Zephaniah 3:4 MEANING

Zephaniah 3:4
Verse 4. - Her prophets. These are the false prophets, who have no true mission from God (comp. Micah 2:11; Micah 3:5). Light; either, frivolous or empty boasters. The word means properly, "boiling over," like water. Vulgate, vesani; Septuagint, πνευματοφόροι, which means, probably, not "inspired by an (evil) spirit," but "carried away by the wind," "light" (comp. Matthew 11:7). Treacherous persons; literally, men of treacheries, who uttered their own fancies as if they were commissioned by God, and so really opposed him whom they professed to represent (Jeremiah 23:32). Her priests have polluted the sanctuary (what is holy). Not the temple only, but all that has to do with God's service, worship, rites, sacrifices; they make no distinction between what is sacred and what is profane (Ezekiel 22:26). They have done violence to the Law. Chiefly, doubtless, by distorting its meaning, and neither observing it themselves nor teaching others to keep it.

3:1-7 The holy God hates sin most in those nearest to him. A sinful state is, and will be, a woful state. Yet they had the tokens of God's presence, and all the advantages of knowing his will, with the strongest reasons to do it; still they persisted in disobedience. Alas, that men often are more active in doing wickedness than believers are in doing good.Her prophets are light and treacherous persons,.... The false prophets, as the Targum and Kimchi explain it: these seem to design the lawyers spoken of in the New Testament, whose business it was to interpret the law to the people; these were "light" men, good for nothing, of no worth and value; light in knowledge, as Kimchi gives the sense of the word; men of no brains; empty headed men, that had no substantial knowledge; giddy, unstable, and inconstant, and compliant with the humours and vices of the people; men of no gravity in their countenance, speech, and conversation. Schultens (a), from the use of the word in the Arabic language, renders it "proud", as these men were, proud boasters; for, though they had but a superficial knowledge of things, they boasted of much, and carried it with a haughty and insolent air to the common people: and they were "treacherous" to God, and to his truths, and to the souls of men, and took away the key of knowledge from them; and particularly were so to Christ, of whom they were the betrayers and murderers, delivering him up into the hands of the Gentiles to be scourged and crucified, Matthew 20:18,

her priests have polluted the sanctuary; the temple; by selling, or suffering to be sold in it, various things, whereby it became a den of thieves, which once was called a house of prayer, Matthew 21:12 and also our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the sanctuary or temple was a type, by denying, blaspheming, and reproaching him, and by shedding his blood:

they have done violence to the law; by not teaching it as they should; and by their false glosses, senses, and interpretations of it; and by the traditions of the elders they preferred unto it, and whereby they made it void; see Matthew 5:1 and Matthew 15:1.

(a) Animadv. Philol. in Job, p. 144.

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