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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

Zephaniah 2

Verses 1-3

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT

Zephaniah 1:1 to Zephaniah 2:3

[The Universality of the Judgment (Zephaniah 1:2-3): it will destroy all the Idolaters in Judah and Jerusalem (Zephaniah 1:4-7): it will fall upon Sinners of every Rank (Zephaniah 1:8-13): it will burst irresistibly upon all the Inhabitants of the Earth (Zephaniah 1:14-18): a Call to Conversion (Zephaniah 2:1-3).—C. E.]

1 The word of Jehovah, which was communicated to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hiskiah [Hezekiah]; in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah:

2 I will utterly destroy1 everything from the face of the earth, saith Jehovah.

3 I will destroy man and beast:

I will destroy the fowls of heaven and the fishes of the sea,
And the causes of offence2 with the sinners;

And I will cut off man from the face of the earth,
Saith Jehovah.

4 And I will stretch forth my hand over Judah,

And over all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
And I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal,
The idol-priests,3 together with the priests;

5 And those who worship the host of heaven upon their roofs,

And the worshippers who swear to Jehovah,
And who swear by their king;4

6 And those who draw back from Jehovah,

Who do not seek Jehovah,
And do not inquire for Him.

7 Be silent before the Lord Jehovah,

For the day of Jehovah is near;
For Jehovah has prepared a sacrifice,
He has consecrated those whom He has invited.

8 And it shall come to pass in the day of Jehovah’s sacrifice,

That I will visit [with punishment] the princes and the king’s sons,
And all that wear foreign apparel.

9 And I will visit, in that day, every one that leaps over the threshold,

Those who fill the house of their Lord with violence and deceit.

10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah,

[That there shall be] the voice of crying from the fish-gate,
And howling from the lower city,5

And great destruction from the hills.

11 Howl ye inhabitants of the Mortar,6

For all the people of Canaan are destroyed,
All that are laden with silver are cut off.

12 And it shall come to pass at that time,

That I will search Jerusalem with candles,
And I will visit the men who lie upon their lees,
Who say in their hearts,
Jehovah will not do good, neither will He do evil.

13 And their wealth shall become a spoil,

And their houses a desolation;
And they shall build houses and not inhabit them,
And plant vineyards and not drink their wine.

14 The great day of Jehovah is near;

It is near and hasteth greatly;
Hark! the day of Jehovah,
Bitterly cries the mighty man there.

15 A day of [overflowing] wrath is that day,

A day of trouble and distress,
A day of ruin and desolation,
A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds, and cloudy darkness;

16 A day of the trumpet and of the war-cry

Against the fortified cities,
And against the lofty battlements.

17 And I will bring distress upon men,

And they shall walk as the blind;
Because they have sinned against Jehovah,
Their blood shall be poured out like dust,
And their flesh like dung.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them

In the day of Jehovah’s fury;
And the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy [anger];
For He will make an end, yea a sudden one, to all the inhabitants of the earth.

II

1 Bend7 yourselves, bend ye people, that do not grow pale;

2 Before the decree bring forth,

(The day passes away like chaff,)
Before the burning wrath of Jehovah come upon you,
Before the day of Jehovah’s anger come upon you.

3 Seek Jehovah, all ye humble of the land,

Who have kept [wrought] his right [law];
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
Perhaps ye will be hidden in the day of Jehovah’s wrath.

EXEGETICAL

On the heading compare the Introduction, I. The prophecy itself describes, like Nahum 1:1 ff., in an abstract manner, the judgment, in its internal, necessary character. It is—

(a) God’s judgment, hence absolute (Zephaniah 1:2-3), but—

(b) In its relation to Israel, it has for its end the extermination of idolatry (Zephaniah 1:4-6), so that it appears as a holy act, not merely as a slaughter, but as a sacrifice. (Zephaniah 1:7.)

To these introductory thoughts are joined—
(c) The description of the separate necessary acts of punishment (Zephaniah 1:8-13); three strophes of two verses each, of which each is introduced by a וְהָיָה and—

(d) A general characteristic of the terribleness of the day of judgment (Zephaniah 1:14-18), finally—

(e) An exhortation to repentance before the judgment (Zephaniah 2:1-3).

Zephaniah 1:2-3 : The Universality of the Judgment. From the very first the prophet characterizes his prophecy as a threatening one: I will sweep off, sweep off everything from the face of the earth. Instead of אֶאֶֽסֹף, which we would expect, the prophet joins to the inf. abs. of the root כוף the verb fin. of the cognate root כוף. Comp. on Habakkuk 3:9, and Ewald, sec. 312 b, 3. The retrospective contrast to Micah 2:11 cannot be mistaken; and just as little to be mistaken is the allusion to the Divine sentence, Genesis 6:7.

Zephaniah 1:3 : I will sweep off … in the sea. The creatures are affected by the universality of the judgment; connected by a community of interests with mankind, on whose account the judgment takes place, they suffer with them. And the ruins,—the habitations of men, world, land, state, city (comp. Isaiah 3:6), which go to wreck before the judgment of God,—together with the sinners, comp. Nahum 1:14. The meaning of offense [Aergerniss] (Luther, Strauss, Keil), for the word מכשׁלה, is dot exactly ungrammatical, but it cannot be substantiated from the usage of the language. (It seems certainly to be presupposed, Matthew 13:41. Schmieder. [See note 2, Zephaniah 1:3.—C. E.] I will certainly destroy men from the face of the earth, saith Jehovah.

Zephaniah 1:4-7 : The edge of the judgment is directed against Judah and Jerusalem and the idolatry there. And I will stretch out my hand (the noted favorite expression of Isaiah 9:11 ff., comp. Isaiah 5:25) over Judah … and I will destroy from this place the remnant of Baal, which the king had not yet destroyed. Comp. the Introd. 2. Baal stands for the worship of Baal (comp. Hosea 2:0), as the explanatory appositional clause immediately following proves: the names of the idol–priests [Pfaffen], together with the priests [Priestern]., כּמרים was the official designation of the priests of Baal (2 Kings 23:5); these were entirely to disappear; this is what is meant by the destruction of the name (comp. Nahum 1:14). But, as we may certainly infer from the circumstance that the worship of Baal had been introduced into the Temple also (2 Kings 23:4 comp. 2 Kings 16:11) the Cohanim too, priests of Jehovah, both in Israel and in Judah, had polluted themselves by their participation in idolatry.

[These, too, are to disappear, though their name, consecrated by the Torah [Law], cannot be removed. [Keil is of the opinion that the Kemârum are not prophets of Baal, but, as in 2 Kings 23:5, and Hosea 10:5, the priests appointed by the kings of Judah for the worship of the high places and the idolatrous worship of Jehovah. Kõhânĩm, as distinguished from these, he considers idolatrous priests in the stricter sense of the word.—C. E.]

And as it befalls the priests, so is it to befall the worshippers of false gods [Götzen], Zephaniah 1:5 : And those who worship the host of heaven upon their roofs. [Comp. Jahn’s Bib. Arch, sees. 406 and 407, pages 518, 519, New York, Ivison & Co., 1866; also Thomson’s The Land and the Book, vol. i. p. 52, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1859.—C. E.] This Babylonian worship (comp. Com. on Nahum, p. 36) was known already in the time of Moses (Deuteronomy 4:19).

The practice of it, as stated above, had its natural place on the open roof’s; it had also been abolished by force in the period of the decline of the kingdom (2 Kings 23:12; Jeremiah 19:13); and had probably, before the spread of the Syro phœnician service of Baal in Judah, been blended with this so as to form a syncretistic idolatry; comp. the name of Baal, Belsamen (&#בַּטַל שָׁמַם בְּעֵל שָׁמֵין), in Hieron., Aug. in Jud., 3:449; comp. Plautus, Pœnulus, v. ii. 67. Here also, as at the end of Zephaniah 1:4, those who blend the service of Jehovah with idolatry (comp. 1 Kings 18:21), are mentioned along with the direct worshippers of idols: And the worshippers, who swear to Jehovah, and, at the same time, swear by their king. Swearing is, according to the Old Testament view, a sign of the service of God and part of the confession [of Him]. Isaiah 19:18; Amos 8:14. The Vulgate pronounces the consonants מלכם Milcom, which is the known name of the idol-god of the Ammonites. 1 Kings 11:5. The Masorites read Malcâm, by their king; and in keeping with this the LXX. translate it κατὰ τοῦ βασιλέως αὐτῶν; however, they hardly thought of an earthly king; they translate also (1 Kings 11:7) the idol-god Molech by βασιλεύς (comp. Jeremiah 32:35 : τῷ Μολὸχ βασιλεῖ). This is the one here intended; at the same time we must assume that he had been admitted into the syncretism of the Ahaz Manasseh idol-worship in Jerusalem (2 Kings 16:3). (According to the signification of the name he may as well have corresponded, in the southern cultus of Canaan, to the Baal of the northern cultus, vide Cölln.) Here the name does not appear in the Canaanitish form Molech (LXX. Moloch), peculiar to the idol, but in the pure Hebraic form Melech. The prophet purposely changes the names of the idols, in order to characterize the worthless [das zusammengebettelte, scraped together by begging] and intrinsically baseless character of these idolatries as opposed to the worship of the One Jehovah. To the actual apostates he adds (Zephaniah 1:6), the great number of the careless and despisers: and those … who do not ask for Him, who by this negative conduct prove the apostasy of their hearts. Comp. 1 Chronicles 15:13. [The whole of this entire enumeration (Zephaniah 1:4-6) shows a gradual progress from gross external to refined internal idolatry. “The Lord will destroy (1) the remnant of the idols of Baal; (2) the company of their servants; (3) the worshippers of the idols, who content themselves with altars without images, but worship publicly upon the house-tops; (4) the secret worshippers; (5) those who, without practicing idolatry, have apostatized from God in their hearts; (6) The indifferentists.”—Schmieder.]

The judgment comes upon all these, Zephaniah 1:7 : Be silent before the Lord Jehovah. The graphic particle הס is borrowed from Amos 6:10 (comp. Zeph 2:17). The silence lies here, as in Habakkuk 2:20, between the preparative announcement and the description of the judgment. While the prophet is deeply occupied in thinking of its coming, he assumes as it were the character of a herald of God, who first proclaims what is now about to come to pass, and then when it arrives he enjoins silence. That the “silence” serves as a favete linguis to the introduction to the holy sacrificial act (Hitzig), is a view borrowed not from the Old Testament, but from the profane classics. Keep silence, “for the day of Jehovah is near.” [This is the reason for the command to “keep silence.”—C. E.]. Zephaniah makes his announcement culminate in the noted formula of threatening, which pervades prophecy from Obadiah 1:15 forward (comp. Joel 1:15; Joel 4:14), and at the same time gives along with it the theme for the subsequent representation. He immediately defines more precisely the character of this day: for Jehovah has prepared a sacrifice. זֶבַח is here, as in Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 46:10 [and Ezekiel 39:17—C. E.], not an abstract of the verb זָבח, to slaughter (cædes, Ges., Thes., Maur.), but, as it is everywhere, a sacrifice. And, indeed, where it stands absolutely, it is synonymous with the fuller term. tech. זֶבַח שְׁלָמִים, peace-offering; the kind of offering, in which only certain parts of the victim were burned and a feast prepared of the rest. [Hence in contrast not only to מִנְחָה, the bloodless, and to חַטָּאה, the sin-offering, but also to עֹלָה, the burnt-offering, Leviticus 17:8.] This connection of ideas suggests the clause: and has consecrated those whom he has invited. Krûim, those who are invited to the feast, as in 1 Samuel 9:13. The heathen nations, whom Israel are about to destroy, are meant; hence the wider thought is taken from Isaiah 13:3, that they are consecrated by God for the destruction of the impious one (ἀθωρισμένοι ἐς τοῦτο, Theodoret): they come not only as allies, but also as executors of the holy act in consideration. On the day of God there will also be brought by holy hands a holy offering, and it will be consumed by those whom God has invited: but the victim is not an animal, but his people; those who slay it are not priests, and those who feast on it are not confederates of the people, but strangers.

