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The Book of Zephaniah
Judgment of the Earth and of all nations
God has not only judged His own people (Israel), but God also judges the nations (Gentiles); and that is the subject of this chapter and on through Zep. 3:8. But God is gracious, long-suffering, and not willing that any should perish (2 Pet.3:9). And because of this, He always sends out a final call, a final warning. The patience of God is awesome! In the first three verses, Zephaniah sends out God's last call to the nation of Judah to repent and to come to Him.
A warning to repent (Zep. 2:1-3)
Zephaniah 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; (KJV)
Gather yourselves together . . . call a solemn assembly, like in Joel 1:14. And when you are gathered together, search your hearts and ways ways, and repent. Some advice for us: 1 Cor. 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (KJV)
Yea, gather together . . . repeated to make them more aware of the situation, and to make them hasten to it, and make them serious about it.
Self-confidence (pride) and corrupt desires are the sin from which they are urged to gather themselves, or else the enemy, like the wind, will scatter you "as the chaff" (Ps.1:4; Dan.2:35). Repentance is what is meant by the gathering of themselves. They are to come together as a people, to beg the favor of the Lord in order that by prayer He may turn away His judgment. Judgment came upon them because of their sin. They were disgusting, repulsive and vile; yet all the while completely insensible to the shame of their sinful condition. Their sin had reached a very low stage, and they were dead to shame; they had no sense of decency at all. They were shameless in their conduct. They sinned openly and actually boasted of it. This is what SO many do today: abortion, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc., etc.
O nation not desired . . . they did NOT desire to return to the Lord. They foolishly were completely unwilling to return to Him, and therefore utterly unworthy to be received by Him. Not desired (2 Chron. 21:20), not desirable; unworthy of the grace or favor of God; and yet God still magnifies that grace as to be still concerned for their safety, though they had destroyed themselves and forfeited all claims on His grace.
They were dead to shame . . . like so many millions today. We have come to that same place in this nation today. You and I do not know just how utterly repulsive our sin is to God. We do NOT weep over our sins. We do NOT mourn because of our vile sins (Mat.5:4).
Zephaniah 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you. (KJV)
Before the decree bring forth . . . the decree of God concerning Judah was pregnant with wrath and ruin for their vile sins. It was time for delivery of execution. When the decree was put into execution, those who repented of their sins might be saved from the general calamity; but they were called upon to do so BEFORE the appointed day of doom set by the Lord.
The word of Zephaniah states clearly the purpose of God against this sinful people. Their sin had gone on a long while, but now God was ready to bring forth judgment on them. Zephaniah warns them to be speedy in their repentance, or miseries shall break forth from the 'womb of God's vengeance' and destroy them.
Before the day pass as the chaff . . . the day of their calamities: God's just displeasure at Babylon's sin, would carry them away as the wind carries chaff away, while the good grain is gathered and preserved. As chaff (Job 21:18; Isa.5:24; Hos.13:3).
Before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you . . . the fierce anger is the heat of God's anger. It was a jealousy like fire (Zep. 1:18), and here it is represented as the heat of that fire, meaning the awful greatness of His anger.
Before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you . . . come upon you as a terrible storm from on high, with destructive violence they will not be able to resist. These people were warned! Actually it was a double warning, that they should have heeded. They must heed the warning and repent, BEFORE destruction came. My friend, it is the same with this nation today.
Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger. (KJV)
Seek ye the Lord . . . means to turn to Him with TRUE repentance, pray for His merciful pardon, follow Him obediently, inquire in the Law as to what your duty to Him is . . . then DO it! It means to fear Him, reverence Him, respect Him, worship Him and depend on the Lord alone!
All ye meek of the earth. . . meek is another word for humble. When I think of "meekness" I think of Jesus! (Isa.53:7; Mat.11:29; 12:19; 21:5; 26:52; 27:31; John 18:23; Acts 8:32; 2 Cor.10:1; Jam. 5:6; 1 Pet.2:23). Very "few" people (Mat.7:13-14) today are humble. They are proud and arrogant and blasphemous! They have hardened themselves with the stubborn pride, and are idolatrous hypocrites. They do not know what it means to "tremble" at the Word of the Lord. (Ps.99:1; Isa.66:5; Jer.5:22; Jam.2:19).
