Thus says the LORD:
“For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four,
I will not turn away its punishment,
Because they took captive the whole captivity
To deliver them up to Edom.
But I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza,
Which shall devour its palaces.
I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod,
And the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon;
I will turn My hand against Ekron,
And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,”
Says the Lord GOD.
This passage mentions four main Philistine cities: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron. The judgement isn’t really against them though; they just represent the whole nation. The judgement is against all the Philistines.
Gaza gets first mention, possibly because it was the capital at that time. The capital moved around a lot, which is why all the cities can be referenced as synecdoches for Philistia.
And their offense is most offensive. Edom is the land of Esau, Jacob’s brother. So, taking some Israelites (it doesn’t say whom) and selling them to Edom is especially wrong.
The individual punishments mentioned are brutal enough, but the bottom line is total.
And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish.
Fire is a recurring theme here. There will be a reference to fire in every one of these judgements. This continues the theme started in verse two with the reference to Mount Carmel, where Isaiah called fire down from heaven.
This is typical. Fire is the standard image of God’s judgement, both in this world and in eternity. Besides hell and Mount Carmel, the image of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah comes to mind.
Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So he overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. — Genesis 19:24–25
Other examples are too numerous to list.
They’re all throughout scripture.
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.