Zephaniah 1:8-13. The first detailed statement in the amplification of Zephaniah 1:7. The Three Acts of Punishment. The first, Zephaniah 1:8-9, falls upon the princes, who indulge in the customs of the heathen. And it shall come to pass .... upon the mighty ones, the dignitaries of state, the heads of tribes and families, from whose opposition, as was formerly the case with the reforms of Hezekiah (Micah 3:0), so also now those of Josiah were likely to meet with their strongest resistance, and who, in influence, might indeed surpass the royal princes, as is the case in the present day in the kingdoms of the East. Hence these latter are mentioned in the second place. “The sons of Josiah (1 Chronicles 3:14), Jehoiakim and Jehoahaz, being both still of a tender age, cannot be meant, but only brothers or uncles.” Hitzig. Comp. Introd. 1. The reason why the judgment is to fall upon these especially—the king is exempted (comp. 2 Kings 22:18 ff.)—immediately follows: upon all, who clothe themselves with foreign apparel.Mihi non dubium est, quin illo œvo alii Ægyptios in vestitu imitarentur, alii Babylonios, prout huic aut illi genti studebant.” Drusius. The strange apparel shows the estranged heart; the infringement of the popular manners and the contempt of the national costume evince the decay of the national spirit. Moreover the law by no means treats of clothing as an adiaphoron (Deuteronomy 22:11; Leviticus 19:19). And so then among these princes it appears that the desire after strange clothing goes hand in hand with the desire of the heart to apostatize from the worship of the true God, Zephaniah 1:9 : And I will visit in that day every one that leaps over the threshold. It belonged to the ceremonial, in the worship of the Philistine god Dagon, to leap over the temple threshold, which was considered sacred and not to be touched (1 Samuel 5:5). The Chaldæan briefly paraphrases it: all who follow the usages of the Philistines. Those who fill the house of their lords with violence and deceit. As the prophet was speaking of leaping over the threshold, the connection requires that we look for the house behind this threshold, and consequently that we understand the lords to mean idols, whom they serve and to whom they carry their unjustly acquired treasures. אדון, according to the signification of the word, is equivalent to בּעל(comp. the plural בּעלים, 1 Samuel 7:4). So also Cölln; Hitzig would understand the passage so as to mean that those who are reprehended regard the palace of the king as an idol-temple, and bring into it deceit and violence. But that would be a pompous way of expressing it; and Josiah would hardly have suffered it. In a similar way Bucer, Ewald, and Keil [understand the passage]. The conjecture that ordinary servants and masters (Strauss) are meant, does not agree with the context.

[Keil: In Zephaniah 1:9 a, many commentators find a condemnation of an idolatrous use of foreign customs; regarding the leaping over the threshold, as an imitation of the priests of Dagon, who adopted the custom, according to 1 Samuel 5:5, of leaping over the threshold when they entered the temple of that idol. But an imitation of that custom could only take place in temples of Dagon, and it appears perfectly inconceivable that it should have been transferred to the threshold of the king’s palace, unless the king was regarded as an incarnation of Dagon,—a thought which could never enter the minds of Israelitish idolaters, since even the Philistian kings did not hold themselves to be incarnations of their idols. If we turn to the second hemistich, the thing condemned is the filling of their masters houses with violence; and this certainly does not stand in any conceivable relation to that custom of the priests of Dagon; and yet the words “who fill,” etc., are proved to be explanatory of the first half of the verse, by the fact that the second clause is appended without the copula Vav, and without the repetition of the preposition עַל. Now, if a fresh sin were referred to here, the copula Vav, at all events, could not have been omitted. We must therefore understand by the leaping over the threshold, a violent and sudden rushing into houses to steal the property of strangers (Calvin, Ros., Ewald, Strauss, and others), so that the allusion is to “dishonorable servants of the king, who thought that they could best serve their master by extorting treasures from their dependants by violence and fraud” (Ewald). אֲדֹנֵיהֶם, of their lord, i.e., of the king, not “of their lords:” the plural is in the pluralis majestatis, as in 1 Samuel 26:16; 2 Samuel 2:5, etc.—C. E.]

The second act of punishment, Zephaniah 1:10-11, falls (11 c) upon the rich. And it shall come to pass … that a woeful cry shall be heard from the fish-gate, which also occurs in 2 Chronicles 33:14; Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 12:39, and which, according to Hieron., led to Joppa, so that the nearest way to the sea passed through it; according to Nehemiah 3:3, however (comp. Robinson, Pal., ii. 118), it did not lead westward, but northward from the city; and howling from the lower city. The New city, literally, the second city, is the name of a part of the city (2 Kings 22:14; comp. Nehemiah 11:9; Jos., Ant., xv. 11. 5), probably of the suburb situated to the north (lower city, Robinson, Strauss), in which the Fish Gate was situated, and whence from the natural situation,—for on the other side Jerusalem is protected by the ground,—the attack of the enemies was to be expected. [See note 5 on Zephaniah 1:10.—C.E.] And great destruction from the hills. קוֹל taking the place of the verb, as in Nahum 3:2, is construed, according to the sense, with all three substantives;

Zephaniah 1:11. Howl, ye inhabitants of the Mortar—evidently, from the context, also a section of Jerusalem, but whose situation cannot be more exactly defined. מבהשׁ. a mortar, then a cavity, as, e.g., that in which the teeth are set (Judges 15:19), will, understood as a locality, designate that part of the city situated in the hollow (Theodotion: ἐν τῷ βάθει); and it lies, we may suppose, nearest to the valley between Moriah and Zion, the locality subsequently known as the Cheesemongers’ valley [Tyropœon]. For all the merchant people are silent, entirely destroyed (Psalms 49:13; comp. also Zephaniah 1:7 above), cut off are all those that are laden with silver. The context, which is concerned throughout with localities and wholly with the judgment of the city, shows that עַם בְּנִצַז does not designate the inhabitants of all Canaan. And it is intended to consider “Jerusalem indicated by Canaan as far as it is of a Canaanitish, i.e., of an idolatrous character” (Hengstenberg, Strauss). On the other hand the parallelism shows that the people in question are rich. Accordingly we must suppose that עַם בְּנַעַז, as in other places כּנעני (Job 40:30 [A. V. Job 41:6]; Proverbs 31:24; comp. also, Obadiah 1:20), or even simply כּנעז (Isaiah 23:8), designates the traders and merchants (Grot., Cölln). That these as the more recent comer’s to the great city should dwell in the outlying new parts of it, is not strange, but natural. [If Hitzig were right in placing the New City, according to the Targum, on Ophel, then it would be still more natural and still more characteristic to seek for the dwellings of the merchants here also. Comp. above, p. 68 a, and Matthew 21:12.] [Keil: “The name mortar’ was probably coined by Zephaniah, to point to the fate of the merchants and men of money who lived there. They who dwell there shall howl, because ‘all the people of Canaan are destroyed.’ These are not Canaanitish or Phœnician merchants, but Judæan merchants, who resembled the Canaanites or Phœnicians in their general business (see at Hosea 12:8), and had grown rich through trade and usury.”—C. E.]

The third act of punishment (Zephaniah 1:12-13), falls upon the careless despisers. And it will come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles. Theodoret: Οὐδ̓ εἷς τῶν ὀφειλόντων δίκην διαφεύξεται τὴν τιμωρίαν, ἀλλὰ πάντας αὐτοὺς διαδώσω σφαγῇ. And I will visit the men, who lie upon their lees,—like old wine which is not drawn off (comp. Jeremiah 48:11),—and say in their hearts: Jehovah does no good and no evil. He may perhaps exist, but He does nothing to us. “קפאים expresses the spiritual obduracy of those who deny the agency of God in the world (Jeremiah 10:5), and who, in the opinion that chance governs the world, despise exhortation and warning, and live from one day to another.”—Hitzig. By such practical denial of the judgment (comp. Psalms 10:11 f.), they call it down upon them (comp. Ps. l. 21 ff.).

Zephaniah 1:13. Their goods, in which they take pleasure, will become plunder, in the midst of the wild alarm of the owners, and their houses desolation. And—what the law and the prophets predicted (Deuteronomy 28:30; Amos 5:11) is fulfilled,—they will build houses and not dwell in them, and plant vineyards and not drink their wine. The apodoses contain the proper threatenings in the future; thereby the preterites receive in the protases the signification of the Fut. exactum.

Zephaniah 1:14-18. Second detailed statement in the amplification of Zephaniah 1:7. The Dreadfulness of the Day of Judgment. The day of Jehovah is near, the great [day] (Joel 2:14 (11 ?)) it is near and hastes greatly. מַחֵר is not the participle with מ omitted (Hitz.); but the adverbial infinitive (Joel 2:5) construed with the verb קָרוֹב (comp. Ew., sec. 280 c). Hark (as in Nahum 3:2), the day of Jehovah? What is to be heard? bitterly cries the hero there. [“קוֹל before yom Yehõvâh (the day of Jehovah), at the head of an interjectional clause, has almost grown into an interjection (see at Isaiah 13:4). The hero cries bitterly, because he cannot save himself, and must succumb to the power of the foe.” Keil.—C. E.] שָׁם is not purely local, but generally indicates the situation like our “there” [“da”]. Comp. Nahum 3:15; Psalms 14:5. a day of wrath is that day (Isaiah 19:18), a day of anguish and pressure (Job 15:24) a day of desolation and devastation (Job 30:3; on the emphatic reduplication compare Nahum 2:11); and it is accompanied not only by terrible signs of destruction upon earth, but also by the troublous agitation of the elements: a day of darkness and gloom (Joel 2:2), a day of clouds and of cloudy darkness (Deuteronomy 4:11)—a day of the reappearance of Jehovah amidst the same signs as on Sinai. Comp. on Habakkuk 3:0.

Zephaniah 1:16. A day of the trumpet and of the war cry [des Geschmetters, battering]. The sound of the trumpet introduces God’s holy festival (Numbers 29:1 ff.; comp. Zephaniah 1:7 above); it is the signal for the proclamation of God’s power over the sinful people (Hosea 8:1); it is the war-signal of desolation (Amos 2:2). All three significations are realized in the day of Jehovah’s holy sacrifice; and the last especially (comp. Joshua 6:5) over the fortified cities and high battlements, behind which the wicked people vainly imagine themselves secure (Micah 5:10 [11]).

Zephaniah 1:17. Yea, I will put the people in distress, so that they will walk like blind men,—groping about here and there as insecurely (comp. l) Deuteronomy 28:29; Nahum 2:5),—for they have sinned against Jehovah; so then their blood shall be poured out (term. technicus in legislation pertaining to sacrifice, comp. Zephaniah 1:7) like dust,—in such quantity (Genesis 13:16) and with such contempt (2 Kings 13:7),—and their bowels (comp. 2 Samuel 20:10, properly the contents of the bowels, their food, equivalent to לֶחֶם, Job 20:23. So also Strauss, Cölln, Gesenius, Ewald; Hitzig, according to the Arab., “their flesh”), like dung.

Zephaniah 1:18. Neither their silver, nor their gold—all the classes, whom the prophet, Zephaniah 1:8 ff., declared obnoxious to the judgment, were somehow entangled in silver and gold,—will deliver them (גםלאגם, neither, nor, as in Exodus 5:14. Compare the repetition of the whole passage, Ezekiel 7:19), in the day of Jehovah’s fury; and in the fire of His wrath (comp. 2 Kings 22:17), shall the whole earth be devoured; for He will make an end, yea (אךְ, as in Psalms 73:1), a sudden one, to all the inhabitants of the earth. כלה וי construed, like Zephaniah 1:8, as a second accusative; literally, He makes all the inhabitants of the earth a destruction.

Chap. 2.Zephaniah 2:1-3. The Exhortation. The first words, התקוששו וקושׁו, are an old famous crux interpretum. Interpreters derive them from the root קשׁשׁ, to which the subst הַשׁ, stubble, belongs; and from which a Poel קוֹשֵׁשׁ, Exodus 5:7-12; Numbers 15:32 f.; 1 Kings 17:10-12, with the signification of “gather,” is found. From this the Hithp. reflexivum combined with the Kal for the purpose of strengthening it (comp. Isaiah 29:6; Habakkuk 1:5), may be derived in the present instance. Some attempt, in the most different ways, to bring into the context the signification of “gather.” Either, collect yourselves in the devotional sense [“applied to that spiritual gathering which leads to self-examination, and is the first condition of conversion.” Keil.—C. E.]; as we use the word in German (Strauss, Keil); or, withdraw, keep yourselves at a distance, sc. from that which is unclean (Hitzig); or assemble yourselves, sc. for a fast [Bussfeier, a penitential solemnity—C. E.] (Chald., Syr., Hier., Cölln). It is scarcely to be denied that by all these interpretations violence is done to the words, and yet in the end no suitable meaning is evolved. In view of these difficulties it seems to me that we should, without hesitation, have recourse to the root, קושׁ, from which the Hebrew is possessed of the derivative קֶשֶׁה, bow, which in Arabic (namely, in the v. conj. corresponding to the Hithp.) has the signification of incurvatus est. The forms are then Hithpolel and Polel (קוֹשְׁשׁוּ קושׁוּ, comp. יְכוּנֶּנוּ, instead of יְכוּנְנֶנּוּ, Job 31:15), unless one prefers to consider the Dagesch forte in קוֹעֹּיוּ as a Masoretic addition, and the form as imperative Kal. Accordingly, we translate [the words], bend yourselves, bend (comp. the ענוים, the bent, Zephaniah 1:3); and this translation agrees well with the following vocative clause: O nation, (article in the voc., Ges., sec. 109, Rem. 2), that dost not grow pale. The primitive signification of the root, כּסף, is pallescere (comp. כֶסֶף); and this signification is, evidently to be preferred in this place (Grot., Ges., Cölln, Ew., Hitz., Keil) to the more common one to “long after” (Rosenm., Häv., Strauss). The people that do not grow pale (comp. Isaiah 29:22; Proverbs 7:13) are the insolent, audacious people (LXX. ἔθνος ) who sit erect, at ease upon their money bags (comp. Zephaniah 1:12); and whom the prophet hence exhorts to bend themselves, before the stroke comes from above.

