Zephaniah 2 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

Zephaniah 2
Pulpit Commentary
Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;
Verse 1-ch.3:8. - Part II. EXHORTATION TO REPENTANCE AND TO PERSEVERANCE. Verses 1-3. - § 1. The prophet urges all to examine their ways before the day of the Lord come; and he prays the righteous to seek the Lord more earnestly, in order that they may be safe in the judgment. Verse 1. - Gather yourselves together. So the versions; and this rendering is probably correct. The prophet calls upon his nation to assemble themselves together in order to take mutual counsel or to make general confession and supplication to God. Another rendering, based on some alteration of letters, is, "Set yourselves to be ashamed; yea, be ashamed" (comp. Isaiah 46:8). Yea, gather together. The LXX. renders the two words, συνάχθητε καὶ συνδέθητε, "be ye gathered and bound together;" "Id est," says Jerome, "estote vobis caritatis vinculo copulati." O nation not desired; Vulgate, gens non amabilis - a litotes for abominable, hated for its sins, unworthy of God's love and care. The Septuagint rendering, ἀπαίδευτον, "unchastened," points to the meaning affixed by the Chaldee paraphrase, that does not wish to be converted," having no desire for amendment; like what is said in Jeremiah 2:30, "they received no correction." Others render, "which does not turn pale," i.e. which is not ashamed, comparing Isaiah 29:22. The verb kasaph seems to have this meaning in niphal, according to Talmudic use; but its usual signification is "to pine" or "long for." The Revised Version gives in the margin, "that hath no longing" - a rendering adopted by Professor Gandell, implying that the people are quite satisfied with their present condition, and have no aspiration for anything better or higher (comp. Hosea 12:8). This is a very apposite interpretation; but there is no sufficient ground for rejecting the translation of the Authorized Version, which is supported by high authority, is agreeable to the use of the word, and affords a satisfactory sense.
Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.
Verse 2. - Before the decree bring forth. Before the result follows the fiat. The Divine purpose is represented as a woman labouring with child, travailing before it comes to execution. This is thrice repeated in substance, to show the certainty and speed of its arrival. Before the day pass as the chaff. "Before" is not in the Hebrew, and the clause is parenthetical, "Like chaff the day passeth." "The day" must be still the day of the Lord, not the day of life or the day of repentance. God brings on the judgment as easily and as quickly as the wind carries the chaff before it. The Septuagint and Syriac join the two clauses together; thus the LXX., Πρὸ τοῦ γενέσθαι ὑμᾶς ὡς ἄνθος παραπορευόμενον, "Before ye become as a flower that passeth away." And Jerome gives, "Priusquam pariat jussio quasi pulverem transeuntem diem," "Before the decree beget the day which passeth by like the dust." The present Hebrew text does not confirm these versions. The figure of the chaff is common (see Job 21:18; Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 29:5).
Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.
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).
For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.