Which have wrought his judgment . . . means that if you do what is right in the Lord's eyes, and humble yourselves before Him, maybe you will escape punishment on the day when the Lord shows His anger.
Seek righteousness . . . inquire and know the righteousness which God commands. Persist in it, and continue in it.
Seek meekness . . . cast away pride and arrogance, go to God in a humble manner, and patiently endure His rightful corrections (Job 5:17; Ps.118:18; 1 Cor.11:32; Heb.12:5-10). Wait on the Lord, for He is a just and merciful God (Ps.27:14; 37:34; Pro.20:22). The meek bow themselves under God's chastisements and to His will, while the ungodly become only all the more hardened by them. The meek should never be concerned what the multitudes do, but seek God.
It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger . . . this is sufficient encouragement to raise hope for God's people. Ye shall be hid . . . (Isa. 26:20 Am. 5:6) under the wing of Divine protection (Ex.19:4; Deut.32:11; Ps.17:8; 36:7; 91:4).
Next, we shall see the judgment of the nations. This reveals that God does judge ALL the nations of this Earth. The God of the Bible is not just in one place, judging one people! The God of the Bible is the God of this entire Universe. He is the Creator of the Universe and mankind and He is in control of everything, everywhere! God does not just His own people (Israel and born again Christians), He judges ALL nations and ALL people for their sin. All nations, and all people have a sense of right and wrong. Everyone is given enough "light" to know the truth (Rom.1:20). When people depart from the living and true God, they go into the deepest kind of paganism and heathenism and reach a place where God gives them up (Rom.1:24,26,28).
Judgment of the Philistines (Zep.2:4-7)
Zephaniah 2:4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. (KJV)
For Gaza shall be forsaken . . . Gaza, the most southern, and the most famous of the five cities of the Philistines, was located 2 1/2 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, on a hill 60 feet above the surrounding plain. It was located on the great coastal highway between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Gaza was at the junction of the trade route from south and central Arabia. It was an important commercial and military center from Canaanite times (Gen.10:19). Joshua and the Israelites conquered it (Josh.10:41) only to lose it again (Josh.13:3). Samson removed its large city gates (Judg.16:1-3) and eventually returned there as a captive and took out his final vengeance on the Philistines (Judg.16:21-31). Gaza was condemned by Amos (Am.1:6) for trafficking in slaves with Edom. Shall be forsaken . . . when the conquering army of the Chaldeans came against it.
And Ashkelon a desolation . . . Askelon = Ascalon, was one of the five cities of the Philistines (Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:17). It was on the shore of the Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king Rameses II, the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the judges (Judg. 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of Judah; but soon after was retaken by the Philistines (2 Sam. 1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets foretold its destruction (Jer. 25:20; Jer. 47:5, 7). A desolation . . . means utterly wasted.
They shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day . . . they = the Babylonians (Eze. 25:15-17), shall drive them into captivity, cast them out of their own land, forcing them into a strange land. Ashdod was a stronghold, a Philistine city (Josh. 15:47), about midway between Gaza and Joppa, 3 miles from the Mediterranean. It was one of the chief seats of the worship of Dagon (1 Sam. 5:5). It belonged to the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:47), but it never came into their actual possession. It was an important city, as it stood on the highroad from Egypt to Palestine, and was strongly fortified (2 Chron. 26:6; Isa. 20:1). Uzziah took it, but fifty years after his death it was taken by the Assyrians (B.C. 758). The only reference to it in the New Testament, where it is called Azotus, is in the account of Philip's return from Gaza (Acts 8:40). At the noon-day . . . it shall be taken by force at noon, the citizens were led away captive in the heat of the day, and under parching heats.
And Ekron shall be rooted up . . . the most northerly of the five towns belonging to the Philistines, about 11 miles north of Gath. It was assigned to Judah (Josh. 13:3), and afterwards to Dan (Josh. 19:43), but came again into the full possession of the Philistines (1 Sam. 5:10). It was the last place to which the Philistines carried the ark before they sent it back to Israel (1 Sam. 5:10; 6:1-8). There was here a well known sanctuary of Baal-zebub (2 Ki. 1:2-3, 6, 16). Ekron was famous for its infamous idolatry, where Baal-zebub was worshipped, and was the chief seat of devil-worship.