Zephaniah 1:2. Before the law bring forth. [This is the reason for the appeal, Zephaniah 1:1.—C.E.] The law is neither the appointed time (Cölln), nor yet the statute of the prophecy, the decree declared in it (the other interpreters), but, as in Micah 7:11, the Mosaic Law, in specie Deuteronomy, which is most familiar to our prophet; that which it brings forth is the curse, which it places in view, the day of wrath itself (Deuteronomy 31:17). For everything brings forth what is in it: the earth brings forth plants (Isaiah 55:10): the wicked, mischief (Job 15:35). And this bringing forth on the part of the law will come with unexpected speed: Zephaniah 1:2, as swiftly (Isaiah 29:5) as chaff does the time pass away, which still remains for repentance. It is evident that we must understand by יוֹם in this place also, as in chap. 1, the judgment day (Strauss); but the עבר agrees only with the interval of time passing rapidly away; the word does not mean to approach, to draw on, not even in the passage, Nahum 3:19, cited for that purpose [to prove that it means to approach, etc.—C. E.] by Strauss. After this short parenthesis the prophet resumes the structure of the sentence with which he commenced: before the wrath of Jehovah .... come upon you.

Zephaniah 1:3. Seek Jehovah, all ye humble of the land: ענוי הארע, an idea very frequent in the l’salms, at first rare in the prophets, but then always coming prominently into view: the quiet, the humble in the land, whose righteous conduct is especially manifested in their separation from the proud (Zephaniah 1:8 ff.) in lowliness and humility before God (comp. Micah 6:8),—Ye who have observed his right [law—C. E.]—have not loved strange apparel and practiced idolatry—seek righteousness, seek humility: the exhortation is addressed to all, who in general are still willing to hear (comp. Zephaniah 1:1): perhaps you may yet be hidden in the day of Jehovah’s wrath.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

The separation of the godly-minded race from the ungodly-minded is a fundamental principle [Grundpfeiler, foundation-pillar] of the order of the kingdom of God. When both races were at the first intermingled, the fruit of the union was the Delude (Genesis 6:0.). Hence nothing was so distinctly enjoined by God when He founded his kingdom anew with Abraham and Moses as the going out from fatherland and kindred, the segregation, in one word the sanctification of the nation for Himself. But gradually, during the decline of the kingdom, the amalgamation of the kingdom of God and of the idolatry of the world again crept in. A clear separation between the nature of Jehovah and that of idols is yet scarcely possible, and the substance of the national life is infected by the godless influences that had flowed in; partly, in such a way that the community make themselves guilty of idolatry, partly because a corrupting deposit of complete indifference was formed. Therefore, Zephaniah announces a new deluge. Comp. Zephaniah 1:2 f. with Genesis 6:7.

Religion and morality are two spheres which cannot be separated. An upright heart can have only one God, and in cherishing other gods besides God lies a falseness, which bears its fruit in the field of morals. Whilst the heart, in its profoundest depths, is actuated by two diametrically opposite opinions, it is necessary that these influences should finally neutralize one another. In this way arises indifference toward motives drawn from eternal things. This indifference has a twofold result: First, temporal motives, among which the most powerful are pride (fashion) and avarice, take the place of eternal. In the second place, the other result of this fearless, practical atheism is: God does no good and no evil.

In the O. T. atheism has always its baneful effect in the sphere of the practical. It is not so much a denying of the divine existence, as of the divine judgment. Comp. Psalms 14:0. As the wisdom of the pious man is fear of God, so the folly of the godless man is fearlessness of God. “The godless say in their hearts: God does no evil and no god” (Zephaniah 1:12). What does the phrase, “in their hearts,” mean? Although shame and fear deter men from publicly exhibiting their unrighteousness, yet they utter those thoughts secretly, and are of the opinion that God either does not exist, or that He sits tranquilly in heaven. This is the very climax of godlessness, when men, intoxicated with sensual pleasure, divest God of his office of judge: when He is not recognized as judge, what remains of his godhead ? The majesty and the kingdom of God do not consist in any visionary splendor, but in duties, which belong so entirely to Him alone, that they cannot be separated from his being. To Him it belongs to own, to govern the world, to care for the human race, to distinguish between good and evil, to succor the miserable, to punish crime, to suppress unjust power. He who deprives Him of this retains an idol.” Calvin. The theocratic atheism8 is foreign to the O. T., as in general abstract thinking is not a Biblical idea. “When the Scripture speaks of thinking, it includes the will with it, and gives us to understand that thinking and willing are one and the same act in man. For a living man so thinks, that he at the same time loves, hates, hopes, fears the thing of which he thinks, is inclined or averse to it; he so wills that he wills λογικῶς, and he cannot will, without at the same time thinking’ of that which is willed. The thoughts do not pre cede the will, but they include it, and are in a certain manner intellectual acts of the will. It is evident that neither the imagination and purpose (Genesis 6:5), nor the doubting or joyful thoughts, nor the crafty and especially political thoughts. (Proverbs 12:5), nor, in general, the word חשׁב with its derivatives, can be correctly interpreted if we separate the will from them. It is nowhere said that thoughts have guided, disordered, or misled the will; but it is said that man is misled by them, or walks after them. The Scripture ascribes also to the thoughts malice, injustice, and perversity, which could not be done, unless they were, at the same time, acts of the will.” Roos.

As the error of atheists is act [practical], so also they can he made sensible of it only by act. The light, under which they apprehend it, is likewise the light of the approaching judgment, with which God punishes them. They are accustomed to look upon everything that happens, in a fatalistic manner, as a necessary cycle of sowing and harvesting, of building and possessing, and to disregard the factor of divine grace lying at the foundation of the whole. Therefore God must break up at once this cycle; He must cause the fruit to fail the seed, the inhabitancy to fail the building: then they become aware that He exists. Then the insolent heroes cry bitterly.
The most pernicious fruit of indifference is the shamelessness, which no longer turns pale. “Shame is the first prophetess, when thou turnest aside, the first that beckons thee back again to the land of peace,—[it is] consciousness of guilt, an arrow of conscience, a ray of God Almighty in the very act, a turning back of the course of our blood and thoughts, of our sea of emotions and instincts; a μετάνοια of our body.” Herder. As the extinction of shame indicates, in the individual man, the beginning of a hopeless condition, so does it also in the life of a nation. So long as the whole body of the people retains a feeling of shame, many individual, even heinous sins, may be borne, without serious injury to the whole. But if that ceases, then the enormity of individual crimes, considered, in comparison with earlier times, may perhaps prove a kind of progress in civilization, and yet the condition of the whole may have become thereby a much more vicious one. Even that progress commonly lies in the laxity of the moral judgment.

However unexpectedly the acts of God come, their seeds, nevertheless, always exist anyhow already in the present, and they are disposed into the continuity of one divine guidance of the kingdom from the beginning forward. The seed of the judgment lies in the law. This fact implies that the judgment is not merely a negative, but a positive act of God. It is a birth, although a birth under the form of death.
The decisive turning-point, which from the Old Testament history of the kingdom takes the direction of that of the New Testament, is the abandonment of the nation as such by the prophets. Zephaniah discriminates between an ecclesia in the ecclesia, and this exhortation, so far as hope is expressed in it, is intended for this congregation of the lowly and humble.

With this begins the stand-point of the abandonment, which, continued by the later prophets, has its ultimate fulfillment in the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. At the same time a Messianic progress lies in this apparent retrogression. Because, viz., the internal condition of a humble mind takes the place of the external one of national relationship, a new point of view determines their adoption to salvation. In this view even those who are not Israelites may fulfill the preliminary conditions of salvation (Acts 10:35). To the Anavah—humility well pleasing to God—belongs also the renunciation of the particular privileges of descent from Abraham.

Cocceius: The day of the Lord, in the widest sense, is that time in which God proves Himself as King, Lord, and Judge: in a narrower sense, it is that day which all the prophets have longed to see,—the day of the appearance of God in the New Covenant. Accordingly the day of the Lord is to be understood principally of the advent of the Messiah in the flesh, which is connected with the judgment upon the unbelieving; but moreover it is also to be understood of the immediate forerunner of that day. So Zephaniah announces as its precursor and herald another day along with the destruction of offenses, and purification by means of the Babylonian captivity. And where the prophets speak of the times after the advent of Christ, the day of the Lord is the last judgment day, which times, like the destruction of Jerusalem and the Reformation, precede, like trumpets, and announce the coming of the Lord to the kingdom of the world and to the final judgment.

Strauss: Thus a sacred edifice is built before our eyes, whose foundation stands on God’s righteous love and our sin; to which every act of punishment and every manifestation of grace adds a stone, on which finally, after the close of all history, the crown is set by the judgment of the world.

HOMILETICAL

What must we do in order to escape (Zephaniah 2:3) the coming wrath (Zephaniah 1:2; Zephaniah 3:7)?

1. Seek righteousness: turn yourselves—

(a) From the unrighteousness of a divided heart, which would give a part to God and a part to idols (Zephaniah 1:4-5.)

(b) From the unrighteousness of a cold heart which does not care for God, and deprives Him of the honor due to Him. (Zephaniah 1:6.)

2. Seek humility: turn—

(a) From the pride of sensual pleasure, (Zephaniah 1:8-9.)

(b) From the pride of avarice, (Zephaniah 1:9-12.)

3. Do it speedily, for—

(a) The day is coming shortly, (Zephaniah 1:14 ff.)

(b) Helpless is the situation of those who meet it unprepared, (Zephaniah 1:17; Zephaniah 2:1.)

(c) The Word of God is unchangeable. (Zephaniah 2:2 a.)

(d) The time quickly passes away. (Zephaniah 2:2 b.)