Verses 4-7. - § 2. The admonition is enforced by the announcement of the punishment that is about to fall on various nations, which shall prepare the way for the general acceptance of true religion; and first the sentence shall reach the Philistines. Verse 4. - There is reason enough why Judah should tremble when the nations around her, such as the powerful and turbulent Philistines, fall before the invading host. Four of the five cities of the Philistines are mentioned, as denoting the whole territory, which again is the representative of the heathen world more definitely particularized later on. Thus the four quarters of the world are virtually specified: the Philistines representing the west,, the Moabites and Ammonites (vers. 8-10) the east, the Cushites (vers. 11, 12) the south, and the Assyrians (vers. 13-15) the north. Gaza (see note on Amos 1:6) shall be forsaken; depopulated and desolate. There is a paronomasia in the Hebrew: Azzah will be azubhah. Some of the other localities are treated in the same manner (comp. Micah 1:10-15, and notes there). Ashkelon a desolation (see note on Amos 1:8). They shall drive out Ashdod. The inhabitants shall be expelled. (For Ashdod, see note on Amos, loc. cit.) At the noon day. The hottest part of the day, the most unlikely time for a hostile attack, hence the expression is equivalent to "unexpectedly and suddenly" (comp. Jeremiah 15:8). Ekron shall be rooted up. In the Hebrew paronomasia, Ekron ("the Deep-rooted") shall be teaker. (For Ekron, see note on Amos, loc. cit., where the fulfilment of prophecy concerning that town is noted.) Gaza (see note on Amos 1:7), after being depopulated and again re-peopled by Alexander the Great, fell into the hands of Ptolemy, and was destroyed by Antiochus, B.C. 198 (Polybius, 'Reliq.,' 16:40; Pusey, p. 457). Often rebuilt, it was as often razed to the ground; and the present representative of the ancient town, Ghuzzeh, stands upon a hill composed of the accumulated ruins of successive cities. Of the condition of Ashkelon, Dr. Thomson writes, "There are no buildings of the ancient city now standing, but broken columns are mixed up with the soil .... Let us climb to the top of these tall fragments at the southeast angle of the wall, and we shell have the whole scene of desolation before us, stretching terrace after terrace, quite down to the sea on the northwest .... No site in this country has so deeply impressed my mind with sadness. They have stretched out upon Ashkelon the line of confusion and the stones of emptiness. Thorns have come up in her palaces, and brambles in the fortresses thereof, and it is a habitation of dragons and a court for owls (Isaiah 34:11-13)" ('The Land and the Book,' p. 546). "It was for ages," says Dr. Porter, "a great and strong city. Under the Philistines, the Hebrews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Saracens, the Crusaders, it was a place of note. The shattered walls that still surround the site were built by Richard Coeur de Lion. When I first clambered to the top of a broken bastion, a scene of desolation burst suddenly upon my view for which I was not prepared, though I had seen Baal-bec and Palmyra, Heliopolis and Memphis. The whole site was before me, and not a fragment of a house standing. One small section was covered with little gardens; but over the rest of the site lay smooth rounded hillocks of drifting sand. The sand is fast advancing - so fast, that probably ere the close of the century the site of Ascalon will have been blotted out forever" ('Illust. of Bible Proph.,' p. 21). As for Ekron, hod. Akir, travellers note that it is now a little village, consisting of about fifty mud houses, without a remnant of antiquity except two large walls; its very ruins have vanished. The omission of Gath, a town at this time of small importance (see note on Amos 1:6), is probably owing to a feeling of the symbolism of numbers, four denoting completion, or the whole, like "the four winds, the four ends of the earth," etc.
Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.
Verse 5. - Woe. The denunciation extends to all Philistia. The inhabitants of the sea coast. Both the. Greek and Latin Versions retain the notion of the Hebrew word chebel: "Ye who inhabit the measured allotment of the sea." "Philistia," says Sir C. Warren, "consists of an undulating plain from fifty to a hundred feet above the level of the sea, reaching thirty-two miles from Ekron to Gaza, with a breadth of from nine to sixteen miles. To the east of this the hills commence, not the hill country, but a series of low spurs and undulating ground, culminating in hogs' backs, running nearly north and south, and rising in places to twelve hundred feet above the ocean" ('Survey Memoirs: Jerusalem,' p. 436). The nation of the Cherethites. So in Ezekiel 25:16. Zephaniah calls the Philistines by this name for the sake of a play on the word, Cherethites meaning "Cutters off," and they were devoted to being "cut off" (karath). Part of David's bodyguard was composed of the same people (1 Samuel 30:14). The name seems to have belonged to a portion of the Philistines who inhabited the southern part of the district. "One of the principal villages of Philistia is now called Keretiya, so that the term may apply to the inhabitants of this town - an ancient Cherith not mentioned in the Bible" (Courier's 'Handbook to the Bible,' p. 237). They have been supposed to have emigrated from Crete, but there are no reliable grounds for this theory, though the LXX. in the present passage has, Πάροικοι Κρητῶν, "sojourners of the Cretans;' and the Syriac gives a similar rendering. St. Jerome renders, "gens perditorum," "nation of destroyers." The word of the Lord is against you. The sentence is pronounced in the words following. O Canaan. O Philistia, which shall be as Canaan, and in like manner exterminated. Canaan means "Lowland," a name which originally was applied to the Phoenician and Philistine tracts on the seacoast. I will even destroy thee. The like threat is uttered by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 47:4, 5) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 25:15-17).
