SOPHONIAS, whose name, saith St. Jerome, signifies The Watchman of the Lord, or The hidden of the Lord, prophesied in the beginning of the reign of Josias. He was a native of Sarabatha, and of the tribe of Simeon, according to the more general opinion. He prophesied the punishments of the Jews, for their idolatry and other crimes; also the punishments that were to come on divers nations; the coming of Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, the blindness of the Jews, and their conversion towards the end of the world.

Sophonias Chapter 1

For divers enormous sins, the kingdom of Juda is threatened with severe judgment.

1:1. The word of the Lord that came to Sophonias the son of Chusi, the son of Godolias, the son of Amarias, the son of Ezechias, in the days of Josias, the son of Amon king of Juda.

1:2. Gathering, I will gather together all things from off the face of the land, saith the Lord:

Gathering, I will gather, etc. . .That is, I will assuredly take away, and wholly consume, either by captivity, or death, both men and beasts out of this land.

1:3. I will gather man, and beast, I will gather the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea: and the ungodly shall meet with ruin: and I will destroy men from off the face of the land, saith the Lord.

1:4. And I will stretch out my hand upon Juda, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and I will destroy out of this place the remnant of Baal, and the names of the wardens of the temples with the priests:

The wardens, etc. . .Viz., of the temples of the idols. AEdituos, in Hebrew, the Chemarims, that is, such as kindle the fires, or burn incense.

1:5. And them that worship the host of heaven upon the tops of houses, and them that adore, and swear by the Lord, and swear by Melchom.

Melchom. . .The idol of the Ammonites.

1:6. And them that turn away from following after the Lord, and that have not sought the Lord, nor searched after him.

1:7. Be silent before the face of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is near, for the Lord hath prepared a victim, he hath sanctified his guests.

1:8. And it shall come to pass in the day of the victim of the Lord, that I will visit upon the princes, and upon the king's sons, and upon all such as are clothed with strange apparel:

1:9. And I will visit in that day upon every one that entereth arrogantly over the threshold: them that fill the house of the Lord their God with iniquity and deceit.

1:10. And there shall be in that day, saith the Lord, the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and a howling from the Second, and a great destruction from the hills.

The Second. . .A part of the city so called.

1:11. Howl, ye inhabitants of the Morter. All the people of Chanaan is hush, all are cut off that were wrapped up in silver.

The Morter. . .Maktesh. A valley in or near Jerusalem. Ibid. The people of Chanaan. . .So he calls the Jews, from their following the wicked ways of the Chanaanites.

1:12. And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and will visit upon the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their hearts: The Lord will not do good, nor will he do evil.

Settled on their lees. . .That is, the wealthy, and such as live at their ease, resting upon their riches, like wine upon the lees.

1:13. And their strength shall become a booty, and their houses as a desert: and they shall build houses, and shall not dwell in them: and they shall plant vineyards, and shall not drink the wine of them.

1:14. The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and exceeding swift: the voice of the day of the Lord is bitter, the mighty man shall there meet with tribulation.

1:15. That day is a day of wrath, a day of tribulation and distress, a day of calamity and misery, a day of darkness and obscurity, a day of clouds and whirlwinds,

1:16. A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high bulwarks.

1:17. And I will distress men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as earth, and their bodies as dung.

1:18. Neither shall their silver and their gold be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: all the land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy destruction of all them that dwell in the land.