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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Zephaniah 1

 

 

Verses 1-18


The Day of Jehovah a Day of Judgment for guilty Judah

The prophecy opens with the declaration of universal destruction for all living things. In his way the prophet impresses upon his hearers the completeness and appalling nature of the impending judgment. In the succeeding vv. he defines in detail the character of the punishment and the guilty classes in Judah upon which it will especially fall. It is in keeping with the genius of the Semitic mind thus to pass from the general to the specific. The Hebrews, for example, began with God and then turned to note the evidence of His work in history and nature; while the Aryan mind first gathered the evidence from life and a study of the universe, and then from these ultimately rose to the conception of a deity.

3. Stumblingblocks] or, slightly correcting the text to bring it into harmony with the rest of the v., 'I will destroy the wicked.'

4. I will also stretch out mine hand] cp. the similar powerful refrain in Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 9:12, Isaiah 9:17, Isaiah 9:21. All traces of Baalism, together with the 'Chemarim' (RV), the black-robed priests of Baal are first to be destroyed, as well as the wicked priests of Jehovah, who degraded His worship.

5, 6. The sweeping judgment and reformation will also affect those who follow the example of their Assyrian masters and worship the stars upon the housetops (cp. 2 Kings 23:5, 2 Kings 23:12; Ezekiel 8:16), those who bow down before the moon (Heb. Jehovah, but cp. Jeremiah 8:2; Deuteronomy 17:3, and the parallelism), those who swear fealty to the Ammonite god, Milcom, and all those apostates who have ceased to worship Jehovah.

7. Jehovah's Day is here conceived of as a day of judgment, as in Amos 5:18, and is likened to a great sacrificial feast: cp. 1 Samuel 9:13, and the guests are Judah's enemies: cp. for the same figure of speech, Isaiah 13:3.

8. The chief crime of the princes in the prophet's eyes is the introduction of foreign customs: see Isaiah 2:6-8.

9. Leap on the threshold] Evidently here also the crime is that of the members of the court, perhaps a foreign religious custom: cp. 1 Samuel 5:5. But as there is no reference to religious customs in the context, the words may simply refer to the retainers of the king, who were in constant attendance at his doors, and who used their influence to enrich themselves at the cost of others. Fill their masters' houses (Heb. 'house') with violence and deceit] i.e. by their acts of oppression and injustice.

10. The reference is to the advance of the enemy against Jerusalem from the N. The fish gate was at the northern end of the Tyropœan valley (cp. Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 12:39), and opened into the second or new quarter: cp. 2 Kings 22:14 RV.

11. Maktesh] or, 'the mortar': the local designation of the merchants' quarter, which probably lay in the Tyropœan valley, W. of the Temple area.

12. Search.. with candles] i.e. thoroughly, as was required in the poorly-lighted houses of Palestine: cp, Luke 15:8. Settled on their lees] i.e. have received no infusion of new and noble teachings, but retain the old fallacies: cp. Jeremiah 48:11, Jeremiah 48:12.

13. Cp. Amos 5:11; Micah 6:15.

14, 15. Jehovah's judgment day is compared with a fierce tempest rapidly advancing toward Judah. The figure was suggested by the swift approach of the hordes of Scythian invaders.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Zephaniah 1:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/zephaniah-1.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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