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Bible Commentaries
Zephaniah 1

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

Verses 1-18


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.


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.


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 (גםלא … גם, 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.


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.


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.


[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.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Zephaniah 1". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/zephaniah-1.html. 1857-84.
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