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Zep 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;
Ver. 1. Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together ] Excutite vos, iterumque excutite. Fan yourselves, yea, fan yourselves (Tremell.). The precept is doubled, as it is likewise Numbers 3:40 2 Corinthians 13:5 , to show the necessity of our doing it, as also the utility if well done; and, lastly, our crossness and averseness thereunto, together with God’s exceeding great desire that it should be thoroughly done for our greatest good. Grievous things he had threatened in the former chapter; all which to prevent, he here prescribeth them a course of self-examination, and thereupon sound conversion; so true is that of an ancient, Ideo minatur Deus ut non puniat, God doth therefore threaten that he may not punish (Isidore). It is as if God should thus say, Behold, thou art in danger of destruction; is it not therefore high time to search, yea, to be serious and exact in the scrutiny? to gather thy dispersed wits together, to summon the sobriety of thy senses before the bar of thy best judgment? to consider and consult what is fit to be done in this case? to have thine eyes in thine head, with Solomon’s wise man? Ecclesiastes 2:14 ; yea, to have thine eyes like the windows in Solomon’s temple, broad inward, 1 Kings 6:4 . Men’s minds are naturally as ill set as their eyes; they turn neither of them inward. Lamiae or witch-like, they are sharp sighted abroad to discern other men’s faults; but blind at home to take notice of their own. Nature shows no sin: What is our iniquity or our sin? said those in Jeremiah, when wrath was even breaking out upon them, Jeremiah 16:10 ; so Hosea 12:8 . Men deal with their souls as some do with their bodies; who, when their beauty is decayed, they desire to hide it from themselves by false glasses, and from others by painting; so their sins, from themselves by false glosses, and from others by excuses. But he that thus hideth his sins cannot prosper, Proverbs 28:13 , he must not look for Gaius’s prosperity, 3 John 1:2 , but for further hardness of heart, Proverbs 28:14 , and horror of conscience, Psalms 32:3 . For God will not rap up men’s bones before they are set, nor lap up their sores before they are searched. Wherefore search you, search you, O nation, &c. Search yourselves to the quick, sift you to the bran, lay your hands upon your hearts, thrust them deep into your bosoms, with Moses, so shall you take them out again leprous as snow, Exodus 4:6 . Commune with your consciences and be still, or, make a pause, Psalms 4:4 , lay a peremptory charge upon them to be true to you, and to do their office impartially, in laying open how many transgressions are wrapt up in your sins, Leviticus 16:21 , in bringing them all forth to you, as they in Ezra brought forth the vessels of the sanctuary, by number and by weight, in their circumstances and aggravations, Ezra 8:34 . Why should God say unto thee of thy sins, as once Samuel did to Jesse of his sons, Are these all thy children? Conscience, if not charged to the contrary, and well watched, will either lie to thee, as Gehazi did to his master; or, at least, subtract a part of thy sins, as Ananias and Sapphira did a part of the price. Search, therefore, and follow your work close, that ye may say, with Ephraim, Jeremiah 31:19 , After that I was made known to myself, I repented; and, with David, I examined my ways, and finding all out of order, "I turned my feet to thy testimonies," Psalms 119:59 .
O nation not desired ] As not desirable; having nothing of worth in thee wherefore any should be found of thee, or seek any further after thee. Daniel was a man of desires, Daniel 9:23 . David a man after God’s own heart. Moses fair to God, Acts 7:20 . The saints are the desired ones of all nations, as some read that text, Haggai 2:7 , ut veniant desiderati omnium gentium (Jun.). The precious sons of Zion comparable (not to silver only, as the word here used importeth, but) to fine gold, Lamentations 4:2 . As for the wicked, they are all dross, Ezekiel 22:18-19 , and God doth so little desire them, as that he putteth them away, or maketh them to cease as dross, Psalms 119:119 , and commandeth others to do the like by them, Proverbs 25:4-5 . Some take the words in the active sense, and render them, O nation not desirous; viz. to search thy ways and turn again to me. Thou that hast no mind to be dealing with thyself, or to draw nigh to me, but hadst as lief be knocked on the head as do either: Gens vacua desiderio. O nation, void of any good desires. Whereas tota Christiani hominis vita sanctum desiderium est, the whole life of a good Christian is one continous desire after God, his kingdom, and the righteousness thereof, Matthew 6:33 ; he followeth after it, Proverbs 21:21 , as an apprentice followeth his trade, though he be not his craftsmaster. Some faint desires, luskish longings, short winded wishes, may be found in a wicked man; but they rise not up to the full height of well knit resolution for God. Like they are to meteors that are carried above the earth, but not united to the element of fire; therefore they fall and return to their first principles; like ice, which melteth in the day and hardeneth again in the night; like the sluggard in his bed, that puts out his arm to rise, and then pulls it in again, see Psalms 78:34 ; Psalms 78:38 .