Shall be rooted up . . . utterly removed, never more to spring up again (Jer. 47:4-5); it shall be as a tree pulled up by the roots; or maimed, as horses that are houghed (Josh. 11:9).
Zephaniah 2:5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. (KJV)
Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast . . . all the above places were along the seacoast.
The nation of the Cherethites . . . the Cherethites were people who came from the island of Crete, and they evidently were the Philistines. The word Philistine comes from the Hebrew word for migration, meaning that they immigrated to that country. This should answer the question that some people ask: "What right did Israel have to drive the Philistines out of their native land?" It was NOT their native land. Israel was there long before the Philistines were there. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their offspring were in that land, and then they went down to the land of Egypt. It was at that time that the Philistines came into that country. Cherethites (Eze.25:16) the inhabitants of Southern Philistia, the Philistines (Zep. 2:5). The Cherethites and the Pelethites were David's life-guards (1 Sam. 30:14; 2 Sam. 8:18; 20:7, 23; 23:23). This name is by some interpreted as meaning "Cretans," and by others "executioners," who were ready to execute the king's sentence of death (Gen. 37:36; 1 Ki. 2:25).
The word of the Lord is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant . . . God says through Zephaniah that they are to be judged. The word of the Lord = His purpose and His threats by His prophet. I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant . . . God certainly was fiery hot angry, to destroy to this length!
Zephaniah 2:6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks. (KJV)
This simply confirms what Zephaniah said before; he tells us that instead of cities full of rich citizens, there shall be small cottages for shepherds watching over their flocks. Instead of people everywhere, the region shall become a pasture for nomad shepherds' flocks.
Zephaniah 2:7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity. (KJV)
And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah . . . the sea-coast, the land of the Philistines, shall be for the remnant; the few that either escaped, or else survived the captivity. Of the house (kingdom) of Judah = the two Israelite tribes: Judah and Benjamin.
They shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening . . . the shepherds shall feed their flocks there, and cause them to lie down on the very spot of ground where the houses of Ashkelon stood.
For the Lord their God shall visit them . . . in grace and mercy, bringing them out of Babylon into their own land, and enlarging their borders there; and especially by raising up Christ, the horn of salvation (Ps.18:2; Luke 1:69) for them; and by sending His Gospel to them, and making it necessary to their conversion and salvation.
And turn away their captivity . . . in a literal sense from Babylon; and in a spiritual sense from sin and Satan. This is God's Promise to His people that He will return them from their captivity to inhabit the land of Philistia, which was a part of the territory God had given to Abraham. This prophecy is a picture of a scene that can be seen today, although it could change tomorrow.
Zephaniah now moves over from the west to the east and to the nations which were joined the land of Judah.
Judgment of Moab and Ammon (Zep.2:8-11)
Zephaniah 2:8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border. (KJV)
I have heard the reproach of Moab . . . Zephaniah assures the Jews that God had heard, observed, resented and was very displeased with what He had heard. The reproach of Moab . . . the Moabites were a people related to the Jews, born of Lot's daughter.
Moab was located east of Canaan, on the Dead Sea and Jordan. The Moabites were a powerful and proud people, whose pride lashed out on all occasions against the Jews, as appears from first to last (Isa. 16:6; Jer. 48:29-30), branded them as very proud. Moab was the eldest son of Lot (Gen. 19:37), of incestuous birth to his daughter. "Moab" is used to mean the people of Moab (Num. 22:3-14; Judg. 3:30; 2 Sam. 8:2; Jer. 48:11, 13).
And the revilings of the children of Ammon . . . a people as near as Moab to Jewish blood, and just as bitter against them (Neh. 4:2-3), bitter scoffers and jeerers. Ammon is another form of the name Ben-ammi, the son of Lot by his younger daughter (Gen. 19:38). Ammon is also used for his posterity (Ps. 83:7).