And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.
Verse 6. - Dwellings and cottages for shepherds; better, pastures with caves for shepherds. In the use of the word keroth, "diggings" ("cottages," Authorized Version) there is probably intended another play on the "Cherethites." Neale, "The road from Gaza to Askalon lay along the sea shore. In the winter months many parts of it are impracticable, owing to the encroachment of the sea. The surf then dashes wildly into the huge caverns worked out of the endless sand hills that line this coast. These caverns were tenanted, when we passed, by goatherds and their flocks. Thither they resort for shelter from the fierce heat of the noontide sun; and here during the night the goats are penned. There are wells and reservoirs in the vicinity which furnish water for the flocks the whole year round, and the brambles and thorn bushes that flourish near the seaside form their pasturage" ('Eight Years in Syria,' 1:40, 41). Septuagint, ἔσται Κρήτη νομὴ ποιμνίων, "Crete shall be a pasture of flocks."
And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
Verse 7. - And the coast shall be for the remnant, etc.; it will be a tract for the remnant. The district will be the possession of the Jews, who should be restored to their land (Obadiah 1:19). Zephaniah virtually predicts the Captivity and the return, and intimates that the destruction of hostile nations is the means of advancing true religion. They shall feed their flocks thereupon. Where the Philistine cities stood shall be the pasture ground of the Israelites' flocks. Ashkelon. One city is mentioned as a type of all. For. This is the reason why they are permitted to triumph thus. Shall visit. In a good sense, to protect and cherish (Exodus 4:31; Ruth 1:6; Psalm 8:4; Zechariah 10:3; Luke 1:68). Turn away (reverse) their captivity. Bring them back from their exile to their own land (comp. Joel 3:1; Micah 4:10). The phrase, however, is often (and possibly here) used metaphorically for the abolishment of misery and the restoration to a happy condition (comp. Deuteronomy 30:3; Job 42:10 (15); Jeremiah 29:14). The full accomplishment of this prophecy concerning the overthrow of Philistia is of a spiritual nature, and must be looked for in the Messianic era, when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of Christ; and so in the subsequent predictions.
I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.
Verses 8-10. - 3. The punishment shall fall next upon the Moabites and Ammonites, representing the east. Verse 8. - The reproach of Moab. As this refers to past actions, it must signify the hostile attitude which Moab always assumed towards Israel. The revilings of the children of Ammon. Both these descendants of Lot proved themselves bitter enemies of the Jews. Keil refers to Numbers 15:30 and Ezekiel 20:27, where the word gadaph is used in the sense "to revile or blaspheme by actions." (For the persistent hostility of Moab, see note on Amos 2:1, and for that of Ammon, the note on Amos 1:13.) Magnified themselves against their border. They carried themselves haughtily, showed their pride by violating the territory of the Israelites. This pride and self-exaltation is a leading feature of the character of these two nations (comp. Isaiah 16:6; Jeremiah 48:29, etc.). The destruction of the kingdom of Israel and the weakness of that of Judah gave occasion to these neighbours to display their haughtiness and independence. The LXX. has, "my borders." God himself assigned its boundaries to Israel, as to other nations (Deuteronomy 32:8); and to invade these was an offence against him.
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.
