Book of Zephaniah Chapter 3:8-17 Antique Commentary Quotes

Cambridge Bible

Zephaniah 3:8

Therefore wait ye upon me] As R.V. for me, the words being further explained in the clause: for the day that I rise up, &c. The expression wait for me is not ironical (Hitz.), though it might be used in a threatening sense, like Amo_4:12, “prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” Most probably, however, though the verse contains anew the announcement of the coming universal judgment (ch. Zep_1:2 ff.), the promise of Zep_3:9-13 is already in the prophet’s mind. The judgment is not the last act of the drama; behind the storm of universal judgment rises clear the day of universal salvation. The exhortation to wait for Jehovah is parallel to ch. Zep_2:1-3.

Until the day that I rise up to the prey] for the day, continuing for me. If this meaning be accepted, the impending judgment of God is expressed figuratively as a hostile attack by Him, and the question what is meant by the “prey” must not be asked: the “prey” is merely part of the metaphor. Both Sept. and Syr., however, interpreted, “rise up for a witness” (reading le‘êd for Heb. le‘ad), and this sense is followed by many commentators. Comp. Mic_1:2, “let the Lord God be witness against you;” Psa_50:7; Mal_3:5. On the expression “rise up” in reference to a witness cf. Psa_27:12; Psa_35:11; Deu_19:15; Job_16:8.

to gather the nations] It is not implied that the nations shall be gathered to Jerusalem to be judged, as in later writings, e.g. Joe_3:2; Isa_66:18; Zec_14:2; Zec_14:12 ff.; the “gathering” merely expresses the idea that they shall be universally and simultaneously judged. The judgment is one embracing the whole earth, as ch. Zep_1:18, and falls on Israel as well as on the nations.


Cambridge Bible

Zephaniah 3:9

For then … people a pure language] the peoples a pure lip. The term lip often means “language” (Gen_11:1), but here it seems rather to denote the organ of speech. Comp. Isa_6:5; Isa_6:7, “I am a man of unclean lips … lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity shall depart.” The construction is condensed, and the meaning is, then will I turn to the peoples their lip into a pure lip. Their lips were unclean either generally from their inward sinfulness or especially from their taking the names of their false gods upon them (Psa_16:4; Hos_2:19). With purified lips they shall fitly call upon the name of the Lord.

serve him with one consent] lit. with one shoulder, or, back. The Sept., under one yoke, probably rightly interprets the figure, which is that of animals labouring together with a single yoke laid over their shoulders in common. On the general sense comp. Jer_32:39; Eze_11:19-20.


Cambridge Bible

Zephaniah 3:10

The verse is obscure on account of the uncertain meaning of several expressions in it. Its general sense is that the heathen nations, even those most distant, shall do homage to Jehovah and present offerings to Him. Jeremiah already predicts the conversion of the nations (Jer_3:17, Jer_16:19).

From beyond the rivers] This meaning is possible, but the usual sense would be: beyond the rivers—in answer to the question where, not, whence (Isa_18:1). On Ethiopia or Cush see on ch. Zep_2:12.

My suppliants] The word does not occur again in this sense, though a verb to supplicate, from which it might be derived, is not uncommon (Gen_25:21). In the sing, the word occurs Eze_8:11 in the sense of vapour or odour (R.V.) of incense, and this sense, being parallel to “mine offering,” might be adopted here.

even the daughter of my dispersed] Phrases like “daughter of Zion” (Zep_3:14), of Babylon (Psa_137:8), of Edom (Lam_4:21), signify the city or country named with its inhabitants. There is always in such phrases the name of a place, and this suggests that under the word “my dispersed” (pûtsai) there lurks some proper name. Ewald suggested Put, which is often named in connexion with Cush (cf. on Nah_3:9). “The daughter of Put” would then be parallel to “beyond the rivers of Cush.” Others have assumed that somewhat after the analogy of “daughter of Zion” in the sense of Zion with those inhabiting it, “the daughter of my dispersed” might mean those composing (comprised in) my dispersed. “My dispersed” must certainly refer to Jews; the view of Hitzig that they are the same as “those that escape” of the Gentiles and carry tidings of the greatness of Jehovah to all nations (Isa_66:18-19), has no probability. The general meaning of the verse would be that the most distant nations would bring back God’s dispersed people the Jews as an offering to Him (Isa_66:20): From beyond the rivers of Cush shall they bring my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed as mine offering. The term “suppliants” seems unnatural in the connexion. After all, the other sense appears at least equally probable: Beyond the rivers of Cush they shall offer me incense, the daughter of [Put] shall bring me an offering, the reference being to the service of Jehovah by all the nations. Comp. Isa_18:7; Isa_45:14; Psa_72:10.


Cambridge Bible

Zephaniah 3:11

In that day shalt thou not be ashamed] The common expression “in that day” refers to the general period spoken of in the context, here the period after the judgment, when the people of God is saved and restored. To be ashamed might mean either to feel shame for, or to bear the shame of, former doings. The first sense is the more expressive. The former things have so completely passed away that they are forgotten, and no recollection of them calls up a blush of shame (Isa_54:4; Isa_65:16). Cf. Eze_39:26.

them that rejoice in thy pride] R.V. thy proudly exulting ones. In Isa_13:3 the phrase is used of Jehovah’s warriors, the Medes, filled with martial pride and exulting in battle; here it has a less dignified sense, being used of the self-confident and arrogant classes in Israel, whether prophets (Zep_3:4) or politicians, the people of whom Amo_6:13 speaks: “which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?” In the prophets religion is trust in Jehovah, and irreligion or sin is insensibility to His majesty and rule, and consequent pride and self-exaltation.

thou shalt no more be haughty] Isa_3:16, “Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with stretched forth necks.” Jer_13:15.

because of my holy mountain] on my, &c.


