Zephaniah 3:3

3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning.

Read Zephaniah 3:3 Using Other Translations

Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning.
Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims. Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey.

What does Zephaniah 3:3 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Zephaniah 3:3

Her princes within her [are] roaring lions
Or, "as roaring lions"; there being a defect of the note of similitude; which is supplied by the Targum, Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions. This is to be understood, not of the princes of the blood; but of civil magistrates in common; the members of the grand sanhedrim; the princes of the Jewish world, that crucified the Lord of glory; and who gaped upon him with their mouths like ravening and roaring lions, as is foretold they should, ( Psalms 22:12 Psalms 22:13 ) and who breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ; and by their menaces endeavoured to frighten and deter them from preaching in his name, and from a profession of him; see ( 1 Corinthians 2:8 ) ( Acts 4:5 Acts 4:6 Acts 4:18 ) ( Acts 5:27 Acts 5:28 ) : her judges [are] evening wolves;
or, like them, cruel, voracious, never satisfied; especially are very ravenous in the evening, having had no food all day; not daring to go abroad in the daytime to seek their prey; see ( Jeremiah 5:6 ) . The Septuagint and Arabic versions read "wolves of Arabia"; but wrongly; (See Gill on Habakkuk 1:8) such rapacious covetous judges were there in Christ's time; who gives us an instance in one, by which we may judge of the rest, who feared not God, nor regarded men, ( Luke 18:2 ) such as these were hungry and greedy after gifts and bribes to pervert judgment, and to devour the poor, the widow, and the fatherless, on whom they had no mercy: they gnaw not the bones till the morrow;
or rather, "in the morning" {z}; that is, either they leave not the bones till the morning, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; they are so hungry, that they eat up bones and all at once, and reserve nothing for the next day; which expresses both the greediness of these judges, and the total consumption of the estates of men made by them: or else the sense is, that not having gnawn any bones in the morning, or eaten anything that day, hence they are so greedy in the evening; and so this last clause gives a reason why evening wolves are so voracious; for which such cruel judges are compared to them.


FOOTNOTES:

F26 (rqbl) "in mane", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "matutino", Cocceius.
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