Zephaniah 1:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, 'The LORD will do nothing, either good or bad.'

New Living Translation
"I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem's darkest corners to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. They think the LORD will do nothing to them, either good or bad.

English Standard Version
At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.’

New American Standard Bible
"It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, 'The LORD will not do good or evil!'

King James Bible
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish the men who settle down comfortably, who say to themselves: The LORD will not do good or evil.

International Standard Version
And it will come about that I will search Jerusalem with candles, punishing the self-satisfied and complacent, who say to themselves, 'The LORD will do neither good nor evil.'

NET Bible
At that time I will search through Jerusalem with lamps. I will punish the people who are entrenched in their sin, those who think to themselves, 'The LORD neither rewards nor punishes.'

New Heart English Bible
It will happen at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, "The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are satisfied with their hardened lifestyle, who think that the LORD won't do anything-good or bad.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And it shall come to pass at that time, That I will search Jerusalem with lamps; And I will punish the men that are settled on their lees, That say in their heart: 'The LORD will not do good, neither will He do evil.'

New American Standard 1977
“And it will come about at that time
            That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
            And I will punish the men
            Who are stagnant in spirit,
            Who say in their hearts,
            ‘The LORD will not do good or evil!’

Jubilee Bible 2000
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps and make a visitation upon the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

King James 2000 Bible
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men that are settled in their complacency: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

American King James Version
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

American Standard Version
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps; and I will punish the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart, Jehovah will not do good, neither will he do evil.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and will visit upon the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their hearts: The Lord will not do good, nor will he do evil.

Darby Bible Translation
And it shall come to pass at that time, [that] I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart, Jehovah will not do good, neither will he do evil.

English Revised Version
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles; and I will punish the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

Webster's Bible Translation
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

World English Bible
It will happen at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, "Yahweh will not do good, neither will he do evil."

Young's Literal Translation
And it hath come to pass, at that time, I search Jerusalem with lights, And I have laid a charge on the men Who are hardened on their preserved things, Who are saying in their heart: Jehovah doth no good, nor doth He evil.
Study Bible
The Day of the Lord
11"Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar, For all the people of Canaan will be silenced; All who weigh out silver will be cut off. 12"It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, 'The LORD will not do good or evil!' 13"Moreover, their wealth will become plunder And their houses desolate; Yes, they will build houses but not inhabit them, And plant vineyards but not drink their wine."…
Cross References
Jeremiah 16:16
"Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen," declares the LORD, "and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.

Jeremiah 16:17
"For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.

Jeremiah 48:11
"Moab has been at ease since his youth; He has also been undisturbed, like wine on its dregs, And he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into exile. Therefore he retains his flavor, And his aroma has not changed.

Ezekiel 8:12
Then He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, 'The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.'"

Ezekiel 9:4
The LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst."

Ezekiel 9:9
Then He said to me, "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion; for they say, 'The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!'

Amos 6:1
Woe to those who are at ease in Zion And to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria, The distinguished men of the foremost of nations, To whom the house of Israel comes.

Amos 9:1
I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and He said, "Smite the capitals so that the thresholds will shake, And break them on the heads of them all! Then I will slay the rest of them with the sword; They will not have a fugitive who will flee, Or a refugee who will escape.

Malachi 2:17
You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, "How have we wearied Him?" In that you say, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them," or, "Where is the God of justice?"
Treasury of Scripture

And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

that I.

Jeremiah 16:16,17 Behold, I will send for many fishers, said the LORD, and they shall …

Amos 9:1-3 I saw the LORD standing on the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel …

Obadiah 1:6 How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up!

the men.

Jeremiah 48:11 Moab has been at ease from his youth, and he has settled on his lees, …

Amos 6:1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of …

Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall …

settled. Heb. curded, or thickened. The Lord.

Job 21:15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should …

Psalm 10:11-13 He has said in his heart, God has forgotten: he hides his face; he …

Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, …

Psalm 94:7 Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.