Cambridge Bible

Zephaniah 3:12

I will also leave] As R.V., But I will leave.

an afflicted and poor people] Comp. Isa_14:32, “The Lord hath founded Zion, and in her shall the afflicted of his people take refuge.” The rendering “afflicted,” in its modern sense, is too strong; compare the last words of Zep_3:13. The term is used of the Messiah, Zec_9:9, “lowly and riding upon an ass”; comp. Isa_66:2, “him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word,” where the term seems used in a moral or religious sense. “Afflicted” does not mean “in distress,” but is the opposite of powerful (Hab_3:14), or haughty (Zep_3:11).

trust in the name of the Lord] This expresses the characteristic of the lowly and poor people left in Zion. Trust in the Lord is the essential mark of true religion. Comp. the passages cited on Zep_3:2.


Cambridge Bible

Zephaniah 3:13

The remnant of Israel] After the great judgment of the day of the Lord, only a remnant shall be left (Joe_2:28-32). The idea that only a remnant shall be saved is common to all the prophets; Isaiah called his son Shear-jashub, “a remnant shall turn,” making him a living sign to king (Isa_7:3) and people of his conviction that a great judgment was impending. Cf. Isa_10:21-23.

shall not do iniquity] Comp. Zep_3:5, where it is said of the Lord “he doeth no iniquity.” In those days the people shall be like their God. His Spirit within them shall rule their life: Eze_36:25-27.

For they shall feed] The figure is the very common one of flocks feeding and lying down in complete security. Cf. Isa_17:2; Eze_34:25; Eze_34:28. The word for does not assign their perfect security from all trouble without as the reason for the righteousness that shall prevail within, though of course security from all external evils would permit and help the peaceable expansion of the community and the growth of religious life among them. The words introduced by for rather restate under another aspect the peaceful and happy condition of the people, already described in Zep_3:12-13 a.


Pulpit Commentary


in view of the coming blessing, the prophet bursts forth in exultation, yet with a vein of prophecy running through all the canticle. After the late denunciation of woe and judgment, he soothes the faithful with the promise of the grace and peace which the time of Messiah shall bring. Sing, O daughter of Zion (Isa_1:8; Zec_2:1-13 :14; Zec_9:9). He calls on the restored remnant of Judah to show its joy by outward tokens. O Israel. All the tribes are to unite in praising God. This is one of the passages where “Israel” is supposed to have been written by mistake for “Jerusalem.” So Jer_23:6. The LXX. gives, θύγατερ Ἱερουσαλήμ, “daughter of Jerusalem” (see note on Zec_1:19). The prophet enjoins a triple note of exultation in order to confirm the universal joy.


Pulpit Commentary


In this and following verses the prop. hot gives the reasons why Zion should rejoice. Thy judgments. The chastisements inflicted on thee in judgment, rendered necessary by thy iniquity (Eze_5:8). These God has removed; this is the first ground for rejoicing. Septuagint, τὰ ἀδικήματα σου, “thine iniquities.” When God removes the punishments, he forgives the sin. He hath cast out (cleared quite away) thine enemy. The enemies who executed the judgment are utterly dispersed. The King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee (Oba_1:21). The theocracy is restored. Under the judgments which fell upon Israel, Jehovah seemed to have left his people; now he is in the midst of them as their icing (Isa_12:6; Isa_52:7; Hos_11:9). The perpetual presence of Christ in the Church is here adumbrated. Thou shalt not see evil any more. So the Septuagint. Another reading adopted by Jerome is, “Thou shalt not fear.” In view of the following verse, this seems rather tautological. With God in their midst, the people shall see, i.e. experience (Jer_5:12), no evil (Rev_21:3,Rev_21:4).


Pulpit Commentary


It shall be said. So obvious to all men shall be the happy and secure, position of Zion under God’s favour and rule, that they shall join in bidding her east away fear and exult in the Divine protection. Fear thou not (comp. Mat_14:27; Mat_28:5, Mat_28:10; Luk_12:7, Luk_12:32). And to Zion. Probably vocative, O Zion. Let not thine hands be slack. Be not despairing or faint hearted, but work with energy and confidence (comp. Isa_13:7; Heb_12:12); or the sentence may be rendered, “Jerusalem will be called Fear not, and Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.” In this case we may compare the names Hephzibah and Beulah given to Jerusalem (Isa_62:4), and Jehovah-Tsidkenu (Jer_33:16).


Pulpit Commentary


In the midst of thee; better, is in the midst of thee (see note on Zep_3:15). Is mighty; he will says; rather, a Mighty One who will save; LXX; ̓Ο δυνατὸς σώσει σε, “The Mighty One shall save thee.” This is the real ground of confidence: the Lord wills their salvation. He will rejoice over thee with joy, now that thy iniquity is purged, and thou art united again to him, as a chaste and comely bride (Isa_52:5; Jer_32:41; Hos_2:19). He will rest (Hebrew, be silent) in his love. This is a human expression, denoting that perfect love which needs no outward demonstration. For the very greatness of his love God rests, as it were, in quiet enjoyment of it. Some take it to mean that in his love for his people he is silent about, makes no mention of, past sins; but this seems less suitable, as this clause is merely an expansion of the preceding one. The Septuagint and Syriac Versions render, “He will renew thee in his love;” and Ewald has proposed to alter the present reading to, “He will do a new thing.” But there is no sufficient reason for making the change. With singing. Again he gives to his ineffable love outward expression. The LXX. paraphrases accurately, “He will rejoice over thee with delight as on a day of festival” (Isa_65:19).


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