|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:7-13 God's day is at hand; the punishment of presumptuous sinners is a sacrifice to the justice of God. The Jewish royal family shall be reckoned with for their pride and vanity; and those that leap on the threshold, invading their neighbours' rights, and seizing their possessions. The trading people and the rich merchants are called to account. Secure and careless people are reckoned with. They are secure and easy; they say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil; that is, they deny his dispensing rewards and punishments. But in the day of the Lord's judgment, it will clearly appear that those who perish, fall a sacrifice to Divine justice for breaking God's law, and because they have no interest by faith in the Redeemer's atoning sacrifice.
Verse 11.p - Maktesh; the Mortar; Septuagint, τὴν κατακεκομμένην, "her that is broken down." The word is found in Judges 15:19 of a hollow place in a rock, and it is here used in the sense of "valley," and probably refers to the Tyropoeum, or part of it, the depression that ran down the city, having Aera and Zion on its west side, and Moriah and Ophel on its east, and extended south as far as the pool of Siloam. It does not seem a very appropriate appellation for a lengthy valley like the Tyropceum, nor is there any trace of such a name being applied to it elsewhere. It may have been a name affixed to a certain locality where a bazaar was situated or certain special industries had their seat; or it may have been invented by Zephaniah to intimate the fate that awaited the evil merchants, that they should be, as it were, brayed in a mortar by their enemies. The merchant people; literally, people of Canaan. So Septuagint and Vulgate (comp. Hosea 12:7; Hist. of Susannah 56; Zechariah 14:21). The iniquitous traders are called "people of Canaan," because they acted like the heathens around them, especially the Phoenicians, who were unscrupulous and dishonest in their transactions. Are cut down; are silenced; Vulgate, conticuit (Isaiah 6:5; Hosea 10:7). They that bear (are laden with) silver. Those who have amassed wealth by trade and usury. The LXX. has, οι ῾ἐηρμένοι ἀργυρίῳ "those who are elated with silver;" St. Jerome, involuti argento.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh,.... The name of a street in Jerusalem, as Aben Ezra; perhaps it lay low in the hollow of the city, and in the form of a mortar, from whence it might have its name, as the word (q) signifies; which is used both for a hollow place and for a mortar, Judges 15:19 unless it might be so called from such persons dwelling in it, that used mortars for spice, and other things. The Targum is,
"howl, all ye that dwell in the valley of Kidron;''
and Jerom thinks the valley of Siloah is intended, which is the same; which, Adrichomius (r) says, was broad, deep, and dark, and surrounded the temple in manner of a foss, or ditch; and was disposed in the form of a mortar, called in Hebrew "machtes"; in Latin, "pila"; in which merchants and tradesmen of all kinds dwelt. It is thought by others to be the same which Josephus (s) calls "the valley of the cheese mongers", which lay between the two hills Zion and Acra. The reason of their howling is,
for all the merchant people are cut down; either cut to pieces by the sword of the enemy, and become silent, as the word (t) sometimes signifies, and the Vulgate Latin version here renders it; become so by death, and laid in the silent grave, and no more concerned in merchandise; or else stripped of all their wealth and goods by the enemy, and so cut down, broke, and become bankrupt, and could trade no more. The word for merchant signifies a Canaanite; and the Targum paraphrases it thus,
"for all the people are broken, whose works are like the works of the people of the land of Canaan:''
all they that bear silver are cut off; that have large quantities of it, and carry it to market to buy goods with it as merchants; these shall be cut off, and so a great loss to trade, and a cause of howling and lamentation; or such that wear it in their garments, embroidered with it; or rather in their purses, who are loaded with this thick clay, abound with it. The Targum is,
"all that are rich in substance shall be destroyed.''
(q) "mortarii", Vatablus, Tigurine version; "cavi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "loci concavi", Calvin. (r) Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 163. (s) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 1.((t) "conticuit", V. L. "in silentium redactus est", Drusius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Maktesh—rather, "the mortar," a name applied to the valley of Siloam from its hollow shape [Jerome]. The valley between Zion and Mount Olivet, at the eastern extremity of Mount Moriah, where the merchants dwelt. Zec 14:21, "The Canaanite," namely, merchant [Chaldee Version]. The Tyropoon (that is, cheese-makers') valley below Mount Akra [Rosenmuller]. Better Jerusalem itself, so called as lying in the midst of hills (Isa 22:1; Jer 21:13) and as doomed to be the scene of its people being destroyed as corn or drugs are pounded in a mortar (Pr 27:22) [Maurer]. Compare the similar image of a "pot" (Eze 24:3, 6). The reason for the destruction is subjoined, namely, its merchant people's greediness of gain.
all the merchant people—literally, the "Canaanite people": irony: all the merchant people of Jerusalem are very Canaanites in greed for gain and in idolatries (see on Ho 12:7).
all … that bear silver—loading themselves with that which will prove but a burden (Hab 2:6).
Zephaniah 1:11 Parallel Commentaries
Zephaniah 1:11 NIV
Zephaniah 1:11 NLT
Zephaniah 1:11 ESV
Zephaniah 1:11 NASB
Zephaniah 1:11 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible