|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.
Verses 7-13. - 4. The judgment is described with regard to those whom it will affect, vie. the princes, the traders, the irreligious and profligate. Verse 7. - This judgment, so fearful, is near at hand, and must needs occasion the utmost terror and dismay. Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; literally, Hush, from the face of the Lord Jehovah! εὐλαβεῖσθε (Septuagint); silete a facie Domini Dei (Vulgate). The expression is like Habakkuk 2:20. The reason of this silent awe is next given. For the day of the Lord is at hand. The day of judgment is thus called (Joel 1:15; Isaiah 13:6; Amos 5:18, 20; Obadiah 1:15). The Lord hath prepared a sacrifice. The words are from Isaiah 34:6 (comp. Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 39:17, 19). The sacrifice is the guilty Jewish nation. The punishment of the wicked is regarded as a satisfaction offered to the Divine justice. He hath bid his guests; he hath consecrated his called. The "called ones" are the strange nations whom God summons to execute his vengeance. Septuagint, ἡγίακε τοὺς κλητοὺς αὐτοῦ. These are said to be "sanctified," as if engaged in a holy war, when summoned to punish those who had become as heathen. So those who are called to chastise Babylon are termed "my sanctified ones" (Isaiah 13:3), as being the instruments appointed and set apart to carry out this purpose (comp. Jeremiah 22:7; Jeremiah 51:27, 28; Micah 3:5). The particular agents intended are not specified by the prophet, whose mission was not directed to any such definition. He has to speak generally of the judgment to come, not of those whom God should employ to inflict it. We know from other sources that the Chaldeans are meant, they or the Assyrians being always announced as the executors of God's vengeance on his rebellions people. The notion, adopted by Ewald, Hitzig, and others, that the prophet refers to some supposed invasion of Scythians which took place about this time, would never have been started had not such authors desired to eliminate the predictive element from prophetic utterances. The vague account of Herod., 1:105 gives no support to the assertion that the Scythians invaded Palestine in Josiah's reign; nor is there a trace of any knowledge of such irruption in Zephaniah or Jeremiah (see Introduction, § I.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God,.... When he comes forth, and appears in the way of his judgments, do not dispute the point with him, or pretend to offer reasons against his proceedings, or in order to disprove the justice of them; stand in awe and reverence of him, who is the Lord God omniscient and omnipotent, holy, just, and true; humble yourselves under his mighty hand; be still, and know that he is God; and let not one murmuring and repining word come out of your mouth. The Targum is,
"let all the wicked of the earth perish from before the Lord God:''
for the day of the Lord is at hand; the time of his vengeance on the Jewish nation for their sins, which he had fixed in his mind, and had given notice of by his prophets: this began to take place at Josiah's death, after which the Jews enjoyed little peace and prosperity; and his successor reigned but three months, was deposed by the king of Egypt, and carried thither captive, and there died; and Jehoiakim, that succeeded him, in the fourth year of his reign was carried captive into Babylon, or died by the way thither; so that this day might well be said to be at hand:
for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice: his people the Jews, who were to fall a victim to his vengeance, and a sacrifice to his justice, to atone in some measure for the injury done to it by their sins; thus they that had offered sacrifice to idols, and neglected the sacrifices of the Lord, and especially the great sacrifice of Christ typified by them, the only proper atoning one, should themselves become a sacrifice to the just resentment of God; this he had prepared in his mind, determined should be done, and would bring about in his providence; see Isaiah 34:6,
he hath bid his guests: or "called ones" (o); the Chaldeans, whom he invited and called to this sacrifice and feast: or whom he "prepared", or "sanctified" (p); he prepared them in his purpose and providence; he set them apart for this service, and called them to it; to be the sacrificers of this people, and to feast upon them; to spoil them of their goods and riches, and enjoy them. These guests may also design, as Kimchi observes, the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, invited to feast upon the slain; see Ezekiel 39:17.
(o) "vocatos suos", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Burkius; "invitatos suos", Vatablus, Tigurine verson, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius. (p) "praeparavit", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ben Melech; "sanctificavit", V. L. Montanus, Cocceius, Burkius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord—(Hab 2:20). Let the earth be silent at His approach [Maurer]. Or, "Thou whosoever hast been wont to speak against God, as if He had no care about earthly affairs, cease thy murmurs and self-justifications; submit thyself to God, and repent in time" [Calvin].
Lord … prepared a sacrifice—namely, a slaughter of the guilty Jews, the victims due to His justice (Isa 34:6; Jer 46:10; Eze 39:17).
bid his guests—literally, "sanctified His called ones" (compare Isa 13:3). It enhances the bitterness of the judgment that the heathen Chaldeans should be sanctified, or consecrated as it were, by God as His priests, and be called to eat the flesh of the elect people; as on feast days the priests used to feast among themselves on the remains of the sacrifices [Calvin]. English Version takes it not of the priests, but the guests bidden, who also had to "sanctify" or purify themselves before coming to the sacrificial feast (1Sa 9:13, 22; 16:5). Nebuchadnezzar was bidden to come to take vengeance on guilty Jerusalem (Jer 25:9).
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