Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Zephaniah-Chapter 2

Zeph 2.1-15 tells us that Zephaniah is exhorting the Jewish people to repent, and he also predicts the fall Assyria and Ninevah and several neighboring nations. Judgment is coming.

v 1…”Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation that dost not grow pale (it has no shame)

v 2…before the decree takes effect (a Yom ha Din or day of judgment term)-the day passes like chaff (before judgment comes and it will come quickly like the wind blows the chaff)-before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you (this also alludes to the end of the 6000 year Olam Ha Zeh and before the shofar blows on Yom Ha Din Rosh Ha Shanah).

v 3…Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who have carried out his ordinances (kept the Torah by faith), seek humility, perhaps you will be hidden (Hebrew “tisatru” meaning to escape from, not protected through) in the day of the Lord’s anger (these verses speak about the coming judgment on Judah in the Peshat by Babylon, but eschatologically, they allude to the Natzal or “rapture” that will occur on Rosh Ha Shannah, year 6001 from creation, which will be the first day of the Lord, which is the last 1000 years of God’s 7000-year plan. Rosh Ha Shanah is also called the “day of the Lord” idiomatically. The catching away of the believers happens before the anger of the Lord comes in the birth-pains, or “tribulation”-John 14.1; Isa 13.2; 1 Thes 2.3, 4.13-18; Isa 26.20; Isa 57.1-2; 1 Thes 1.10; Rev 4.1).

v 4…Gaza will be abandoned and Ashkelon a desolation; Ashdod will be driven out at noon, and Ekron will be uprooted (these four capitals of the Philistines represent all people and land that will be destroyed.

v 5…Woe (lamentations await you) to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites (Philistines along the sea and called the “goy Keretim” or nation of Cretans, who were devoted to cutting off or exterminating others)! The word of the Lord is against you (because they were devoted to extermination), O Canaan, land of the Philistines (they shared a portion of Canaan); and I will destroy you, so that there will be no inhabitant (no Philistines-interestingly, the Romans called Israel “Palestina” which is Latin for “Philistine”).

v 6…So the seacoast will be pastures (depopulated), for shepherd caves (dug to protect them from the sun) and folds for flocks.

v 7…And the coast will be for the remnant of the house of Judah and they will pasture it. In the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down at evening; for the Lord (Yehovah) their God will care for (visit) them and restore their captivity (from Babylon).

v 8…I have heard the abuse of Moab and the reviling’s of the sons of Ammon (the threat turns from the Philistines on the west to several nations on the east), with which they have abused my people (showed hostility to Israel since Moses in Num 22 and Num 24) and become arrogant against their territory.

v 9…Therefore, as I live (shows the certainty of what will happen),” declares the Lord of hosts (Hebrew “Yehovah tzavaot” or armies; when Yehovah uses this term he is coming from a military position of power), the God of Israel, “Surely Moab will be like Sodom, and the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah-a place possessed by nettles and salt pits (this simile was a perfect one because their territory was near these cities; it describes the utter ruin of these two tribes), and a perpetual desolation. The remnant of my people will plunder them, and the remainder of my nation will inherit them (after the captivity in Babylon).”

v 10…This they will have in return for their pride (the coming calamity), because they have taunted and become arrogant against the people of the Lord of hosts.

v 11…The Lord will be terrifying to them (in his judgments), for he will starve all the gods of the earth (cause them to vanish because he will destroy the nations who relied on them).

v 12…You also, O Ethiopians (“Cushim” but not the Ethiopians in Africa, but in Arabia Chusea between Judah and Egypt, where Midian was) will be slain by my sword )of Babylon).

v 13…And he (Yehovah) will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria (who was seeking to destroy the kingdom of God in Judah), and he will make Ninevah a desolation, parched like the wilderness.

v 14…And flocks will lie down in her midst, all beast which range in herds; pelicans also and hedgehogs will lodge on her knobs (her pillars); birds will sing in her window; desolation will be on the threshold; for he has laid bare the cedar work (the former great city with its houses and cedar paneling is in utter ruin).

v 15…This is the exultant city (rejoiced without ceasing) which dwells securely (carelessly, in perfect security) who says in her heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me (self-confident and arrogant).” How she has become a desolation (deserted, a resting place for beasts (of the desert)! Everyone who passes by will hiss, and wave his hand (in contempt).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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