Verse 9. - As I live. This is a common formulary to express certainty, God, as it were, pledging his existence to the truth of his declaration (Deuteronomy 32:40; Isaiah 49:18, etc.).. God calls himself, The Lord of hosts, therefore able to fulfil his threats; and the God of Israel, and therefore ready to punish wrongs done to his chosen people. As Sodom. This threat came home with particular force to the Moabites and Am. monites who dwelt in the neighbourhood of the Dead Sea, and had before their eyes this awful proof of the chastisement with which sin meets, and which had happened in the time of their forefather Lot. "There are no settled inhabitants," says Dr. Porter, writing of Moab, "but the hillsides and glens are studded with the ruins of ancient towns and villages. We at length pitched our tents by the lonely fountain of Heshbon. The site of this royal city is commanding - a rounded hilt on the edge of avast plateau, which extends on the south and east to the horizon, and on the west breaks down in steep slopes, jagged cliffs, and wild ravines, to the Dead Sea and Jordan valley, nearly four thousand feet below. The hill was the nucleus of the city. Its sides are covered with ruins, and remains of houses, temples, and other buildings are strewn over a considerable section of the adjoining plain. All is desolate. Not a building, and scarcely a fragment of a wall, is standing; yet, though deserted for centuries, it bears its ancient name. I looked from Heshbon far and wide over the ancient territory of the Moabites, and saw desolation everywhere. The old towns and villages are all deserted and in ruins. In fact, there is not at this moment a single inhabited town or village in Moab, except Kerak, which stands on the extreme southern border. The sites of many were visible - grey mounds dotting the plain" ('Illust. of Bible Proph.,' pp. 24, 25). "The cities, towns, villages, are all in ruins. ... And no attempt is ever made to rebuild or repair; no man ventures to seek even a temporary abode among the ruined cities of Moab. The local Arab avoids the old sites, and seeks rest and security amid rocks and ravines; the powerful desert tribes sweep over the country periodically, and devour and destroy all in their track" (ibid., p. 28). Even the breeding of nettles; rather, a possession of nettles; a place where nettles only grow. Vulgate, siccitas spinarum. The identification of the plant kharul is uncertain. In Job (Job 30:7) it is represented as of sufficient growth to conceal fugitives; hence some think it is the wild mustard. Dr. Pusey, relying on a notice of Professor Palmer, considers it to be the mallow, which grows in rank luxuriance in Moab. The LXX., reading daleth instead of mem in the ἅπαξ λεγόμενον mimshaq, rendered "breeding," has Δαμασκὸς ἐκλελειμμένη, "Damascus shall be left." Salt pits. All travellers note the abundance of rock salt in the vicinity of the Dead Sea (see Deuteronomy 29:23; and comp. Psalm 107:34; Jeremiah 17:6). A perpetual desolation. The prophecy intimates that this country should never recover its prosperity (comp. Ezekiel 25.). The residue of my people shall spoil them. A partial fulfilment of this prophecy occurred when Judas Maccabaeus smote Ammon (1 Macc. 5:6, etc.), and Alexander Jannaeus subdued the Moabites (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 13:13. 5); but the prophet looks forward to a spiritual fulfilment under the Messiah, as we see from ver. 11 (comp. Isaiah 14:1, 2; Isaiah 49:23, etc.). The faithful remnant shall win possession of the heathen strongholds, and convert the nations to Christ, and incorporate them in the Church.
This shall they have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of the LORD of hosts.
Verse 10. - This shall they have. All these calamities mentioned above shall fall on the Ammonites and Moabites in punishment of their pride and spite and insolence (see note on ver. 8).
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.
