Zephaniah 2:3 MEANING

Zephaniah 2:3
Verse 3. - The prophet here addresses especially the pious among the people, urging them to perseverance in the right way. Ye meek of the earth. The humble, peaceable, religious, among the Israelites are primarily meant; whose character is the direct contrary of the proud, self-confident infidels mentioned above (comp. Isaiah 11:4; Amos 2:7). But there is no reason why the admonition should not include the heathen who are striving to live after the light of conscience (Isaiah 24:5; Romans 2:14, etc.). Which have wrought his judgment. Who have fulfilled the ordinances of God's Law. Seek righteousness. This and the following injunction explain what is meant by "seek the Lord" at the beginning of the verse (Deuteronomy 16:20). Seek meekness. Persevere in showing a humble, gentle temper. Septuagint, καὶ ἀποκρίνασθε αὐτά "and answer them." It may be. Even the righteous shall scarcely be saved (comp. 1 Peter 4:17, 18). Ye shall be hid. Ye shall be preserved in the time of judgment (Psalm 27:5; Psalm 31:20; Isaiah 32:2). This recalls the prophet's name, which is interpreted, "Whom the Lord hides" (comp. Amos 5:14, 15).

2:1-3 The prophet calls to national repentance, as the only way to prevent national ruin. A nation not desiring, that has not desires toward God, is not desirous of his favour and grace, has no mind to repent and reform. Or, not desirable, not having any thing to recommend them to God; to whom God might justly say, Depart from me; but he says, Gather together to me that you may seek my face. We know what God's decree will bring against impenitent sinners, therefore it highly concerns all to repent in the accepted time. How careful should we all be to seek peace with God, before the Holy Spirit withdraws from us, or ceases to strive with us; before the day of grace is over, or the day of life; before our everlasting state is determined! Let the poor, despised, and afflicted, seek the Lord, and seek to understand and keep his commandments better, that they may be more humbled for their sins. The chief hope of deliverance from national judgments rests upon prayer.Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth,.... Or "of the land", of the land of Judea. In this time of great apostasy, there was a remnant according to the election of grace, whom the Lord reserved for himself, and bestowed his grace upon; and it is for the sake of these that the general exhortations to repentance and reformation are given out, to whom alone they were to be useful, that they might be protected and preserved from the general ruin; for such as are here described are persons the Lord takes great notice of; he gives them more grace; he lifts them up when bowed down; he beautifies them with salvation; he feeds them to full satisfaction; he teaches them his ways, his mind and will; he dwells with them here, and will cause them to inherit the new heaven and new earth hereafter: they are such who have a true sense of sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of it, which humbles them; and, conscious of the imperfection of their own righteousness, submit to the righteousness of Christ; acknowledge they are saved alone by the grace of God; and that all they have and expect to enjoy is owing to that; they are humble under the mighty hand of God, in every afflictive providence; patiently take all wrongs, abuses, and injuries done them by men; and not envious at the superior gifts, grace, and usefulness of others, but rejoice therein; have mean sentiments of themselves, and very high ones of others that excel in grace and holiness; these are truly gracious persons; and are like unto, and are followers of, the meek and lowly Jesus: and are here exhorted "to seek the Lord": that is, by prayer and supplication, to know more of his mind and will, and especially their duty in their present circumstances; implore his grace and mercy, protection and safety, in a day of common danger; and attend the public ordinances of his house, in order to enjoy his presence and communion with him: for to seek the Lord is to seek his face and favour, to have the light of his countenance, and the discoveries of his love; and to seek his honour and glory in all things: particularly the Lord Christ may be meant, who was to come in the flesh, and good men sought for before he came, and now he is come; and to him should men seek for righteousness and life; for peace and pardon; for grace, and all supplies of it: and for everlasting salvation; and all this before as well as since his coming: and such seek him aright, who seek him early, in the first place, and above all things; who seek him with their whole hearts, sincerely, diligently, and constantly; and where he is to be found, in the ministry of his word and ordinances:

which have wrought his judgment: the judgment of the Lord; acted according to his mind and will, revealed in his word, which is the rule of judgment, both as to faith and practice; observed his laws and statutes; kept his ordinances, as they were delivered; and did works of righteousness from right principles, and with right views, as fruits of faith, and as meet for repentance:

seek righteousness; not their own, and justification by that; for this would be doing what the carnal Jews did, and in vain, and is inconsistent with seeking the Lord, as before; but the righteousness of God, the kingdom of God and his righteousness, even the righteousness of Christ, who is God, and which only gives a right unto the kingdom of God or heaven: seeking this supposes a want of righteousness, which is in every man; a sense of that want, which only some have; a view of a righteousness without a man, in another, even in Christ; and of the glory, fulness, and excellency of his righteousness, which make it desirable, and worth seeking for; though this exhortation may also include in it a living to him soberly and righteously, as a fruit of divine grace, and to the glory of God, and according to his will, without trusting in it, and depending upon it, for life and salvation:

seek meekness; even though they were meek ones already, yet it became them to seek after more of this grace of meekness, that they might increase therein, and abound in the exercise of it, and be careful that they failed not in it; since the enemy of souls often attacks the saints in that in which they most excel, and succeeds: so Moses, the meekest man on earth, being off of his guard, and provoked, spoke unadvisedly with his lips; and it went ill with him on that account, Numbers 12:3 besides, this exhortation, as well as the preceding, may have a respect to their concern with others; that they should study, as much as in them lay, not only to do righteousness and exercise meekness themselves, but to cultivate these among others; with which agrees Kimchi's note,

"seek righteousness and meekness with others; as if it was said, study with all your might and main to return them to the right way:''

it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger; in the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, when some were put to the sword, and others carried captive: now there was a possibility, yea, a probability, that such persons before described would be saved at this time from the general calamity; be hid, protected, and preserved, by the power and, providence of God, Jeremiah, Baruch, and others, were: this, though it is not said as a certain thing, because a corporeal blessing, which the people of God cannot always be assured of in a time of public distress; yet not expressed in a doubting manner, much less despairing; but rather as presuming, at least hoping it would be, being possible and probable; and so encouraging to the above exercises of religion; and such that have the grace of God, and seek him, and seek to Christ alone for righteousness and life, may depend upon it that they shall be hid, and be safe and secure, when the wrath of God at the last day comes upon an ungodly world, Isaiah 32:2. The Targum of the whole is,

"seek the fear of the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, who do the judgments of his will; seek truth, seek meekness; it may be there will be a protection for you in the day of the Lord's anger.''

The Vulgate Latin version is, "seek the Lord--seek the just, seek the meek One"; as expressive of a person, even the Lord Christ, the just and Holy One, the meek and lowly Jesus.

Courtesy of Open Bible