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Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Zephaniah 3

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-8

Zep 3:1-8

COMFORT AND CONSOLATION

REAFFIRMATION OF JUDGEMENT . . . Zephaniah 3:1-8

In chapters Zephaniah 1:2 to Zephaniah 2:3, social sin and injustice are hardly noted. In the section before us, Zephaniah briefly but emphatically indicates that it is social injustice, such as that spelled out by Micah, Amos and Isaiah, for which Israel will be led captive. This supreme sin, “man’s inhumanity to man,” is the inevitable consequence of the false religion dealt with in Zephaniah’s first two chapters.

HER THAT IS REBELLIOUS . . . Zephaniah 3:1

Jerusalem is not named, but is obviously intended. Her rebellion against Jehovah worship has caused her social pollution. The oppression of the “have nots” by the “haves” is the consequence of the religious syncretism of the “haves.”

The-twentieth century nonsense that “it doesn’t make any difference what he believes so long as he is sincere” is proven erroneous in the history of Judah’s punishment. The social evil in America today is in large measure the result of the same sort of religious non-commitment that brought about the downfall of Judah. No culture can remain just and equitable that does not have a certain moral and spiritual base. The social inequity resulting from a lack of religious certainty is the dry rot which destroys civilizations. Mere lip service to Jehovah is not enough.

Zerr: The prophet now resumes his accusations against Jerusalem (Zephaniah 3:1). The filth and pollution refers chiefly to her conduct towards false gods and· her unjust treatment of her unfortunate citizens in private stations of life.

OBEYED NOT . . . RECEIVED NOT . . . TRUSTED NOT . . . DREW NOT . . . Zephaniah 3:2

The prophet’s charge of rebellion against Jerusalem is spelled out in verse two. Four failures have brought her to the brink of destruction. First, she obeyed not the voice of God. Hebrews 1:1 tells of God speaking to the fathers in the prophets. Their voice was His voice. His people did not obey. Moreover, when God sent other prophets to correct her failure to hear, Jerusalem (the spiritual center of Judah) did not recieve the correction, This stiff-necked attitude compounded to sin and pushed the nation farther down the slopes toward disaster.

She trusted not Jehovah. This would seem, in light of the first two charges, to be self-evident. No one really trusts God who does not heed His spokesmen. The prophet, in this third indictment, calls attention to Judah’s alliances with foreign powers. Rather than trust Jehovah’s might for her national security, Jerusalem aligned herself with the Assyrian-Egyptian power block in the struggle with Babylon. She would find herself on the losing side. America, whose currency bears the inscription “in God we trust,” seems unable to learn this lesson. The final charge against Judah is that she drew not near to God. Instead, she sought Baal: The failure of Judah was not passive merely. She not only failed to hear and trust, she actively sought false gods.

Zerr: There were four things that Jerusalem should have done that she did not do, namely, obeyed, received, trusted and drew not near to her God. This combination of failures resulted in the anger of the Lord till he determined to bring swift judgment upon the city and its surrounding territory.

HER PRINCES . . . HER JUDGES . . .HER PROPHETS . . . HER PRIESTS . . . Zephaniah 3:3-4

These verses are reminiscent of Micha’s denunciation of the various influential classes in the culture of the people. Her princes, i.e., those who held political authority over the people, are roaring lions. They as Satan, go about “seeking whom they may devour.” (cp. Ezekiel 25-27)

Her judges are as wolves in the evening. Wolves feed at night, beginning at dusk and by morning there is little left of their victims. So with the common people who are at the mercy of corrupt courts. A corrupt judicial is ever the companion of an evil executive.

Her prophets are light and treacherous persons. These, more than any other, must answer for Judah’s corrupt religion. As Micah accused them, they preached what their wealthy listeners wanted to hear rather than thundering forth God’s truth. They proclaimed the imaginings of their own minds rather, than God’s Word. A dangerous parallel could be drawn here by comparing the practice of these prophets to the modern preacher of topical sermons who neglects the expository treatment of God’s Word.