Zep 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, [before] the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you.
Ver. 2. Before the decree bring forth ] The decree is great bellied, and will shortly bring forth, if not prevented. There is an execution towards; and if course be not timeously taken, ye are like to pay, not the debt only, but charges and damages. Look to it quickly "before the decree," &c. Here are three cautionary "befores," as there are four comfortable "yets" to be read Zechariah 1:17 . God yet offers them mercy, as Alexander did those he warred against, while the lamp burned; and as Tamerlane, while the white flag was hung out. See Jeremiah 18:7-8 .
Before the day pass as the chaff ] Before that day of the Lord that is near, very near, Zephaniah 1:14-15 . Pass upon you, and ye become as chaff before the wind, as the dust of the mountains before the whirlwind. O fan you, fan you; for else God will fan you after another fashion; search you, or he will soon search you with candles, Zephaniah 1:12 ; gather yourselves together, or he will gather your souls with sinners, and your lives with bloody men, Psalms 26:9 . Would men but judge themselves God would not judge them, 1 Corinthians 11:31 ; did they but see their sins to confession they should never see them to their confusion, Proverbs 28:13 , would they but meet God, as Abigail did David, they might disarm his indignation. Saving a little pains in this case doubleth it; and the best that can come of negligence is repentance. It is better that we should try ourselves, than that he should try us in his furnace of temptation, or other affliction. Do it, therefore, "before the day pass as the chaff," or before the chaff or stubble pass in that day, pass before the wind wherewith God shall winnow you, who would not winnow yourselves. The scholar that will not scan his own verses shall find that, his master will scan them to his cost. And the tradesman that will not cast up his books shall have his books to cast up him at length.
Before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you ] As a mighty torrent of fire, such as you are never able to avoid or abide. Abused mercy turneth into fury; neither will God suffer his patience to stand still for a sinning stock. Twice in a breath these hypocrites are here told what to trust unto for more surety.
Zep 2:3 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.
Ver. 3. Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth ] Here the prophet turneth himself to the better sort; for upon those hypocritical halters aforementioned he had but lost his sweet words; he did but wash a blackamoor. We read not in Scripture of any hypocrite’ s conversion; and what wonder? for whereas after sin conversion is left as a means to cure all other sinners, what means to recover him who hath converted conversion itself into sin? This made our Saviour say to his disciples concerning the Pharisees, those cankered hypocrites, "Let them alone," Matthew 15:14 , and himself weary of wasting words upon them, called to the multitude and said, "hear ye and understand," Zephaniah 2:10 . In like sort this prophet here, "Seek ye the Lord"; for it is past time of day with them to seek him; therefore they shall go with their flocks and their herds to seek the Lord, but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them, Hosea 5:6 . Concerning seeking the Lord see. See Trapp on " Amo 5:6 " See Trapp on " Amo 5:8 "
All ye meek of the earth ] This is the character, the distinctive note of a true Christian; who, as he is sure to be afflicted (affliction and meekness grow both upon the same root in the holy tongue), so by affliction he is meekened and mortified, his flesh is crucified with the affections and lusts; and so he is fitted to seek the Lord, to lie at his feet and say, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. These meek and lowly ones ( ταπεινοι , Septuag.) are they whom God will teach, Psalms 25:9 , beautify, Psalms 149:4 , solace, Isaiah 29:19 ; Isaiah 61:1 , save: God will save the humble person, Job 22:29 . Now meekness and humility are a pair of twin sisters, never asunder ( Sorores collactaneae ) sisters nourished at the same breast. See how they go coupled, Matthew 11:29 , and the Seventy render this text, all the lowly of the earth, that are as low as the earth in your own eyes and esteem ( ταπεινος , quasi, εδαφεινος , solo aequatus ).
