King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Zephaniah 2

An exhortation to repentance. (1-3) Judgments upon other nations. (4-15)

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An exhortation to repentance

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

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.

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.

Judgments upon other nations

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Together, in love. S. Jer. — Heb. “gather” the wood or chaff, (C.) your wicked deeds, lest they prove the fuel of fire. C. i. 18. H. — He addresses the Jews and all their neighbours. C. — Though you deserve no love, God will receive the penitent. W.

Ver. 2. The day. Heb. “to-day.” C. — Sept. “before you become as a passing flower.” Prot. “before the day pass as the chaff.” H.

Ver. 3. Just. Heb. “justice.” C. — Sept. “righteousness, and answer the same.” H. — Scarcely the innocent will escape. M. — The prophet does not specify the crimes of the Philistines, as Ezechiel (xxv. 15.) does. C.

Ver. 4. Shall be, or “is.” The prophets often represent future things as past, to shew the certainty of the event. The destruction of other cities by the Chaldees, gave the Jews to understand what they had to expect, as all sin must be punished sooner or later. W. — Psammetichus, and his son, Nachao, probably fell upon these cities. C. — The former besieged Azotus for twenty-nine years. Herod. ii. 157. — Afterwards Nabuchodonosor reduced the country, beginning with the house of God. Jer. xlvii. 4. Ezec. xxv. 15, &c. C.

Ver. 5. Coast. Lit. “line,” (H.) with which land was measured. C. — Reprobates. Heb. cerethim, (H.) or Cerethi, of whom David’s guards were formed. C. — Sept. “people sprung the Cretans,” whence some (Theod.) of the Philistines came, perhaps rather than from Cyprus, as was conjectured. Gen. x. 14. — Chanaan. So the Philistines are styled contemptuously. They adored the same idols. Wisd. xii. 23.

Ver. 6. Shepherds. Merchants shall come no longer, the country being subdued by Nabuchodonosor, and by the Machabees. v. 7. — Alexander ruined Gaza. Curt. iv.

Ver. 8. Borders, helping the Chaldeans. This brought on their ruin. S. Jer. — They were always disposed to seize the country.

Ver. 9. Dryness. Sept. “Damascus shall be abandoned as a heap on the barn-floor, and disappearing for an age.” H. — This city is threatened with the rest. Is. xvii. 1. C. — Ever. Sept. refer this to Damascus, others to Ammon, &c. H. — The latter nations were in desolation for a long time; but had re-established themselves, when the Machabees reduced them again. Jer. xlviii. and 1 Mac. v. 6.

Ver. 11. Own place. The Jewish religion could be practised only at Jerusalem, so that this is one of the most striking predictions of the conversion of the world. The Jews in vain attempt to restrain it to the captives returning. See S. Jer. C. — They shall inform many of the truth, and be the means of their conversion. H. — But God shall be adored in every place. M.

Ver. 12. Ethiopians. Heb. Cushim, denotes also the Arabs, &c. who fell a prey to the Chaldeans. C.

Ver. 13. The beautiful city. Ninive, which was destroyed soon after this, viz. in the sixteenth year of the reign of Josias. Ch. A. 3378. — Heb. “he shall make Ninive desolate.” H. — This famous and potent city was at last destroyed. W. See Jonas iii. 4. C.

Ver. 14. Bittern and the urchin. Heb. kaath and kippod, are terms to us (H.) unknown. — Threshold. Heb. “the pomegranates,” supposed to be an ornament of the doors. — Raven. Sept. also read arb better than choreb, “the desolation or the sword.” See Is. xxxiv. 11. C. — Chereb has both meanings, “a raven, or sword.” S. Jer. — I will. Heb. “he has uncovered her cedar,” (C.) her fine palaces and apartments. Sept. “for the cedar is its height, (or pride) this is the city given to evils, that,” &c. H.

Ver. 15. Beside, or equal. This was true. Jonas i. 2. C. — The founder intended that no city should ever equal it. Diod. ii. S. Jerom applies what is here said of Ninive to the Church in the times of antichrist, (Rondet.) or to a fallen soul. Any nation may abandon the faith: but the whole Church cannot fail. H.