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 tribu- lation.
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.
Sophonias Chapter 2
An exhortation to repentance. The judgment of the Philistines, of the Moabites, and the Ammonites; of the Ethiopians and the Assyrians.
2:1.Assemble yourselves together, be gathered together, O nation not worthy to be loved:
2:2. Before the decree bring forth the day as dust passing away, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord’s indignation come upon you.
2:3. Seek the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, you that have wrought his judgment: seek the just, seek the meek: if by any means you may be hid in the day of the Lord’s indignation.
2:4. For Gaza shall be destroyed, and Ascalon shall be a desert, they shall cast out Azotus at noonday, and Accaron shall be rooted up.
2:5. Woe to you that inhabit the sea coast, O nation of reprobates: the word of the Lord upon you, O Chanaan, the land of the Philistines, and I will destroy thee, so that there shall not be an inhabitant.
2:6. And the sea coast shall be the resting place of shepherds, and folds for cattle:
2:7. And it shall be the portion of him that shall remain of the house of Juda, there they shall feed: in the houses of Ascalon they shall rest in the evening: because the Lord their God will visit them, and bring back their captivity.
2:8. I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the blasphemies of the children of Ammon, with which they reproached my people, and have magnified themselves upon their borders.
2:9. Therefore as I live, saith the Lord of hosts the God of Israel, Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrha, the dryness of thorns, and heaps of salt, and a desert even for ever: the remnant of my people shall make a spoil of them, and the residue of my nation shall possess them.
2:10. This shall befall them for their pride: because they have blasphemed, and have been magnified against the people of the Lord of hosts.
2:11. The Lord shall be terrible upon them, and shall consume all the gods of the earth: and they shall adore him every man from his own place, all the islands of the Gentiles.
2:12. You Ethiopians, also shall be slain with my sword.
2:13. And he will stretch out his hand upon the north, and will destroy Assyria: and he will make the beautiful city a wilderness, and as a place not passable, and as a desert.
The beautiful city, viz… Ninive, which was destroyed soon after this, viz., in the sixteenth year of the reign of Josias.
2:14. And flocks shall lie down in the midst thereof, all the beasts of the nations: and the bittern and the urchin shall lodge in the threshold thereof: the voice of the singing bird in the window, the raven on the upper post, for I will consume her strength.
2:15. This is the glorious city that dwelt in security: that said in her heart: I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desert, a place for beasts to lie down in? every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.
Sophonias Chapter 3
A woe to Jerusalem for her sins. A prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the poor of Israel: God shall be with them. The Jews shall be converted at last.
3:1. Woe to the provoking and redeemed city, the dove.
3:2. She hath not hearkened to the voice, neither hath she received discipline: she hath not trusted in the Lord, she drew not near to her God.
3:3. Her princes are in the midst of her as roaring lions: her judges are evening wolves, they left nothing for the morning.
3:4. Her prophets are senseless, men without faith: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have acted unjustly against the law.
3:5. The just Lord is in the midst thereof, he will not do iniquity: in the morning, in the morning he will bring his judgment to light, and it shall not be hid: but the wicked man hath not known shame.
3:6. I have destroyed the nations, and their towers are beaten down: I have made their ways desert, so that there is none that passeth by: their cities are desolate, there is not a man remaining, nor any inhabitant.
3:7. I said: Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive correction: and her dwelling shall not perish, for all things wherein I have visited her: but they rose early, and corrupted all their thoughts.
3:8. Wherefore expect me, saith the Lord, in the day of my resurrection that is to come, for my judgment is to assemble the Gentiles, and to gather the kingdoms: and to pour upon them my indignation, all my fierce anger: for with the fire of my jealousy shall all the earth be devoured.
3:9. Because then I will restore to the people a chosen lip, that all may call upon the name of the Lord, and may serve him with one shoulder.
3:10. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, shall my suppliants, the children of my dispersed people, bring me an offering.
3:11. In that day thou shalt 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 thy proud boasters, and thou shalt no more be lifted up because of my holy mountain.
3:12. And I will leave in the midst of thee a poor and needy people: and they shall hope in the name of the Lord.
3:13. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed, and shall lie down, and there shall be none to make them afraid.
3:14. Give praise, O daughter of Sion: shout, O Israel: be glad, and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
3:15. The Lord hath taken away thy judgment, he hath turned away thy enemies: the king of Israel, the Lord, is in the midst of thee, thou shalt fear evil no more.
3:16. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not: to Sion: Let not thy hands be weakened.
3:17. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save: he will rejoice over thee with gladness, he will be silent in his love, he will be joyful over thee in praise.
3:18. The triflers that were departed from the law, I will gather together, because they were of thee: that thou mayest no more suffer reproach for them.
3:19. Behold I will cut off all that have afflicted thee at that time: and I will save her that halteth, and will gather her that was cast out: and I will get them praise, and a name, in all the land where they had been put to confusion.
3:20. At that time, when I will bring you: and at the time that I will gather you: for I will give you a name, and praise among all the people of the earth, when I shall have brought back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
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