Which have wrought his judgment ] i.e. Have been doing at it, qui fecistis praecepta etsi non prefecistis, who aim at perfection though ye cannot attain to it, who think upon his commandments to do them, Psalms 103:18 , having respect to them all, and wishing well to the work, Psalms 118:5-6 , which God graciously accepteth as a working his judgment, and yet would have you to abound more and more. Wherefore,
Seek righteousness, seek meekness ] i.e. Further measures of holiness and degrees of grace. Let him that is holy be holy still, let him persevere, grow, and advance forward toward the high prize proposed unto him, taking for his motto that of Charles V, Plus ultra, further yet, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, 2 Corinthians 7:1 1 Timothy 6:11 , "But thou, O man of God" (that is, O godly man, as the life of God is put for a godly life, Ephesians 4:18 ; see 2Ki 4:9 ), "fly these things" (what things? heterodoxies, 1 Timothy 6:3-5 , and love of money, 1Ti 6:9-10 ), "and follow after" (Gr. persecute, pursue, alacriter et acriter ) eagerly and briskly "righteousness," this is the totum hominis, whole of man, Ecclesiastes 12:13 , the bonum hominis, good of man, Micah 7:8 , and by way of distribution comprehendeth, as to God, "godliness and faith"; as to men, "love, patience, meekness."
It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s wrath] Possibly ye may, probably ye shall be; pardon of sin ye shall be sure of; mitigation also of sorrow, if not prevention; saved ye shall be, or more gently handled, or so inwardly calmed, that ye shall be able to call your souls to rest when others are at their wits’ ends. You shall be safe under the cover of God’s wings, and in the hollow of his hand; when others, that are without God in the world, shall be as a naked man in a storm, an unarmed man in the field, or as a ship at sea without anchor, subject to dash and split against rocks and quicksands.
Zep 2:4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.
Ver. 4. For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Askelon, &c. ] Here is dainty rhetoric in the original. This prophet was (as Quintilian saith a good orator ought to be) Vir bonus, dicendi peritus, a good man, and a master of speech. The Hebrew tongue seemeth to have been in the prime and flourish when Isaiah, Micah, and Zephaniah prophesied, like as the Latin was about Cicero’s time. The Philistines are here threatened, for a terror to the impenitent Jews, who should taste of the same whip, and for the comfort of the godly, who should be hid when these their enemies should be utterly destroyed. Gaza was so forsaken, according to this prophecy, that it was therehence called Gaza, the desert; Askelon, according to its name, became ignis ignominia, the reproach of the fire that wasted it, and (as a merciless element) laid it desolate. Ashdod (called in the New Testament Azotus, Act 8:26 ) shall also, according to its etymology, be wasted with fire, and her inhabitants driven into a far country as captives at high noon, when the sun, in those hot climates especially, is most parching and scorching; they shall be driven out with all the disadvantage that may be.
And Ekron shall be rooted out ] Ekron was the place where Beelzebub, the prince of devils had his throne. The poets put it for hell. Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo. Threatened it is therefore here (not without an elegance that cannot be translated) with utter extirpation. The grand devil had nested and nestled himself as near the Holy Land as might be; but he shall not long rest there, the Hebrew child ( παις εβραιος ) will disquiet the great Pan.
Zep 2:5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD [is] against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.
Ver. 5. Woe to the inhabitants of the sea coast ] These were the Philistines; they lay between the Jews and the sea; God having so disposed of it, that his people might not have much commerce with foreign nations, nor learn their manners. Into havens and maritime towns there is usually a conflux of vices, like as there is of waters into the sea: witness Tyre and Sidon, Corinth, Carthage, Capernaum, &c. Hence that proverb, maritimi mores; naval customs, and that censure of such people, littorales duri, horridi, immanes, latrociniis dediti, omnium denique pessimi, Those that dwell by the seaside are usually ill-conditioned, ferce, cruel, thievish, and the worst of men. These Philistines were no better, and are therefore here put under a woe, and threatened with utter destruction.
