Zephaniah 2:5

Zephaniah 2:5

Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coasts, the nation of the
Cherethites
Which is a name of the Philistines in general, as Kimchi and Ben Melech; or these were a particular tribe belonging to them, that inhabited the southern part of their country; see ( 1 Samuel 30:14 1 Samuel 30:16 ) those on the sea coast, the coast of the Mediterranean sea, and so lay between that and Judea: out of this nation, in the times of David and Solomon, were some choice soldiers selected, called the Cherethites and Pelethites, who were their bodyguards, as Josephus F1 calls them; a royal band, which never departed from the king's person; see ( 2 Samuel 15:18 ) ( 2 Samuel 20:7 2 Samuel 20:23 ) . The Septuagint version calls them "strangers of the Cretians"; and are thought by some to be a colony of the Cretians; a people that came originally from the island of Crete, and settled here; but, on the contrary, rather Crete was a colony of the Philistines, and had its name from them; for by the Arabians F2, the country of Palestine, or the Philistines, is called Keritha; and by the Syrians Creth; and, by the Hebrews the inhabitants thereof are called Cherethites, as here, and in ( Ezekiel 25:16 ) and so the south of the Cherethites, in ( 1 Samuel 30:14 ) , is, in ( Ezekiel 25:16 ) , called the land of the Philistines. In all the above places, where they are spoken of as the attendants of Solomon and David, they are in the Targum called "archers"; and it is a clear case the Philistines were famous for archery, whereby they had sometimes the advantage of their enemies; see ( 1 Samuel 31:3 ) and bows and arrows were the arms the Cretians made use of, and were famous for, as Bochart F3 from various writers has shown; the use of which they learned very probably from the Philistines, from whom they sprung; though Solinus F4 says they were the first that used arrows; and, according to Diodorus Siculus, Saturn introduced the art of using bows and arrows into the island of Crete; though others ascribe it to Apollo F5; and it is said that Hercules learnt this art from Rhadamanthus of Crete; which last instance seems to favour the notion of those, that these Cherethites were Cretians, or sprung from them; to which the Septuagint version inclines; and Calmet F6 is of opinion that Caphtor, from whence the Philistines are said to come, ( Amos 9:7 ) and who are called the remnant of the country of Caphtor, ( Jeremiah 47:4 ) is the island of Crete; and that the Philistines came from thence into Palestine; and that the Cherethites are the ancient Cretians; the language, manners, arms, religion and gods, of the Cretians and Philistines, being much the same; though so they might be, as being a colony of the Philistines; (See Gill on Amos 9:7) though a learned man {1}, who gives into the opinion that these were royal guards, yet thinks they were not strangers and idolaters, but proselytes to the Jewish religion at least; and rather Israelites, choice selected men, men of strength and valour, of military courage and skill, picked out of the nation, to guard the king's person; and who were called Cherethites and Pelethites, from the kind of shields and targets they wore, called "cetra" and "pelta": and it is a notion several of the Jewish writers {2} have, that they were two families in Israel; but it seems plain and evident that a foreign nation is here meant, which lay on the sea coast, and belonged to the Philistines. Another learned man F7 thinks they are the Midianites, the same with the Cretians that Luke joins with the Arabians, ( Acts 2:11 ) as the Midianites are with the Arabians and Amalekites by Josephus F8; however, a woe is denounced against them, and they are threatened with desolation. The Vulgate Latin version is, "a nation of destroyed ones": and the Targum,

``a people who have sinned, that they might be destroyed:''
the word of the Lord is against you;
inhabitants of the sea coast, the Cherethites; the word of the Lord conceived in his own mind, his purpose to destroy them, which cannot be frustrated. So the Targum,
``the decree of the word of the Lord is against you;''
and the word pronounced by his lips, the word of prophecy concerning them, by the mouth of former prophets, as Isaiah, ( Isaiah 14:29 Isaiah 14:31 ) and by the mouth of the present prophet: O Canaan, the land of the Philistines;
Palestine was a part of Canaan; the five lordships of the Philistines before mentioned belonged originally to the Canaanite, ( Joshua 13:3 ) and these belonged to the land of Israel, though possessed by them, out of which now they should be turned, and the country wasted, as follows: I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant;
so great should be the desolation; all should be removed from it, either by death or by captivity; at least there should be no settled inhabitant.
FOOTNOTES:

F1 Antiqu. l. 7. c. 5. sect. 4. and c. 11. sect. 8. Vid. Opitii Exercitat. de Crethi & Plethi.
F2 Giggeius apud Bochart. Canaan, l. 1. c. 15. col. 422.
F3 Ibid. col. 423.
F4 Polyhistor. c. 16.
F5 Diodor. Sicul. Bibliothec. l. 5. p. 334, 341.
F6 Dictionary, in the word "Caphtor". {1} Fortunati Scacchi Elaeochrism, Myrothec. l. 3. c. 18, 19. {2} Kimchi & Ben Gersom in 2 Sam. viii. 18. and xv. 18.
F7 Texelii Phoenix. l. 3. c. 21. sect. 4. p. 389, 390.
F8 Antiqu. l. 5. c. 6. sect. 1.
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