And the sea coast shall be dwellings [and] cottages for
That tract of land which lay on the coast of the Mediterranean sea, inhabited by the Philistines, should now become so desolate, that instead of towns and cities full of merchants and sea faring persons, and houses full of inhabitants, and warehouses full of goods, there should now only be seen a few huts and cottages for shepherds to dwell in, to shelter them from the heat by day, and where they watched their flocks by night, and took their proper repose and rest. The last word is by some rendered "ditches" F9, which were dug by them to receive rainwater for their use: or rather may signify "cottages dug by shepherds" F11; in subterraneous places, whither they retired in the heat of the day, to shelter themselves from the scorching sun; and some of them were so large as to receive their flocks also; such was the cave of Polyphemus, as Bochart F12 observes, in which the cattle, namely, the sheep and goats, lay down and slept; and in Iceland such are used to secure them from the cold; where we are told F13 there are caverns in the mountains capable of sheltering a hundred sheep or more: and whither they very cordially retreat in bad weather. These holes are in such mountains as have formerly burned, and are of infinite service to them, both winter and summer; in the winter for shelter, and in the summer for very good pastures, which they find in plenty all around. Such sort of huts and cottages as these, in hot countries, Jerom seems to have respect unto, when, speaking of Tekoa, he says F14, there is not beyond it any little village, nor indeed any field cottages like to ovens (subterraneous ones, Calmet F15 calls them), which the Africans call "mapalia": these Sallust F16 describes as of an oblong figure, covered with tiles, and like the keels of ships, or ships turned bottom upwards; and, according to Pliny F17, they were movable, and carried from place to place in carts and waggons; and therefore cannot be such as before described; and so Dr. Shaw F18 says, the Bedouin Arabs now, as their great ancestors the Arabians, live in tents called "hhymas", from the shelter which they afford the inhabitants; and adds, they are the very same which the ancients call "mapalia": and folds for flocks;
in which they put them to lie down in at evening. The phrases express the great desolation of the land; that towns should be depopulated, and the land lie untilled, and only be occupied by shepherds, and their flocks, who lead them from place to place, the most convenient for them.
F9 (twrk) "fossas", Tigurine version; "fossuris", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ben Melech; but disapproved of by Gussetius. p. 402.
F11 "Mansiones effossionum pastorum, Drusius; caulae effossionum pastorum", i. e. "effossae a pastoribus", Bochart.
F12 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 45. col. 467, 468.
F13 Horrebow's Natural History of Iceland, c. 29. p. 46.
F14 Prooem, in Amos.
F15 Dictionary, in the word "Shepherds".
F16 Bell. Jugurth. p. 51.
F17 Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 3.
F18 Travels, p. 220. Ed. 2.