Her priests have profaned the sanctuary. The present day American church-goer, with his blase’ attitude toward things sacred cannot appreciate the seriousness of this offense. One of the functions of the priests of Levi was to guard the sanctity of the Holy Place. The priests to whom Zephaniah writes have become so worldly-minded, so tolerant of false religion, they are no longer concerned for the sacredness of the temple. (cp. Ezekiel 22:26) They perverted the law to suit their own advantage while practicing a narrow legalism generally. They had forgotten the dramatic lesson of Uzzah who was struck dead for placing unclean hands on the sacred ark. (2 Samuel 6:7)

Zerr: The leading men in Jerusalem were so cruel toward their brethren that they were compared to roaring lions (Zephaniah 3:3). Evening wolves. A beast that had been without food all day would be especially ravenous. Moffatt renders the last clause, "leave not a bone till the morning," which agrees with the context that describes a greedy beast. Light and treacherous (Zephaniah 3:4) means they are frivolous and unreliable. Such a prophet would refuse to be serious concerning the danger overhanging the nation. Tbe priests made a mere formality of the services and violated the law whenever it would interfere with their plots against the common people.

JEHOVAH IN THE MIDST . . . Zephaniah 3:5

God has not left His people. In the midst of rebellion and injustice. He is faithful to the covenant. He has not been turned aside from His purpose by the unfaithfulness of the people. “Every morning He brings justice to light . . . The worship of Baal began with greeting him at dawn in the rising sun. At this very hour when the people’s unfaithfulness reached its daily pinnacle, Jehovah brings justice to light. His moral standards and His righteousness are as reliable, and more so than the rising of the sun. But the people refuse to see. “The unjust knoweth no shame.” Even the constancy of Jehovah in the midst of their unfaithfulness does not shame them. They are unmoved in their pursuit of unrighteousness and error.

Zerr: The Just Lord (Zephaniah 3:5) is a significant term in view of the conditions. It denotes that a severe chastisement is to be meted out against these wicked princes. God’s disapproval of the corruptions is made known every day, yet the unjust leaders are not impressed thereby but continue in their wickedness.

I HAVE CUT OFF THE NATIONS . . . Zephaniah 3:6

God’s righteous judgements are not limited alone to Judah. The prophet has already listed the sentences of God against the surrounding Gentiles. It is God, not Zephaniah, who has cut off the nations. The desolation and ruin of those named in the previous chapter are not the result of Jewish nationalism but of God’s universal judgement. The archives of history are filled with the records of those nations cut down by God’s righteous judgement because “knowing God, they glorified Him not as God . . . “(Romans 1:21) Judah had but to look north to Israel to remember how true this is and how certain are God’s judgements.

Zerr: Have cut off (Zephaniah 3:6) is past tense in form but is a prediction of the doom about to come trom the Lord. The watchtowers at the cities were destined to be thrown down and the streets exposed to the passing enemy.

ONLY FEAR THOU ME . . . Zephaniah 3:7

God still speaks through Zephaniah. He calls the Hebrews back to the rudimentary beginning of wisdom. (cp. Proverbs 9:10) Paul, quoting Psalm after Psalm, will prove that all social evil such as that against which the prophets spoke are the result of failure to fear God. He will list lack of righteousness, and understanding, failure to seek God, turning aside from His purpose, failure to do good, all spiritual uncleanness, deceitful speech, cursing and bitterness, war and destruction and misery and the futile search for peace as the consequences of not fearing Him. (cf. Roman Zephaniah 3:9-18). One can only shudder today at the church member whose twisted misinformation about God’s love has led him to a contemptuous familiarity which does not believe one should, or must fear Jehovah. God’s plea through Zephaniah is only fear me. Only . . . just . . . please! A deep and genuine fear of God will bring about the correction of the evil against which judgement must otherwise come.

Zerr: I said, etc. (Zephaniah 3:7), denotes that God expected the people to be impressed with the· importance of His judgments, yet they continued on in their evil Course. Their keenness to do evil is indicated by the words they rose early and corrupted all their doings.

BUT THEY ROSE.EARLY AND CORRUPTED . . .

Despite God’s plea to fear Him, the people ignored His plea and rose up early to greet the sun god. In so doing, they paved the way for all other corruption.

UNTIL THE DAY . . . Zephaniah 3:8

Here Zephaniah returns to the theme struck in Zephaniah 1:14. The great Day of Jehovah is again called to mind as the decisive day on which He will gather the nations before Him in wrath.

The meek . . . those who are humble before God (Zephaniah 2:3) . . . are called to wait for that day when He will prey upon His enemies. In that day when Jehovah’s wrath is poured out to devour the earth with fire (cp. 2 Peter 3:7) the meek shall inherit the new earth.

