Zephaniah 1

1 The LORD’s word which came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah. 2 I will utterly sweep away everything off of the surface of the earth, says the LORD. 3 I will sweep away man and animal. I will sweep away the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, and the heaps of rubble with the wicked. I will cut off man from the surface of the earth, says the LORD. 4 I will stretch out my hand against Judah, and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place: the name of the idolatrous and pagan priests, 5 those who worship the army of the sky on the housetops, those who worship and swear by the LORD and also swear by Malcam, 6 those who have turned back from following the LORD, and those who haven’t sought the LORD nor inquired after him. 7 Be silent at the presence of the Lord the LORD, for the day of the LORD is at hand. For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice. He has consecrated his guests. 8 It will happen in the day of the LORD’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, the king’s sons, and all those who are clothed with foreign clothing. 9 In that day, I will punish all those who leap over the threshold, who fill their master’s house with violence and deceit. 10 In that day, says the LORD, there will be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, a wailing from the second quarter, and a great crashing from the hills. 11 Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the people of Canaan are undone! All those who were loaded with silver are cut off. 12 It will happen at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, “The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.” 13 Their wealth will become a plunder, and their houses a desolation. Yes, they will build houses, but won’t inhabit them. They will plant vineyards, but won’t drink their wine. 14 The great day of the LORD is near. It is near, and hurries greatly, the voice of the day of the LORD. The mighty man cries there bitterly. 15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 16 a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements. 17 I will bring distress on men, that they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD, and their blood will 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 the LORD’s wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he will make an end, yes, a terrible end, of all those who dwell in the land.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–6

Ruin is coming, utter ruin; destruction from the Almighty. The servants of God all proclaim, There is no peace for the wicked. The expressions are figurative, speaking every where desolation; the land shall be left without inhabitants. The sinners to be consumed are, the professed idolaters, and those that worship Jehovah and idols, or swear to the Lord, and to Malcham. Those that think to divide their affections and worship between God and idols, will come short of acceptance with God; for what communion can there be between light and darkness? If Satan have half, he will have all; if the Lord have but half, he will have none. Neglect of God shows impiety and contempt. May none of us be among those who draw back unto perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Verses 7–13

God’s day is at hand; the punishment of presumptuous sinners is a sacrifice to the justice of God. The Jewish royal family shall be reckoned with for their pride and vanity; and those that leap on the threshold, invading their neighbours’ rights, and seizing their possessions. The trading people and the rich merchants are called to account. Secure and careless people are reckoned with. They are secure and easy; they say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil; that is, they deny his dispensing rewards and punishments. But in the day of the Lord’s judgment, it will clearly appear that those who perish, fall a sacrifice to Divine justice for breaking God’s law, and because they have no interest by faith in the Redeemer’s atoning sacrifice.

Verses 14–18

This warning of approaching destruction, is enough to make the sinners in Zion tremble; it refers to the great day of the Lord, the day in which he will show himself by taking vengeance on them. This day of the Lord is very near; it is a day of God’s wrath, wrath to the utmost. It will be a day of trouble and distress to sinners. Let them not be laid asleep by the patience of God. What is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? And what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Let us flee from the wrath to come, and choose the good part that shall never be taken from us; then we shall be prepared for every event; nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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