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Bible Commentaries
Zephaniah 3

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-20

Zephaniah 3:1 . Woe to the oppressing city, to Jerusalem, now polluted with every crime, and every year growing a carcase for the eagles.

Zephaniah 3:6 . I have cut off the nations. The Chaldaic reads, I have cut off the palaces of Damascus, and of Samaria, so that no man now walks in their streets. This had been recently done by Salmanezer, king of Assyria; yet Jerusalem took no warning by the fall of her sister Samaria.

Zephaniah 3:8 . Therefore, wait ye upon me, saith the Lord. Wait till the great day when I shall assemble for the last time the infidel nations against my Zion, as in Ezekiel 38, 39., and Zechariah 14:0. Then will I destroy them utterly, and turn a pure language of worship and praise on all the earth. The prophets always kept the best wine to the last.

Zephaniah 3:9 . Then will I turn to the people a pure language. שׁפה ברורת shapah beroorath; that is, Hebrew tongue, as the rabbins contend, because it is added, “that they may call on the name of Jehovah,” the only tongue in which that name is known.

Those men are extravagant enough in eulogies on the sacred language, and it is amusing to hear what they can say.

1. That the language of Adam was preserved by Noah in the ark, and down to the confusion of tongues at Babel, as stated in Genesis 11:1.

2. That this language possessed distinguished characters, not only of eminence, excellence, and dignity, but indeed of knowledge more than human, of which it has just claims founded on its sanctity.

3. That this holy tongue inherited, after the secession of the nations, the high prerogative of transmitting the grace of revelation exclusively to the family of Heber, and thence to the Hebrews; for with his family was continued the holy oracle.

4. That the dispersed nations, with the exception of the more holy house of Heber, cast off the use of the primæval language, pride having prompted them to sacrilege and every crime; and in such sort, that the holy tongue remained solely with the Hebrews 5:0. The same primæval language became the fruitful mother of conveying edification to the Chaldeans, and of diffusing it abroad as on a great theatre to the nations of the earth. Thus this blessed mother, being arrayed in purple and immortal splendour, and enthroned in the holy land, all nations shall come to her for divine tuition, and to “speak the language of Canaan.”

Isaiah 3:19. So then, according to the rabbins, we are all to speak Hebrew in the Messiah’s kingdom!

Zephaniah 3:10 . From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. See the note on Acts 8:27.


We learn from this chapter, that the Lord reserves the sweetest cup of consolation for his long-afflicted church, after the punishment of the wicked; and that the greatest misfortune that can happen to any people, and which most certainly exposes them to the divine vengeance is, when their spiritual or temporal rulers neglect the duties of their calling, and trample underfoot the laws of religion and justice. Certainly Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah, sons of king Josiah, were ill educated. This might naturally be expected from the priests of that age, and from the character of the nobility in general.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Zephaniah 3". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/zephaniah-3.html. 1835.
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