On Zephaniah 1:2 f.: We have in the best case our pleasure in the wonderful power and wisdom of God, who has made all things in the world so glorious, and who governs them so well. We think too little of the fact, that as everything is from Him, so He can make an end of everything at once. To the godless man, who does not see in the universe the creative hand of one God, the whole world is a heap of ruins. No wonder that he feels, in judgment and in death, as if the ruins were falling over him. To the pious man, however, in this painful moment, the anticipative recognition of the divine ordering [of the world—C. E.] is a strong support [säule, pillar]: he has consolation in his death. Proverbs 14:32. How much has God to judge in thy heart, if He will destroy “the remnant of Baal.” The service of the one God is the most simple, and yet for the regulation of life the most difficult; all are involuntarily syncretists, and the heart is full of altars. How many a one kindles a fire for the truth, but in the impure flame one must perceive that the altar, on which he kindles it, is erected, not to God, but to the idol of his sordid zeal. Every idol is a master; one may call it Baal, or Moloch, or Adon (Zephaniah 1:9): the meaning of the words is the same; he who does not serve God is all the more a slave. (Romans 6:16-19.) And his is indeed a slavery to unrighteousness, for none of the idols which we honor has surpassed us in anything, that we should be under obligation to recompense it.—Zephaniah 1:6. He who does not ask after God, is to be considered eo ipso an apostate. There is an indifference in external peace, which is worse than direct hostility against God, because more hopeless. He who flatters such indifference, as if it were piety, is also a servant of unrighteousness.—Zephaniah 1:7. One thing is wanting in this sacrifice of the Old Testament,—the purity of the victim. The perfect sacrifice of the divine judgment of wrath is Jesus Christ. In this God has also sanctified his guests; in spite of themselves and without knowing it, Caiphas and Herod and Pilate are obliged to bear testimony to God.—Zephaniah 1:8 f. Those who wear soft raiment are in kings houses. Even where a righteous king rules, court air is a dangerous air, and whoever is placed in it must keep a threefold watch over his heart; that he do not fall into vicious habits; that he do not practice idolatry with earthly things; that he do not, without intending it, by means of adulation, partisan conduct, or by laziness, heap up deceit and crime. An upright heart finds the way even here (Jeremiah 38:7 ff.). An evangelical minister should not dishonor the house of his God by a strange dressing of his body and imitation of strange ceremonies. Whoever thinks to increase the property [Habe] of God by dishonest means, legacy-hunting, etc., makes God an idol.—Zephaniah 1:10 f. Trade and traffic are good things; but they are not the pillars, on which a kingdom stands firm.—Zephaniah 1:11. If men allow the light to go out in their heart and conscience (Psalms 119:105), God must set up his light. Although they do not come to the light, yet the time is coming when they will not be asked whether they will come or not.—Zephaniah 1:12. A knowledge of God’s existence does not determine the salvation of the soul. With it the soul may become corrupt and perish. The life of man is action, and piety is found, where the will conforms itself to the acts of God. Such a man cannot remain at ease, for in the kingdom of God there is everywhere much to do.—Zephaniah 1:13. It is painful to be obliged to forsake his goods and the work of his hands. And yet this is the lot of all, who have obtained possession of only earthly things, and who have been occupied with earthly things. They come to the judgment with hands entirely empty. For such (Zephaniah 1:14) the day of God is always too near. Then all those, who, as long as they were in full possession of their earthly goods and powers, were esteemed by every one mighty heroes, become cowards. For what they esteemed power was not their own.—Zephaniah 1:15 ff. How does he quake, who from all his possessions, plans, and devious ways has been cast into the solitary prison. What must it be only to be inclosed by God’s prison? There even the stoutest bulwarks of the heart break in pieces before the sound of God’s trumpet. There even the most ingenious plan is like the groping of a blind man. For the things with which man is accustomed to plan and to act, refuse their service. There even the most audacious head must bow (Zephaniah 2:1).—Zephaniah 1:2. We need not tremble before the dark powers of the world, which are pregnant with mischief and destruction; but before that, by which the law of God, which judges us, is pregnant. Thanks to God that He himself has begotten the Son, who has destroyed the curse engendered by the law. But make haste to be saved. In the whole Gospel we read only of one, who was saved at the twelfth hour; for how many has the time passed away. In the O. T. the “day of the Lord” is the day of wrath: in the N. T. it is the day of joy.—Zephaniah 1:3. Mere humiliation and fear are of no use; by them one may attempt many foolish expedients (Micah 6:6 ff.; Genesis 4:13 ff.; Matthew 27:5). Positive action must accompany them: the seeking of God with the whole heart and an assurance of deliverance founded on faith. It is no contradiction, therefore, when it is said, Ye humbled ones seek humility. The disposition produced by the preaching of judgment must become conscious action and steadfast way.

Luther: Zephaniah 1:4. The pious king effected the much, that idolatry did not rule. Nevertheless some always remained. And we have no reason yet to hope, that, were we going to suppress all ungodly practices in the same way, all men would become pious. For if that could have been done, it would certainly have been done by this king, who was considered preëminently faithful, over the law and service of God. The Chemarim were a remarkable people and well disciplined in the idolatrous service, for they took their name from their earnest and great devotion. They produced an erroneous opinion among the people, that they were of all others the most assiduous in religion and divine worship. I am entirely of the opinion that they were such people as the monks of the present day are.—Zephaniah 1:8. It is evident that he speaks of the most powerful, who imitated the foreign customs, dress, and manners of the surrounding countries, abandoned their native manners, usages, and dress, just like the Germans of our time, who are apes of almost all nations. But this is a proof of a great frivolity and of an unstable disposition Magnisque negation, stare diu (Zephaniah 2:3). This prophet, beyond all others, urges humility. He knows well that only the lowly please God, and that, on the contrary, the proud, pompous, and hardened despisers displease him.

Starke: Zephaniah 1:1. God bears with the ungodly for a time and does good to them by pious magistrates and preachers, in order that He may thereby lead them to repentance.—Zephaniah 1:2. To human eyes it certainly appears that war arises from this or that quarrel among men, but the Scripture teaches us that the exciting cause of all wars is the sin and guilt of the land, by which God is moved to vengeance. There is no calamity, which the Lord does not send (Amos 3:6).—Zephaniah 1:4. God is bound to no place. When the wickedness of men increases in a city, He causes it to be laid waste, though the true religion has long borne sway in it.—Zephaniah 1:5. The announcement that God would extirpate idolaters, who wished to unite idolatry with the true worship of God, could powerfully strengthen the faithful in their struggle. The true worship of God suffers no idolatry by the side of it. It is quite possible, that those who have been once born again may lose their faith and fall from the grace of God. Seeking and asking suppose a salutary knowledge of God, by which his goodness and kindness are tasted. When we have tasted these the longing after God becomes always greater; then we seek to know God always more and more truly.—Zephaniah 1:7. Ungodly people complain, when they are obliged to hear the divine threatenings on account of their sins, or to feel the hand of God, but pious people are still and bear the wrath of the Lord.—Zephaniah 1:9. He who brings unlawful possessions into his house, brings the divine curse with them.—Zephaniah 1:11. To ply trade is not wrong in itself; but God does not allow dishonesty in it to go unpunished.—Zephaniah 1:12. Those who are in the Church, and yet deny the divine omniscience, are worse than the heathen. Before destruction comes security. Wine is agitated and turbid, when it is poured out of one cask into another; but if it remains in one cask, it settles and produces tartar. So it is with hypocrites: they listen, to be sure, to the preaching of the prophets; but they do not allow themselves to be made uneasy thereby in their consciences, and become finally as hard as stone.—Zephaniah 1:14. God gives courage, and can take it away.—Zephaniah 1:17. That men err in counsel is a judgment of God.—Zephaniah 1:18. If the wrath of an earthly king is a messenger of death (Proverbs 16:14; Esther 7:7), how much more the terrible wrath of Almighty God.—Chap. 2.Zephaniah 1:1. Though no man can become entirely perfect in piety here, yet we must see to it that we do not stand still in godliness, much less go back, but always advance and become more perfect from day to day. God has power to hide his own in the day of wrath upon the ungodly.

Pfaff: Zephaniah 1:5. Those who swear by the Lord, and who say, “as sure as the Lord liveth,” are not meant alone, but those also who have sworn obedience and fidelity to the Lord and yet practice idolatry and also wish to unite the true with the false worship of God.—Zephaniah 1:8. The foolish imitation of foreign dress and fashions is a sign of great vanity and of a damnable pride. This vanity also will be punished. To build houses, to plant vineyards, to use the possessions of this world, is entirely right. But then they become a snare to him who does not consecrate his work by means of sincere conversion to the Lord.—Zephaniah 1:16. What terror will the day of the last trumpet produce among men! Let then the voice of this trumpet sound now in our ears, in order that we may, while it is yet the time of grace, turn to the Lord.—Zephaniah 1:18. Ye rich, your silver and your gold cannot deliver you in the day of God’s wrath. Seek then a possession which remains and endures forever.—Chap 2.Zephaniah 1:1. Nothing is more necessary and more useful for one who is desirous of his salvation, than self-examination. How much better is it that we judge ourselves before we are judged of the Lord.

Rieger: From the whole representation of the prophet one sees with what great earnestness that which is recorded (2 Kings 23:25 ff.), was spoken: Josiah turned himself with his whole heart, with his whole soul, with all his might, to the Lord; yet the Lord turned not from the fury of his wrath and said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight. The like may often happen in one (Anion’s) reign that God will never cease until He has destroyed not only the ungodly, but also their offenses [that against which or by which a person meets with a fall—a stumbling-block, scandal. See Exeget., Zephaniah 1:3—C. E.], not only the sinful customs introduced by them, but also the places and houses, which have become to others ways to hell. How accurately does God know what a wicked heart all outbreaks of sin have as their source, since they do not even fear God, do not esteem Him, do not ask after Him. And again, how does He examine not only the hearts and reins, but observe also what kind of dress men wear. What does God often draw forth from that which is concealed as soon as He begins to search with candles. How little consolation do even great possessions give in the day of such wrath.—Chap. 2.Zephaniah 1:1 ff. At first the prophet must certainly have discovered something good among the entire hostile people by which they might still enjoy a mitigation in the day of judgment. But when there was little or nothing to be discovered among them, he nevertheless addresses those in distress, who, under the prevailing unrighteousness, had to suffer more than pleasure from it, and he rouses them, that they may not fall asleep over the necessity of the time, but seek the Lord, who conceals himself at such a time, and that with all the consolation of a good conscience in righteousness, they should nevertheless, though doomed to every kind of sorrow, resign themselves to humility. Although every one in such common calamities is involved in much trouble, yet there are exceptions enough, if one is so concealed, as, e.g., in the destruction of Jerusalem, was the case with the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 39:11 f.), Baruch (Jer 65:5), Ebedmelech (Jeremiah 39:17 f.).

Burck: On Zephaniah 1:1. God, therefore, permitted the reign of the pious Josiah to precede the final doom of Judah, in order that all excuse might be taken from the Jews. They might have said, Our kings compelled us to this and to that. If so, the answer was now ready: Josiah did not compel you, rather, as far as he could, he sought to turn you; but ye continued obstinate.

Theodoret: Zephaniah 1:4. For as I (Jehovah) made fowls and fishes and cattle for the service of men, so will I destroy the former also with the latter. They are unnecessary where there are none to make use of them.

Hieron.: The dumb brutes also feel the wrath of God. When men and cities are destroyed, then one sees also that beasts, birds, etc., disappear. Of this Illyria, Thrace, and also Judæa bear testimony. I come from the last named country, and there everything except heaven and earth and increasing wilderness has perished.

Schlier: Zephaniah 1:4. Not much was gained by Josiah’s reformation. Therefore the Lord himself will undertake a reformation.

Theremin: Zephaniah 1:7. God Will first speak in the judgment. He will say, Ye had Moses and the prophets; ye had my words, which are light and life; why would ye not hear them? These reproaches will roll like thunder in the ears of the guilty. Then the thunders will be silent, and the judge will be silent, and a silence more terrible than the thunder will ensue,—the silence of the eternal decision.

Abarbanel: Zephaniah 1:11. Because the people have become like the Canaanites in sin, therefore, like them also shall they be driven out of Canaan.

Schmieder: The prophet uses the name of a part of the city (“Mörser,” mortar), in order to intimate that those who dwell there, are about to be brayed in this mortar.

Hieron.: Zephaniah 1:13. He will leave nothing unpunished. If we read the history of Josephus, it is there written, how the princes, priests, and nobles were drawn from cloacæ, lurking-places, pits, and ditches, where they had concealed themselves in fear of death.

Keil: In the carnal repose of their earthly fortune they think in their hearts, that there is no God, who rules and judges the world, that everything takes place by chance, or according to inanimate laws of nature. They did not deny the existence of God, but they denied, in their disposition and conduct, the working of the living God in the world, they regarded Jehovah on a level with dead idols, which neither do good nor evil. Isaiah 41:23.

J. Schmid: The prophet employs such an accumulation of almost synonymous words in order to intimate on the one hand the certainty of the thing, and on the other to inspire the Jews with fear, and to deprive them of all excuse, that they have not been sufficiently warned, and that with suitable warning they would have sought the reconciliation of God.

Strauss: Zephaniah 1:16. The sacrifice of joy (Psalms 27:6),9 which the ungrateful people did not wish to bring, God himself now prepares. The power which of the trumpet’s sound continues irresistible; once it captured the cities of Judah, now it destroys them who were once captors.

Cocceius: Chap. 22 Zephaniah 1:3. To seek God, i.e., to direct every wish, thought, and effort to this end, that one may know where He is and how holy He is, and what are his ways, in order that thou mayest exalt Him, and fleeing to Him enjoy Him as thy own. To seek righteousness, i.e., to wish to possess that condition, by which man is an heir of the kingdom of heaven,—a condition which man does not have of himself. (Habakkuk 2:4.) To seek humility, i.e., to seek that condition of soul, by which man renounces himself and his righteousness, trusts in God, and cheerfully forgives his neighbor for God’s sake.

Footnotes:

[1][Zephaniah 1:2.—אָסֹף אָסף, the infinitive of the verb אָסַף with the Hiphil of the cognate verb סוּף. See Green’s Heb. Gram., sec. 282, a. LXX.: ’Ἐκλείψει ἐκλειπέτο; Vulg.: Congregans congregabo.

