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Zephaniah 1:17

17. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.

17. Et coarctabo hominem (vel, homines,) et ambulabunt tanquam caeci, quia contra Iehovam impie egerunt; et fundetur sanguis quasi pulvis; et caro eorum erit tanquam stercora.


He confirms what I have already stated—that though other enemies, the Assyrians or Chaldeans, attacked the Jews, yet God would be the principal leader of the war. God then claims here for himself what the Jews transferred to their earthly enemies: and the Prophet has already often called it the day of Jehovah; for God would then make known his power, which had been a sport to them. He therefore declares in this place, that he would reduce man to distress, so that the whole nation would walk like the blind —that, being void of counsel, they would stumble and fall, and not be able to proceed in their course: for they are said to go astray like the blind, who see no end to their evils, who find no means to escape ruin, but are held as it were fast bound. And we must ever bear in mind what I have already said—that the Jews were inflated with such pride, that they heedlessly despised all the Prophets. Since then they were thus wise in themselves, God denounces blindness on them.

He subjoins the reason, Because they had acted impiously towards Jehovah 8686     The Hebrew words are literally,
   For against Jehovah have they sinned.

By these words he confirms what I have already explained—that the intermediate causes are not to be considered, though the Chaldeans took vengeance on the Jews; for there is a higher principle, and another cause of this evil, even the contempt of God and of his celestial truth; for they had acted impiously towards God. And by these words the Prophet reminds the Jews, that no alleviation was to be expected, as they had not only men hostile to them, but God himself, whom they had extremely provoked.

Hence he adds, Poured forth shall be your blood as dust 8787     “Copiously and in contempt,” says Marckius; “as a thing of no value,” says Grotius; “as worthless as dust,” says Drusius. The comparison is evidently intended to show that their blood, or their life, would be treated with contempt, and no more regarded than dust.—Ed. They whom God delivered up to extreme reproach were deserving of this, because he had been despised by them. Their flesh, 8888     The word is [לחט], usually rendered food; here it means what is fed, the carcass, the body. It is rendered “flesh” by the Septuagint.—Ed. he says, shall be as dung. Now, we know how much the Jews boasted of their preeminence; and God had certainly given them occasion to boast, had they made a right and legitimate use of his benefits; but as they had despised him, they deserved in their turn to be exposed to every ignominy and reproach. Hence the Prophet here lays prostrate all their false boastings by which they were inflated; for they wished to be honorable, while God was despised by them. At last he adds—

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