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A devotional hymn of prayer and praise. 1 A prayer of Habakkuk the light of thine arrows they went, prophet upon Shigionoth. and at the shining of thy glitter
2 O Lord, I have heard thy ing spear. speech, and was afraid: O LORD, 12 Thou didst march through revive thy work in the midst of the land in indignation, thou the years, in the midst of the didst thresh the heathen in anger. years make known; in wrath 13 Thou wentest forth for the remember mercy.
salvation of thy people, even for 3 God came from Teman, and salvation with thine anointed; the Holy One from mount Pa- thou woundedst the head out of ran. Selah. His glory covered the house of the wicked, by disthe heavens, and the earth was covering the foundation unto the full of his praise.
neck. Selah. 4 And his brightness was as 14 Thou didst strike through the light; he had horns coming with his staves the head of his out of his hand : and there was villages: they came out as a the biding of his power. whirlwind to scatter me: their
5 Before him went the pesti- rejoicing was as to devour the lence, and burning coals went poor secretly. forth at his feet.
15 Thou didst walk through the 6 He stood, and measured the sea with thine horses, through earth : he beheld, and drove the heap of great waters. asunder the nations; and the 16 When I heard, my belly everlasting mountains were scat- trembled; my lips quivered at tered, the perpetual hills did the voice : rottenness entered bow: his ways are everlasting into my bones, and I trembled
7 I saw the tents of Cushan in in myself, that I might rest in affliction : and the curtains of the day of trouble : when he the land of Midian did tremble. cometh up unto the people, he
8 Was the LORD displeased will invade them with his troops. against the rivers ? was thine 17 Although the fig tree shall anger against the rivers ? was not blossom, neither shall fruit thy wrath against the sea, that be in the vines; the labour of thou didst ride upon thine horses the olive shall fail, and the fields and thy chariots of salvation? shall yield no meat; the flock
9 Thy bow was made quite shall be cut off from the fold, naked, according to the oaths of and there shall be no herd in the the tribes, even thy word. Selah. stalls : Thou didst cleave the earth with 18 Yet I will rejoice in the rivers.
LORD, I will joy in the God of 10 The mountains saw thee, my salvation. and they trembled: the overflow- 19 The Lord God is my ing of the water passed by: the strength, and he will make my deep uttered his voice, and lift- feet like hinds' feet, and he will ed up his hands on high. make me to walk upon mine
11 The sun and moon stood high places. To the chief singer still in their habitation : at the on my stringed instruments.
LECTURE 1434. Of praying with resignation, and rejoicing in God's glory. In this devotional hymn, the prophet begins with prayer, then thankfully commemorates God's past mercies to his people, especially when He brought them out of Egypt into Canaan, and concludes with expressing the resignation of a devout mind to whatsoever it might please God to order for the future, and a resolution to rejoice in Him at all events. The whole hymn ought to be understood as referring to the previous chapters of this prophecy, to the threatened invasion of the Chaldeans, to the perplexity arising from the success of the ungodly, and to the answer which it pleased God to give, by way of satisfying the minds of those who enquired humbly and reverentially into the administration of his providence. "O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid." Habakkuk had watched, had listened, and had understood; but much as the reply of God was calculated to comfort him, he still found matter of alarm in the judgments denounced. He therefore prays God to revive his work, and to remember mercy in the midst of wrath. Then to shew what he means by God's reviving his work, he takes occasion to mention what great things the Lord had done in the deliverance of his people of old, at Teman, and at Paran, in the heavens and on the earth, how He had forced for them a way through the midst of the nations, as well as through the rivers and the sea, how He had made bare his bow against the heathen for the fulfilment of his covenant with the Israelites, how the sun and the moon had stood still at his command, and how the guilty nations of Canaan had been driven out before the blast of his displeasure. But notwithstanding this experience of past deliverance, the prophet could not but tremble when he heard what was threatened for the future; he could not but apprehend, that this terrible invasion of a merciless enemy would actually take place, and God's people be defeated and led into captivity, and the good land which He had given them be laid waste and desolate. Still his devotion had not been in vain. His thankful recollection of mercy previously vouchsafed had prepared him for resolving, what the grace of God enabled him to resolve, that though the fruits of the earth might fail, and the flock yield no increase, yet would he rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of his salvation. May this be our own stedfast purpose. In our prayers, may we never fail to feel towards God, not my will, but thine, be done! In our praises, may we be ever ready to express our rejoicing, not so much in our earthly pleasures, as in our heavenly hopes; not in ourselves, but in the Lord our God! Our worldly means may be exhausted, our worldly comforts taken from us. But if God be at hand to comfort us, and we have assurance of his salvation, let us under all circumstances do as the apostle bids us, saying, “ Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Phil. 4. 4.
