|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 18. - The love which God feels he shows in action. He cares for the exiled and dispersed, and will gather them again and comfort them for all their sorrows. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly; or, far removed from the solemn, assembly. Those who grieve because by their exile from the Holy Land they are debarred from duly attending the periodical festivals, these God will restore, and enable them again to participate in the sacred feasts. The above version and explanation are undoubtedly right, as the Latin Version is certainly wrong, Nugas, qui a lege recesserant, congregabo; that is, the light and fickle persons, who have estranged themselves from the Law, God will reclaim, and join them to the congregation of the true Israel; and this, quia ex te erant, for their origin's sake, because they are descendants of the chosen people. Who are of thee; they are of thee, O Zion. These are the true Israelites; this is why they mourn for the cessation of the festivals, and why they shall be restored to the Holy Land. To whom the reproach of it was a burden; i.e. who felt the desolation of Zion and the reproaches uttered against her by enemies (Psalm 137.) as a burden grievous to be borne. The Vulgate has, Ut non ultra habeas super eis opprobrium; i.e. "That they may be no more a disgrace to thee;" the LXX. reads somewhat differently, Οὐαὶ τίς ἔλαβεν ἐπ αὐτὴν ὀνειδισμόν; "Alas! who took up a reproach against her?"
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly,.... Who are grieved and troubled, because they cannot meet at the time and place of religious worship, or attend the word and ordinances of the Lord; either through distance of place, or infirmity of body; or through the menaces and persecutions of men: and to be prevented the use of the means of grace, upon any account, is a great concern of mind to truly gracious souls: or who are filled with grief and sorrow "for the appointed time" (u); for the time of the Jews' deliverance from their present exile, and return to their own land, which seems to be delayed, and thought long; and so it may seem to some of them in distant parts, after they are converted; and for whose encouragement this is said, that the Lord will in his own due time and way gather such out of all places where they are, into his church, and among his people, to join with them in religious worship, and partake of all the ordinances and privileges of his house; and also gather them into their own land, and comfortably settle them there:
who are of thee; belong to the church of Christ; or however have a right to, and meetness for, a place in it; are her true and genuine children, being born again; and which appears by the taste they have for, and their desire after, the word and ordinances:
to whom the reproach of it was a burden; it being grievous and burdensome to them to hear the enemy reproach them with their exile and dispersion; with their distance from the place of worship, and their want of opportunity of attending to it: this was intolerable, a burden too heavy for them; it was like a sword in their bones, when they were asked, where is your God? and where are the ordinances of divine worship? and when will it ever be that you will attend them? see Psalm 42:1.
(u) "propter tempus, sub. diuturnum exsilii", Vatablus; "ex tempore statuto judiciorum poenarumque", Burkius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. sorrowful for the solemn assembly—pining after the solemn assembly which they cannot celebrate in exile (La 1:4; 2:6).
who are of thee—that is, of thy true citizens; and whom therefore I will restore.
to whom the reproach of it was a burden—that is, to whom thy reproach ("the reproach of My people," Mic 6:16; their ignominious captivity) was a burden. "Of it" is put of thee, as the person is often changed. Those who shared in the burden of reproach which fell on My people. Compare Isa 25:8, "the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth."
Zephaniah 3:18 Parallel Commentaries
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