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Zephaniah 3:8

8. Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

8. Propterea expectate me, dicit Jehova, usque ad diem quo surgam ad praedam; quia judicium meum (hoc est, decretum est mihi,) ut colligam gentes, ut congregem regna; ut effundam super ipsa (regna, vel, super ipsas gentes) indignationem meam, totum furorem irae meae; quia igne zeli (vel, indignationis meae) vorabitur tota terra.

 

God here declares that the last end was near, since he had found by experience that he effected nothing by long forbearance, and since he had even found the Jews becoming worse, because he had so mercifully treated them. Some think that the address is made to the faithful, that they might prepare themselves to bear the cross; but this view is foreign to the subject of the Prophet: and though this view has gained the consent of almost all, I yet doubt not but that the Prophet, as I have now stated, breaks out into a complaint, and says, that God would not now deal in words with a people so irreclaimable.

Look for me, he says; that is, I am now present fully prepared: I have hitherto endeavored to turn you, but your hearts have become hardened in depravity. But inasmuch as I have lost all my labor in teaching, warning, and exhorting you, even when I presented to you examples on every side among heathen nations, which ought to have stimulated you to repentance, and inasmuch as I have effected nothing, it is now all over with you—Look for me: I shall no more contend with you, nor is there any ground for you to hope that I shall any more send Prophets to you.

Look then for me, until I shall rise —for what purpose? to the prey. Some render the word לעד, laod, forever; but the Prophet means, that God was so offended with the contumacy of the people, that he would now plunder, spoil and devour, and forget his kindness, which had been hitherto a sport to them—I shall come as a wild beast; as lions rage, lacerate, tear, and devour, so also will I now do with you; for I have hitherto too kindly and paternally spared you. We hence see that these things are not to be referred to the hope and patience of the godly; but that God on the contrary does here denounce final destruction on the wicked, as though he had said—I bid you adieu; begone, and mind your own concerns; for I will no longer contend with you; but I shall shortly come, and ye shall find me very different from what I have been to you hitherto. We now see that God, as it were, repudiates the Jews, and threatens that he would come to them with a drawn sword; and at the same time he compares himself to a savage and cruel wild beast.

He afterwards adds—For my judgment is; that is, I have decreed to gather all nations. We have elsewhere spoken of this verb אסף, asaph; it is the same in Hebrew as the French trousser. It is then my purpose to gather, that is, to heap together into one mass all nations, to assemble the kingdoms, so that no corner of the earth may escape my hand. But he speaks of all nations and kingdoms, that the Jews might understand that his judgment could no longer be deferred; for if a comparison be made between them and the heathen nations, judgment, as it is written, is wont to begin with the house of God, 1 Peter 4:17; and further, they were less excusable than the unbelieving, who went astray, which is nothing strange, in darkness, for they were without the light of truth. God then threatens nations and kingdoms, that the Jews might know that a most dreadful punishment was impending over their heads, for they had surpassed all others in wickedness and evil deeds. 113113     This verse is considered by Newcome and Henderson to be addressed to the godly, to encourage them at the approaching calamities, while Piscator, Grotius, Marckius, and Dathius, agree with Calvin that it is an awful warning to the wicked Jews, spoken of in the preceding verse. Differing somewhat from Calvin, they regard the “nations” and “kingdoms” to be the Babylonians, who were composed of various nations and kingdoms, and “upon them” to be the Jews, and “the whole land” to be that of Judea. This view, no doubt, is the most consistent with the context. The objection made by Henderson, that the words expect, or wait for me, are ever used in a good sense, seems to have no force, for these words by themselves can mean neither what is good nor what is bad, the whole depends on the context. The verb [חכה] simply means to tarry, to wait—μενειν. The word “therefore” seems to connect this with the preceding verse, and there is nothing in the foregoing part of the chapter that alludes to the godly. Besides, the words which follow “wait for me” explain them, as will be seen by the following literal rendering of the whole verse—
   8. Therefore wait for me, saith Jehovah,
For the day of my rising to the prey!
For my purpose is to gather nations,
To assemble kingdoms,
In order to pour on them my indignation,
All the heat of my anger;
For by the fire of my jealousy
Shall be consumed the whole land.

   The “fire of God’s jealousy” sufficiently proves that what is meant is the land of Judea. (See chapter 1:18.)—Ed.
He afterwards adds—


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