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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Zephaniah 1

 

 

Verses 1-3

An announcement of coming judgment -- Zephaniah 1:1-3 : This little book begins, "The word of the Lord which came unto Zephaniah." Zephaniah affirms that the message that he wrote was an inspired message from God. The destruction pictured in the book of Zephaniah was a complete destruction. This sounds like what took place during the captivity by Babylon. God promised to utterly consume all things from off the land. As Lord, Jehovah promised to destroy everything in their world. Remember, this was to happen as punishment for their sin and rebellion. Solomon wrote, "Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard." (Proverbs 13:15) In a figurative way God said, "I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord." (Zephaniah 1:3) The stumblingblocks that were to be cut off were the idols that would be destroyed by captivity. Israel never committed idolatry after the return from captivity.


Verses 4-6

God"s wrath coming upon Judah -- Zephaniah 1:4-6 : God promised that He would reach out to punish Judah and Jerusalem. The punishment would be so great that nothing would remain. Both Baal and the pagan priest would be overthrown. God"s hand would be stretched out against Judah and upon all the inhabitants of capital city, Jerusalem. 2 Kings 23:4-5 pictures the overthrow of Baal in these words. "The king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven." Many went upon the housetops for the purpose of worshipping the sun, moon and stars. God would destroy them also. These people tried to mix idolatrous worship with the worship of the true and living God. They would bow down to the god Malcham, the chief god of the Ammonites while claiming loyalty to Jehovah. Nothing would remain of anyone who had turned back from the Lord or that had failed to seek Him.


Verses 7-13

The day of the LORD is at hand -- Zephaniah 1:7-13 :, Zephaniah 1:7 says, "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests." This verse is the same in meaning as Habakkuk 2:20, "But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him." The Day of the Lord had come and Judah would be taken to Babylon. The Lord had invited the entire world to observe the judgment that was to be sent upon His disobedient people. God promised to punish the national leaders and their families because they were responsible for introducing and allowing the evil that filled the land. Those that joined the evil leaders in idol worship would likewise be punished severely. God promised that crys would be heard when the invasion came. The commercial center of that day, Maktesh would be wiped out. The merchants would howl because of the punishment. How surprised some were going to be punished as they were? They had said, "The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil." Calamity was coming upon their city because of sin and they were too blind to see. God predicted that the invasion would come. He said, "Their possessions will be taken, their homes left in ruins. They will not get to live in the houses they build, or drink wine from the grapes in their own vineyards." Sin brings sure and certain misery.


Verses 14-18

The day of the Lord described -- Zephaniah 1:14-18 : The prophet wrote, "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly." God gave the people warning, but they continued in their rebellion. Zephaniah described the terrible day of the Lord telling the people that it would be a day of wrath or anger and a day of trouble and torment. There would be disaster and destruction. It would be a time of darkness and despair. There would be storm clouds and shadows. The fulfillment of this prediction is seen in 2 Kings 24 and 25. It was a time of terrible destruction. The trumpet would sound forth the battle cry but the fortified cities and the mighty fortresses would fall. Sin brings punishment and humiliation. This distress was being brought upon them "because they have sinned against the Lord." Without allowing God to be in control men walk in the perplexing doubt of uncertainty. These people would literally have their blood poured out by the sword of their enemies. At times an invading army might be stopped by the offer of money. But the Lord said, "Not even your silver or gold can save you on that day when I, the Lord, am angry." God would use the Babylonians to make a "speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land." "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Zephaniah 1:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/box/zephaniah-1.html. 2014.

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