Zephaniah 2:11

11 The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish[a] all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.

Zephaniah 2:11 Meaning and Commentary

Zephaniah 2:11

The Lord [will be] terrible unto them
To the Moabites and Ammonites in the execution of his judgments upon them, and make their proud hearts tremble; for with him is terrible majesty; he is terrible to the kings of the earth, and cuts off the spirit of princes, ( Job 37:22 ) ( Psalms 76:12 ) or, as Kimchi observes, this may be understood of the people of God reproached by the Moabites and Ammonites, by whom the Lord is to be feared and reverenced with a godly and filial fear: so it may be rendered, "the Lord is to be feared by them" F5; and to this inclines the Targum,

``the fear of the Lord is to redeem them;''
for he will famish all the gods of the earth;
particularly of those countries mentioned in the context, the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, Ethiopians, and Assyrians; as Dagon, Chemosh, Molech, Bel, and others; called "gods of the earth", in distinction from the God of heaven, to whom they are opposed; and because made of earthly matter, and worshipped by earthly and carnal men; these the Lord, who is above them, and can destroy them at pleasure, threatens to "famish"; or to bring "leanness" F6 upon them, as the word signifies; to bring them into a consumption, and cause them to pine away gradually, by little and little, till they are no more; and that by reducing the number of their worshippers, so that they shall not have the worship and honour paid them, nor the sacrifices offered to them, supposed by the heathens to be the food of their gods; and, this being the case, their priests would be starved and become lean, who used to be fat and plump. The Septuagint version renders it, "he will destroy all the gods of the nations of the earth"; which is approved of by Noldius, and preferred by him to other versions. This had its accomplishment in part, when these nations were subdued by Nebuchadnezzar; for idols were usually demolished when a kingdom was taken; and more fully when the Gospel was spread in the Gentile world by the apostles of Christ, and first ministers of the word; whereby the oracles of the heathens were struck dumb, and men were turned everywhere from the worship of idols; the idols themselves were destroyed, and their temples demolished, or converted to better uses; and will have a still greater accomplishment in the latter day, at the conversion of the Jews, and the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, when the worship of idols will cease everywhere. The Syriac version renders it, "all the kings of the earth"; very wrongly: and [men] shall worship him, everyone from his place;
or, "in his place" F7; that is, every man shall worship the true God in the place where he is; he shall not go up to Jerusalem to worship, but in every place lift up holy bands to God, pray unto him, praise and serve him; the worship of God will be universal; he will be King over all the earth, and his name and service one, and shall not be limited and confined to any particular place, ( Malachi 1:11 ) : [even] all the isles of the heathen;
or "Gentiles"; not only those places which are properly isles, as ours of Great Britain and Ireland; though there may be a particular respect had to such, and especially to ours, who have been very early and long favoured with the Gospel, and yet will be; but all places beyond the seas, or which the Jews went to by sea, they called isles.

F5 (Mhyle hwhy arwn) "timendus Jehovah super ipsis", Cocceius, Burkius.
F6 (hzr) "emaciabit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "quasi macie consumit", Vatablus; "quum emaciaverit", Cocceius; "quia emaciavit", Burkius.
F7 (wmwqmm) .

Zephaniah 2:11 In-Context

9 Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
10 This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts.
11 The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.
12 Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.
13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.

Footnotes 1

The King James Version is in the public domain.