Gather yourselves together
This is said to the people of the Jews in general; that whereas the judgments of God were coming upon them, as predicted in the preceding chapter ( Zephaniah 1:1-18 ) , it was high time for them to get together, and consider what was to be done at such a juncture; it was right to call a solemn assembly, to gather the people, priests, and elders, together, to some one place, as Joel directs, ( Joel 1:14 ) ( Joel 2:15 Joel 2:16 ) the inhabitants of Jerusalem to the temple, and the people of the land to their respective synagogues, and there humble themselves before the Lord; confess their sins, and declare their repentance for them; and pray that God would show favour to them, and avert his wrath and judgments from them: or, "gather the straw" F25; from yourselves, and then gather it from others, as follows: or, "first adorn yourselves", and "then others", as in the Talmud F26; and the sense is the same with the words of Christ, "first cast out the beam out of thine own eye" ( Matthew 7:3-5 ) and the meaning of both is, first correct and amend yourselves, and then reprove others: this sense is given by the Jewish commentators, and is approved by Gussetius F1: or "search yourselves" F2; as some render the word; and that very diligently, as stubble is searched into, or any thing searched for in it; let the body of the people inquire among themselves what should be the cause of these things; what public sins prevailed among them, for which they were threatened with an utter destruction; and let everyone search into his own heart and ways, and consider how much he has contributed to the bringing down such sad calamities upon the nation: thus it became them to search and inquire into their state and circumstances of affairs, in a way of self-examination; or otherwise the Lord would search them in a way of judgment, as threatened ( Zephaniah 1:12 ) or "shake out" F3, or "fan yourselves", as others; remove your chaff by repentance and reformation, that you be not blown away like chaff in the day of God's wrath, as afterwards suggested: yea, gather together;
or "search", or "shake out", or "fan", as before: this is repeated, to show the necessity and importance of it, and the vehemency of the prophet in urging it: O nation not desired;
by other nations, but hated by them, as Abarbinel observes; not desirable to God or good men; not amiable or lovely for any excellencies and goodness in them, but the reverse; being a disobedient and rebellious people; a seed of evildoers, laden with iniquity, who, from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet, were full of wounds, bruises, and putrefying sores; or of disorders and irregularities, sins and transgressions, comparable to them; and therefore, instead of being desirable, were loathsome and abominable: or, as some render the word, "O nation void of desire" F4; or "not affected" with it; who had no desire after God, and the knowledge of his will; after his word and worship; after a return unto him, and reconciliation with him; after his favour, grace, and mercy; not desirous of good things, nor of doing any. So the Targum,
``gather together, and come, and draw near, this people who desire not to return to the law.''Joseph Kimchi, from the use of the word in the Misnic language, renders it, "O nation not ashamed": of their evil works, being bold and impudent; and yet, such was the goodness and grace of God to them, that he calls them to repentance, and gives them warning before he strikes the blow.