King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Zephaniah 1

Threatenings against sinners. (1-6) More threatenings. (7-13) Distress from the approaching judgments. (14-18)

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Threatenings against sinners

1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.

3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling blocks with the wicked: and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.

4 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests;

5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham;

6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him.

More threatenings

7 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.

8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.

9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.

10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills.

11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.

12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.

Distress from the approaching judgments

14 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.

15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.

17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Lord. Thus the prophets insinuate that they are not the authors but the ministers of God’s word. W.

Ver. 2. Gather, &c. That is, I will assuredly take away and wholly consume, either by captivity or death, both men and beasts out of this land. Ch. — To gather commonly implies a benefit, but the sequel shews that the contrary is here meant. W. — It often signifies to kill or bury. Jer. viii. 2. The whole country round Judea to Babylon, shall be a sepulchre for men and beasts. Osee iv. 3. C.

Ver. 3. Sea: the waters and air shall be pestilential. H. — S. Jerom frequently observes that when a country is depopulated, as the Roman empire was in his days, the most fertile regions were soon abandoned even by beasts and birds. — Meet. Sept. “be weak.” Heb. “I will gather (C. Prot. “consume.” H.) scandals (or idols) with the wicked.” Sym.

Ver. 4. Baal. Josias had not yet begun his reformation. 4 K. xxiii. 4. C. — At least he had not brought it to perfection, though from his infancy he had encouraged religion. H. — Wardens of the temples of the idols. Ædituos, in Hebrew, the Cemarim, that is such as kindle the fires or burn incense. Ch. — Lit. “the blacks, (H.) or those in black,” whether it alludes to their clothes or to the colour of their bodies, in consequence of their going almost naked. Camilli, which may be derived from this root, (C.) cemarim, (H.) in Tuscan, signifies priests, or rather (C.) children who went naked before them. Macrob. iii. 8. — The priests of Baal appeared in this manner, and cut themselves, (3 K. xviii. 28.) committing great indecencies, while God ordered his ministers to be clothed in white with the utmost gravity. C. — The very remembrance of such idols and priests shall be abolished. Osee ii. 16. They were designed for the worship of fire. Baal was the sun. H.

Ver. 5. Houses. The roofs were flat. Josias afterwards reformed this abuse. 4 K. xxiii. 5. C. — It continued among the Arabs. Strabo xvii. — Melchom. The idol of the Ammonites. Ch. — Those who join idols with God do not worship Him indeed. W. — Swearing was an act of religion. Mat. v. 33. God will not allow his glory to be given to another. Such lame worship or divided hearts he rejects. 3 K. xviii. 21. C.

Ver. 7. Silent. Heb. has, (H.) an interjection, (S. Jer.) like our hush. H. — This denotes the importance of what he is going to say. — Guests. The blood of the wicked is his victim. Jer. xlvi. 10. Ezec. xxxix. 17. C. — The day of punishment is commonly styled the day of the Lord. Is. ii. and 1 Cor. iii. W.

Ver. 8. Victim. Heb. “sacrifice.” But MS. 1. Camb. has, “in that day, says the Lord,” eeva nam being substituted for zebach, (H.) which is “a very remarkable variation.” In v. 7. it has Jehovah Elohim printed Adonai Jehovah. Kennicott. — Princes. After the death of Josias all fell to ruin. His sons were deposed, and led into captivity with the chief nobility and priests, who were richly adorned, and imitated the manners of idolaters, or kept the garments of the poor. Ex. xxii. 26. Deut. xxii. 5. 11. &c. C. — All the posterity of Josias was afflicted. Joachaz died in Egypt; Joakim was harassed and put to death; Sedezias taken, and his eyes put out, when his children had been slain. Jechonias, or Joachin, was detained in prison at Babylon for a long time. W.

Ver. 9. Entereth the temple, as if to shew themselves. Amos vi. 1. Heb. “jumpeth over,” &c. denoting the Philistines. Chal. 1 K. v. 5. C. — Sept. “I will take vengeance on all openly before the gate in that day,” (H.) on all who have cast themselves out of the Church. S. Jer. — Lord. Heb. “of their masters with,” &c. This may relate to the Philistines, (C.) or to those who made the house of God a place of traffic, (Matt. xxi. 13.) and offered victims unjustly acquired. H.

Ver. 10. Gate, looking towards Joppe. S. Jer. — The news of the defeat at Mageddo came this way, or the cries of the Philistines were heard. C. — Second. A part of the city so called, (Ch.) built by Manasses on the same side of the city, 2 Par. xxxiii. 14. C.

Ver. 11. The Morter: (Maktesh) a valley in or near Jerusalem. Ch. — All the people shall suffer in the city. Sanct. T. — Mactes was rendered famous by Samson, (Judg. xv. 19.) and was in or near the country of the Philistines, who seem to be designated. The original is variously interpreted. C. — Sept. “of the city cut in pieces, because all the people resemble Chanaan.” H. — Chanaan. So he calls the Jews, from their following the wicked ways of the Chanaanites. Ch. — The merchants (Grot.) are confounded, or (H.) the Philistines are still meant. C.

Ver. 12. Lamps, with the utmost diligence, (Lu. xv. 8.) so that none shall escape even in the most filthy places. C. — The Romans found many Jews in the common sewers. Jos. Bel. vii. 16. 20. and 26. — Lees. That is, the wealthy, and such as live at their ease, resting upon their riches, like wine upon the lees. Ch. — Evil, denying Providence. C.

Ver. 13. Strength. Children or riches. H.

Ver. 14. Near. When all these miseries shall overtake the wicked, (W.) after the death of Josias. 4 K. xxi. 14. C. — The mighty. Sept. “and dreadful, powerful is the day of,” &c. — Meet. Prot. “cry bitterly.” H.

Ver. 15. Day, is a day. The repetition elegantly describes the great danger. W.

Ver. 16. Trumpet, when Nachao came and deposed Joachas.

Ver. 17. Blind. Not knowing what course to take. Deut. xxviii. 29. Is. lix. 10. C. — Such will be the horror preceding judgment. H.

Ver. 18. Gold. Ezek. vii. 19. Thus the Medes despised riches. Is. xiii. 17. C. — Jealousy. God regarded the synagogue as his spouse. M. — “If he loved not the soul of man, he would not be jealous of it.” S. Jer. H.