Zephaniah 1:10
And it shall come to pass in that day, said the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zephaniah 1:10-11. In that day there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish- gate — Mentioned Nehemiah 3:3. It was opposite to Joppa, according to Jerome, and at the entering of the city from that quarter. The sundry expressions of this verse are intended to describe the cries and shrieks that should arise from all parts of the city, upon the taking of it by the Babylonians. The great crashing from the hills might be intended to signify the noise that should be heard from the palace and temple, which were situated on the mountains, Zion and Moriah. Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh — The inhabitants of some particular part in or near Jerusalem. The Chaldee interprets it of the inhabitants near the brook Cedron. Bishop Newcome renders the clause, Howl ye inhabitants of the lower city, understanding it of the valley in Jerusalem, which divided the upper from the lower city, “This,” says he, “is agreeable to the etymology of the word, which signifies a hollow place, a mortar.” In this sense the word is understood by Buxtorf. For all the merchant people are cut down — All they who used to traffic with you shall be destroyed. All they that bear silver are cut off — All the money-changers: the rich merchants in general, or the money-changers in particular, may be meant.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.A cry from the fish-gate - "The fish-gate" was probably in the north of the wall of "the second city." For in Nehemiah's rebuilding, the restoration began at the sheep-gate Nehemiah 3:1 (so called doubtless, because the sheep for the sacrifices were brought in by it), which, as being near the temple, was repaired by the priests; then it ascended northward, by two towers, the towers of Meah and Hananeel; then two companies repaired some undescribed part of the wall Nehemiah 3:2, and then another company built the fish-gate Nehemiah 3:3. Four companies are then mentioned, who repaired, in order, to the old gate, which was repaired by another company Nehemiah 3:4-6. Three more companies repaired beyond these; and they left Jerusalem unto the broad wall Nehemiah 3:7-8. After three more sections repaired by individuals, two others repaired a second measured portion, and the tower of the furnaces Nehemiah 3:9-11.

This order is reversed in the account of the dedication of the walls. The people being divided "into two great companies of them that give thanks" Nehemiah 12:31-38, some place near "the tower of the furnaces" was the central point, from which both parted to encompass the city in opposite directions. In this account, we have two additional gates mentioned, "the gate of Ephraim" Nehemiah 12:39, between the "broad wall" and the "old gate," and "the prison-gate," beyond "the sheep-gate," from which the repairs had begun. "The gate of Ephraim" had obviously not been repaired, because, for some reason, it had not been destroyed. Elsewhere, Nehemiah, who describes the rebuilding of the wall so minutely, must have mentioned its rebuilding. It was obviously to the north, as leading to Ephraim. But the tower of Hananeel must have been a very marked tower. In Zechariah Jerusalem is measured from north to south, "from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses" Zechariah 14:10.

It was then itself at the northeast corner of Jerusalem, where towers were of most importance to strengthen the wall, and to command the approach to the wall either way. "The fish-gate" then, lying between it and "the gate of Ephraim," must have been on the north side of the city, and so on the side where the Chaldaean invasions came; yet it must have been much inside the present city, because the city itself was enlarged by Herod Agrippa on the north, as it was unaccountably contracted on the south. The then limits of Jerusalem are defined. For Josephus thus describes "the second wall." (B. J. v. 42): "It took its beginning from that gate which they called "Gennath," which belonged to the first wall; it only encompassed the northern quarter of the city and reached as far as the tower of Antonia." The tower of Antonia was situated at the northwest angle of the corner of the temple. The other end of the wall, the Gennath or "garden" gate, must have opened on cultivated land; and Josephus speaks of the gardens on the north and northwest of the city which were destroyed by Titus in leveling the ground (B. J. v. 32).

But near the tower of Hippicus, the northwestern extremity of the first wall, no ancient remains have been discovered by excavation ; but they have been traced north, from "an ancient Jewish semi-circular arch, resting on piers 18 feet high, now buried in rubbish."

These old foundations have been traced at three places in a line on the east of the Holy Sepulchre (which lay consequently outside the city) up to the judgment gate, but not north of it .

The line from west to east, that is, to the tower of Antonia, is marked generally by "very large stones, evidently of Jewish work, in the walls of houses, especially in the lower parts" . They are chiefly in the line of the Via Dolorosa.

"The fish-gate" had its name probably from a fish-market (markets being in the open places near the gates (see 2 Kings 7:1; Nehemiah 13:16, Nehemiah 13:19)) the fish being brought either from the lake of Tiberius or from Joppa. Near it, the wall ended, which Manasseh, after his restoration from Babylon, "built without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley" 2 Chronicles 33:14. This, being unprotected by its situation, was the weakest part of the city. : "The most ancient of the three walls could be considered as impregnable, as much on account of its extreme thickness, as of the height of the mountain on which it was built, and the depth of the valleys at its base, and David, Solomon and the other kings neglected nothing to place it in this state." Where they had made themselves strong, there God's judgment should find them.