[2][Zephaniah 1:3.—וְהַמַּכְשֵׁלוֹת, sing. ruina, Isaiah 3:6; plur. de idolis, Zephaniah 1:3, Ges., Thes, s. v. כָשַׁל, p. 721, b. LXX.: Καὶ ; Vulg.: et ruinœ impiorum erunt; Luth.: sammt den Aergernissen, etc.; Kleinert: und die Trümmer.

[3][Zephaniah 1:4.—הַכְּמָרִים, sacerdotes idotorum, 2 Kings 23:5; Hosea 10:5. Ges, Thes. s. v. כֹּמֶר, p. 693, a. LXX.: τὰ ὀνόματα τῶν ἱερέων; Vulg.: et nomina œdituorum; Kleinert: die Namen der Pfaffen.

[4][Zephaniah 1:5.—מַלְכָּם, pr. n. of an idol of the Moabites and Ammonites, e. g., מִלְכֹּם and מֹלֶךְ, Jeremiah 49:1-3 But in Zephaniah 1:5 and Amos 1:15, מַלְכָם is an appellative, their king, e. g. Malcham. Ges.: “Name der Gottheit der Ammonder, mit מֹלֶךְ eig. ident., Jeremiah 49:1-3; Amos 1:15; Zef. Zephaniah 1:5.” Fürst: Heb. u. Chald. Handwörterbuch. LXX.: τοῦ βασιλέως αὐτων; Vulg. Melchom; Luth. Malchom; Kleinert, Melech. See Smith’s Dict. of the Bible, s. v., “Malcham.”

[5][Zephaniah 1:10.—הַמִּשְׁנִה (the second), “Nehemiah 9:9 Esther 2:0Esther 2:0 Reg. 22:14, pars urbis secundaria vocabatur certa pars Hierosolymorum, fortasse nova quœdam pars vel suburbium.” Ges., Thes.. s. v., p. 1451, b. LXX.: ἀπὸ τῆς δευτέρας Vulg.: a secunda; Luth.: von dem andern Thor; Kleinert: von der Neustadt. Smith’s Dict. of the Bible: “The mention of Huldah, the prophetess, introduces us to the lower city under the name of ‘the Mishneh’ (הַמִּשׁנֶה, A. V. ‘college,’ ‘school,’ or ‘second part’).” Vol. i. p. 994, b.

[6][Zephaniah 1:11.—הַמַּכְתֵּשׁ, literally “the mortar,” probably a deep hollow, so called from its resemblance to a mortar. See Exeget. Zephaniah 1:11.

[7][Zephaniah 2:1.—הִתְקוֹשְׁשׁוּ וָקוֹשׁוּ: The LXX., Vulg., and Luth. translate these words, as if they were derived from קָשַׁשׁ, to gather; but Kleinert prefers to derive them from קוֹשׁ, to bend. Ges. and Fürst take them from קָשַש.—C. E.]

[8][Kleinert has “Der theokratische Atheismus:” he probably wrote “Der theoretische Atheismus.—C. E.]

[9][The allusion to Psalms 27:6 is better understood by the marginal reading, “sacrifices of shouting.” The Heb. word rendered “shouting” in Psalms 27:6 is the same word employed by the prophet, Zephaniah 1:16, and rendered “alarm.” In Leviticus 25:9 the same word signifies the sound of a trumpet. Hence the pertinence of the allusion to Psalms 27:6 by Strauss.—C. E.]

Verses 4-15

REASONS

Zephaniah 2:4 to Zephaniah 3:7

Zephaniah 2:4 For Gaza shall be forsaken,

And Ashkelon shall become a desolation;
Ashdod, they shall drive her out at noon-day,1

And Ekron shall be rooted out.

5 Woe to the inhabitants of the sea-coast!2

The nation of the Cherithim!3

The word of Jehovah is against you,
O Canaan, land of the Philistines!
I will destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.

6 And the sea-coast2 shall become places for pasture,

And folds for flocks.

7 And the coast2 shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah;

Upon them will they feed;
In the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening,
For Jehovah, their God, will visit them,
And turn their captivity.

8 I have heard the reproach of Moab,

And the revilings of the sons of Ammon,
Who [wherewith they] have reviled my people,
And acted insolently against their boundary.

9 Therefore as I live, saith Jehovah of hosts,

The God of Israel:
Surely Moab shall become like Sodom,
And the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah,
A possession of nettles and salt-pits,4

And a desolation forever.
The remnant of my people shall plunder them,
And the residue of my nation shall possess them.

10 This shall be to them for their pride,

Because they have reviled and carried themselves haughtily
Against the people of Jehovah of hosts.

11 Terrible is Jehovah against them,

For He destroys all the gods of the earth;
And all the islands of the nations,
Each from his place, shall worship Him.

12 Also ye Cushites,5

Slain of my sword are they.

13 And He will stretch forth his hand over the north

And destroy Assyria;
And He will make Nineveh a waste,
A dry place like the desert.

14 And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her;

All the wild beasts6 of the nations;

Both the pelican and the hedge-hog
Shall lodge on her capitals;
The voice of the singer in the window:
Desolation upon the threshold,
For the cedar-work He has made bare.

15 This is the exulting city, which dwelt securely,

Which said in her heart, I am, and there is none besides me,
How has she become a desolation,
A lair for beasts!
Every one that passes by her will hiss,
He will shake his hand.

3

1 Woe to the rebellious and polluted,7

The oppressive city!

2 She listened not to the voice:

She did not accept discipline:
She did not trust in Jehovah:
She did not draw near to her God.

3 Her princes in the midst of her

Are roaring lions:
Her judges are evening wolves;
They reserve8 nothing for the morning.

4 Her prophets are vain-glorious,

Men of treacheries:
Her priests profane what is holy;
They do violence to the law.

5 The righteous Jehovah is in the midst of her;

He will not do wickedness;
Every morning He will bring his judgment to light;
It does not fail;
But the unrighteous man does not know shame.

6 I have cut off nations:

Their battlements are laid waste;
I have made their streets desolate,
So that no one passes over [them];
Their cities are destroyed,
So that there is no man [there],
So that there is no inhabitant.

7 I said: Only do thou fear me,

Do thou receive correction,
And her dwelling shall not be cut off,
According to all that I have appointed concerning her;
But they rose up early;
They corrupted all their doings.

EXEGETICAL

The reason for the announcement of the judgment made in chap. 1 (comp. Introd. 3):—
1. God brings the judgment upon all the heathen, 2:4–15.
2. And yet Jerusalem remains incorrigible, 3:1–7.

Chap. 2 Zephaniah 2:4-15. The Judgment upon the Heathen. Representative nations from the four cardinal points, West, East, North, and South, are mentioned, so that by the completeness of the quaternary number of the four quarters of heaven arises the idea of the universal judgment upon the heathen nations (comp. Zephaniah 2:11 and the judgment of the four winds, Jeremiah 49:36; Zechariah 2:6; Zechariah 6:5).

The description is divided into three parallel strophes of four verses each:—
(a) Judgment upon Philistia, Zephaniah 2:4-7.

(b) Judgment upon Moab and Ammon, Zephaniah 2:8-11.

(c) Judgment upon Ethiopia and Assyria, Zephaniah 2:12-15.

Zephaniah 2:4-7. The judgment upon Philistia, the land of the West. For—thus the prophet immediately joins argument to the exhortation, which, in its final clause, directs [us] to the certainty of the judgment—Gaza shall be forsaken. עַזָּה and עֲזוּבָה form a paronomasia, like Ekron and תעקר, at the close of the verse (comp. Micah 1:10 ff). And Ashkelon shall become a desolation. Ashdod (the seat or the worship of Dagon (1 Samuel 5:0)) they, (undefined enemies) will drive out at noon-day: so defenseless will it be against the sudden and powerful attack, that there is not even need of a surprise by night. Compare Jeremiah 15:8, where also a word of similar sound, שׁוֹדֵד, occurs, which forms also an unexpressed paronomasia of though to אַשְדּוֹד; and Ekron is ploughed up. Even the enumeration of cities is governed by the symbolical number four, so that of the five cities of the Philistines (Joshua 13:3), one, Gath, is omitted, according to the example of Amos 1:7 f.

Zephaniah 2:5. The prophet directly addresses those who are threatened: Woe to you who inhabit the sea-coast, חבל הים, a name of the country of the philistines (see Deuteronomy 3:4), ye Cretans. The connection of the Philistines with the island of Crete was known from very ancient times (1 Samuel 30:14 ff.; comp. Tac., Hist., v. 2), although the arguments adduced by Bertheau (Gesch. der Israeliten, p. 188 ff. [History of the Israelites, etc.]) to identify Caphtor, the native country of the Philistines, who were not originally settled in Canaan, but immigrated into it at a later period, (Amos 9:7), with Crete, are not sufficient. [Philistine means emigrant: in the LXX. they are called Ἀλλόφυλοι. For an account of their origin see Smith’s Dict. of the Bible, s.v. “Philistines.” Compare Rawlinson’s Herodotus, vol. iv. p. 64, note 4, and Lenormant and Chevallier, vol. i. p. 124.—C. E.] Caphtor seems rather to be designated, Genesis 10:13 f., as an Egyptian district. Compare Starck, Gaza, p. 66 ff.; 99 ff.; Duncker, Gesch. des A. I., p. 339 A. Hence also the name Cretim is to be derived from Crete. To derive it from כּרת, to destroy, and to designate the Philistines by it, as those who are to be destroyed, as Keil, following the Targum and the Vulgate, does, is unnatural. The play upon words, which the prophet possibly had in mind (comp. 3:6; also the expression כְּרֹת immediately following this verse, and the plays upon words, Zephaniah 2:4) is far from etymology. The word of Jehovah is against thee, Canaan, properly “low country,” originally the name of the whole tract of land on the Mediterranean, inhabited on the North by the Phœnicians and on the South by the Philistines (Numbers 13:30 (29?)); Thou land of the Philistines. And I will destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. מִן. is, as is frequently the case, equivalent to ὥστε μὴ εἶναι.

Zephaniah 2:6. And there shall be [it will not do to construe, with the interpreters, the verb היתה with חבל, for this is masculine: it can only he construed with נוֹת (comp. Micah 1:9; Ges. 146, 3), so that חבל הים is to be understood as acc. loci] in the district upon the sea-coast extensive places for pastures and sheep-folds. Some take כְּרֹת as the plural of כֵּרָה, which (from the root כרה, to dig) would signify, according to Kimchi, the ditch made round a fold; according to Cölln, a cistern; both of which interpretations are untenable. Others (Strauss, Keil), following Bochart, take it for the infinitive of כרת; and understand by נוֹת כרֹת pastures of shepherds’ caves, i.e., where shepherds dig caves for a protection against the sun. Yet the expression, aside from the superfluity of the required complement, is little adapted to characterize the activity of the shepherds only. It is best to consider, with Hitzig, the word as a plural from כֵּר, pasture. The apparent tautology with נות, is no argument against it, since נות, [plural of נוה; see Ges., s. v.—C. E.], dwelling, pasture [for flocks and herds—C. E.] is a more comprehensive idea than כּר, a pasture for lambs [such is the strict meaning of the Heb. word כּר: Kleinert renders it Viehweide—C. E.]; and since moreover נְּרֹת רֹעִים and גִדְרוֹת צאן form two pairs of words closely belonging together, both of which are subordinate to נות. The abnormal form [the regular form is כָרֵי] [the plural of כַר, wherever it occurs, is כָרִים.—C. E.] is occasioned by the preceding נְוֹת, and likewise perhaps by playing upon the word כְּרֵתִים. It cannot be by accident that shepherds and their flocks are mentioned here instead of destroyers, whilst in threatening prophecies in other places, destruction is announced by this form of threatening, viz., that the city or territory is delivered up to beasts of the wilderness, monsters, ponds of water, or to desert vegetation. The resemblance of the turn of thought to Jeremiah 6:3 (comp. Introd. 4) is remarkable, and it is natural to suppose that as Jeremiah has there, so Zephaniah has here his eyes fixed upon the distress caused by the hordes of Scythians, whose march through the land of the Philistines, appeared also to Herodotus to be sufficiently noteworthy to obtain mention in his history (i. 104). They set out, the men and frequently also the women, on horseback: they took with them wagons yoked with oxen, which, furnished with a felt covering, served, at the same time, for tent and house; also their property, which consisted of droves of horses, cattle, and sheep, from whose wool they prepared those coverings. (Herod., 4:2, 61, 75, 114, 122.) At a later period, when there shall be only a remnant of Judah left, another event will follow the first punishment of Philistia:—

Zephaniah 2:7. Then the sea-coast shall fall to the lot of the remnant of Israel [Judah is the reading in the Hebrew text—C. E.], they will feed upon them (עליהם is construed with כְּרֹת Zephaniah 2:6, as if it were written there כָּרֵי) and in the houses—which have become empty—of Ashkelon will they lie down in the evening. A reproduction [of the idea] of Obadiah 1:19. The connection of thought (Zephaniah 2:6-7) would accordingly present itself thus: first Philistia is laid waste by a pastoral nation. Then Judah is judged, compare 7c; and then the remnant of Judah inherits Philistia as pasture-ground. Hitzig also [interprets it] in a similar way. However the reference to the Scythians is not at all necessary. Quite as good and perhaps a still simpler understanding of the passage results, if we, as indicated in the translation, render prominent in נוֹת the idea of an open, empty place, so that in Zephaniah 2:6 the destroyers, the shepherds that obtain possession, do not form the prominent idea so much as the emptiness, which resulted from a catastrophe left undefined. The district on the sea-coast, hitherto covered with cities rich in commerce, becomes open grounds for pastures, etc. And these open grounds, after Israel is purified, become the possession of the remnant. Thus יִרְעוּ (Zephaniah 2:7) naturally connects with רֹעִים (Zephaniah 2:6).