The nation of the Cherethites ] i.e. Destroyer; so the Philistines had styled themselves, as glorying to have conquered and cut off many people. The old Latin translation rendereth it Gens perditorum, The nation of destroyers; so doth Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus. Now it comes to their turn to be destroyed, according to Isaiah 33:1 . That these Cherethites were a sort of Philistines, see 1 Samuel 30:14 ; 1Sa 30:16 Eze 25:16 That they were valiant men appears by that legion of them that guarded David, 2 Samuel 8:4 , and were highly esteemed by him, because they stuck to him in his affliction at Gath, and also when Absalom was up in arms, 2 Samuel 15:18 .
The word of the Lord is against you ] And not only against Israel. This was spoken, as for the terror of those Philistines, who thought themselves out of the reach of God’s rod, and slighted his word, so for the comfort of the people of God, who thought much that themselves should be so severely dealt with, and the uncircumcised Philistines escape scot free.
O Canaan, the land of the Philistines ] Indeed, of the Israelites, Joshua 13:3 , but held by force by the Philistines, who were of the stock of the Canaanites, but not subdued; and had detained part of the land from the right owners for eight hundred years and upwards; and now they come to be reckoned with. Subito tollitur qui diu toleratur. Suddenly be destroyed who where tolerated for a long time.
I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant ] No settled inhabitant, that shall fix there, as the word signifieth. Thus Poena venit gravior, quo mage sera venit, the longer God stays the heavier he strikes.
Zep 2:6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings [and] cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.
Ver. 6. And the sea coasts shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds ] It shall be waste and untilled, and therefore unfrequented by any but shepherds, who pitch their tents up and down, where they may best feed their flocks, in desert places.
And folds for flocks ] God may do thus in his just judgment upon his enemies, that live in his good land, and not by his good laws; but woe be to our depopulators, that drive out men and put in cattle; that betray towns, as Rome did Carthage, with a distinction, We will save the city, but destroy the town. How dangerous it is to prove Abaddons appeareth by God’s punishing hand upon William the Conqueror’s issue in New Forest, wherein thirty-six parish churches had been demolished by him, with the removing of all the inhabitants, to make room for beasts, or dogs’ game. There his second son, Richard, was gored in hunting by a deer; Rufus, his other son, mistaken for a deer, was by chance shot through with an arrow; Henry likewise, his nephew, while he hotly pursued the chase was struck by a bough into the jaws, and, as Absalom, left hanging until he died.
Zep 2:7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
Ver. 7. And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah ] Who had not only their own country kept empty for them all the seventy years of captivity, and not any displaced to make room at their return See Trapp on " Zec 7:14 " but liberty to make use of the Philistines’ country; which was also further subdued by the Maccabees, but especially by the apostles, who preached the gospel, and planted Churches in those parts, as we read in the Acts, Acts 8:26 ; Acts 8:40 ; Acts 9:32 ; Acts 9:35-36 .
They shall feed thereupon ] They shall go in and out, and find pasture, under the great Shepherd and Bishop of their souls, who shall feed them daily and daintily among the lilies, by the powerful preaching of the gospel among them, Joh 10:9 1 Peter 2:25 .
In the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening ] Ubi temporis circumstantia securitatem notat, saith Gualther, The circumstance of time noteth their spiritual security; evenings are often dark and dangerous. They shall lie down as cattle do, that take no care; they know whom they have trusted, and are fearless.
For the Lord their God shall visit them ] Visit and redeem his people, raising up a horn of salvation for them, Luke 1:68-69 . His visits are not empty visits; Psalms 8:5 ; his favours are not like the winter sun, that lighteth, but heateth not.
And turn away their captivity ] To their inexpressible comfort, Psalms 126:1 , but especially when Christ, ascending up on high, leadeth captivity captive, Col 2:14-15 Ephesians 4:8 .
Zep 2:8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified [themselves] against their border.
Ver. 8. I have heard the reproach of Moab ] How can he but hear who is all ear? who is both above us, and within us, in whom we subsist, Colossians 1:17 . And what will he sooner be sensible of than the reproachings of his people? see Isaiah 37:28 ; Isaiah 57:3-4 ; "But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore." (See how he becalls them.) "Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood?" The Moabites and Ammonites were great jeerers of the Jews, and revilers of their religion. These reproaches, leniter volant, non leniter violant, cruel mockings the apostle calleth them, Hebrews 11:36 . David felt them as a murdering weapon in his bones, Psalms 42:10 . God will call such men to a heavy reckoning one day as deride the power of godliness and the professors thereof. Bede saith, that this was the great sin of the ancient Britons immediately before their destruction by the Saxons; and it is at this day both a presage and desert of our ruin, that as the Turks count all fools to be saints, so men with us account all saints to be fools.
