Zephaniah 2 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Zephaniah 2)

Verse 1

[1] Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;

Gather yourselves — Call a solemn assembly, proclaim a fast.

Not desired — Or, not desirous. Unwilling to return, and unworthy to be received on your return.

Verse 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.

The decree — Before God's decree is put in execution.

The day — Before the day of your calamities.

As the chaff — Carry you away as the wind carries chaff away.

Verse 3

[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.

Seek — Fear, worship, depend on him alone.

Ye meek — Ye humble ones.

Wrought his judgment — Obeyed his precepts.

Seek righteousness — Continue therein.

Seek meekness — Patiently wait on the just and merciful God.

Hid — Under the wing of Divine Providence.

Verse 4

[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.

For — It is time to seek God; for your neighbours, as well as you, shall be destroyed.

Gaza — A chief city of the Philistines.

They — The Babylonians.

Shall drive — Into captivity.

At the noon day — It shall be taken by force at noon.

Verse 5

[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.

The inhabitants — All the Philistines.

Cherethites — Or destroyers, men that were stout, fierce, and terrible to their neighbours.

O Canaan — That part that the Philistines kept by force from the Jews.

Verse 6

[6] And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.

For shepherds — Instead of cities full of rich citizens, there shall be only cottages for shepherds.

Verse 7

[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.

The coast — The sea-coast, the land of the Philistines.

The remnant — That survive the captivity.

Shall feed — Their flocks.

In the houses — In places where these formerly stood.

They — Both shepherds and flocks.

Shall visit — In mercy.

Verse 8

[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.

I — God.

Magnified themselves — Invading their frontiers.

Verse 9

[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.

Of nettles — Not cultivated, but over-run with nettles.

Salt-pits — A dry, barren earth, fit only to dig salt out of.

The residue — That return out of Babylon.

Possess them — Settle upon those parts of their lands, that are fit for habitation.

Verse 11

[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.

Famish — Take away all their sacrifices and drink-offerings.

The gods — Idols of those lands.

From his place — Not only at Jerusalem, but every where.

Verse 12

[12] Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.

By my sword — The Chaldeans are called God's sword; because God employed them.

Verse 13

[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.

He — God.

The north — Assyria, which lay northward of Judea, and due north from Babylon.

Verse 14

[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.

All the beasts — All sorts of beasts which are found in those countries.

The bittern — A bird that delights in desolate places.

Verse 15

[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.

This — So the prophet triumphs over her.

There is none — None like me, or that can contend with me.