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shall conduct, as an offering to me, the daughter of my dispersion *. 11. In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings wherein thou hast transgressed against me? for then will I take away out of the midst of thee then that exult in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty in my holy mountain. 12. I will also leave in the midst of thee a humble and poor people; and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. 13. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity t, nor speak lyes; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth : for they shall feed, and lie down; and none shall make them afraid. 14. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, Israel; be glad, and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments; he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any
16. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalen, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17. The Lord thy God in the
xviii. 1,7. I have adopted Bp. Horsley's translation of it, which I am persuaded is the true one (See his letter on Isaiah xviii. p. 102, 103.). Mr. Lowth justly refers this passage to the restoration of the Jews, though he retains the common translation.
* Dispersion.] A noun of number, meaning the dispersed.
+ The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity.] “ The remnant " of Israel shall be holy, the rebels being purged out of them. " See Ezek. xx. 38." Mr. Lowth in loc.
midst of thee is mighty: he will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy: he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing
19. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out: and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20. At that time, I will bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth ; when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
I wish not to deny, that Zephaniah inay be considered as here predicting the Babylonian captivity of Judah, the sacking of Jerusalem by the Chaldèans, and the destruction of the literal Nineveh, together with some of the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar *. But I think, that the whole context of the prophecy decidedly forbids us to limit it to those events; compels us to believe, that in them it received only an inchoate accomplishment; and directs us to look for its ultimate completion to the last dispersion of Judah, to the sacking of Jea rusalem by the Romans, and to the yet future day
* See Bp. Newton's Dissert. ix-Mr. Lowth in loc.--and Dr. Gray's Key, p. 482--485. VOL. II. 9
in which Antichrist will be overthrown and the converted of Judah restored by the instrumentality of some great maritime nation. In fact, the
prophecy contains many matters which must be exclusively thus referred: and yet those matters are so interwoven into the very body of the prediction, that they cannot with any propriety be considered in an insulated state. As the inchoate accomplishment of the prophecy comes not within the limits of my plan, I shall confine myself to what I believe will be its ultimate accomplishment; premising, that Mr. Lowth thinks like inyself, that many parts of it are to be referred to the last ages for their full completion *.
The prophet begins with foretelling the capticity of the Jews, primarily alluding to the Babybonian captivity, but ultimately directing our attention to that into which they ucre led by the Romans. He introduces the Lord solemnly declaring, that he will utterly consume all things from of the land, both man and beast, both fisli and fowl; and repeating, as if particularly to engage our notice, that he will cut off man from off the land t. After this general denunciation, the Lord proceeds to particulars. He divides the men of Judah and Jerusalem into two classes ; and, inasmuch as they have both grievously sinned though in very different manners, he threatens that he will stretch out his hand upon them all. They who worship Baal and the host of heaven, turning back from the Lord or apostatizing from him, and not seeking and inquiring for him; and they, who worship and swear by the Lord, even swear by their king: all these shall alike experience the divine vengeance. Hence it is plain, since the worshippers of Jehovah are thus involved in one common fate with the worshippers of Baal, and since God himself equally represents the punishment of both as being a judicial infliction, that these worshippers of Jehovah could not have worshipped him in spirit and in truth; but that their worship, although untainted with idolatry, was ne vertheless an abomination unto him.
* See the preceding notes on the prophecy itself extracted from Mr. Lowth's commentary.
+ These words, as well as the whole passage, shew, that a dispersion of Juduh is here predicted. I cannot, with Dr. Gray, limit the prophecy to the mere extirpation of idolatry by Josiah.
This double description exactly accords with the state of the Jews in the time of our Lord's first advent. Part of them were idolaters; and part of them, while they abhorred idolatry, and worshipped the true God, yet made void the last by their traditions, and rejected the promised Messiah. The existence of this second class requires no proof; and, as for the first, “ it is “ said indeed, that, after the return from Baby" lon, the Jews scrupulously avoided idolatry, and “ have continued untainted with it to this day.
- But, generally as this is asserted by all comment
tators, one after another, it is not true. Among the restored Jews there was indeed no public
idolatry, patronised by the government, as there “ had been in times before the captivity, particu
larly in the reign of Ahaz. But, from the time “ of Antiochus Epiphanes to the last moments of “ the Jewish polity, there was a numerous and “ powerful faction, which in every thing affected “ the Greek manners; and this Hellenising party
were idolaters to a man Both these classes are equally threatened by the Lord, and were equally carried away captive, when his righteous judgment cut off man, that is the whole multitude of the people, from off the land.
From this description of the state of the Jews at the era of their dispersion by the Romans, Zephaniah proceeds to foretell the sacking of Jerusalem by Titus. And first he announces, that he is about to treat of the great sacrifice, and the great day, of the Lord. In the prophetic language, a sacrifice is very frequently used to typify a great slaughter; and by the day of the Lord we are generally to understand the day either of the first or second advent. Here the day of the first advent is intended, which is considered as including within itself the destruction of Jerusalem and the overthrow of the Jewish
Bp. Horsley's Hosea, p. 8.