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Zephaniah Two

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Zephaniah 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;

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.

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.

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.

Gaza. The nation of Philistia would also, along with Judah, be overrun by Nebuchadnezzar, and the inhabitants of its four chief cities (Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron) carried into exile. However, they remained viable cities under both Chaldea and Persia, until completely overthrown by Greece (Zechariah 9:5-13). The “land of the Philistines” (Zephaniah 2:5), extending along the sea coast, would, as Zephaniah prophesied, eventually “have no inhabitant.” The name is preserved in the modern name Palestine, but the Philistines themselves after the invasion soon vanished as a distinct people. Ashkelon has been an utter desolation for four hundred years, although it was a flourishing metropolis for two thousand years. The same is true for Ashdod, and the old city of Gaza (modern Gaza is at a different location). The structures of Ekron were literally rooted up, exactly as prophesied.

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.

Zephaniah 2:6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for 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.

house of Judah. During the New Testament period, the land of the Philistines was a part of the province of Judaea, occupied by the Jews. In modern times, the Gaza Strip, as it is now called, although under dispute, was until recently officially a part of the modern state of Israel. The whole region is very volatile, with ownership and control wavering between Israel and Palestine.

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.

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.

Moab. The kingdoms of Moab and Ammon, long prosperous and strong, were also destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. As prophesied by Zephaniah, most of their lands have been essentially “a perpetual desolation” ever since.

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.

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.

Zephaniah 2:12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.

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.

destroy Assyria. Mighty Assyria and its magnificent capital of Nineveh, the greatest in the world for many years, were still powerful in the time of Zephaniah. God, however, soon used Babylon—allied with the Medes and Scythians—to destroy it, just as Zephaniah had prophesied. The region has been “dry like a wilderness” ever since. The entire book of Nahum was likewise directed against Assyria.

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.

cormorant and the bittern. Respectively, a large bird and a small bird.

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.