Zephaniah 3:15 MEANING

Zephaniah 3:15
Verse 15. - In this and following verses the prop. hot gives the reasons why Zion should rejoice. Thy judgments. The chastisements inflicted on thee in judgment, rendered necessary by thy iniquity (Ezekiel 5:8). These God has removed; this is the first ground for rejoicing. Septuagint, τὰ ἀδικήματα σου, "thine iniquities." When God removes the punishments, he forgives the sin. He hath cast out (cleared quite away) thine enemy. The enemies who executed the judgment are utterly dispersed. The King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee (Obadiah 1:21). The theocracy is restored. Under the judgments which fell upon Israel, Jehovah seemed to have left his people; now he is in the midst of them as their icing (Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 52:7; Hosea 11:9). The perpetual presence of Christ in the Church is here adumbrated. Thou shalt not see evil any more. So the Septuagint. Another reading adopted by Jerome is, "Thou shalt not fear." In view of the following verse, this seems rather tautological. With God in their midst, the people shall see, i.e. experience (Jeremiah 5:12), no evil (Revelation 21:3, 4).

3:14-20 After the promises of taking away sin, follow promises of taking away trouble. When the cause is removed, the effect will cease. What makes a people holy, will make them happy. The precious promises made to the purified people, were to have full accomplishment in the gospel. These verses appear chiefly to relate to the future conversion and restoration of Israel, and the glorious times which are to follow. They show the abundant peace, comfort, and prosperity of the church, in the happy times yet to come. He will save; he will be Jesus; he will answer the name, for he will save his people from their sins. Before the glorious times foretold, believers would be sorrowful, and objects of reproach. But the Lord will save the weakest believer, and cause true Christians to be greatly honoured where they had been treated with contempt. One act of mercy and grace shall serve, both to gather Israel out of their dispersions and to lead them to their own land. Then will God's Israel be made a name and a praise to eternity. The events alone can fully answer the language of this prophecy. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but they may rejoice in God's love. Surely our hearts should honour the Lord, and rejoice in him, when we hear such words of condescension and grace. If now kept from his ordinances, it is our trial and grief; but in due time we shall be gathered into his temple above. The glory and happiness of the believer will be perfect, unchangeable, and eternal, when he is freed from earthly sorrows, and brought to heavenly bliss.The Lord hath taken away thy judgments,.... Both outward and inward; not only exile, poverty, contempt and reproach among the nations of the earth; but hardness of heart, blindness of mind, impenitence and unbelief, to which the Jews are now given up, in a judicial way; but at this time these shall be removed, through the goodness of God unto them, and the power of divine grace upon them: they will be brought to a sense of sin, and an acknowledgment of it; their iniquities will be pardoned; and, the cause being removed, the effects will cease; and all calamities, corrections and punishment, will end; and they will be put into the possession of their own land, and enjoy all the privileges of the church of God; and so will have just reason to sing, shout, and rejoice:

he hath cast out thine enemy; that is, the Lord has removed the enemy that was in possession of their land, and so made way, and prepared it for them; he has swept him away, as the word (p) signifies, with great force, with much ease, and like so much dirt and filth; he stood in their way, nor could they have easily removed him; but the Lord did it, or will do it; though it may be by instruments, by means of the Christian princes. This is to be understood of the eastern antichrist, the Turk, now in possession of the land of Israel (o); but shall be obliged to depart from it, when this prophecy shall take place, for a reason following:

the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee; that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Messiah; one of whose titles is the King of Israel, of the spiritual Israel, King of saints, both Jews and Gentiles; in whose hearts he rules by his Spirit and grace; and to this passage the Jews in Christ's time seem to have respect, allowing this to be the character of the Messiah, Matthew 27:42 and also Nathanael, John 1:49 now at this time Christ will be in the midst of the converted Jews, by his spiritual and gracious presence, as their King, to reign over them, to whom they will be subject; and to protect and defend them, and deliver them out of the hands of all their enemies; and so he is in all his churches, and will be to the end of the world:

thou shalt not see evil any more; the evil of affliction or punishment; the evil of captivity, disgrace, and contempt. This shows that this prophecy does not respect the Babylonish captivity, and deliverance from that; for, since that time, they have seen evil by Antiochus Epiphanes, in the times of the Maccabees; and by the Romans; and have had a large and long experience of it; but when they are converted, and returned to their own land in the latter day, all their afflictions and troubles will be at an end, they will know them no more. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "thou shalt not fear evil any more". So the Targum,

"thou shalt not be afraid from before evil any more.''

In the same sense Aben Ezra understands it,

"thou shalt not be afraid of the enemy any more;''

taking the word to come from another root (q).

(o) Written about 1750. Editor. (p) "everrit", Drusius; so Ben Melech; see Genesis 24.31. "evacuerit", Cocceius. (q) A "timuit", so V. L. "non timebis", Pagninus, Piscator; "fore ut non timeas", Junius & Tremellius; "hinc non erit quod timeas amplius quicquam mali", Burkius.

Courtesy of Open Bible