Whereby they have reproached my people . . . either in the war, or at the taking of Jerusalem, or when the captive Jews were led by their borders into captivity (Eze. 25:3).
And magnified themselves against their border . . . either boasting what they were, or what they had done, or what they would do against Israel. Against their border . . . invading their frontiers, and spoiling them with disrespect. Magnified themselves . . . acted haughtily, invading the territory of Judah (Jer. 48:29; 49:1; Zep. 2:10; Ps. 35:26; Ob. 1:12).
Zephaniah 2:9 Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them. (KJV)
Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel . . . this is the most solemn oath, fit for NONE but God Himself to use. As I live, saith the Lord (Isa.49:18; Jer.22:24; 46:18; Eze. 5:11; 14:16; 17:16,19; 20:3,31; 33:11,27; 35:6,11; Rom.14:11). God has all things at His disposal, and can arm all creatures against these proud revilers.
The God of Israel, who by covenant is Israel's God, and Israel is His people. When Israel is reproached; God is reproached!
Surely Moab shall be as Sodom . . . this is a proverbial speech in Scripture to speak of great destruction (Isa. 1:9). Moab and Ammon were not destroyed by fire, as were Sodom and Gomorrah; but the next words explain this.
And the children of Ammon as Gomorrah . . . meaning utterly destroyed, as these cities were. Their destruction is often used to express the total ruin and destruction. It is not to be supposed that these countries were to be destroyed in like manner, by fire from Heaven. It just means they were utterly destroyed . . . drastically destroyed!
Even the breeding of nettles . . . not cultivated, but over-run with nettles (horrible weeds). Means those countries would be very barren and desolate, like such places as are overrun with nettles, thorns, briers and brambles . . . so thick, that there is no passing through them without a man tearing his clothes and cutting himself.
And salt-pits . . . dry, barren earth, fit only to dig salt out of. Salt pits are found south of the Dead Sea. The water overflows in the spring, and salt is left by the evaporation. Salt land is barren (Judges 9:45; Ps. 107:34).
A perpetual desolation . . . no more to be inhabited, or not for a very long time.
The residue of my people shall spoil them . . . either the few left , or the remnant that returned from Babylon. Shall spoil them . . . provoked by the injuries of Moab and Ammon, they shall take arms and overcome them.
And the remnant of my people shall possess them . . . settle upon their lands, and dwell in those parts that are fit for habitation, in retribution for their having occupied Judah's land.
Zephaniah 2:10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
This shall they have for their pride . . . grievous ruin like Sodom's would be just retaliation. They insulted Israel, Israel shall tread on them. Calamity shall come upon the land of the Moabites and Ammonites because of their pride, which often goes before a fall (Pro.16:18); and has often been the cause of the ruin of kingdoms and of proud people. Pride seems also to have been the first sin of the Lucifer, the apostate angels and fallen man. Of the pride of Moab (Isa.16:6). For their pride and haughty mind (Zep. 2:8).
Because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts . . . reproached, defamed, spoken lies and scandalous falsehoods against the Jews; trying to magnify themselves by lessening the Jews.
Against the people of the Lord of hosts . . . they looked with disgust upon God's people, and spoke contemptibly of them, of their nation and religion. They "made" themselves "great", and set up themselves "above" them, opened their mouths wide, and with their tongues blasphemed and insulted them. What was done or said to His people is taken by the Lord as done or said to Himself (Jer.48:42; Acts 9:4). BEWARE!!!
The Moabites and Ammonites boasted of their gods above the TRUE God. They are judged for their pride, and their idolatry as well.
Zephaniah 2:11 The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen. (KJV)
The LORD will be terrible unto them . . . the Lord, the TRUE Lord, who is to be feared, is against them, and will show what terrible things that He can do.
For he will famish all the gods of the earth . . . famish = bring low by taking from the idols their former fame; just as beasts or people, are famished when their food is withheld. Also by destroying the kingdoms under the guidance of idols (Ps. 96:4; Isa. 46:1). All the gods of the earth . . . meaning those who have their existence only on Earth, NOT in the eternal Heaven as the TRUE God. Although now the altars of their idols are filled with sacrifices, and their bowls run over, as if they were trying to make their gods fat; these shall cease, and their priests grow lean.