And a howling from the second - city, as it is supplied in Nehemiah, who mentions the prefect set over it . It was here that Huldah the prophetess lived , who prophesied the evils to come upon Jerusalem, after Josiah should be "gathered to" his "grave in peace." It was probably the lower city, which was enclosed by the second wall. It was a second or new city, as compared to the original city of David, on Mount Moriah. On this the enemy who had penetrated by the fish-gate would first enter; then take the strongest part of the city itself. Gareb Jeremiah 31:39 and Bezetha were outside of the then town; they would then be already occupied by the enemy before entering the city.

A great crashing from the hills - These are probably Zion, and Mount Moriah on which the temple stood, and so the capture is described as complete. Here should be not a cry or howling only, but an utter destruction . Mount Moriah was the seat of the worship of God; on Mount Zion was the state, and the abode of the wealthy. In human sight they were impregnable. The Jebusites mocked at David's siege, as thinking their city impregnable 2 Samuel 5:6; but God was with David and he took it. He and his successors fortified it yet more, but its true defense was that the Lord was round about His people" Psalm 125:2, and when lie withdrew His protection, then this natural strength was but their destruction, tempting them to resist first the Chaldaeans, then the Romans. Human strength is but a great crash, falling by its own weight and burying its owner. "This threefold cry , from three parts of the city, had a fulfillment before the destruction by the Romans. In the lower part of the city Simon tyrannized, and in the middle John raged, and "there was a great crashing from the hills," that is, from the temple and citadel where was Eleazar, who stained the very altar of the temple with blood, and in the courts of the Lord made a pool of blood of divers corpses."

Cyril: "In the assaults of an enemy the inhabitants are ever wont to flee to the tops of the hills, thinking that the difficulty of access will be a hindrance to him, and will cut off the assaults of the pursuers. But when God smiteth, and requireth of the despisers the penalties of their sin, not the most towered city nor impregnable circuits of walls, not height of hills, or rough rocks, or pathless difficulty of ground, will avail to the sufferers. Repentance alone saves, softening the Judge and allaying His wrath, and readily inviting the Creator in His inherent goodness to His appropriate gentleness. Better is it, with all our might to implore that we may not offend Him. But since human nature is prone to evil, and "in many things we all offend" James 3:2, let us at least by repentance invite to His wonted clemency the Lord of all, Who is by nature kind."

10. fish gate—(2Ch 33:14; Ne 3:3; 12:39). Situated on the east of the lower city, north of the sheep gate [Maurer]: near the stronghold of David in Milo, between Zion and the lower city, towards the west [Jerome]. This verse describes the state of the city when it was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar. It was through the fish gate that he entered the city. It received its name from the fish market which was near it. Through it passed those who used to bring fish from the lake of Tiberias and Jordan. It answers to what is now called the Damascus gate [Henderson].

the second—namely, the gate which was second in dignity [Calvin]. Or, the second or lower part of the city. Appropriately, the fish gate, or extreme end of the lower part of the city, first resounds with the cries of the citizens as the foe approaches; then, as he advances further, that part of the city itself, namely, its inner part; lastly, when the foe is actually come and has burst in, the hills, the higher ones, especially Zion and Moriah, on which the upper city and temple were founded [Maurer]. The second, or lower city, answers to Akra, north of Zion, and separated from it by the valley of Tyropœon running down to the pool of Siloam [Henderson]. The Hebrew is translated "college," 2Ki 22:14; so Vatablus would translate here.

hills—not here those outside, but those within the walls: Zion, Moriah, and Ophel.

In that day: see Zephaniah 1:9.

Saith the Lord; to assure us of the certainty of the thing.

The noise, Heb. the voice, of a cry, i.e. a very great outcry and lamentation, from the fish-gate, which was on the west side of Jerusalem, through which gate they brought in fish from Joppa and other sea towns on the west sea, or great sea, now the Mediterranean, at which gate the Babylonians are said first to enter into the city when they took it: thus it will be a prediction at what gate the enemy should enter.

A howling, the great, horrid, and confused lamentations of desperate and undone multitudes, crying out and bitterly bemoaning themselves, from the second gate, which was in the second wall of Jerusalem, which on that side was fortified with three walls; or second part of the city, or the middle city, for it was divided into three parts. Others read second as a proper name, and make it the school, college, or university, and so render, the howling of the university, i.e. of students either slaughtered or captivated by Chaldeans.

A great crashing; breaking in pieces, or the noise of what is broken into shivers; possibly the noise of doors, windows, closets, and chests broken up, or burning, in the houses of nobles, likened here to hills; or, more literally, in

Gareb and

Goath, on which the fleeing Jews, pursued by the Chaldees, lost what they carried with them, and their life too: so all places were full of miserable slaughter and outcries.

In that day: see Zephaniah 1:9.

Saith the Lord; to assure us of the certainty of the thing.