The idea of destruction by fire in relations to God’s judgement is fairly distributed throughout the Bible. Joel spoke of a time which would be revealed in blood and fire and vapor of smoke (Joel 2:30). Psalms 50:3 depicts God’s coming in company with a devouring fire. Isaiah wrote of similar phenomena. (Isaiah 29:6; Isaiah 30:30; Isaiah 66:15-16) We have heard Nahum speak of the hills burning and the earth burning in His presence. (Nahum 1:5-6) Malachi will tell us of the day of the Lord burning as an oven.

We are something less than wise not to fear Him!

Those nations found guilty in Jehovah’s court of justice will feel the fiery fierceness of fire that is to devour the adversary. (Hebrews 10:27)

This gathering need not be seen as taking place in Jerusalem. There is no Biblical proof for the tradition that the final judgement will take place in the Kidron valley. The idea is that all nations simultaneously and universally are judged by God. His righteousness will flow across the earth as the fiery lava of a volcano consuming all that stand in the way of His covenant purpose.

Zerr: This long verse (Zephaniah 3:8) is only a prediction of the captivity of the nation that was just due. God had warned and exhorted his people by the faithful prophets, but they would not give heed thereto and hence He was determined to bring complete and prompt judgment upon tbe nation. All the earth is a figure of speech and denotes that the whole territory of Judah was to be devastated by the invading forces.

Questions

Comfort and Consolation

1. The sin for which Judah will be led captive is ________________ sin.

2. Social sin is inevitably the result of ________________.

3. Though not specifically named in Zephaniah 3:1, ________________ is obviously intended by “Her that is rebellious.”

4. In light of Zephaniah’s pronouncement of judgement against social evil which results from false religion, discuss the statement “it doesn’t make any difference what one believes, so long as he is sincere.”

5. According to Zephaniah 3:2, four failures have brought her to the brink of destruction. They are: (1) ________________, (2) ________________, (3) ________________, and (4) ________________.

6. Zephaniah condemns four classes of cultural leaders in Judah. They are: (1) ________________, (2) ________________, (3) ________________ and (4) ________________.

7. The ________________ ________________ is the beginning of wisdom.

8. Should a Christian fear God? Explain.

9. What is meant (Zephaniah 3:7) by “rose early and corrupted?”

10. Why is God’s wrath poured out in human history?

11. What is meant by “turn?” (Zephaniah 3:9)

12. “Pure Language” is evidence of ________________.

13. In Zephaniah 3:10 Ethiopia represents ______________.

14. Is the idea of universal salvation found in the Old Testament? Discuss.

15. What is meant by “in that day?” (Zephaniah 3:11)

16. The closing verses of Zephaniah are in contrast to ________________.

17. Who are the daughter of Zion . . . the daughter of Israel . . . the daughter of Jerusalem (Zephaniah 3:14)?

18. Discuss the Messianic significance of the closing verses of Zephaniah.

19. Discuss “God will delight in His people.”

20. Discuss “a praise and a name.” (Zephaniah 3:19-20)

Verses 1-13

Zep 3:1-13

The Righteous and Rebellious Examined

(Zephaniah 3:1-13)

“Woe to her that is rebellious and polluted! To the oppressing city! She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in Jehovah; she drew not near to her God” (Zephaniah 3:1-2).

Zephaniah gets back to Jerusalem and Judah’s spiritual problems. Judah is “rebellious and polluted.” To be rebellious is to be an unbeliever (Numbers 20:10-12). Zephaniah equates rebellion to being morally polluted. Together the terms are defined as:

(1) Oppressive (likely the use of deceitful balances and being cheaters in general).

(2) Would not obey the voice of God.

(3) Would not receive correction (like a stubborn heifer cf. Hosea 4:16).

(4) Would not trust in God (i.e., turned to others such as Egypt and Assyria for help in times of need / cf. Hosea 7:11).

(5) Would not draw near to God.

“Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they leave nothing till the morrow. Her prophets are light and treacherous persons; her priests have profaned the sanctuary they have done violence to the law” (Zephaniah 3:3-4).

The princes of the people (i.e., heads of the families) devoured the poor and weak like a lion her prey (cf. Amos 4:1). The judges of Judah are likened unto the evening wolves that devour sheep in that they loved not justice (Micah 3:9).

