fell before Babylon and the proud men of Philistia shaved their heads as a sign of humiliation, defeat and mourning (Jeremiah 47:5).

The Finale of the Philistines (Jeremiah 47:6-7)

Jeremiah’s prophecy against the Philistines concluded with the prophet asking, Lord, how long before your sword is satisfied and you put it “into thy scabbard, [to] rest, and be still” (Jeremiah 47:6)? Even as he asked the question, the prophet was reminded that God’s sword is a symbol of judgment. It would work as long as the LORD appointed it (Jeremiah 47:7).

Jeremiah 48

A Prophecy Against Moab (Jeremiah 48:1-6)

Our study of the prophecies of God’s judgment against the Gentile nations continues with a pronouncement of judgment against Moab (Jeremiah 48:1). The Moabites were descended from Lot’s incestuous relationship with his eldest daughter following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:37).

Babylon’s crushing defeat of the Egyptians (Jeremiah 46) and the Philistines (Jeremiah 47) was followed by the utter humiliation and destruction of the Moabites (Jeremiah 48). Jeremiah 48:1-3 recorded the names of several Moabite cities that the army of Babylon would capture. Though the people fled their homes and sought refuge in other cities, they had no escape (Jeremiah 48:4-6).

A Prophecy Against Moab

The Sins of Moab Demanded God’s Judgment (Jeremiah 48:7-30)

The Moabites were a proud people who placed their faith “in [their] works” (perhaps the ramparts they had built about their walled cities). They boasted of their “treasures” (wealth). They believed Chemosh, the Moabite god would save them (Jeremiah 48:7). Like a rich man reveling in his wealth, Moab had “been at ease” from its founding (Jeremiah 48:11). The nation boasted of its “mighty and strong men” (Jeremiah 48:14), and was guilty of magnifying itself against the LORD (Jeremiah 48:26). Proud, boastful, and arrogant, the Moabites were a stubborn nation (Jeremiah 48:29).

Moab is Fallen, and the King is the LORD of Hosts (Jeremiah 48:7-30)

Every city of Moab would be destroyed (Jeremiah 48:8) and left desolate (Jeremiah 48:9). The nation was doomed, for the people were complacent, and the LORD determined their blood would be shed like wine poured out of a cup, and then crushed (48:11b-12). Moab would suffer the destruction of its cities. Her strong men would be killed, for the “King, whose name is the LORD of hosts” had declared it (Jeremiah 48:15). The major cities of Moab were to be laid waste (Jeremiah 48:18-24), and her power (described as “the horn of Moab”) would be “cut off” (Jeremiah 48:25).

The LORD’s Lament Over Moab (Jeremiah 48:31-39)

Lest any believe the LORD is heartless and unmoved when a nation is brought low, we are given a description of God’s sorrow amid His judgment. We find the LORD howling over Moab (Jeremiah 48:31) as He laminated the troubles and sorrows of the people. They had lost everything. The harvest was lost, the wine presses dried, and the joys and laughter of those who tread out the grapes were silenced (Jeremiah 48:32-33).

Even as the Moabite cities were laid waste, the LORD wept over the people. Though His judgment was righteous, and He was putting an end to their idolatry (Jeremiah 48:35), His heart was heavy as the people shaved their heads and cut their beards (outward signs of mourning, Jeremiah 48:37). Everywhere, in every home and every street, there was sorrow (Jeremiah 48:36-38). Moab became an object of scorn (Jeremiah 48:39).

Closing thought

Countries of the 21st century should take from today’s study a reminder of how much the LORD despises proud nations. For Moab’s pride, the LORD declared Babylon would swoop in like an eagle (Jeremiah 48:40) and that the nation’s soldiers would be terrified as God destroyed everyone that “magnified himself against the LORD” (Jeremiah 48:44).

For Moab, all was lost, and their sons and daughters would be taken captive (Jeremiah 48:46). Despite the great judgment, the final verse of today’s study revealed that the LORD was not finished with Moab. We read this promise to that defeated people, “Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the Lord. Thus far is the judgment of Moab” (Jeremiah 48:47).

The LORD is merciful, even amid His judgment.

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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