6 For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet, rejoicing with all the malice of your heart against the land of Israel, 7 therefore I will stretch out my hand against you and give you as plunder to the nations. I will wipe you out from among the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
The above is God’s prophecy against Ammon. It is very clear as well. He used Ammon to help punish Israel which they did. However, He did not want them to take such pleasure in doing so and with malice in their hearts against Israel. Thus they will feel His wrath and destruction.
God may use anyone or any nation to do His bidding, but they and no one should do so with malice in their hearts – especially against Israel. I really like how Henry Matthew summarized this thought
It is wicked to be glad at the calamities of any, especially of God’s people; it is a sin for which he will surely reckon. God will make it appear that he is the God of Israel, though he suffers them for a time to be captives in Babylon. It is better to know Him, and to be poor, than to be rich and ignorant of him.
The Philistines took advantage of a weakened Israel and acted with malice in their hearts, doing the same as the Ammonites and suffering the same results as we see in the following verses.
15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, 16 therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will wipe out the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast. 17 I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I take vengeance on them.’”
The Philistines were virtually border neighbors of the Jews. There were many disagreements between the two resulting in wars between them. Thus they readily took revenge when Judah was greatly weakened. They did so with malice in their hearts and hatred for them. Their hatred was seemingly from an endless hostility with Israel tracing back to the time of King David.
5 With one mind they plot together; they form an alliance against you—
6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, of Moab and the Hagrites,
7 Byblos, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre.
So what are we to learn from all of this beyond about not hating Israel or desiring its destruction? Perhaps we should consider this admonition from Matthew Henry:
Those who treasure up old hatred, and watch for the opportunity of manifesting it, are treasuring up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath.
We have so much to be grateful for we should be sure to follow Christ’s command to love our enemies and pray for their salvation instead of their destruction.
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5