And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod
Some F16 take "mamzer", the word for "bastard", to be the name of a people that should dwell in Ashdod; this is the same place with Azotus, ( Acts 8:40 ) and was also one of the five lordships of the Philistines, ( Joshua 13:3 ) ( 1 Samuel 6:17 ) some, by the "bastard" here, understand Alexander the great, who gave out that he was not the son of Philip, but of Jupiter Ammon: others think Jonathan the Maccabee is intended, who took this place and burnt it with fire, and the temple of Dagon in it, ``83 The horsemen also, being scattered in the field, fled to Azotus, and went into Bethdagon, their idol's temple, for safety. 84 But Jonathan set fire on Azotus, and the cities round about it, and took their spoils; and the temple of Dagon, with them that were fled into it, he burned with fire.'' (1 Maccabees 10) and though he was not a bastard, yet was a stranger to the Philistines; in which sense the Jewish commentators, Jarchi and Kimchi, interpret the word, and understand it of the Israelites who should dwell in this place; even those, as Aben Ezra says, who were abject, mean, and despised among the Israelites; which would be a great mortification to the proud Philistines, as is suggested in the next clause: and to this sense the Targum paraphrases the words,
``and the house of Israel shall dwell in Ashdod, who shall be in it as strangers:''but it is best to understand this of Israelites indeed, of true Christians, who are accounted spurious, not the children of God, but aliens and strangers, the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things; who should dwell here when the Gospel was preached in it, as doubtless it was by Philip, ( Acts 8:40 ) and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render the words, "and strangers shall dwell in Ashdod"; men of another religion, and despised and not owned even by their relations, as if they were bastards. And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines;
by Alexander, and by the Jews in the times of the Maccabees, bringing them into subjection, which their haughty spirits could not well bear; or through the abolition of their old Heathenish religion, in which they prided themselves. It may be observed, that all along the conversion of these various people to Christianity is expressed in terms which seem to signify the destruction of them; and that partly because, in the literal sense, reference is had to the conquest of them by Alexander, by which means the Greek language obtained in Syria and Phoenicia, into which, a little after, the Bible was translated, which paved the way for the bringing of these people to the knowledge of Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel; and partly because Paganism was abolished in these places when Christianity prevailed.
F16 R. Judah ben Bileam apud Aben Ezram in loc.