And the revilings of the children of Ammon ] How good they were at it we may see in those words of Sanballat and his companion Tobiah the Ammonite, Nehemiah 4:2-3 , words as full of pride and scorn as profane wit or rancoured malice could make them; and they lay so heavy upon Nehemiah’s spirit that he could not ease himself but by breathing heavenward: Nehemiah 2:4 , "Hear, O our God; for we are despised; and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity," &c. Hear, saith Nehemiah: I have heard it, saith God. "Thou hast seen it," saith the Psalmist, "for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thine hand," Psalms 10:14 .
And magnified themselves ] By speaking big and blustering words, bubbles of words, great swelling words, full of wind, 2 Peter 2:18 , these shall find that such words are not wind, but will be required in fire, Judges 1:15 . God is an utter enemy to boasting and threatening braggards.
Zep 2:9 Therefore [as] I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, [even] the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
Ver. 9. Therefore as I live ] This is God’s oath; so, As true as I live, Num 14:21 cf. Psalms 95:10 , therefore they are to blame that use it in their common talk.
Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, &c. ] Whereas they think that I either hear not their revilings or regard them not, I shall make Moab and Ammon smart and smoke for them.
Even the breeding of nettles and salt pits ] They shall not indeed be consumed with fire from heaven; but their land shall lie waste for a long season. Nettles grow in barren places, and are good for nothing, unless it be the buds at first coming. Pliny writeth, that where salt is digged little good else groweth, see Jdg 9:45 Psalms 107:34 .
For a perpetual desolation ] Certain it is that those nations carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar were never restored; but that in later times a mixed multitude of vagrants out of many nations met there, taking upon them the old title of Arabians, and living by rapine and robbery. Out of these came Mahomet, founder of the Turkish empire and superstition, who overturned the Christian Churches, there planted by the apostles (as was here afore prophesied, "The residue of my people shall spoil them," &c., see Zephaniah 2:7 ; confer Galatians 1:17 , and soon overrun all the east and south, as Popery did all the west and north, at the same time.)
Zep 2:10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified [themselves] against the people of the LORD of hosts.
Ver. 10. This shall they have for their pride ] Moabites were as much noted for their pride as now the Spaniards are; and are therefore here devoted to destruction. Pride goeth before a fall, &c. A bulging wall stands not long; a joint luxated and swelled, till that be down cannot be set. God resisteth the proud, 1 Peter 5:5 , he bringeth those ungodly down to the ground, Psalms 147:6 .
Because they have reproached, &c. ] And all this out of the pride of their hearts, which breaketh out, as a master pox, in their body; so that the pride of Moab testifieth to his face, and it shall be to him an abomination of desolation.
Zep 2:11 The LORD [will be] terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and [men] shall worship him, every one from his place, [even] all the isles of the heathen.
Ver. 11. The Lord will be terrible unto them ] For he shall march forth in battle array against proud persons, 1 Peter 5:5 , and stain the pride of all their glory (’ Aντιτασσεται ); he will pull them down from their pinnacle of self-exaltation, and make them know themselves to be but men. Attilas, king of the Huns, proudly gave out that the stars fell before him, the earth trembled at his presence, and that he would be the scourge of all nations. But what became of him? He died suddenly by a flux of blood, breaking out at his mouth and choking him, on his weddingday at night. It were easy to instance further, in Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus, Herod, the king of Tyro, &c. "With God is terrible majesty," Job 37:22 , "he is terrible to the kings of the earth, while he cutteth off their spirits," Psalms 76:12 . Heb. he slippeth them off, as one should slip off a flower between one’s fingers, or a bunch of grapes off the vine; so soon is the business done.