Verse 11. - § 4. Before passing to the judgment on the nations of the south and north, the prophet shows the object of all these chastisements: God destroys idolatry in order that pure religion may reign over all the earth. The Lord will be terrible unto them. The Lord shows himself as a terrible God over the Moabites and Ammonites, but only as parts of the heathen world, and with a view to a universal result This is the purpose of the revelation of himself as Judge. Septuagint, Ἐπιφανήσεται Κύριος ἐπ αὐτούς, "The Lord will appear against them." For he will famish all the gods of the earth. The verb means literally, "to make lean," and then "to destroy;" hence the LXX., ἐξολοθρεύσει. The word may be chosen in order to express the idea that worshippers will no more be found to offer sacrifices and drink offerings to the gods (see Bel and the Dragon 6, 12). The nations being destroyed, the gods reverenced by them would vanish and be heard of no more. Men shall worship him. Idolatry abolished, men shall learn to worship Jehovah. Every one from his place. Every one shall worship God in his own place and country; the Lord shall be universally recognized, and his worship shall no longer be confined to one temple or one land, but wherever men dwell there shall they offer their homage and adoration (comp. Isaiah 19:18, 19; Malachi 1:11, where the same truth is signified). Such passages as Micah 4:1 and Zechariah 14:16, which seem to imply that all nations are to come up to the material Jerusalem to pay their devotions, require evidently a spiritual interpretation, and denote that the heathen converted to Christ shall be received into the Church, and join in the worship of the true Israel. The isles of the heathen; or, coasts of the nations; the most distant countries that lie across the seas (Genesis 10:5; Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 11:11, etc.).
Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.
Verses 12-15. - 5. The judgment shall fall upon the Ethiopians and Assyrians, representing the south and north. Verse 12. - Ethiopians; Cushites. These are named as the most remote inhabitants of the south with which the Israelites were acquainted (Ezekiel 38:5). Ye shall be slain by my sword; the slain of my sword are they, the second person being dropped, as one cannot address the dead (Orelli). The Lord's sword is the instrument which he uses to effect his purpose of punishment (comp. Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 34:5; Isaiah 66:16). The Ethiopians are reckoned among the forces of Egypt (2 Chronicles 12:3; Nahum 3:9, etc.). The prediction had a fulfilment when the Assyrians conquered Egypt, and again under Nebuchadnezzar. It shall have a more sublime accomplishment when the sword of the Spirit shall reduce the utmost south to the dominion of Christ (see Isaiah 45:14; Psalm 68:31). The commencement of this conversion is seen in the chamberlain of Queen Candace (Acts 8:27, etc.).
And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness.
Verse 13. - The north, represented by Assyria, as yet unconquered, and still apparently flourishing. Though this country lay to the northeast of Palestine, its armies attacked from the north, and it is generally represented as a northern power. Its destruction was foretold (Isaiah 10:12; Ezekiel 31:11, etc.; Nahum 1:14, etc.). In this verse the Hebrew verbs are not in the simple future, but in the imperative or optative mood, "Let him stretch out his hand," etc., as though the prophet were praying that the enemies of his people might be overthrown. Nineveh. St. Jerome gives speciosam, rendering the proper name according to his notion of its Hebrew etymology. Its proper meaning, in Accadian, would be "Fish house,". i.e. house consecrated to the god of fish. (For a description of Nineveh, see note on Jonah 1:2. For the destruction of Nineveh, see the Introduction to Nahum, § I.) Dry like a wilderness. The country shall become an and desert. Assyria was greatly indebted for its remarkable fertility to a very successful system of artificial irrigation, and when this was not maintained, great tracts soon relapsed into a wilderness (Layard, 'Nineveh,' 2:68). "Cultivation," says Professor Rawlinson, "is now the exception instead of the rule. 'Instead of the luxuriant fields, the groves and gardens of former times, nothing now meets the eye but an arid waste' (Chesny). Large tracts are covered by unwholesome marshes, producing nothing but enormous reeds; others lie waste and bare, parched up by the fierce heat of the sun, and utterly destitute of water; in some places sand drifts accumulate, and threaten to make the whole region a mere portion of the desert" ('Anc. Men.,' 1:41).
And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work.