Isaiah 5:19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see …

Jeremiah 10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs …

Ezekiel 8:12 Then said he to me, Son of man, have you seen what the ancients of …

Ezekiel 9:9 Then said he to me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah …

Malachi 3:14,15 You have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that …

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers …

Verse 12. - The third class which shall be smitten, viz. the profligate and riotous. I will search Jerusalem with candles (lights). No evil doer shall escape. The enemy whom God summons to execute his wrath shall leave no corner unsearched where the debauchees hide themselves (comp. Luke 15:8). Jerome and commentators after him refer to Josephus's account of the last siege of Jerusalem for a parallel to these predicted proceedings of the Chaldeans. Here we read how princes and priests and chieftains were dragged from sewers, and pits, and caves, and tombs, where they had hidden themselves in fear of death, and were mercilessly slain wherever they were found (Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 6:09). The men that are settled on their lees; i.e. confirmed, hardened, and inveterate in their evil habits. The metaphor is derived from old wine not racked off; which retains all its flavour and odour, and becomes thick and viscid (see Isaiah 25:6; Jeremiah 48:11). The LXX. paraphrases, Υοὺς καταφρονοῦντας ἐπὶ τὰ φυλάγματα αὐτῶν, which Jerome renders, qui contemnunt custodias suas. That say in their heart. They do not openly scoff at religion, but think within themselves these infidel thoughts. The Lord will not do good, ere. Just what God says of idols (Isaiah 41:23). These "fools" (Psalm 14:1) deny God's moral government of the world; they will not see the working of Divine providence in all that happens, but, secure and careless in their worldly prosperity, they assign all events to chance or natural law, placing Jehovah in the same category as the idols worshipped by heathens (comp. Job 22:12, etc.; Psalm 10:4, etc.; Psalms 94:7). And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles,.... To find out the sins of the inhabitants of it, and the authors of them, and punish them for them, however hid and concealed from the eyes of others, or thought to be: this must be understood consistent with the omniscience of God, who knows all persons and things; nothing is hid from him; men may fancy their sins are hid, being privately and secretly committed; but all will be manifest, sooner or later; if not now, yet at the day of judgment; and sometimes they are made manifest by God in this life, as here; for what the Lord here says he would do, he did it by instruments, by the Chaldeans, whom he sent to Jerusalem; and to whom the gates of the city, the doors of houses, and the innermost recesses of them, were opened and plundered by them; and all for the sins of the people, which were hereby exposed. So the Targum,

"and it shall be at that time that I will appoint searchers, and they shall search Jerusalem, as they that search with candles;''

and no doubt but this was literally true of the Chaldeans, who with candles might search vaults and cellars, and such like dark places, where they supposed goods and riches were concealed. The allusion may be to the searching with lamps for leaven on the fourteenth of Nisan, when the passover began, in every corner of a house, and, when they found it, burnt it (u); or in general to searching for anything which lies concealed in dark places, where the light of the sun comes not, and can only be discovered by the light of candles; and denotes that nothing should escape the sight and knowledge of God, by whom a full discovery would be made of their persons and sins, and cognizance taken of them in a vindictive way, as follows:

and punish the men that are settled on their lees; like wine on the lees, quiet and undisturbed; in a good outward estate and condition, abounding in wealth and riches, and trusting therein; and which, as the Targum paraphrases it, they enjoy in great tranquillity; Moab like, having never been emptied from vessel to vessel, Jeremiah 48:11 and so concluded they should ever remain in the same state, and became hardened in sin, or "curdled", and thickened, as the word (w) signifies; and were unconcerned about the state of religion, or the state of their own souls; and fearless and thoughtless of the judgments of God; but should now be visited, disturbed in their tranquil state, and be troubled and punished:

that say in their heart; not daring to express with their lips the following atheism and blasphemy; but God, who searched and tried their hearts, knew it:

The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil; which is a flat denial of his providence; saying that he takes no notice of what is done by men on earth, whether good or bad; and neither rewards the one, nor punishes the other. So the Targum, as Kimchi quotes it,

"it is not the good pleasure of God to do good to the righteous, or to do evil to the wicked;''

than which nothing is more false! the Lord does good to all in a providential way, and to many in a way of special grace; and rewards with a reward of grace all good men, both here and hereafter; and though he does not do any moral evil, yet he executes the evil of punishment in this world, and in that to come, on evildoers.

(u) Vid. Misn. Pesachim, c. 1. sect. 1, 4. (w) "concreti sunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "congelati", Calvin; "coagulatos", Montanus, Cocceius; "qui concreverunt glaciei, vel casei ad instar", Burkius. 12. search … with candles—or lamps; so as to leave no dark corner in it wherein sin can escape the punishment, of which the Chaldeans are My instruments (compare Zep 1:13; Lu 15:8).

settled on their lees—"hardened" or crusted; image from the crust formed at the bottom of wines long left undisturbed (Jer 48:11). The effect of wealthy undisturbed ease ("lees") on the ungodly is hardening: they become stupidly secure (compare Ps 55:19; Am 6:1).

Lord will not do good … evil—They deny that God regards human affairs, or renders good to the good; or evil to the evil, but that all things go haphazard (Ps 10:4; Mal 2:17).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.
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