The following reason: for Jehovah, their God, will certainly visit them, Israel, and, whilst the wound of the heathen is incurable (Nahum 3:19), he will turn their captivity, is consistent with both constructions: it shows how the restoration of the place is effected. פּקד is to be understood in this passage of the gracious visitation of those already chastised (Strauss and others), on account of its close parallelism with שׁוּב שבוּת: it is, however, contrary to the prevailing usage of the book. Concerning the turning of the captivity, the restoration of the captives, comp. Deuteronomy 30:3; on Nahum 2:3, and below 3:20.

[Keil: “Paqad, to visit in a good sense, i. e., to take them under his care, as is almost always the meaning when it is construed with an accusative of the person. It is only in Psalms 59:6, that it is used with an acc. pers. instead of with על, in the sense of to chastise or punish. שׁוּב שְׁבוּת as in Hosea 6:11 and Amos 9:14. The Keri, שְׁבִית, has arisen from a misinterpretation”—C. E.]

Zephaniah 2:8-10. The Judgment upon the East: Moab and Ammon, the sons of Lot. Comp. Isaiah 16:6; Isaiah 25:11; Jeremiah 48:29 ff. If the subject here were historical, and not rather the universal and ideal character of the judgment of the world, then the interjacent, hereditary enemy, Edom, would certainly not have been omitted. I have heard the abuse (הרפה sensu activo, as in Lamentations 3:61) of Moab, who from of old armed evil tongues against me and my people (Numbers 4:22 ff.), and the revilings of the sons of Ammon, whose old hatred continued even to the latest times (Nehemiah 4:3; Nehemiah 4:7); wherewith they have reviled my people and haughtily violated, literally, acted insolently against their boundary. Comp. Amo 1:13; 2 Kings 13:20; Jeremiah 40:0. The suffix in גבוּלָם is to be referred to עַמּי (comp. Zephaniah 2:10, Zephaniah 2:9).

Zephaniah 2:9. Therefore as I live—̓Επεὶ κατ̓ οὐδενὸς εἶχε μείζονος ὀμόσαι ὤμοσε καθ̓ ἑαυτοῦ (Hebrews 6:13; for the construction compare Ew., 329 a)—saith Jehovah of hosts (comp. on Nah. 2:14 [13]) the God of Israel: Moab shall become as Sodom and Ammon as Gomorrah,—they will incur a destruction like that of the cities, in whose fate their ancestor, Lot, was involved—an inheritance of nettles and salt-pits (see note on Zephaniah 2:9—C. E.], like the Dead Sea, on which they dwell, and desert forever. The remnant of my people shall plunder them and the residue of my nation (גּוֹי instead of גוֹיִי, comp. Olsh., 39 d; 164 d) shall inherit them. If the details of a special historical prophecy were treated of, then Hitzig would be right in objecting, that the plundering and seizure by the returned remnant of Israel must take place before the final destinies of these countries, that the desolated land is not suitable for a נַחֲלָה, etc. But the prophet does not think of individual chronologically arranged dates, but of the grouping together of everything that involves the execution of Jehovah’s judgment upon the heathen nations; and this certainly has for its chief moment the destruction of the sinners and the redemption of his people.

Zephaniah 2:10. This shall be to them for their pride, because they have despised and boasted against the people of Jehovah of hosts. The judgment is talio. The universality of it stands out with still greater precision, according to its two-fold fundamental characteristic.

Zephaniah 2:11. Jehovah will be terrible against them (comp. Deuteronomy 7:21), for He will destroy all the gods of the earth, so that, after they have brought their peoples to ruin and judgment, they must themselves now pass away and die like men (Psalms 82:7). Compare below, the Doctrinal and Ethical part.

And they will worship Him, after that the hostile powers over them have passed away, every one from his place, all the islands of the nations. It is the common teaching of prophecy, that all islands, all nations the most remote, shall turn to Jehovah. But it generally takes the form, that they [the nations] shall flow to Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:0; Micah 4:0). Now it is certainly undeniable that in the idea of this Jerusalem [of the time] of the consummation, the spiritual element predominates (comp. on Micah 4:1 ff.). But that in this preexile prophet the local covering should already be so removed, as e.g. in Malachi 1:11, that he should consider a worship of Jehovah in all places the fulfillment of the times, is, although it commends itself at the first view of this passage, nevertheless very doubtful, the more so as Zephaniah himself (3:10) adheres to the older form of representation, namely, the offering of the heathen at the Holy City [Jerusalem—C. E.]. Hence I believe that the words: they will worship each from his place, are used in a pregnant sense: they will pour to Him worshipping; compare the trembling (hither) Micah 7:17; Hosea 3:5.

[Keil: “Mimnekomo, coming from his place: the meaning is not that the nations will worship Jehovah at their own place, in their own lands, in contradistinction to Micah 4:1; Zechariah 14:16, and other passages, where the nations go on pilgrimages to Mount Zion (Hitzig); but their going to Jerusalem is implied in the min (from), though it is not brought prominently out, as being unessential to the thought.”—C. E.]

Zephaniah 2:12-15. The Judgment upon Ethiopia and Assyria, South and North. It is in keeping with the great perspective, which is opened in Zephaniah 2:11, that distant nations should be introduced for illustration. The retrospect to Nahum 3:8 ff. is apparent. Ye Cushites also, Ethiopians, slain of my sword are ye; literally “are they.” The transition from the second to the third person has in itself nothing unusual (comp. 3:7 and the whole of Nahum).

Calvin connects with it the ingenious remark: “In secunda persona initio versus propheta compellit ad tribunal Dei, postea in tertia adjungit: erunt,” etc., in a certain manner the sentence of the judge.

Yet the predicative position of the הֵמָּה is so remarkable, that Ewald and Hitzig (against Rückert, Strauss, Keil) are certainly right in considering it as a substitute for the copula. Comp. Isaiah 37:16.

[Keil says: “הֵמָּה does not take the place of the copula between the subject and predicate any more than הוּא in Isaiah 37:16 and Ezra 5:11 (to which Hitzig appeals in support of this usage: see Delitzsch, on the other hand, in his Comm. on Isaiah, l. c.), but is a predicate.”—C. E.].

Zephaniah 2:13. And He will stretch out his hand (comp. 1:4) over the North and destroy Asshur, and make Nineveh a barren waste, dry like the desert, whilst at this very time [that the prophet was speaking—C. E.] the streams of water and the abundant irrigation are the pride and joy of the powerful city (comp. pp. 101, 104).

[Keil: “The prophet dwells longer upon the heathen power of the north, the Assyrian kingdom with its capital Nineveh, because Assyria was then the imperial power, which was seeking to destroy the kingdom of God in Judah. This explains the fact that the prophet expresses the announcement of the destruction of this power in the form of a wish, as the use of the contracted forms yet and yâsçm clearly shows. For it is evident that Ewald is wrong in supposing that וְיֵט stands for וַיֵּט, or should be so pointed, inasmuch as the historical tense, “there He stretched out his hand,” would be perfectly out of place. &יָד נָטִהָ(to stretch out a hand), as in Zephaniah 1:4 : ’Al tâsphôn, over (or against) the North. The reference is to Assyria with the capital Nineveh. It is true that this kingdom was not to the north, but to the northeast, of Judah; but inasmuch as the Assyrian armies invaded Palestine from the north, it is regarded by the prophets as situated in the north. On Nineveh itself, see at Jonah 1:2 (vol. 1, p. 390); and on the destruction of this city and the fall of the Assyrian empire, at Nahum 3:19 (p. 42).”—C. E.]

Zephaniah 2:14. And herds shall lie down in the midst of it [viz., of the city, which has become a desert—C. E.], but certainly not herds of cattle, which have no nourishment in the desert, but every kind of heathen beasts. חַיְהוֹ is not חַיָּה with the suffix of the third person, and is accordingly not to be translated, and all his beasts, the heathen: this form is חַיָּתוֹ (Job 33:20); but it is the known archaic form of the status constr. from חַיָּה (Genesis 1:24; Ges., 90, 3, 6). גוֹי is accordingly the stat. abs. By the beasts of the heathen it is most natural to understand either (according to 2 Samuel 23:13; Psalms 68:31 [comp. the Heb. text—C. E.], the conquering world-powers, which take possession of Nineveh as the remnant of Israel take possession of the ruined kingdoms of the Philistines and Ammonites (Zephaniah 2:7; Zephaniah 2:9); or the roving hordes of Scythians. However the interpretation of Cölln, Rosenm., De W., Strauss, and Keil is not to be characterized positively as erroneous: [they interpret it] every (real) beast, that is accustomed to range in herds (גוֹי); compare the goi of the locusts, Joel 1:6.

[Keil: “The meaning can only be, ‘all kinds of animals in crowds or in a mass.’ גּוֹי is used here for the mass of animals, just as it is in Joel 1:6 for the multitude of locusts, and as עַם is in Prov. 30:35, 36, for the ant-people; and the genitive is to be taken as in apposition. Every other explanation is exposed to much greater objections and difficulties. For the form חַיְתוֹ, see at Genesis 1:24.”—C. E.].

Pelicans also [see Thomson’s The Land and the Book, vol. 1. p. 403—C. E.] and hedge-hogs—the inhabitants of deserted countries and ruined places—will lodge on their capitals. The association of ideas leads the prophet to reminiscences from Isaiah 34:11; Isaiah 14:23; compare the first clause [of the verse] with Isaiah 13:21. “The capitals of the pillars do not lie on the ground, but now stand unattached, after the palaces, roofs, and floors, which rested upon them, are thrown down.” Hitzig. Hark, how it sings,—the nesting bird,—in the window.

קוֹל, as in 1:14, Nahum 3:2, literally vox (ejus qui) canit, or auditur (is qui) canit. Desolation on the threshold! None passes over it any more. For the cedar-panelling, the beautiful ornament of the walls (comp. on Habakkuk 2:17) He, Jehovah, has torn down [Heb. has made bare—C. E.]. אַרְזָה is related to אֶרֶז, as דִּגִה is to דָּג, it conveys a collective idea (Ew., sec. 179 c).

[Keil: “The sketching of the picture of the destruction passes from the general appearance of the city to the separate ruins, coming down from the lofty knobs of the pillars to the windows, and from these to the thresholds of the ruins of the houses.”—C. E.]

Zephaniah 2:15. This is the city, the exulting one (Isaiah 23:7), which dwelt so securely, sheltered behind her defenses of water; the expression is taken from Judges 18:7. “Vox ut exsultantis super illam.” Remigius. Which said in her heart: I am and besides me none; literally, and besides me (none) further. “Before ‘besides,’ the negation, if the supposition is intimated by the proposition, or in it, can be omitted, and the words for ‘besides’ can hence signify also ‘only,’ comp. Micah 6:8.” Hitzig. [?—Micah 6:8, however, is a different case; compare on the passage. And I would prefer, though against the consensus interpretum, to explain it: I, and if I am no more, still I; I and always I. The sense is the same in both views.] The same expression, with the same signification, is applied to Babylon, Isaiah 47:8; Isaiah 47:10.