For he will famish all the gods of the earth ] He will cast them into an atrophy, into a consumption. This was fulfilled partly when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the nations, and proclaimed the true God to be the only God, Daniel 4:34 , but principally when Christ came in the flesh, and sent out his apostles to decry those heathen deities, and to preach the everlasting gospel, "saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him, a worship him that made heaven, earth, sea, and fountains of waters," Revelation 14:7 . Now it was that Satan fell like lightning from heaven, the oracles were silenced, the heathen emperors amazed at the prevailing power of the gospel in despite of them, the very names of most of the gods of the earth were abolished, the temple of Apollo at Delphi fired from heaven; and at that very time when Julian’s ambassadors were there to inquire what should be the issue of the Persian war. Thus the heathen superstition fell flat to the ground, their gods were famished for want of worshippers and sacrifices, &c. And the same we hope and wait for to befall the antichristian rout and religion. That idol is grown very lean, and hath lost a collop, as we say. Bellarmine is very sensible, and bewails the business, that ever since we began to count and call the Pope antichrist he hath suffered no small decays and losses in the Christian Churches. He hath indeed, and more and more shall do, till he be left as lean as a rake, and all his plumes pulled, his credit cracked, his honour laid in the dust.
And men shall worship him ] Heb. Bow down to him. He is thy Lord, and bow thou down unto him, Psalms 45:11 . Body and soul both must stoop to God; and both at once, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 . Swenckfeldians (Stinkfeldians Luther called them, from their ill savour) take away all external service; so do the Nicodemites. Hypocrites draw nigh to God with their lips only, when their hearts are elsewhere; their bodies are in facellis, in torment, their hearts in sacculis, in a little bag, as Ezekiel 33:31 . But the true Israelites give God both inward and outward worship; he doth ponere dextram in pectore, as Persius phraseth it; being shod with the preparation of the gospel, he treads it not awry ( ορθοποδει ), neither too much outward, as the formalist, nor too much inward, as the Swenckfeldian. He looks upon our late worship scorners, our high attainers, as the last brood of Beelzebub; and reckons that to cast off ordinances is to cast away the remedy, 2Ch 36:15-16 Proverbs 29:1 .
Every one from his place ] Not at Jerusalem only, as once, John 4:21 , but in all places, pure hands and hearts shall be lifted up, without wrath, without doubting, 1 Timothy 2:8 ; both in church and chamber; any place whatsoever shall be a sufficient oratory, so that God be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and the public not neglected.
Even all the isles of the heathen ] That is, all countries, though not encompassed with the sea; for the Jews called all lands islands which they could not come to but by water. That God shall be worshipped in the four corners of the earth. See Trapp on " Deu 6:4 " It was the last speech of dying Chrysostom, Glory be to God from all creatures. Let the Jesuits at the end of their books subscribe Laus Deo et beatae Virgini, Praise to God and happiness to ther Virgin. Let this be the badge of the beast; let us cry, To God alone be glory all the world over.
Zep 2:12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye [shall be] slain by my sword.
Ver. 12. Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword ] Which is long enough to reach you, though far remote. The poets feign that Jupiter was wont to be feasted by the Ethiopians; but that shall not save them from God’s sore and great strong sword. Nebuchadnezzar, to whom God had given Ethiopia, and Egypt, and Saba as a ransom for his people, Isaiah 43:3 . See Proverbs 11:8 . See Trapp on " Pro 11:8 " The Ethiopians and Egyptians were subdued together, Jer 46:2 Isaiah 18:1-2 . It is now inhabited by the Abyssinians (a kind of mongrel Christians), and called Prester John’s country; where they say they have this custom, among others: In their great solemnities they have a cup of gold borne before them, filled within, and besmeared without with dirt, yet so as the gold appeareth; and next to this cup is carried a crucifix. Hereby they would show that man should be pure as gold; but being within and without defiled by sin, he is restored by Christ crucified, so as that the gold of God’s graces appeareth in him here in part, and shall do hereafter in all perfection.
Zep 2:13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, [and] dry like a wilderness.
Ver. 13. And he will stretch out his hand against the north ] i.e. Against Assyria (which lay north from Judea), as is presently added by way of exposition. The Scripture sometimes hath its own interpretation annexed, as John 2:19 ; John 2:21 ; John 7:39 . Howsoever, the Rabbis have this saying among them, Nulla est obiectio in lege quae non habet solutionem in latere; i.e. there is not any doubt in the law but may be resolved by the context.
And destroy Assyria ] Cast this rod of his wrath into the fire, after that he had worn it to the stump (as that martyr said) upon other nations.