And men shall worship him, every one from his place . . . each in his own Gentile home, taught by the Jews in the true religion: not in Jerusalem alone shall men worship God, but everywhere (Ps. 68:29-30; Mal. 1:11; John 4:21; 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Tim. 2:8).
Even all the isles of the heathen . . . all the maritime regions, especially the west, now being fulfilled in the gathering in of the Gentiles to Messiah. So they wait for His law, as foretold (Isa. 42:4). Of the heathen . . . all nations in all parts of the world. This is fulfilled by the spread of the Gospel. PLEASE do NOT fall for any false gospels! (2 Cor.11:3-4).
Judgment of Ethiopia (Zep.2:12)
Zephaniah 2:12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword. (KJV)
Ethiopia is a name for three different countries and peoples: #1. Ethiopia proper, Africa; #2. parts of northern Arabia; and #3. the regions east of Babylonia. For more on Ethopia, see the Talmud:
Some say Zephaniah does not mean the African Ethiopians, south of Egypt, but the Arabian Ethiopians, much closer to Canaan, whose country was called Cusaea, with the addition Ethiopia Cusaea (Hab. 3:7).
Ye shall be slain by my sword . . . punished by war, and your people cut off, by my sword. Nebuchadnezzar and his Chaldeans, are called here God's sword, for God employed them. This was fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt, with which Ethiopia was closely connected as its ally (Jer. 46:1-9; Eze. 30:5-9). Ye . . . is literally "they," and are spoken of as aliens from God.
The inhabitants of Ethiopia, which lay near to Moab and Ammon, would not escape, but suffer with their neighbors, who at times harassed the Jews, and made war with them, being near them (2 Chron.14:9; 21:16).
The Ethiopians, just as the Moabites and Ammonites; would be slain as well as they, by the sword of Nebuchadnezzar; which is called the "rod of mine anger" (Isa.10:5), because he was an instrument in the hand of God for punishing the nations of the Earth. This was very likely fulfilled when Egypt was subdued by Nebuchadnezzar, with whom Ethiopia was an ally (Jer.46:1-2). The destruction of these by the Assyrians was predicted (Isa.20:4). )
Ethiopia was a country of burnt (dark) faces; the Greek word by which the Hebrew Cush is rendered (Gen 2:13; 2 Ki. 19:9; Est. 1:1; Job 28:19; Ps. 68:31; 87:4), a country south of Egypt (Eze. 29:10; 30:6). This country was known to the Hebrews, and is described in Isa. 18:1; Zep. 3:10. They carried on some commercial intercourse with it (Isa. 45:14). Its inhabitants were descendants of Ham (Gen. 10:6; Jer. 13:23; Isa. 18:1-2). The history of Ethiopia is interwoven with that of Egypt. Ethiopia is often spoken of in prophecy (Ps. 68:31; 87:4; Isa. 45:14; Eze. 30:4-9; Dan.11:43; Nah.3:8-10; Hab.3:7; Zep.2:12).
Judgment of Assyria (Zep. 2:13-15)
Zephaniah 2:13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. (KJV)
And he will stretch out his hand against the north . . . the Lord, through Nebuchadnezzar His sword; would subdue the nations that lay to the south, he would then lead his army north against the land of Assyria, which was north of Judea.
And destroy Assyria . . . that well known monarchy, that had ruled over the kingdoms of the Earth, would now come to an end, and be reduced to being controlled by the king of Babylon.
And will make Nineveh a desolation . . . that great capital city, the metropolis of the Assyrian monarchy would be utterly destroyed, just as Nahum prophesies (Nah.2:6-10), which was before a place like a pool of water, situated by rivers, particularly the Tigris river; but after would be dry like a desert. This destruction of Nineveh seems to have taken place in the early part of Josiah's reign. For more on the overthrow of that great and ancient kingdom of Assyria, see Nahum.
Zephaniah 2:14 And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work. (KJV)
And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her . . . in the middle of the city of Nineveh; in the streets where houses once stood, and multitudes walked . . . now there shall be just the tiny cottages of the shepherds that keep the flocks of sheep as is said of the sea coast of the Philistines (Zep.2:6).