Zephaniah proclaimeth God's judgments against Judah. i The word of the Lord which from the fish gate, and an howlcame unto Zephaniah the son of ing from the second, and a great Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the crashing from the hills. son of Amariah, the son of Hiz- 11 Howl, ye inhabitants of kiah, in the days of Josiah the Maktesh, for all the merchant son of Amon, king of Judah. people are cut down; all they
2 I will utterly consume all that bear silver are cut off. things from off the land, saith 12 And it shall come to pass the Lord.
at that time, that I will search 3 I will consume man and beast; Jerusalem with candles, and puI will consume the fowls of the nish the men that are settled on heaven, and the fishes of the sea, their lees: that say in their heart, and the stumblingblocks with the The Lord will not do good, wicked; and I will cut off man neither will he do evil. from offthe land, saith the Lord. 13 Therefore their goods shall
4 I will also stretch out mine become a booty, and their houses hand upon Judah, and upon all a desolation: they shall also build the inbabitants of Jerusalem; and houses, but not inhabit them; I will cut off the remnant of Baal and they shall plant vineyards, from this place, and the name of but not drink the wine thereof. the Chemarims with the priests; 14 The great day of the LORD
5 And them that worship the is near, it is near, and hasteth host of heaven upon the house- greatly, even the voice of the tops; and them that worship and day of the LORD: the mighty that swear by the LORD, and man shall cry there bitterly. that swear by Malcham;
15 That day is a day of wrath, 6 And them that are turned a day of trouble and distress, a back from the Lord; and those day of wasteness and desolation, that have not sought the Lord, a day of darkness and gloominor enquired for him.
ness, a day of clouds and thick 7 Hold thy peace at the pre- darkness, sence of the Lord Gop: for the 16 A day of the trumpet and day of the Lord is at hand: for alarm against the fenced cities, the Lord hath prepared a sacri- and against the high towers. fice, he hath bid his guests. 17 And I will bring distress
8 And it shall come to pass in upon men, that they shall walk the day of the LORD's sacrifice, like blind men, because they that I will punish the princes, have sinned against the Lord: and the king's children, and all and their blood shall be poured such as are clothed with strange out as dust, and their flesh as apparel.
9 In the same day also will I 18 Neither their silver nor their punish all those that leap on the gold shall be able to deliver them threshold, which fill their mas- in the day of the LORD's wrath; ters' houses with violence and but the whole land shall be dedeceit.
voured by the fire of his jea10 And it shall come to pass lousy: for he shall make even in that day, saith the Lord, that a speedy riddance of all them there shall be the noise of a cry that dwell in the land.