[Keil: The Yod in ’aphsi is not paragogical, but a pronoun in the first person; at the same time, ’ephes is not a preposition, “beside me,” since in that case the negation “not one” could not be omitted, but the “non-existence,” so that אַפְסִי אֵינִי, “I am absolutely no further (see at Isaiah 47:8).” See Ges., Thesaurus, s. v.—C. E.] How has she become a desolation! (applied to Babylon, Jeremiah 50:23) a lair of beasts! Every one that passes by her, hisses, waves his hand. The thought is from Nahum 3:19. The waving of the hands, like the clapping, Nahum 3:19, is a sign of gratified feeling (comp. Psalms 43:2; Isaiah 55:12). The expression is, in part, similar to Jeremiah 19:8. [See Rawlinson’s Ancient Monarchies, vol. i. p. 245.—C. E.]

  3

Zephaniah 3:1-7. The Obduracy of Jerusalem. Woe to the refractory (מוֹרְאָה, part. from the root מָרָא, the hiphil of which occurs Job 39:18, and in the Cod. Sam. Leviticus 13:51-52; Leviticus 14:44; equivalent to מרֵאה; compare יֹצָא, Ecclesiastes 10:5, contracted from יֹצְאָה equivalent to יְוֹצֵאה), and polluted, the oppressive city! יגֹנָה is the part of יָנֽה, press it, Jeremiah 50:16 and above. The prophet gives four reasons for this sharp address.

Zephaniah 3:2. She hearkens not to the voice, with which the faithful God speaks to her, Zephaniah 3:7, in all these acts (2:4 ff.). The בּ denotes a hearing with pleasure and effect: she hearkens not, although she hears. She does not accept discipline. מוּסַר, the lesson which is derived from the experience of one’s own or another’s suffering [Schadens, damage, harm—C. E.], and generally from attention to the ways of God; compare Proverbs 1:2. She trusts not in Jehovah, but in her wealth (1:12): to her God she does not draw near, but to the Baals (1:6): the acts of God and the voice of the prophets die away unheard; no change is effected.

Zephaniah 3:3. Her princes, in the midst of her, (comp. on 1:8) are roaring lions (for the idea comp. Micah 3:3; for the expression, Proverbs 28:15; Sir 13:19). Her judges are evening wolves, which go out in the evening for prey and are very ravenous (“non quod reiiquo tempore quiescerent,” Calv. on Psalms 59:7), which leave nothing for the morning, but so eager are they that they instantly devour the victim that falls into their clutches. “Ubi latrocinium in ipso foro exercetur, quid jam de tota urbe dicendum erit?” Calv.

Zephaniah 3:4. Her prophets are knaves, פּוֹחֲזים, people, who utter פַחֲזוּת, i.e., vain, empty talk, brag (comp. Jeremiah 23:32), men of treachery, who defraud God (Hosea 6:7) and men, since they pretend that their own word is the word of God (Ezekiel 22:28; comp. Micah 2:11 ff.). Her priests desecrate that which is holy, the temple, with their sacrilege, comp. Jeremiah 23:11 (Hieron.), the sacrifices (comp. קדֶשׁ, Jeremiah 2:3) by the neglect of the prescribed ritual, Ezekiel 22:26, comp. Malachi 1:11 (Cölln): in short, they make everything sacred common (Hitzig), instead of strictly discriminating, according to Leviticus 10:10 ff., between the holy and profane. Thus they do violence to the law, of which they ought to be the guardians. There is a corruption of all classes, of the organism of the kingdom in its substance, almost still worse than Micah had pictured it, chap. 3. And the cause of this disorder does not lie with God (Zephaniah 3:5-7). He has left nothing untried.

Jehovah is righteous, as a righteous one (comp. for the constr. Hosea 11:9) in the midst of her, He does no wrong. Comp. Deuteronomy 32:4.) Morning by morning (comp. Exodus 26:21) He sets his justice in the light (comp. Hosea 6:5). God’s justice is neither his teaching (“docendo populum leges et jura sua per prophetas, qui hortando et monendo per singulos dies id operam dant, ut eum ad meliorem frugem vocent” (Rosenm., Keil), nor his righteous administration (Chald., Hieron., Cyr., Strauss, Hitzig), but the announcement of the judgment, which it was right for Him and obligatory upon Him to bring upon these mad practices (comp. Calvin, above, p. 17): the sentences of the predicted judgment (comp. 15 and Micah 3:8), which, on the one hand, are declared against the heathen, but principally against Israel. He declares them, literally, without failing: He does not miss, returning faithfully every morning. The wicked have their work in the evening and leave nothing for the morning (Zephaniah 3:3), Jehovah has it in the morning and has each day a clear announcement. But in vain; the wicked [person] knows no shame (comp. 2:1): neither the example of the righteous government of God, nor the merited threatening of coming judgments causes him to blush. Jehovah himself is introduced as speaking (Zephaniah 3:6); He sets forth his great deeds, which He had accomplished for and before the eyes of Israel: I have destroyed nations, those mentioned chap. 2. and many others; their battlements are laid waste, synecdochically for the walls and fortresses, which they crown. I have desolated their streets, literally made dry, since the multitude of men crowding them is considered as a flood (comp. Habakkuk 3:15), so that no one any more passes through them. מִבְּלִי with the part. like the bare מִן in other places or the pleonastic מאֵין, 2:5, in the sense of necessary negative result (Ew., 323 a). The same turn [of thought] occurs Isaiah 34:10. [In the passage cited אֵין is used.—C. E.] Their cities are laid waste, literally, fallen by ambuscade (צדח, Exodus 21:13; comp. Joshua 8:0), without people, without inhabitant. And why all this? For. a warning example, that his people may consider his severity and his goodness.

Zephaniah 3:7. I said,—thought in me and spoke to them by these deeds,—only wouldst thou fear me, the imperf. instead of the imperative, in order to show the kindness and tenderness of the warning; only wouldst thou receive correction, suffer thyself to be taught. Then their (change from the second to the third person, as in Micah 3:2 ff.: a mental speaking and meditating on the part of God in a certain manner, is indicated) house, i.e., not merely the temple (Strauss), but their possession and dwelling-place, the place Zion (comp. Matthew 23:38) would not have been destroyed. To the substantive idea of destruction in this clause the following forms an apposition: destruction should not fall upon them, according to all that I have appointed concerning them; the whole sum of the evils included in he destruction, the daily announced &פקד משׁפּט cannot have the common meaning, to charge, to command (so still Strauss, for in this sense the subjoined עַל designates, according to the usage if the language, not the object, concerning which a command is given, but him upon whom the charge is enjoined. But as it can signify the divine care for any one, so it signifies also the laying up of a debt against any one, so that it hangs, in a certain manner, over his head, in order to fall at last upon him or his descendants and to destroy them: like נטר, Nahum 1:2. So also Exodus 20:5; Hosea 1:4. Thus God would have his deeds considered by Israel, but what avail is it? But nowאכן after אָמַרְתִּי points out the contrast of the empirical reality to the fruitless or mistaken thoughts of the speaker; just as in Psalms 31:23 (22); Isaiah 49:4,—they only speed the more all their infamous deeds, literally, they are in haste to pervert all their doings. The verb חשחיהוּ (Psalms 14:2), takes the auxiliary verb הִשְׁבִּימוּ (for the construction, comp. Ew., 285 b), which brings into the sentence the emphasis of the contrast required by אָכֵן: not only that they do not refrain from acting infamously, they even hasten to do so.

So it is evident that the judgment denounced, chap. 1, is just, since all the judgments which befell the heathen in favor of Israel (Nahum 2:1) produced no effect upon the people. So firmly convinced is the prophet of the incorrigibility of the people, that he, without farther ado, as if it were a question of the present, presupposes and declares it: even after the judgments described, Zephaniah 2:4 ff, which in his day were yet future (תִּהְיֶה, 2:4,etc.), Jerusalem shall wear just such an appearance, and, before that time, a worse than at present.

[Keil: “In Zephaniah 3:7-8 the prophet sums up all that he has said in Zephaniah 3:1-6, to close his admonition to repentance with the announcement of judgment.”—C. E.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

The contest of Jehovah of hosts (2:9, comp. Com. on Nahum, p. 36) against the heathen, has a fourfold design. First, it involves—which is the final point of view on this side—the restoration of the kingdom of David (comp. Psalms 60:0), whose extension, according to prophetic vision, is measured by the promise to Abraham. But in this respect only the countries which took possession of portions of this kingdom, viz., Philistia, Moab, Ammon, representative of the neighboring nations, come into consideration. Of Cush and Nineveh it is not said that the remnant of Israel will take their lands into possession. The second, and much higher point of view, is that of a contest between God and the [false] gods, which represent the antagonism to the true God among the heathen (comp. Zephaniah 2:11 a), The fundamental view of the O. T. concerning idols [Götter, false gods], is that they are nothing [nichtse, nothings], אֱלִילִים (Leviticus 19:4), and that the God of Israel, as He alone made the world (Exodus 20:11; Exodus 31:17), is the only true God, not merely among his own people and in his own land, but also in the land of the heathen (Exodus 9:22 f); another proof of which is furnished in the bestowal of Canaan [upon Israel] notwithstanding the prevailing idolatry. Deuteronomy formally repeats this doctrine of the oneness of the God of Israel (6:4; 32:39), and the idols are expressly designated as not-gods (Deuteronomy 32:21; comp. 8:19). Besides this another representation is presented to view in the further development of the Old Testament revelation, which seems to ascribe to the idols an actual existence. In the Pentateuch the passages directly bearing upon this point have no weight. Either they seem to be spoken from a heathen standpoint, consequently they are without the sphere of revelation (comp. Exodus 18:11; Genesis 14:20; Numbers 24:16; comp. also Isaiah 36:18ff; Isaiah 14:14); or idolatry appears as the worship of the objects of nature, temporarily permitted by God, which objects of nature are themselves subect to the power of God (Deuteronomy 4:19). There is, however, here, no doubt, a germinant intimation of the opposition existing between God and idols in the contest of Jehovah with the Egyptian magicians, who by virtue of their gods imitated his miracles. And undeniably the idea of a certain reality on the part of the gods seems to be expressed in the eighty-second Psalm. There God judges among the gods (comp. Exodus 7:12). Because they executed their office unjustly and suffered their worshippers to sink into iniquity, they were to perish like men (Zephaniah 2:7), and Jehovah would enter upon his inheritance, which they had governed for a time (Zephaniah 2:8). Psalms 97:9 teaches the same thing; and the passage, 2:11, receives hence a clear illustration. A twofold explanation of this phenomenon is possible. Either that the gods have a (subjective) subsistence by virtue of their worshippers, as a spiritual power, which unites and moves these worshippers in their appointed worship; which power consequently stands or falls with the existence of the people. So old Tarnov seems to understand the matter, when he explains the destruction of the gods at the place mentioned: “Paulatim ac sensim perdit idola, adimendo ipsis cultores omniaque sacrificia abolendo.” Compare below also, Bucer in the Homiletical suggestions. Or, that we trace back idolatry to satanic influences. “This satanic influence, after it has obtained a place within the soil of humanity, so insinuates itself into all the forms of development of the divine revelation and education as to produce a perverted counterpart of them, in which the substance of truth is destroyed and falsehood makes its abode; for in the common revelation the false god confronts the pure idea of God, in which [false god] not only, as in an idol the substance of divine truth is destroyed, but also, as in a positive phantom, the spiritual power of the evil one presents and communicates itself.” Beck. “Among the heathen, active, objective, devilish powers acquire divine honor by a darkening of the human conscience.” Kling. This latter view of the matter is prominent in Paul, 1 Corinthians 10:20. It is evident, too, that the Old Testament passages, and especially the one in question [Zephaniah 2:11 a—C. E.] coincide more nearly with this view than with the first [i. e, with Kling’s rather than with Beck’s—C. E.]; only that the solidaric connection of the [false] gods with the kingdom of Satan and of the demons is not expressly accomplished in conformity with the Old Testament standpoint. The doctrine is this: that, while, according to the general view of prophecy, the idols are to be despised as dead and dumb nonentities, yet the [false] gods, in a certain sense, rule over the nations, as objective powers, and that by their overthrow, which forms the inner intellectual side to the external judgments of the people, the nations, in a certain sense, are restored to an unprejudiced condition, since it is again possible to them to decide for God.

The third object of the judgments upon the heathen is this. They must, so far as they are heathen nations, and as such resist God, be overthrown, in order that having been delivered from the fetters of idolatry, they may seek Jehovah and learn to worship Him. 2:11 b.

