Zeph 3.1-120 again turns to Jerusalem and the abominations of the city. Yehovah has the right to bring judgment and it will be necessary because of the hard-hearted sinners in it. It is the only avenue left by which salvation can be assured for Israel and the entire world.
v 1…Woe (lamentations await) to her who is rebellious and defiled, the tyrannical city (oppressive)!
v 2…She heeded no voice (of God in the Torah); she accepted no instruction (through the prophets who taught the Torah, which means “instruction”). She did not trust in the Lord (Yehovah), she did not draw near to her God (in worship and repentance).
v 3…Her princes within her are roaring lions (seeking who they may devour), her judges are wolves at evening (when they are the most hungry), they leave nothing for the morning (they totally devour their prey).
v 4…Her prophets are reckless (without a calling from God), treacherous men; her priests have profaned the sanctuary (Temple). They have done violence to the Torah (meaning to misinterpret and disobey it-Matt 5.17).
v 5…The Lord is righteous (tzadik) within her; he will do no injustice (wrong). Every morning he brings his justice to light (in contrast to the evil of the people), he does not fail (justice was not wanting or absent). But the unjust know no shame (or disgrace over their deeds).
v 6…”I have cut off nations (as a previous warning to Israel and they have seen it); their corner towers are in ruins. I have made their streets (not in the city, but the roads in the flat country) desolate, with no one passing by; their cities are laid waste, without man without inhabitant.
v 7…I said, ‘Surely you will revere me (they will take notice of my judgments on other nations and fear me), accept instruction (correction).’ So her dwelling will not be cut off (according to all that I have appointed for her). But they were eager (rose early) to corrupt all their deeds (deliberately).
v 8…Therefore, wait for me,” declares the Lord (said to the believing remnant), “for the day when I rise up to the prey (in the sense that Yehovah will obtain those from among the nations those who will call on him). Indeed, my decision (Hebrew “mishpati” or justice, which is his right to pour out judgment on the nations) is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them my indignation, all my burning anger; for all the earth will be devoured by the fire of my zeal.
v 9…For then I will give to the people purified lips (purified from sin and idolatry, they will be converted so that they may call upon Yehovah with the thoughts of his heart in faith and confession); that all of them may call on the name of the Lord (Yehovah), to serve him with one (Hebrew “echad” or a plural unity) shoulder (serve him together).
v 10…From beyond the rivers of Cush (the remote nations in the south) my worshipers (“daughter of my dispersed ones” meaning the Israelites who God scattered all around the world) will bring my offerings (they are presented by the non-Jews as “minchati” to prove they are true worshipers of Yehovah-Isa 66.13-21).
v 11…In that day you will feel no shame because of all your deeds by which you have rebelled against me (Israel will not be ashamed of their sins in the former times because they will not occur anymore); for then I will remove from your midst your proud exulting ones (those who oppressed them), and you will never again be haughty on my holy mountain (Temple Mount-Yehovah will keep them from sin-Jude 24; Col 2.17; Phil 2.13).
v 12…But I will leave among you a humble and lowly people (knowing that their deliverance was by God’s grace alone, they were powerless to do what was good). And they will take refuge (trust) in the name of the Lord (Yehovah).
v 13…The remnant of Israel will do no wrong (iniquity), and tell (speak) no lies, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths (a holy nation true to its calling in Exo 19.6); for they will feed and lie down with no one to make them tremble (Yeshua the Messiah is their shepherd as the “little flock”-Mic 4.1-4, 7.14; Luke 12.32).
v 14…Shout for joy (exult), O daughter of Zion (the submissive inhabitants who believe and follow Yehovah’s will)! Shout (in triumph), O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem (submissive inhabitants who believe and follow Yehovah’s will)!
v 15…The Lord (Yehovah) has taken away judgments against you. He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord (Yeshua), is in your midst; (and because of this) you will fear evil no more.
v 16…In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: do not be afraid, O Zion; do not let your hands fall limp (you will not see or experience evil no more).
v 17…The Lord (Yehovah) your God (eloheycha) is in your midst (like a hero), mighty (givor) who helps (or saves). He will exalt over you with joy, he will be quiet in his love (quietly cherish you), he will rejoice (to spin around) over you with shouts of joy.
v 18…I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts (those that are troubled for the moedim are those that grieve because they cannot participate in the festivals because they are not in the land. They cannot keep the festivals outside of Jerusalem and the Temple-they were from you, the reproach (of the exile) was a burden on them (this burden was the reproach).
v 19…Behold (take note), I am going to deal at that time with all your oppressors, I will save the lame and gather the outcast (those disregarded), and I will turn their shame into praise and renown (the glory of the future salvation will be seen in all the nations where they suffered shame).
v 20…At that time (remember this phrase alludes to when the Messiah comes also) I will bring you in, even at that time when I gather you together (in your own land); indeed, I will give you renown and praise among all the people of the earth (this is repeated from the previous verse to confirm the fact of it), when I restore your fortunes (turn back your captivity) before your eyes (you will see it for yourself, it will stand out to you),” declares the Lord.