The prophets of Judah are “light and treacherous” in that they teach false doctrines and do so for financial gain (cf. Micah 3:5; Micah 3:11). The priests have profaned the sanctuary of the Lord and have done violence to the law in that they “teach for hire” (Micah 3:11).

“Jehovah in the midst of her is righteous; he will not do iniquity; every morning doth he bring his justice to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame” (Zephaniah 3:5).

Zephaniah compares Jehovah God’s actions and character to that of the sinful people of Judah. The Lord is righteous and without sin whereas the wicked of Judah knows no shame.

“I have cut off nations; their battlements are desolate; I have made their streets waste, so that none passeth by; their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, so that there is no inhabitant. I said, Only fear thou me; receive correction; so her dwelling shall not be cut off, according to all that I have appointed concerning her: but they rose early and corrupted all their doings” (Zephaniah 3:6-7).

Jehovah has clearly told Israel and Judah what He desires of them:

(1) Fear Jehovah.

(2) Receive correction.

Furthermore the Lord desires His people:

(1) To acknowledge their sins (Hosea 5:15).

(2) To seek Jehovah God that they may live (Amos 5:4).

(3) Seek Jehovah, keep his ordinances; seek righteousness and meekness (Zephaniah 2:3).

(4) Do justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with thy God (Micah 6:8).

“Therefore wait ye for me, saith Jehovah, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy” (Zephaniah 3:8).

The idea of waiting upon Jehovah is to put all of one’s trust in the Lord. The judgments are true and thereby I must continue in faith until and through the dreaded Day of Judgment (see Isaiah 64:4). When the Great Day of Judgment comes it will be an outpouring of God’s indignation, anger, and fire of His jealousy.

“For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of Jehovah, to serve him with one consent. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. In that day shalt thou not be put to shame for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me; for then I will take away out of the midst of thee thy proudly exulting ones, and thou shalt no more be haughty in my holy mountain” (Zephaniah 3:9-11).

These verses (Zephaniah 3:9-11) appear to be referring to the time when Christ would come into the world and offer man the forgiveness of sins. At this time people shall “call upon the name of Jehovah” in that they shall invoke Him for help in their time of need (i.e., the need for the forgiveness of sins).

Those who so call upon the name of Jehovah to be forgiven of their iniquities shall come to the holy mountain of God (i.e., the church of Jesus Christ / cf. Isaiah 2:2 ff; Hebrews 12:18-24). Within this holy mountain shall be no place for the haughty and proud stricken exulting ones.

“But I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall take refuge in the name of Jehovah. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid” (Zephaniah 3:12-13).

The peoples who wait upon Jehovah, fear him, and seek him will certainly take refuge in the name of Jehovah. The Israel of old were sinful men and women who had forgotten God; however, the new spiritual Israel will be comprised of people who have a mind to not sin against the law of God, nor speak lies, and neither shall they use a deceitful tongue.

Verses 9-13

Zep 3:9-13

THE PROMISE OF REDEMPTION . . . Zephaniah 3:9-13

The purpose for which God’s wrath is poured out in human history is a redemptive purpose. Zephaniah sees, as do the other prophets, the promise of repentance and consequent redemption. He is just, not arbitrary. He does not punish out of vindictive petulance but out of love. (Hebrews 12:6) His judgements are therapeutic, not merely punitive. Ultimately He chastens to save.

The hope comes to Zephaniah like a calm after a hurricane.

A PURE LANGUAGE . . . Zephaniah 3:9

“For then” i.e. following the judgement just described; there is reason for hope.

I will “turn” i.e. I will change the nature. The Psalmist cried, “Create within me a pure heart, O God.” (Psalms 51:10) Paul wrote “. . . if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold they are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Evidence of this redemptive reconciliation is a “pure language” or more accurately, a clean lip. Isaiah, called by God to speak for Him, cried out “I am a man of unclean lips,” (Isaiah 6:5) And after he had been purged with fire from the altar, God said to him, “Thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is forgiven.”

A purified heart, redeemed and reconciled to God always results in pure speech.

Zerr: From Zephaniah 3:9 through the rest of the chapter the prophet deals with the effects the captivity was to have on the people and then of their return from the exile. A pure language means the people will speak in proper words concerning the true God of their nation and ot the world. They will praise Him as being the just and holy One instead of the idols they had served in their home land before the captivlty.

