Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, June 16th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Zephaniah 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3



Verses 1-3:

A Summons To Repentance

Verse 1 exhorts Judah, as a nation, to repent. She is called upon to gather herself together, for a solemn assembly of genuine mourning and repentance for her sins; As a nation, she had showed no desire to acknowledge her sins, her shame, and her reproach that she had brought upon the name of Jehovah God, through her idolatrous deeds, Jeremiah 3:3. They had become unworthy of God’s name, but showed no desire of paleness, regret, remorse, repentance or shame for her sins, Isaiah 29:22; See also Joel 2:16; 2 Chronicles 21:20.

Verse 2 calls upon them to respond to God’s summons to repentance, before it is too late, before He turns loose, as giving birth to His day of wrath, without any further mercy, and they be destroyed like chaff, blown away by the wind, or consumed by the fire, Proverbs 1:22-30; Proverbs 29:1; Job 21:18; Psalms 1:4.

Verse 3 relates Nehemiah’s appeal from God is for them all, as meek ones, to seek or make a diligent search for the Lord, for restoration to His favor. Especially the pious few who had sought to walk in humility and had not loved the strange (heathen) apparel or practiced idolatry, were to seek God’s favor. Nehemiah simply affirmed that such as would personally seek the Lord’s favor, acknowledge and witness for Him, might be hid, protected, or sustained through the hour of the Day of the Lord, if they were yet living, when the moment came, Micah 6:8; Luke 21:34-36; Hebrews 9:27.

Verses 4-15

Verses 4-15:

Certain Nations To Be Judged

Verse 4 begins a decree of judgment against neighboring states. Five nations from all parts of the earth are named in the coming universal judgment. Gaza shall be abandoned and Ashkelon vacated and desolated as cities of the Philistines, Amos 1:6-8; Isaiah 20:1. Then Ashdod and Ekron are to be overcome, rooted up, and driven out, not by sneak attack at night, but at high noon of the day, the hottest time of the day, the time generally spent at rest in that area of southern Philistia coastline; Such should be the unexpected manner of sudden judgment invasion upon these proud cities, 2 Samuel 4:5; Jeremiah 15:8; Jeremiah 6:4-5.

Verse 5 announces "woe" upon the Cherethites or Cretans who were used as executioners in the royal army of Judah, and would themselves be cut off by Jehovah God. The Cretans had long been associated with the Philistines in their oppression of Israel and Judah, 1 Samuel 30:14; 2 Samuel 8:18; 1 Chronicles 18:17; Ezekiel 25:16. No inhabitant was to be left in Canaan, the land of the Philistines in the coming decreed judgment, Joshua 13:2-3.

Verse 6 announces or prophecies that the sea coast, or line of the Martine planes area, would become a place of dwelling or tentings for shepherds, and folds for flocks, Jeremiah 47:7; Ezekiel 25:16. The cottages were small underground huts, dug to protect the shepherds from the searing heat of the sun.

Verse 7 pledges that the coasts of once mighty and haughty Philistines shall come to be for the remnant of Judah, restored to her land, Zephaniah 3:13-20; Isaiah 1:9; Romans 11:5. In that day they of Judah shall feed and rest in the former houses of Ashkelon, in the evening, for an extended rest; When God shall turn away their captivity, visiting them in mercy, as described Exodus 4:31; See also Zephaniah 3:19-20; Deuteronomy 30:1-9; Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 23:5-8.

Verse 8 asserts that God has heard (listened to) the reproach or derision of Moab, and the revilings of the Ammonites, by which they had vilified his people, while exalting themselves, or acted insolently against their restricted boundaries. Both the Moabites and Ammonites had rejoiced, aided and abetted the calamity of the Jews. God had therefore spoken certain retribution, that was yet to befall them, for their enmity and oppression against His people, Isa ch. 15, 16; Jeremiah 48:29; Amos 2:1-3; Jeremiah 49:1-6; 2 Kings 13:20; Psalms 35:26; Obadiah 1:12.

Verse 9 declares that on the honor of the oath and character of the God of hosts He would send judgment upon the children of both Moab and Ammon whose land would be accursed with slime pits of salty brine, like Sodom and Gomorrah, with spiney nettles growing over the area. The residue of Judah was one day to spoil them, then, thereafter a remnant of His people should possess them as vassals or servants, Judges 9:45; Psalms 107:34.

Verse 10 concludes that this is a just retribution that should befall them because of their own pride and self-exaltation and oppression that He had seen them show against His chosen people, v. 8; Jeremiah 48:29; Proverbs 13:8; Proverbs 16:18.

Verse 11 describes how the Lord of hosts will be terrible in judgment against the Ammonites and Moabites, depriving them of worship and sacrifices to their idol gods, which were considered the source of their food, a vain assumption regarding blind, deaf, dumb, lifeless and helpless gods, Deuteronomy 32:38; Psalms 115:4-9. Thereafter all men should worship the true God, even from every coast and nation, Psalms 68:29; Malachi 1:11.

Verse 12 directly addresses the Ethiopian nation also, warning that they shall be slain as victims of war, by the sword of the Lord’s directed judgment upon them, Isaiah 10:5. This was fulfilled soon thereafter, when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt, with which Ethiopia was allied, Jeremiah 46:2; Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 30:5-9.

Verse 13 also warns that God will stretch out His down-turned hand in judgment against Assyria to the north, also making Nineveh its capital, a desolation, even dry like a wilderness, desert or uninhabited place, because Assyria was northeast of Judah, but made her invasion of the land from the north, accounting for Zephaniah’s prophecy that God would stretch forth his hand, "against the north," See also Isaiah 10:12; Ezekiel 31:3; Nahum 1:2; Nahum 2:10; Nahum 3:15; Nahum 3:18.

Verse 14 prophesies that God’s final judgment of Nineveh would be do great in desolating the city that flocks and beasts of the nations would come to lie down in her midst, Proverbs 30:25-27; Even the cormorant and the bittern (pelican and porcupine) should come to lodge in the upper lintels of it, or upper pillars of desolated buildings, as their voice would sing out in a minor key, as unclean fowls, reminding any sojourner of her judgment fate, Psalms 102:6; Leviticus 11:18.

Verse 15 recounts that this is (exists as) the proud, haughty, arrogant capital city of Assyria, sheltered behind canals of water, defence motes, that would become, under Divine judgment decree, a lair of wild varmints, a desolate waste and an hissing to men of other nations who would rejoice at her fall and wave a farewell hand, declaring that she deserved the judgment fate, 1 Kings 9:8; Job 27:23; Lamentations 2:15; Ezekiel 27:36.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Zephaniah 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/zephaniah-2.html. 1985.
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