Verse 14. - Flocks; herds. The prophet describes graphically the desolation mentioned in the preceding verse. The "herds" are not sheep and cattle, as in parallel cases (Isaiah 17:2; Isaiah 27:10; Isaiah 32:14), but all the beasts of the nations - all the wild beasts that infest the country. Septuagint, πάντα τὰ θηρία τῆς γῆς. The Hebrew will hardly hear Keil's rendering, "all kinds of beasts in crowds." (Compare similar predictions, Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:11, 14). The cormorant (kaath); probably the pelican; Vulgate, onocrotalus; the Septuagint gives, χαμαιλέοντες, which word Schleusner thinks to have been interchanged with κόρακες that follows soon afterwards. Bat in the latter place Jerome has corvus. The pelican is found in the Assyrian monuments tinder more than one appellation (see 'Transact. of See. of Bibl. Archaeol.,' 8:93, etc., and 141). The bittern (kippod). Most recent critics translate this by "hedgehog" or "porcupine." The Septuagint has, ἐχῖνοι: the Vulgate, ericius. But neither hedgehog nor porcupine utters cries or frequents pools of water, and it may well be doubted whether some marsh-loving bird is not meant. Certainly the following clause suits the habits of a bird better than those of a hedgehog (see 'Bible Educator,' 3:312, where Dr. Tristram is quoted saying, "As a matter of fact, the bittern is very abundant in these swamps of the Tigris, and in all the marshy grounds of Syria; and its strange booming note, disturbing the stillness of the night, gives an idea of desolation which nothing but the wail of the hyena can equal"). No notice of the bittern seems to be found in the Assyrian monuments, though the mention of the heron is not uncommon. The kaath and kippod are commonly mentioned together, e.g. Isaiah 34. II. The upper lintels; "the capitals" of the columns (see note on Amos 9:1, where the same word kaphtor is used). Their voice shall sing in the windows; literally, the voice of the songster in the window. Birds shall perch and sing in the apertures of the ruined palaces. Vulgate, Vox cantantis in fenestra; the LXX. has, Θηρία φωνήσει ἐν, τοῖς διορύγμασιν αὐτῆς, "Wild beasts shall cry in the breaches thereof." Others translate, "Hark! it singeth in the windows." There are no traces of windows in any of the Assyrian palaces, even in the case of chambers next the outer walls. If daylight were admitted, it must have entered through openings in the ceilings (Layard, 'Nineveh.' 2:260). Desolation shall be in the thresholds. The word rendered "desolation" (chorebh) Jerome notes may be read as meaning "sword," "drought." and "raven;" he adopts the last signification, and translates, in agreement with the LXX., corvus. But it seems best to take the term as signifying "desolation;" no human creature shall be found there, only ruin and rubbish. Ewald renders, "Owls shall sing in the windows, crows on the threshold, 'shivered. crushed.'" For he shall uncover (he hath laid bare) the cedar work. God, or the enemy, has so destroyed the palaces that the cedar panelling is exposed to the weather. Jerome has, "Attenuabo robur ejus." We see by Sennacherib's boast (Isaiah 37:24) that the Assyrians imported cedars for building purposes. And we have monumental evidence of the employment of cedar in palaces at least since the time of Assurnazirpal, B.C. 860. Esar-haddon reports that he received cypress and cedar from Lebanon as tribute; and Assurbanipal states that in erecting his palace he used cedar pillars from Sirjon and Lebanon (Schrader, 'Die Keilinschrift. und Alt. Test.,' pp. 183, 453). Neriglissar, King of Babylon, B.C. 559, in rebuilding his palace, records that he "arranged tall cedars for its roof" ('Records of the Past,' 5:142).
This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.
Verse 15. - This is the rejoicing city. Such is the fate of this once exulting city, that dwelt carelessly, secure, with no fear of danger at hand (Isaiah 47:8, on which this passage is founded). I am, and there is none beside me. Thus, in effect, Nineveh claimed for himself the attributes of Almighty God. She stands alone, mistress of nations, a type of the powers of this world, which deify themselves and defy the Lord. Septuagint, Οὐκ ἔστι μετ ἐμὲ ἔτι, "There is no more any after me." Shall hiss. In scorn (Job 27:23; Jeremiah 19:8; Micah 6:16). Wag his hand. He shall shake or wave his hand with the gesture of dismissal, as if saying, "Away with thee! get thee gone!" - a rehearsal of the awful "Depart ye!" in the final judgment (comp. Nahum 3:19).

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