1:1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.
The Argument - Seeing the great rebellion of the people, and that there was now no hope of amendment, he gives notice of the great judgment of God, which was at hand, showing that their country would be utterly destroyed, and they would be carried away captives by the Babylonians. Yet for the comfort of the faithful he prophesied of Gods vengeance against their enemies, such as the Philistines, Moabites, Assyrians, and others, to assure them that God had a continual care over them. And as the wicked would be punished for their sins and transgressions, so he exhorts the godly to patience, and to trust to find mercy by reason of the free promise of God made to Abraham: and therefore quietly to wait until God shows them the effect of that grace, by which in the end they should be gathered to him, and counted as his people and children. 1:3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the a fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.
(a) Not that God was angry with these dumb creatures, but because man was so wicked for whose cause they were created, God makes them to take part of the punishments with him. 1:4 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, [and] the name of the b Chemarims with the priests;
1:5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship [and] that swear by the LORD, and that swear by c Malcham;
(b) Who were an order of superstitious priests appointed to minister in the service of Baal, and were as his special chaplains; read ( 2 Kings 23:5 ; Hosea 10:5 ).
1:8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORDS sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the kings children, and all such as are clothed with d strange apparel.
(c) He alludes to their idol Molech, which was forbidden; read ( Leviticus 20:2 ), yet they called him their king, and made him as a god: therefore he here notes those that will both say they worship God, and yet will swear by idols and serve them: which faltering is here condemned, as in ( Ezekiel 20:39 ; 1 Kings 18:21 ; 2 Kings 17:33 ).
1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that e leap on the threshold, which fill their masters houses with violence and deceit.
(d) Meaning, the courtiers, who did imitate the strange apparel of other nations to win their favour by it, and to appear glorious in the eyes of all others; read ( Ezekiel 23:14-15 ).
(e) He means the servants of the rulers who invade other mens houses, and rejoice and leap for joy, when they can get any gain to please their master with. 1:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, [that there shall be] the noise of a cry from the f fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills.
(f) Signifying that all the corners of the city of Jerusalem would be full of trouble. 1:11 Howl, ye inhabitants of g Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.
(g) This is meant of the street of the merchants which was lower than the rest of the place around it. 1:12 And it shall come to pass at that time, [that] I will search Jerusalem with h candles, and punish the men that are settled i on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
(h) So that nothing will escape me. 1:14 The great day of the LORD [is] near, [it is] near, and hasteth greatly, [even] the voice of the day of the LORD: k the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
(i) By their prosperity they are hardened in their wickedness.
(k) They that trusted in their own strength and condemned the Prophets of God.