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Zephaniah 2:14

Zephaniah 2:14

And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her
In the midst of the city of Nineveh; in the streets of it, where houses stood, and people in great numbers walked; but now only should be seen the cottages of shepherds, and flocks of sheep feeding or lying down, as is before observed of the sea coast of the Philistines, ( Zephaniah 2:6 ) : all the beasts of the nations;
that is, all sorts of beasts, especially wild beasts, in the several parts of the world, should come and dwell here; instead of kings and princes, nobles, merchants, and the great men thereof, who once here inhabited, now there should be beasts of prey, terrible to come nigh unto; for these are to be understood properly and literally, and not figuratively, of men, for their savageness and cruelty, comparable to beasts: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of
it;
of the doors of the houses in Nineveh: or, "on its pomegranates" {k}; the figures of these being often put on chapiters, turrets, pinnacles, pillars, and posts in buildings, and over porches of doors; and on these those melancholy and doleful creatures here mentioned, which delight in solitary places, should take up their abode. The "cormorant" is the same with the "corvus aquaticus", or "sea raven", about the size of a goose; it builds not only among rocks, but often on trees: what is called the "shagge" is a species of it, or the lesser cormorant, a water fowl common on our northern coasts; is somewhat larger than a common duck, and builds on trees as the common cormorant {l}. Bochart F13 takes it to be the "pelican" which is here meant; and indeed, whatever bird it is, it seems to have its name from vomiting; and this is what naturalists F14 observe of the pelican, that it swallows down shell fish, which, being kept awhile in its stomach, are heated, and then it casts them up, which then open easily, and it picks out the flesh of them: and it seems to delight in desolate places, since it is called the pelican of the wilderness, ( Psalms 102:6 ) . Isidore says F15 it is an Egyptian bird, dwelling in the desert by the river Nile, from whence it has its name; for it is called "canopus Aegyptus"; and the Vulgate Latin version renders the word here "onocrotalus", the same with the pelican; and Montanus translates it the "pelican"; and so do others. The "bittern" is a bird of the heron kind; it is much the size of a common heron; it is usually found in sedgy and reedy places near water, and sometimes in hedges; it makes a very remarkable noise, and, from the singularity of it, the common people imagine it sticks its beak in a reed or in the mud, in order to make it; hence it is sometimes called the "mire drum" F16. It is said it will sometimes make a noise like a bull, or the blowing of a horn, so as to be heard half a German mile, or one hour's journey; hence it is by some called "botaurus", as if "bootaurus", because it imitates the bellowing of a bull F17. The Tigurine version renders it the "castor" or "beaver" F18; but Bochart


FOOTNOTES:

F19 takes it to be the "hedgehog"; and so the word is rendered in the Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, and by others: which is a solitary creature, and drives away all other animals from society with it by its prickles: [their] voice shall sing in the windows:
of desolate houses, the inhabitants being gone who used to be seen looking out of them; but now these creatures before named should dwell here, and utter their doleful sounds, who otherwise would not have come near them: desolation [shall be] in the thresholds;
there being none to go in and out over them. The Septuagint version, and which is followed by the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions, render it, "the ravens shall be in its gates": mistaking (bdh) , "desolation", for (bre) , "a raven": for he shall uncover the cedar work;
the enemy Nebuchadnezzar, or Nabopolassar, when he should take the city, would unroof the houses panelled with cedar, and expose all the fine cedar work within to the inclemencies of the air, which would soon come to ruin. All these expressions are designed to set forth the utter ruin and destruction of this vast and populous city; and which was so utterly destroyed, as Lucian says, that there is no trace of it to be found; and, according to modern travellers, there are only heaps of rubbish to be seen, which are conjectured to be the ruins of this city; (See Gill on Nahum 1:8).
F11 (hyrwtpkb) "in malogranatis ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tarnovius.
F12 Vid Supplement to Chambers's Dictionary, in the words "Cormorant, Cornus Aquaticus", and "Shagge".
F13 Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 1. c. 24. col. 294.
F14 Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 10. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 40. Aelian de Animal. l. 3. c. 20.
F15 Originum, l. 12. c. 7.
F16 Supplement, ut supra (Chambers's Dictionary), in the word "Bittern".
F17 Schotti Physica Curiosa, par. 2. l. 9. c. 24. p. 1160.
F18 Vid. Fuller. Miscel. Saer. l. 1. c. 18.
F19 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 36. col. 1036.
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