. . . SERVE HIM WITH ONE CONSENT . . .

Those who are redeemed not only may but will serve Him. Jesus promised that the living water of redemption would, in him who drinks, become a fountain, bubbling over to eternal life. (cf. John 4:14). And their service will be with “one consent” . . . more literally with one shoulder. As several oxen pushing against a single yoke, they will serve as one. Both the redeemed of Israel and the purged nations will “in that day” serve Him as one. Here is a glimpse of the unity which characterized the New Testament church which, from Antioch forward was a fellowship of those redeemed from Israel and those purified from among the nations.

FROM BEYOND THE RIVERS . . . Zephaniah 3:10

From the long list of those to whom God’s wrath would be revealed in judgement Zephaniah selects Ethiopia (see above on Zephaniah 2:12) to represent the redeemed from among the nations. This company of the reconciled is also to include Jews from among the dispersion, i.e., those who were scattered among the nations. It was to the synagogues of the diaspora that Paul first took the gospel in every city. The church, fifteen years after her birth in Judaism, had become a fellowship of redeemed from every kindred and nation,

This concept of universal salvation is not unknown to the Old Testament. In fact, Jesus saw in such prophetic passages the meaning of the entire Old Testament. (Cp. Luke 24:44 -f) The reader will do well here to review Isaiah 2:2-4, Micah 4:1-4, Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 19:23-25; Isaiah 49:5-6. To pursue the idea of universal salvation in the Old Testament, an excellent reference work is Wm. O. Carver’s, Missions In The Plan of The Ages, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tenn.

Zerr: The main captivity was In the land of Babylon, but God had some people scattered in various other parts ot the world (Zephaniah 3:10), even in Ethiopia beyond Egypt. These dispersed people were to learn of the restoration of the service In Jerusalem and come forth to that place with their offerings for the divine service.

IN THAT DAY THOU SHALT NOT BE PUT TO SHAME . . .

Zephaniah 3:11

In the day when the fires of divine judgement shall have purged men of all nations, promises the prophet, you will not be made ashamed for those things in which you have transgressed. What a promise! Paul exalted in this truth, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1) When Jesus received in our behalf the judgement of God upon our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), He purged us of all those things for which we need be ashamed.

Zephaniah points out that the lack of any reason for shame on the part of the redeemed is due to God’s removal from their midst the boastful and proud. Again we are reminded of Paul’s letters. Again and again he reminds the redeemed that all reason for boasting is removed in the processes of redemption. (e.g. Romans 3:27, 1 Corinthians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 4:7, Galatians 6:14) Since Christ received for all of us the wrath of God for our sins, none among the redeemed has any reason to boast. Therefore, no one has any reason to be ashamed of the sin from which he was redeemed, since there are no exceptions. All have sinned and all, in Him; have been redeemed. No Christian has any right to a guilt complex or an inferiority complex.

Zerr: In that day not be ashamed (Zephaniah 3:11) might seem to disagree with other statements upon that subject, but the explanation is in the words later in the verse. The proud leaders wlll have been taken away and the ones remaining will have a feeling of satisfaction toward God because of their renewal of freedom in their own country.

I WILL LEAVE . . . AN AFFLICTED AND POOR PEOPLE . . . Zephaniah 3:12

“Blessed” . . . said Jesus, “are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) To be poor in spirit—“afflicted. and poor” as Zephaniah has it—is to recognize that we are of ourselves unprofitable to God—fit subjects for His wrath. Having exacted our due punishment on Calvary, God leaves us poor—wholly dependent upon Him, but. in this dependence we are rich beyond our fondest hopes. O, the depth of the riches of God’s love!

Zerr: The afflicted and poor people (Zephaniah 3:12) were the ones who had been mistreated by the princes and false prophets. Tbese were to be restored to their native land so that they could resume the holy service.

THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL SHALL NOT DO INIQUITY . . . Zephaniah 3:13.

The remnant is again, as in Isaiah and Micah et al, God’s redeemed covenant people on the redemption side of God’s wrath. They were those who passed through the captivity, God’s punishment for former sin . . . they are now those who have passed through Calvary, by being united with Christ’s death. In any context the remnant are God’s covenant people.

