Page images
[graphic][merged small]

passed by the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high.

11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: "at the light of thine "arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.

12 Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.


16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will "invade them with his troops.

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall "fail, and the fields 13 Josh. 10. 11. 14 Heb. making naked. 18 Heb. c.

15 Heh, were tempestuous.

13 Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by "discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah.

staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly.

15 Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great

14 Thou didst strike through with his
11 Josh. 10. 12. 12 Or, thine arrows walked in the light, &c.
16 Or, mud. 17 Or, cut them in pieces.

shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like "hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will places. To the chief singer on my "stringed joy in the God of my salvation.


19 2 Sam. 22. 34. Psal. 18. 33.

Verse 4. "He had horns coming out of his hand.”—The same word ( keren) denotes both a horn and a ray of light— probably from the resemblance found between a cone of rays and a horn; and the same word, as a verb, signifies to shine or emit rays. In like manner, the Arabian poets call the rays of the sun its horns. The context in the present verse shows quite plainly that the marginal reading of "beams" is here to be preferred to that of "horns." formably, Newcome renders " Rays streamed from his hand." See further on this subject under Exod. xxiv. 29.


30 Heb. neginoth.

9. “Thy bow was made quite naked.”—This means that it was prepared for action; it being, both in ancient and modern times, customary in the East to carry the bow in a case when not required for immediate use.

19. "My feet like hinds' feet..... to walk upon mine high places."-Probably this and the corresponding allusion in the Psalms, is not merely to the swiftness of the hind, but also to the sureness and safety of its tread, which seems to have given occasion for its being styled “brazen footed" by Virgil and other classical poets. Some of the Rabbins imagine, we know not with what reason, that the females stand and tread with a firmer foot than the males; and that for this cause the feet of hinds, rather than of harts, are mentioned here and in Ps. xviii. 34.


The various subjects which supply allusions to the prophet, in this very noble poem, have been so far explained and illustrated on different previous occasions as to supersede the notes which might otherwise be required.

2 R




God's severe judgment against Judah for divers


HE 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 'stumblingblocks 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.

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 Heb. By taking away I will make an end. Heb. visit upon.

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.

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 10Neither 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.

3 Or, idols. 4 Or, to the LORD. 5 Heb. sanctified, or prepared. Amos 5. 11 Jer. 30. 7. Joel 9. 11 Amos 5. 18.

11 Chap. 3. 8.

Heb. the face of the land. 7 Hleb, curded, or thickened. 8 Deut 28. 30, 39. 10 Prov. 11. 4 Ezek. 7. 19.

[ocr errors]

ZEPHANIAH.-The time and parentage of Zephaniah are expressed in the first verse of his prophecy, which affords the only authentic information concerning him which we possess. The pseudo-Epiphanius, with whom Isidore agrees, says that he was of the tribe of Simeon, a native of mount Sarabatha, a place not mentioned in Scripture, and where he died and was buried. In this last particular they are however at variance with the author of the Cippi Hebraici,' who states that he was buried at Geba in Lebanon, in a cave shut up-a place where flowing fountains abounded, and whence the clouds never departed: language which appears to mean no more than that it was in an elevated region of Lebanon. With respect to the characteristics of Zephaniah's writings, Bishop Lowth briefly observes, that it is poetical, but that there is nothing very uncommon either in the arrangement of his matter, or the complexion of his style.

Verse 4. "The name of the Chemarims.”—In 2 Kings xxiii. 5, the word "Chemarim" (D) is rendered" idola trous priests," as applied to those that were put down by Josiah, in whose reign Zephaniah prophesied; and probably the very same persons, or certainly the same kind of persons, are here to be understood. The signification is perhaps derived from the Syriac, in which language the analogous word means a priest generally, and of course the Syrian priests were idolaters, and hence its use to express idolatrous priests. Might not the name be particularly employed to denote the priests of the idols borrowed from the Syrians?