All the beasts of the nations . . . all sorts of wild animals would come and live there, instead of kings and princes, nobles, merchants, and the great men who once lived there. Beasts of prey, is often used of men, for their savageness and cruelty, compared to beasts (Ps. 22:12,16; Ecc.3:18; Isa. 11:6-8; Dan.7:3,17,23; Acts 19:29; 1 Cor.15:32; 2 Pet.2:12; Jude 1:10).
Both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it . . . meaning above the doors of the vacated houses in Nineveh. The "cormorant" is the about the size of a goose (Lev.11:17; Deut. 14:17; Isa.34:11), is an "unclean fowl" and considered as unlucky. It builds not only among rocks, but often in trees. There is a smaller species, called the "shag" or smaller cormorant, a water fowl common on our northern coasts; is a little larger than a duck, and builds in trees as does the common cormorant. Some think this cormorant was a "pelican." Whatever bird it is, it seems to have its name from vomiting; it swallows shell fish, then while the fish is in its stomach, is heated, and then it casts them up, which then opens easily, and it picks the flesh off them. The cormorant seems to like desolate places, since it is called the pelican of the wilderness (Ps.102:6). Since Nineveh will be desolate, the cormorant will feel at home.
The "bittern" is found three times in connection with the desolations to come upon Babylon, Idumea and Nineveh (Isa. 14:23; 34:11; Zep. 2:14). This bird belongs to the class of cranes. It, like the cormorant, is a solitary bird, living close to marshy ground.
Their voice shall sing in the windows . . . these doleful creatures shall make a more doleful noise, that shall be the only music to be heard in the desolate windows.
Desolation shall be in the thresholds . . . the lowest part of their houses. From top to bottom nothing but waste and ruin. Instead of beautiful ladies looking out windows and singing, now there is only cormorants and bitterns with their doleful sounds.
For he shall uncover the cedar work . . . in other words, their buildings will be torn down.
Zephaniah 2:15 This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand. (KJV)
This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly . . . Nineveh was once very populated, with the inhabitants full of laughter and joy, abounding in their wealth and riches, and indulging themselves in all carnal delights and pleasures (1Co 3:3; Gal.5:17; Eph.2:3; 4:17; Phil.3:19; Col.1:21; 2:18; 1 Tim.6:5; 2 Tim.3:8; Tit.1:15) They are represented as of a "carnal mind, which is enmity against God" (Rom 8:6-7). Enjoyments that minister to the wants and desires of man's lustful, animal nature are called carnal (Rom 15:27; 1 Cor. 9:11).
Nineveh was well fortified. They had NO thought of danger. They were careless and unconcerned. They had NO fear that an enemy would attack them. They thought their city was impregnable and invincible. They lived carelessly; in such great confidence and security, as if it were impossible she would ever fall from her glory.
That said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me . . . she had persuaded herself that there was NONE like her, anywhere. What pride! But, God heard her and saw what she did, and He knew what was in her heart! And, it did NOT set well with Him! Nineveh thought NO one could overthrow her, similar to Tyre, and Lucifer (Eze. 28:12-18).
How is she become a desolation . . . she thought none was like her in glory, power and wealth . . . like so many nations and people today! But, when God lowered the boom on her with His "sword" (Zep.2:12; Isa.10:5), there was none like her for misery and desolations.
A place for beasts to lie down in . . . where magnificent palaces for princes once stood, now there was places for beasts to lie down! And where nobles once lived, now lowly cattle and sheep graze.
Every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand . . . scoff at their arrogancy, and condemn their ungodly pride and security. They will be absolutely amazed to see what has taken place through God's judgment of the nations. Wag his hand . . . means in scorn and contempt, pleased with what they see, having no pity and compassion for her, for they could not forget her cruelty and oppression on others (Nah.3:19).
God has judged nations in the past, and God judges nations today, and shall in the future. The Lord Jesus says that He will judge nations in the future (Mat.25:31-46). God is moving in the nations of the world today; do not for a moment forget this. He has judged them in the past . . . and He shall in the future. Count on it!
Book of Zephaniah
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