The impure speech of an un-redeemed heart is not to be found among God’s people. Those whom God has cleansed will remain after all others have been burned away in the consuming wrath of God’s judgement. The redeemed are to become like their God. No untruth, i.e. unreality, is to be found among them.

Here, as in many other Old Testament passages, God’s people are pictured as a flock, lying down in the security of His fold. (cp. Psalms 23, Isaiah 17:2, Ezekiel 34:25; Ezekiel 34:28) This security is only for those who have their refuge in Jehovah.

Zerr: The remnant are the ones designated tn Ezra 2:64. Shall not do iniquity (Zephaniah 3:13) is the prediction that idolatry will have been eradicated from the practices of the people by the effects of the captivIty. The other good things mentioned in the verse were to result also trom the purifying effects ot the captivity.

Questions

Comfort and Consolation

1. The sin for which Judah will be led captive is ________________ sin.

2. Social sin is inevitably the result of ________________.

3. Though not specifically named in Zephaniah 3:1, ________________ is obviously intended by “Her that is rebellious.”

4. In light of Zephaniah’s pronouncement of judgement against social evil which results from false religion, discuss the statement “it doesn’t make any difference what one believes, so long as he is sincere.”

5. According to Zephaniah 3:2, four failures have brought her to the brink of destruction. They are: (1) ________________, (2) ________________, (3) ________________, and (4) ________________.

6. Zephaniah condemns four classes of cultural leaders in Judah. They are: (1) ________________, (2) ________________, (3) ________________ and (4) ________________.

7. The ________________ ________________ is the beginning of wisdom.

8. Should a Christian fear God? Explain.

9. What is meant (Zephaniah 3:7) by “rose early and corrupted?”

10. Why is God’s wrath poured out in human history?

11. What is meant by “turn?” (Zephaniah 3:9)

12. “Pure Language” is evidence of ________________.

13. In Zephaniah 3:10 Ethiopia represents ______________.

14. Is the idea of universal salvation found in the Old Testament? Discuss.

15. What is meant by “in that day?” (Zephaniah 3:11)

16. The closing verses of Zephaniah are in contrast to ________________.

17. Who are the daughter of Zion . . . the daughter of Israel . . . the daughter of Jerusalem (Zephaniah 3:14)?

18. Discuss the Messianic significance of the closing verses of Zephaniah.

19. Discuss “God will delight in His people.”

20. Discuss “a praise and a name.” (Zephaniah 3:19-20)

Verses 14-20

Zep 3:14-20

A Time of Great Rejoicing

(Zephaniah 3:14-20)

“Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. Jehovah hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the King of Israel, even Jehovah, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not fear evil any more” (Zephaniah 3:14-15).

The great joy of those who wait and seek after Jehovah with a spirit of meekness is now depicted. Their calling upon the name of Jehovah has resulted in the forgiveness of their sins under the reign of their king (Jesus / Jehovah). God’s people would not have to fear evil nor enemies any longer under the Messianic King because He will give them the power to be forgiven of sins!

“In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; O Zion, let not thy hands be slack. Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that sorrow for the solemn assembly, who were of thee; to whom the burden upon her was a reproach” (Zephaniah 3:16-18).

Hands that hang down are hands that indicate an exasperated and downtrodden heart. The God fearing people who are saved from the judgments of sins through the Messiah are to now lift up these hanging hands and rejoice in their salvation.

The Lord shall assemble the meek of the earth that fear Him and they shall sing in joy for their burden of sin has been removed.

Great sorrow is produced within the heart of the meek and they that fear Jehovah. When I sin I not only disappoint God but myself and others. The guilt of sin has a way of making a man’s hands hang down in discouragement. Thanks be to God that He will forgive those who faithfully wait for him.

“Behold, at that time I will deal with all them that afflict thee; and I will save that which is lame, and gather that which was driven away; and I will make them a praise and a name, whose shame hath been in all the earth. At that time will I bring you in, and at that time will I gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I bring back your captivity before your eyes, saith Jehovah” (Zephaniah 3:19-20).

At that time” would be the time of man’s redemption. Jehovah would “deal with all that afflict” the meek and humble. The faithful will thereby be made a praise and no longer viewed as a shameful people, and shall be “a praise” among all the peoples of the earth.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Zephaniah 3". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/zephaniah-3.html.
 
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