5. “Mulcham”—or, as elsewhere, Milcom, Molech, the god of the Ammonites. The Septuagint translates it, “By their king;" but it is better to retain the proper name as denoting the idol.

9. "That leap on the threshold.”—Instead of "on," we might read "over the threshold; " when, as the Targum suggests, it may allude to the custom of the priests of Dagon, who, after their idol was broken on the threshold (1 Sam. v. 4, 5), never trod on it, but stepped or leaped over it, when entering or leaving the temple. Some however rather, and perhaps better, explain it of persons who, seeing houses rich and full of good things, entered them violently and insolently, taking what they pleased. If this be admitted, there may be no objection to allow the conclusion of Harmer, that the leaping over the threshold, to fill houses with violence and deceit, may refer to the custom for insolent spoilers and oppressors, in the East, to ride into the houses-that is, into the interior courts-of their victims; for which reason, as well as to prevent the interior wealth from being suspected, the gates towards the street are in general purposely made too low to permit a man on horseback to pass through. If the allusion does not exclusively refer to this practice, we may certainly understand it to be included in the general sense of a violent and dishonest entrance into other people's houses.

11. “Maktesh."--The word means a mortar. Aben Ezra says that it was the name of a street or quarter in Jerusalem; in which opinion many concur. But there is another opinion, that the prophet by this title designates Jerusalem, in the state to which it should be reduced by the Chaldeans, crushed and broken, as in a mortar. But as the word means not only a mortar, but any deep, hollow place, Jerome thinks that the valley of Siloam is intended; an opinion sanctioned by the Targum, which renders" the valley of Kedron," which was another name for that of Siloam, or for the whole of which it was a part. There seems no deciding between these alternatives.


1 An exhortation to repentance. 4 The judgment
of the Philistines, 8 of Moab and Ammon, 12 of
Ethiopia and Assyria.
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.

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 coasts, 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.

[blocks in formation]

1 Or, nol desirous. *Or, when, &c. 3 Heb. muke lean.

12 ¶Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain | sing in the windows; desolation shall be in by my sword. the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work.

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.

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.


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 Or, pelican. $ Isa. 34. 11. Or, knups, or, chapiters.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

Verse 4. "Gaza shall be forsaken."-Accordingly, the Gaza which existed in the time of the prophet did become forsaken, ruined, and desolate. But, in due time another town arose on or near its site, which still remains a place of some consideration. But of all this we have written fully under Judges xvi., and have now the satisfaction of introducing an engraving representing the modern town of Gaza.

"Ashkelon."-This place has been considered under Judges xiv.; and of it also we are now enabled to furnish a pictorial representation. There is a particular propriety in thus introducing Gaza and Ascalon together, as the two places are much associated in the Scriptures. The Mohammedan writers also distinguish these two cities as "the Two Brides." Mohammed is reported to have said, "Happy is he who takes up his dwelling-place with one of the Two Brides, Ascalon and Gaza." Another tradition reports him to have said, "Ascalon is one of the Two Brides, whom God will raise up, sanctify, and glorify, in the day of judgment. Here will be seventy thousand martyrs, who will come forward together as ambassadors unto God." Jalal-Addin, the Arabian author of the History of the Temple,' lately translated by the Rev. James Reynolds, mentions a collection of a Portion of the Wondrous Virtues of Ascalou, by the historian Ibn Asákir, in which the various traditions concerning it are discriminated according to the degree of credit to which they are supposed to be entitled. Jalal-Addin, who wrote about the middle of the fifteenth century, makes a statement rather adverse to the laudatory traditions which he cites:-" Ascalon is said to be given to excess in eating, drinking, and adultery. The intelligent say that the cause of this is to be found in the fact that Ascalon is a dépôt for sacred cavalry, a frontier town, ever guarding against the attacks of the enemy. Even now, in these days, although many sacred cavalry quota contributions are to be found in other places, yet it is far from being no longer a point of attack by the enemy."

« PreviousContinue »