Finally, the fourth object of these judgments upon the nations is, that Israel may come thereby to the knowledge of the glory and power of his God, and learn to stand in fear of his severity, and bow to his goodness. This is effected by God, in that, beside the judgments without, He causes the import of them—his justice and sentence—to be explained to the people by the prophets. His design is this: That thou mightest only fear me, in order that thou mayest remain safe from the manifestation of my wrath.

But this, plan of salvation is defeated by the people’s hardness of heart, which blunts the instruments of the divine proclamation and of regulating the [seiner, His] kingdom; and the judgment must come also upon Israel: there will only be a remnant, that will enter upon the deserted fields of Philistia, Ammon, and Moab.

The final and total aim of the judgment is, therefore, certainly Israel, but not so much the present Israel, who, rather, is, like the heathen, under the training of God, and is within this training certainly nearest to Him, yet not to such a degree that the heathen should come into consideration merely as objects of the judgment, for also for them the goal of worshipping Jehovah is presented in prospect; and Israel, if he does not receive correction, likewise incurs their judgments. The final object is rather the future Israel, the remnant, to whom, from the nature of the case, the heathen worshippers will also belong.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Of the exhortations which God, by his guidance of the world’s destiny, directs to those who are called to his salvation.

(1.) He exhorts us to repentance by the severe punishments which He brings upon the evil-doers (3:6); by the majestic power with which He desolates populous cities (2:4–6); He humbles the proud and leaves nothing unpunished (2:8–10); He reminds us also that the most powerful nations are not too powerful for Him (2:12), that the most distant are not too distant, the most populous not too numerous (2:13 f) for Him to bring down their secure arrogance and to deliver up to scorn and contempt those who trample others under foot (2:15). He who considers this rightly must surely perceive that God intends it for the destruction of every being antagonistic to him upon earth (3:11), and that He is a righteous God (3:5).
(2.) He exhorts us to faith. The promises, which He has given to his own, are not destroyed by any judgments, but only confirmed anew (2:7, 9): and there is not one of the great works, which are done under the sun, upon which an illustrative light does not fall from his Word (3:5). No one has an excuse that God has not drawn near to him (3:7), and that He has not also had his highest interests in view (2:11).

(3.) But how little do men profit by warnings! Refer, e.g., to Jerusalem (3:1–3); and to ourselves (3:7).

On Zephaniah 2:4. God’s way of destruction are also ways of grace (Acts of the Apostles, 8:26).

Zephaniah 2:7. Our hope of the future rests alone upon grace; and we need not wonder, though our gracious guidance leads through chastisements, on account of sin adhering [to us]. The remnant of Baal must be driven out, in order that the remnant of God may come to the light.

Zephaniah 2:8. Murmur not at poisonous tongues. God hears better than thou that in which thou art unfairly dealt with: pray for them who injure thee, for the injury weighs upon them and not upon thee. The memory of God is one of the most fearful things of which a man can think. God notices so particularly the dishonor done to his people for the reason that only those belong to his people, who take no heed of dishonor, and are not allowed to avenge themselves. But take heed that you are not reviled on account of your own sins. Such reviling God does not punish, but it is itself punishment.

Zephaniah 2:11. Prophecy will certainly come to pass and not fail. Even the smallest and most distant island is known to God and is included in his plan of salvation. But how shall they believe if it is not preached to them? Where the fear of God has been abandoned, in a country or among men, a salutary fear of Him must intervene, in order that his worship may be restored. On 13 ff. compare the Homiletical Suggestions on Nahum.

Zephaniah 3:1. God addresses his own city the most severely (Amos 3:2). The way of destruction begins with obstinacy against God: then comes pollution by vice, finally the destruction of conscience, which becomes manifest in open acts of violence and crime.

Zephaniah 3:2. He who listens to God’s voice, has this advantage from it, that he learns prudence. He who trusts in Him has the advantage, that he can draw near to Him at all times with assured confidence. We know obedience by prudence, faith by confidence. Disobedience is folly, and despondency unbelief.

Zephaniah 3:3. Strength and bravery do not govern a country; even the lion is a strong and brave animal. They must be restrained by the fear of God and guided to the right objects. A speedy sentence often does more harm and wrong than the detriment arising from ten tardy ones.

Zephaniah 3:4. If the salt becomes insipid, wherewith shall it be salted? He who speaks in God’s name should always speak with fear and trembling, and as if he were going to stand to-morrow before the judgment seat.

Zephaniah 3:5. No one is so liable to profane what is holy as a priest; and no one is so responsible. Thou shouldst offer no violence to the Word of God. What it does not say thou shouldst not make it say. Though priests and prophets may be wicked, it is nevertheless wrong to separate one’s self from the Church of God. The Lord of Hosts, who does no wrong, is still in the midst of her. Therefore do the sects go so speedily to ruin. We cannot think of anything more touching than the long-suffering love, with which God follows a people and a soul, and keeps always anew, daily and a hundred times, one and the same thing before its eyes, namely, whether it will allow itself to be saved. Dark and confused things are not utterances of God. They all have their light in themselves and do not require that one should bring in mysteries, which no man sees. Persistent unbelief is a shamelessness of the soul. How much has God torn from his heart, for the purpose of confirming the Word of his prophets, in order that we might learn to believe. Not merely innumerable men, whom He created, and who were judged according to this prophecy, but his own son.

Zephaniah 3:7. It is a singular thing, that even the most faithful counsels and friendly instructions and allurements strengthen in his perversity, him who is already in the wrong way. He has shame, but false; and there is no stronger enemy of the true shame than the false.

Luther: On Zephaniah 2:6. The most magnificent and powerful cities, which were subdued under no king but David, are so laid waste and razed, as Hieronymus frequently states that one sees remaining only some ruined portions.

Zephaniah 2:9. These surrounding nations have all been scattered and exterminated by the Persians, Romans, etc., so that they have not been able to retain even their name, which they bore of old; they have all been united into one nation with the name of Arabians.—Chap. 3 Zephaniah 2:1 ff. Although the pure unadulterated word is accomplished, yet some will always be found, who will adulterate the word and the true service of God, until Christ, at his last advent, will make an end of this evil.

Zephaniah 2:7. In these few words the prophet has briefly expressed what belongs to an honest Christian life, for the fear of God brings with it faith, humility of heart, so that we hold the majesty of the Lord in all honor. Discipline [Ger. Zucht; Heb. Musar] includes in it outwardly good morals, so that we may walk together, one with another, with propriety and honor, without the displeasure of the brethren.

Starke: On Zephaniah 2:5. Even in Christendom there are many who practice Canaan’s doctrine and life: may God free the Church from them.

Zephaniah 2:6. Compare Luke 13:5.

Zephaniah 2:7. The wealth of the godless is preserved for the pious.

Zephaniah 2:9. God confirms his promises with zeal for the consolation of the godly, his threatenings for the terror of the wicked.

Zephaniah 2:11. In the New Testament the service and the worship of God are confined to no fixed place.

Zephaniah 2:13. When God has warned a city many years by a Jonah, Nahum, Zephaniah, at last the punishment comes suddenly.

Zephaniah 2:14. Cities, castles, houses, which are built with much pride by the toiling sweat and blood of poor people, usually come to a mournful end.

Zephaniah 2:15. Whoever says, I am he, and there is none besides, robs God of an honor which belongs to Him alone.—Chap. 3 Zephaniah 2:2. It is a certain indication of approaching destruction, when the people become more obstinate by punishment.

Zephaniah 3:3. Contempt of God’s Word causes corruption among all classes.

Zephaniah 3:5. The more one despises God’s Word, the more will God continue in the teaching of it.

Zephaniah 3:7. Genuine repentance obtains not only certain forgiveness of sins, but also often averts temporal punishments. unbelievers are more assiduous in evil than believers in good.

Rieger: On Zephaniah 2:4 ff. Israel has often been stimulated to zeal by the surrounding nations. For example, they would also have a king like the heathen around them; they fretted themselves, on the ground that the other nations should so advance and become great in their idolatry, and that they themselves, possessing the true worship of God, should so decline. Therefore the judgments executed upon other nations are so frequently held up before them: partly because all these are under the government of God, who has fixed and beforetime determined their boundary how far and how long each nation should have its habitation; partly to show what kind of a distinction God makes, in all His judgments, between his people and between the heathen, and how in these He always remembers the covenant with their fathers and guides them to the fulfillment of his promise; that those shall be blessed that bless the seed of Abraham, and that those shall be cursed who curse them. For this reason also their excessive arrogance toward Israel and their pleasure in his misfortunes are charged so high to the account of these nations. O seek humility! What may one bring upon himself by his vainglorious mouth!

Gregory the Great: On Zephaniah 2:10. Other vices drive away merely the virtues, with which they stand in natural contradiction; wrath drives away patience; drunkenness, soberness; but pride is in nowise satisfied with the extirpation of a single virtue, but arms itself against everything good in the soul, and utterly corrupts it like a pest, so that under its influence every work, although it may be adorned with the appearance of virtue, nevertheless no longer serves God, but vain self-glory.

Eusebius: Zephaniah 2:11. In Zephaniah the appearance of Christ is evidently connected with the extirpation of idolatry and with the worship of God on the part of the heathen.

Bucer: Whilst God destroys all the nations around, and thereby shows that what the worshipped as divinities, are nothing but false gods, since in the time of need of their worshippers, they afford them neither support, nor shelter, He makes the gods themselves disappear.

Bucer: Zephaniah 2:12. Observe, He calls it His sword. No evil comes upon any one in which the hand of God is not.

Pfaff. Zephaniah 2:15. To the Lord there is nothing more detestable than the pride of self-arrogating men. How well He knows to punish it with terrible power; how his wrath hastens to humble the proud.

Bucer: Zephaniah 3:2. As it is the beginning and foundation of all salvation to hear the Word of God with faith, so contempt of the Word of God with faith, so contempt of the Word of God is the source of all corruption. If a man despises the Word of God, then the next thing is that he refuses all amendment, because he is well pleased with himself and imagines everything which is in him good. And this is the climax of perversion of the life from God.

Bucer: Zephaniah 3:4. There is no divine gift on which Satan does not cast his filth. So he has also polluted prophecy.

Beck: The wicked one makes an idol of the earthly spirit of the age in the polymorphean practice of error extending itself over the entire circle of the earth.

Footnotes:

[1][Zephaniah 2:4.—צָהֳרַיִם is dual, and signifies double light, i.e., strongest, brightest, Genesis 43:16; Genesis 43:25; Deuteronomy 28:29; Jeremiah 6:4.

[2][Zephaniah 2:5.—חֶבֶל, a cord, rope, Joshua 2:15; Ecclesiastes 12:6; a measuring line, 2 Samuel 8:2; Amos 7:17; a portion measured out, as of land, and assigned to any one by lot, Joshua 17:14; Joshua 19:9; hence, it signifies portion, possession, inheritance, tract, district, region.

[3][Zephaniah 2:5.—גּוֹי כְּרֵתִים LXX; πάροικοι Κρητῶν; Vulg.: gens perditorum. They inhabited southern Philistia, 1 Samuel 30:14; Ezekiel 25:16. See Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, articles “Cherethims,” “Cherethites,” and “Caphtor.”

[4][Zephaniah 2:9.—מִכְרֶה. This word is nowhere else used in the Bible. See a copy of “the Moabite Stone,” in The Jewish Times, Friday, June 10, 1870, in which the plural of the same word, 2:25, is rendered “ditches.” See also Lenormant and Chevallier, vol. ii. p. 211, note.

[5][Zephaniah 2:12.—See Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, article “Cush;” Kitto’s Cyclopædia of Bib. Lit., and Lenormant and Chevallier’s Ancient History of the East, vol. i. p. 57 ff.

[6][Zephaniah 2:14.—כָּל־חַיְתוֹ־גוֹי: LXX., πάντα τὰ θηρια τῆς γῆς; Vulg., Omnes bestiæ gentium; Kleinert, alles heidnische Gethier; Keil, “all kinds of animals in crowds or in a mass.”

[7][Zephaniah 3:1.—נִגְאָלָה, Niphal of גָאָל, to be defiled, polluted, unclean; used in this sense only in the later Hebrew. See Isaiah 59:3; Isaiah 63:3; Lamentations 4:14; Malachi 1:7; Ezra 2:62; Nehemiah 7:64; Daniel 1:8.

[8][Zephaniah 3:3.—גָֽרְמוּ, from גָרַם, to cut off or away; Piel, to gnaw, crush, craunch bones; LXX.: οὐχ ὑπελείποντο εἰς τὸ πρωί; Vulg.: non relinquebant in mane; Luther: die nichts lassen bis auf den Morgen überbleiben.—C. E.]

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Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Zephaniah 2". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/zephaniah-2.html. 1857-84.