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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Zephaniah 3

 

 

Verses 1-7

Zephaniah 3:1-7. The Sin of Jerusalem contrasted with the Righteousness of Yahweh.—From scenes of doom and desolation we are now led back in thought to the sins that drew down Yahweh's hand in wrath. Despite His constant goodness and loving-kindness Jerusalem has shown herself defiant and rebellious, deep-stained with guilt, and all the while heedless of instruction and correction, her rulers rapacious as evening wolves, her prophets boastful and faithless, giving forth their own imaginings as the very word of God, and her priests indifferent alike to the claims of holiness and the light of revelation from above. While crimes like these pollute her, she cannot escape the judgment of Yahweh; for He is righteous, and morning by morning bringeth forth justice as unfailingly as the light. The nations He has already destroyed and left without inhabitant are abiding witnesses to the righteousness of Yahweh. He hoped that His own people would read the lesson, and abide in His fear; but they have wantonly and deliberately made all their doings corrupt, thus not only cutting off all chance of salvation, but even inviting destruction.

Zephaniah 3:2. evening wolves: cf. Habakkuk 1:8.

Zephaniah 3:4. light: rather "unrestrained, reckless" (in speech), "braggarts" (G. A. Smith).—treacherous: i.e. faithless to the God whose word they professed to interpret.—For "the sanctuary" read "that which is holy" (cf. Ezekiel 22:26). The priests have proved false to their two main duties: they have blurred the distinction between the holy and the common, and have perverted the "direction" (teaching or revelation) received from Yahweh, twisting it to suit the wishes of their wealthy patrons.

Zephaniah 3:5. For la'or, "to the light," we should perhaps read ka'or,"like the light" (cf. Hosea 6:5), making God's judgment rather than Himself the subject of "faileth not."

Zephaniah 3:7. I said: i.e. "I thought."—For me'onah, "her dwelling," read me'eneyha, "from her eyes" (LXX, Syr.): thus, "And no more from her eyes (sight) shall be cut off aught that I have laid upon her (any commandment I have charged her with)."


Verses 8-20

Zephaniah 3:8-20. The Deliverance of Jerusalem, and Renown of Redeemed Israel.

Zephaniah 3:8; Zephaniah 3:11-13. Let Yahweh's faithful people wait patiently till the day when He shall stand as a witness against the nations that oppress them. For it is His purpose to assemble them together for judgment, to pour out the fire of His jealousy upon them, and out of the depths of shame to bring the remnant of Israel to honour and glory, and to abiding righteousness and peace. For on the day of judgment Yahweh will remove from their midst all the proud and haughty ones that caused their dishonour, leaving a people humble and poor, trusting only in the name of Yahweh.

Zephaniah 3:8. For le‘ad, "to the prey," read le‘ed, "for a witness" (LXX, Syr.). On the conception of Yahweh as witness cf. Micah 1:2, Malachi 3:5.

Zephaniah 3:12. "A people humble and poor": in the later literature a technical phrase for the pious in Israel.

Zephaniah 3:13. An idyllic picture of pastoral peace and security (cf. Ezekiel 34:25 ff.).

Zephaniah 3:9 f. An interpolation in which the redemption of Israel is extended to all the nations (cf. Isaiah 19:18 ff., Zechariah 14:16 ff.).

Zephaniah 3:9. turn: i.e. give in exchange for their present idolatrous speech—a pure lip (mg.): one that shall take upon it only the name of Yahweh.—with one shoulder (mg.): like oxen working harmoniously together under the common yoke.

Zephaniah 3:10. The text here is hopelessly corrupt. From a mass of conjectural emendations we may select Halvy's as the simplest and most satisfactory, "From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia the princes of the daughter of Put shall bring mine offering" (bring me the offering worthy of my sovereignty).

Zephaniah 3:14-20. Yahweh having now assumed the kingdom, Jerusalem is bidden sing aloud for joy; for the King's heart is full of joy in His city, and He will constantly renew His love for her. All shame and reproach will He remove from her midst, bringing together her halt and outcast flock, and making her an object of praise and renown through all the earth.

Zephaniah 3:15. For mish/paṭayik, "thy judgments," read mesho-pheṭayik, "thine adversaries" (in the judgment-court). In the parallel clause read the plural, thine enemies (LXX, etc.).

Zephaniah 3:17. For yaḥarish, "He will be silent" (mg.), read probably yeḥaddesh, "He will renew."

Zephaniah 3:18. The opening words should be attached to Zephaniah 3:17, and amended to read, "as on the day of festival" (LXX). The rest of the verse may have originally run as follows, "I will remove from thee (all) shame, and will lift (the burden of) reproach from off thee" (cf. Kittel's note).

Zephaniah 3:19. The feminine collectives "halt" and "outcast" refer to the Dispersion as a whole.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Zephaniah 3:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/zephaniah-3.html. 1919.

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