And will make Nineveh a desolation ] See Nahum 2:1-13 , with the notes.
Zep 2:14 And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; [their] voice shall sing in the windows; desolation [shall be] in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work.
Ver. 14. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, &c. ] Here are various and vehement expressions of the dreadful face of her desolations. Omnia congerit quae vastitatem horribilem denotare solent, saith Gualther, because it was held a thing almost impossible that Nineveh should be destroyed. Hence that admiration of bystanders and beholders, Zephaniah 2:15 . But what can be impossible to the Almighty? and what will not he do for his Church’s cause and comfort? See Zephaniah 2:6 .
All the beasts of the nations ] Which shall come from far to haunt this new desert, beaudesert. See Isaiah 13:21-22 , and observe that parallel texts, like glasses set one against another, do cast a mutual light. The lapidary brighteneth his hard diamond with the dust shaved from itself; so must we clear hard Scriptures.
Both the cormorant (or pelican) and the bittern] Those inauspicious birds of prey that are signs both of God’s curse and man’s misery, Isaiah 34:11 . The former hath its name in Hebrew from vomiting, and seemeth, saith one, to be the same that we call the shovelard, which swallows shell fishes, and after vomiteth them to get the fish. The latter liveth about lakes, saith Pliny, and with her beak beateth the fish out of the shell with great vehemence.
Shall lodge in the upper lintels of it ] Beautified with pomegranates, flowers, and other curious garnishes, as are wont to be seen at the porches of palaces.
Their voice shall sing in the windows ] The black saints, as they say; where was wont to be heard all manner of music and melodious noises. Luxus cadet in luctum, their merry dances shall end in a miserable downfall.
Desolation shall be in the thresholds ] Which were wont to be worn out with the abundance of clients and parasites tracing over them.
For he shall uncover the cedar work ] i.e. God, or the enemy by God’s appointment, shall uncover the roof made of cedar, for better continuance. Cedar is strong and durable; and by reason of the dryness of it the timber chawneth not, rotteth not; yea, it hath a property to preserve other things from putrefication, saith Scribonius. The Ninevites raftered their houses with it, as they say the Africans do with whale bones. But now that God shall bare them and expose them to the injury of wind and weather, how can they stand? and what can be in the thresholds but desolation?
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.
Ver. 15. This is the rejoicing city ] Exultabunda, that could stand on no ground, but was ready to leap out of her skin as it were; her inhabitants were mere mirthmongers altogether set upon the merry pin; like the people of Tombutum in Africa, who spend their whole time in singing and dancing. Now the case is altered, and the Church, out of zeal for God’s glory, thus insulteth over them.
That dwelt carelessly ] As if situated in the clouds, above all fear; and altogether insuperable. Security ushereth in destruction. See Jeremiah 49:31-32 .
That said in her heart, I am, and there is none besides me ] This was a proud word indeed. I am is one of God Almighty’s names, Exodus 3:14 , and there is none besides me is one of his titles, Isaiah 45:5 ; Isaiah 45:21 ; Isaiah 48:12 . Thus empty man would be something (the toad would swell to the size of an ox), though man be born like a wild ass’s colt, Job 11:12 , and man being in honour, understandeth not that he is, or shortly shall be, like the beasts that perish: that die of the murrain, and so become carrion, good for nothing. Psalms 49:20 , pecoribus morticinis. Tremel.
“ Unde superbit homo cuius conceptio turpis,
Nasci poena, labor vita, necesse mori? ”
“Whence will man show his pride, whose conception is shameful,
to be born a penalty, life of work, and needs die”
How is she become a desolation ] Here the prophet, Nineven in Theatre statuit, et traducit apud Iudaeos (saith Calvin), setteth Nineveh upon the stage, and showeth his Jews the tragic end of her; how she should wonderfully be brought down beyond all expectation. God delighteth to make himself marvellous; he is the only true Thaumaturgus.
Every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand ] In scorn, horror, and disdain; and why, see Nah 3:19 Lamentations 2:15 ; Lamentations 2:17 1 Kings 9:8 Eze 27:36 Micah 6:16 . See Trapp on " Nah 3:19 " Surely God scorneth the scorners, Proverbs 3:34 , and maketh that the merciless find no mercy, James 2:13 .
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zephaniah 2". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13