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Bible Commentaries
Zephaniah 2

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books


God's Wrath Coming Upon The Nations

Zephaniah Two

Zephaniah called upon his people to repent before the Day of the Lord came upon them. The people had become callused to evil and they had lost all sense of shame. Continuation in sin brings you to the point where you do not even blush at sin. Jer_8:12 says, "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD." It was not too late for God's people if they would (1) Humbly obey the LORD, (2) Come and worship Him, and (3) Do right and be humble. Those that turn to the Lord will be hidden from His wrath. Zephaniah had total respect for the sovereignty of God. He believed that if the people would repent and seek the Lord that "it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger."

God also pronounced sure and certain judgment upon the heathen nations that had rejected Him. In a graphic way God's judgment against the nations that surrounded His people was set forth. Located to the west was the Philistine. They would face God's wrath. Moab and Ammon were to the east. They were as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah and would therefore receive severe punishment. Ethiopia to the south would also be destroyed. Assyria to the north would soon to be destroyed. All nations will be judged by how they have responded to God's people and to God's commandments.

Verses 1-3

Repent before it is too late -- Zep_2:1-3 : God's people had become a disgraceful nation. God called upon them to gather around and focus their attention on correcting those things wherein they had failed in their relationship with Him. The gathering together was to be a time of mourning and repentance. Zephaniah called upon them to repent and correct their evils before it was too late. If they failed to repent the Lord had set a time when His furious wrath would be poured out and they would be swept away. The prophets announced the doom that would happen if the people did not repent. He urged them not to just allow the day to pass as chaff and there be no repentance. We must never neglect, even for a day, getting right with God and staying right with Him. God says, "Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." ( 2Co_6:2 ) The Devil says, "there is no hurry, get right later." The message of the prophet was, "Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger." ( Zep_2:3 )

Verses 4-7

God's Judgment against the Philistines -- Zep_2:4-7 : If Judah failed to repent she would face God's judgment. The heathen nations would also face the Judgment of the Almighty. Scripture pictures God's Judgment on Philistia. Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron are Philistine cities that were near to God's people. They had been enemies to God's people and now they will face proper punishment. God said, Gaza and Ashkelon will be deserted and left in ruins. "Ashdod will be emptied in broad daylight, and Ekron uprooted." God told them that He was their enemy and the He would wipe them out. God would use their sea coast to be a dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks. This would later be a blessing to God's people as they returned to the homeland from captivity. The remnant of the house of Judah would take that land and use it for pasture. God's Judgment would come upon Judah because they would not repent. His Judgment would also come against the pagan nations because of their sins.

Verses 8-11

God's Judgment against the Moabites and Ammonites -- Zep_2:8-11 : God next dealt with the children of Moab and the children of Ammon, Judah's neighbors to the east. These heathen nations had insulted and threaten God's chosen nation. These nations were also idolatrous. God promised that captivity would cut off idol worship. The idols would have no more sacrifices offered to them. Their worship would be entirely destroyed. The Lord says, "He will famish all the gods of the land." God promised that these nations would become like Sodom and Gomorrah. They would be covered with thornbushes and they would become salt pits forever. They would feel the strong sting of divine wrath. Bible students remember the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven. (Genesis 19) The Moabites and Ammonites would be destroyed with similar decisiveness. Then the remnant of God's people would possess their land. This remnant was that small group of Jews that returned from captivity in Babylon. (Ezra 2) God said, "This is how Moab and Ammon will at last be repaid for their pride and for sneering at the nation that belongs to me, the Lord All-Powerful."( Zep_2:10 ) The sin of pride is a preoccupation with self. Pride may damn more souls than any other sin. God hates all sin and He will punish every sin. He especially hates pride because it robs Him of His glory. The person that walks in pride tries to take God off His throne and put self on that throne. God would throw down their idols and all would recognize Him as the superior power of the universe. God promised to judge the Moabites and the Ammonites and to bring them to perpetual desolation.

Verses 12-15

Judgment against Ethiopia and Assyria -- Zep_2:12-15 : The Ethiopians had also made light of God's people. They likewise would feel the vengeance of divine wrath. God completed His circle of Judgment by looking north to Assyria. He would make this once prosper nation desolate. It would be a fit habitation only of animals and birds. "The Lord will reach to the north to crush Assyria and overthrow Nineveh." Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria. Nineveh had felt strong and secure. Assyria proves again that "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." ( Pro_16:18 ) The destruction would be so complete that only noisy ravens would be heard inside its buildings at night. The beautiful cedar would even be removed from the buildings. This sad description was given of Nineveh in Zep_2:15 , "This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand." Only the owls and raves would stand as sentinel in the watchtower overlooking this once great city. Zephaniah simply mentions the coming Judgment. He does not deal with the reasons for the Judgment because that was dealt with in detail by Amos, Isaiah and Nahum.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Zephaniah 2". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/zephaniah-2.html. 2014.
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