LECTURE 1435. Of taking warning from the judgments here set down. Zephaniah evidently prophesied towards the close of the kingdom of Judah, and long after the kingdom of the ten tribes had ceased to exist. For it was “in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah.” The evil people of that land had derived little profit from the awful warning given in the captivity of their brethren. Probably they reasoned, that the ten tribes richly deserved their doom, if it were only for having separated from the two. For ever since their separation, these kindred communities had looked upon each other with evil eyes. And there can be little doubt, that the one which survived when the other was destroyed, instead of laying that calamity to heart as a warning to itself, would consider it as a judgment for the only one out of many sins, of which it was not guilty like its neighbour. For here we find evidence, that in Judah all manner of idolatry was practised, as well as all manner of ungodliness. Wickedness was come to such a height in Jerusalem, that God declares He will consume every thing living from off the land. Many of the prevalent evil practices are specified; and the neglecting to seek the Lord is put on the same footing, as far as regards punishment, with the turning back from Him. Nay, there are none whom He threatens to search after more closely, than those who professed utter indifference towards God, and held that He took no notice of them. These are described as that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.” That any could so think within themselves, after what they had seen happen to their brethren in Israel, may be accounted for, as here supposed, by the false conclusions which enmity and self conceit are apt to suggest to the mind. Nothing could be more likely to shake the confidence of such vain reasoners, than the loud and clear prophetic warnings of entire desolation, here addressed expressly to themselves. These words they could not apply to their neighbours, as they probably had been used to apply the prophecies common to both kingdoms, delivered whilst both were in existence. Their city also is here called by its name, as well as one of its gates, and one of its quarters; so that there was no room left for misconception. What then more did these sinners look for, that even yet they turned not to God? Did they expect to see their own names set down, and wait till God vouchsafed to send them one by one a revelation of their own doom? Oh let us take warning from them, though they would not from their brethren. Let us apply to ourselves singly that which was said to them generally. “And let us be assured, that if we sin as they did, either by turning away from God, or by not seeking unto Him, we shall be overtaken as they were, “in the day of the Lord's wrath."
Erhortations in reference to the judgments threatened. i Gather yourselves together, LORD of hosts, the God of Isyea, gather together, O nation rael, Surely Moab shall be as not desired;
Sodom, and the children of Am2 Before the decree bring forth, mon as Gomorrah, even the breedbefore the day pass as the chaff, ing of nettles, and saltpits, and a before the fierce anger of the perpetual desolation : the resiLORD come upon you, before due of my people shall spoil the day of the Lord's anger them, and the remnant of my come upon you.
people shall possess them. 3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye 10 This shall they have for meek of the earth, which have their pride, because they have wrought his judgment; seek reproached and magnified themrighteousness, seek meekness: selves against the people of the it may be ye shall be hid in the Lord of hosts. day of the Lord's anger.
11 The Lord will be terrible 4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, unto them: for he will famish and Ashkelon a desolation : they all the gods of the earth; and shall drive out Ashdod at the noon men shall worship him, every day,and Ekron shall be rooted up. one from his place, even all the
5 Woe unto the inhabitants of isles of the heathen. the sea coasts, the nation of the 12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall Cherethites ! the word of the be slain by my sword. Lord is against you; O Canaan, 13 And he will stretch out his the land of the Philistines, I will hand against the north, and deeven destroy thee, that there stroy Assyria; and will make shall be no inhabitant.
Nineveh a desolation, and dry 6 And the sea coast shall be like a wilderness. dwellings and cottages for shep- 14 And flocks shall lie down in herds, and folds for flocks. the midst of her, all the beasts
7 And the coast shall be for of the nations : both the cormothe remnant of the house of Ju- rant and the bittern shall lodge dah ; they shall feed thereupon: in the upper lintels of it; their in the houses of Ashkelon shall voice shall sing in the windows; they lie down in the evening : desolation shall be in the thresfor the LORD their God shall holds: for he shall uncover the visit them, and turn away their cedar work. captivity.
15 This is the rejoicing city 8 I have heard the reproach of that dwelt carelessly, that said Moab, and the revilings of the in her heart, I am, and there is children of Ammon, whereby none beside me: how is she bethey have reproached my peo- come a desolation, a place for ple, and magnified themselves beasts to lie down in ! every one against their border.
that passeth by her shall hiss, 9 Therefore as I live, saith the and wag his hand.
LECTURE 1436, Of seeking the Lord, on the approach of his day. The exhortations at the beginning of this chapter are to be understood in connexion with the sore judgments which follow unto the end. And we must also look back to the judgments set down