World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
3. Future of Jerusalem
Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! 2She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God. 3Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. 4Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. 5The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame. 6I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant. 7I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings.
8Therefore 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. 9For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. 10From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. 11In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. 12I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. 13The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
14Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. 18I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. 19Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
Interpreters agree not as to the meaning of this verse; for some of the Hebrews connect this with the former, as though the Prophet was still speaking of the calling of the Gentiles. But others, with whom I agree, apply this to the dispersed Jews, so that the Prophet here gives hope of that restoration, of which he had before spoken. They who understand this of the Gentiles, think that Atharai and Phorisai are proper names. But in the first place, we cannot find that any nations were so called; and then, if we receive what they say, these were not separate nations, but portions of the Ethiopians; for the Prophet does not state the fact by itself, that Atharai and Phorisai would be the worshipers of God; but after having spoken of Ethiopia, he adds these words: hence we conclude, that the Prophet means this,—that they would return into Judea from the farthest region of the Ethiopians to offer sacrifices to God. And as he mentions the daughter of the dispersion, we must understand this of the Jews, for it cannot be applied to the Ethiopians. And this promise fits in well with the former verse: for the Prophet spoke, according to what we observed yesterday, of the future calling of the Gentiles; and now he adds, the Jews would come with the Gentiles, that they might unite together, agreeing in the same faith, in the true and pure worship of the only true God. He had said, that the kingdom would be enlarged, for the Church was to be gathered from all nations: he now adds, that the elect people would be restored, after having been driven away into exile.
Hence he says, Beyond the rivers of Ethiopia shall be my suppliants: for עתר, otar, means to supplicate; but it means also sometimes to be pacified, or to be propitious; and therefore some take עתרים, otarim, in a passive sense, they who shall be reconciled to God; as though he had said, God will at length be propitious to the miserable exiles, though they have been cast away beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: they shall yet again be God’s people, for he will be reconciled to them. As David calls Him the God of his mercy, because he had found him merciful and gracious, (Psalm 59:17,) so also in this place they think that the Jews are said to be the עתרי, the reconciled of Jehovah, because he would be reconciled to them. But this exposition is too forced: I therefore retain that which I have stated,—that some suppliants would come to God from the utmost parts of Ethiopia, not the Ethiopians themselves, but the Jews who had been driven there.
To the same purpose is what is added, The daughter of my dispersed; for פוף, puts, means to scatter or to disperse.
It is more consonant with the style of the Prophets to render the clauses apart, as Calvin does, than as it is done in our version, and by Newcome and Henderson. The auxiliary verb, as is often the case, is to be understood in the first clause,—
From beyond the rivers of Cush shall be my suppliants;
The daughter of my dispersed shall bring my offering. Hence by the daughter of the dispersed he means the gathered assembly of the miserable exiles, who for a time were considered as having lost their name, so as not to be counted as the people of Israel. These then shall again offer to me a gift, that is, they are to be restored to their country, that they may there worship me after their usual manner. Now though this prophecy extends to the time of the Gospel, it is yet no wonder, that the Prophet describes the worship of God such as it had been, accompanied with the ceremonies of the Law. We now then perceive what Zephaniah means in this verse,—that not only the Gentiles would come into the Church of God, but that the Jews also would return to their country, that they might together make one body. It follows,—