The noise, Heb. the voice, of a cry, i.e. a very great outcry and lamentation, from the fish-gate, which was on the west side of Jerusalem, through which gate they brought in fish from Joppa and other sea towns on the west sea, or great sea, now the Mediterranean, at which gate the Babylonians are said first to enter into the city when they took it: thus it will be a prediction at what gate the enemy should enter.

A howling, the great, horrid, and confused lamentations of desperate and undone multitudes, crying out and bitterly bemoaning themselves, from the second gate, which was in the second wall of Jerusalem, which on that side was fortified with three walls; or second part of the city, or the middle city, for it was divided into three parts. Others read second as a proper name, and make it the school, college, or university, and so render, the howling of the university, i.e. of students either slaughtered or captivated by Chaldeans.

A great crashing; breaking in pieces, or the noise of what is broken into shivers; possibly the noise of doors, windows, closets, and chests broken up, or burning, in the houses of nobles, likened here to hills; or, more literally, in

Gareb and

Goath, on which the fleeing Jews, pursued by the Chaldees, lost what they carried with them, and their life too: so all places were full of miserable slaughter and outcries. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord,.... In the day of the Lord's sacrifice, when he shall punish the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; which, as well as what follows, shall surely come to pass, because the Lord has said it; for not one word of his shall pass away, but all be fulfilled:

that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate; a gate of the city of Jerusalem so called, which suffered as the rest in the destruction of the city by the Babylonians, and, after the captivity, was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah, Nehemiah 3:3 according to Jerom, it was on the west side of the city, and led to Diospolis and Joppa; and was the nearest road to the Mediterranean sea, or any of the roads to Jerusalem, from whence fish were brought, and brought in by this gate; and very probably the fish market was near it, from whence it had its name; though Cocceius places it in the north corner of the east side of the city, and so was nearer Jordan, the sea of Tiberias, and the city of Tyre, from whence fish might be brought hither, and sold, Nehemiah 13:16 however, be it where it will, the enemy it seems would attack it, and enter in by it; upon which a hideous cry would be made, either by the assailants, the Chaldeans, at their attack upon it, and entrance through it; or by the inhabitants of it, or that were nearest to it, upon their approach, or both:

and an howling from the second; either from the second gate; and if the fish gate is the same with the first gate, Zechariah 14:10 then this may be pertinently called the second. Jarchi calls it the bird gate, which was the second to the fish gate. So the Targum,

"from the bird, or the bird gate;''

though some copies of it read, from the tower or high fortress: or else this designs the second wall, and the gate in that which answered to the fish gate; for Jerusalem was encompassed with three walls; the fish gate was in the outermost, and this was in the second, to which the Chaldeans came next, and occasioned a dreadful howling and lamentation in the people that dwelt near it. Kimchi interprets it of the school or university that was in Jerusalem; the same word is rendered the cottage in which Huldah the prophetess lived, 2 Kings 22:14 and there, by the Targum,

"the house of doctrine or instruction;''

so then the sense is, a grievous outcry would be heard from the university or school of the prophets; the enemy having entered it, and were slaying the students, or seizing them in order to carry them captive:

and a great crashing from the hills; either that were in Jerusalem, as Mount Zion and Moriah, on which the temple stood; or those that were round about it, as Gareb, and Goath, and others; though some interpret this of the houses of nobles that stood in the higher parts of the city, where there would be a shivering, a breaking to pieces, as the word signifies, of doors and windows without, and of furniture within.

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the {f} fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills.

(f) Signifying that all the corners of the city of Jerusalem would be full of trouble.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. the fish gate] The gate may have received its name from its vicinity to the fishmarket. From Nehemiah 3:1-3 it appears that the fishgate lay to the west of the tower of Hananeel; and in Nehemiah 12:39 the procession starting from the south-west of the city and going round the walls north and east passed successively the gate of Ephraim, the old gate, the fishgate, the tower of Hananeel and the tower of Meah, halting at the sheepgate, which was near the Temple. The fishgate therefore was situated in the northern wall of the city, probably not far from the N.W. angle of the walls. In the days of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:16), and possibly in the time of Zephaniah, the fishmongers were Tyrians, and their commodity was no doubt dried fish.

a howling from the second] Better as R.V. the second quarter, i.e. of the city. The second quarter may have been so called from its having been recently added to the city. In 2 Chronicles 33:14 Manasseh is said to have built an outer wall extending as far as the fishgate. The second quarter in all likelihood lay on the north of the city; according to 2 Kings 22:14 the prophetess Huldah had her house there.

great crashing from the hills] lit. great breach. The crashing is scarcely the noise of falling buildings, the expression seems rather to be elliptical for a cry of great destruction (Isaiah 15:5), parallel to “cry” and “howling” in the two previous clauses. The “hills” referred to are those on which Jerusalem was built, though especially those of the northern quarter.Verse 10. - The second class which shall be smitten, viz. the traders and usurers, the enemy being represented as breaking in upon the localities where these persons resided. The fish gate. This is generally supposed to have been in the north wall of the city towards its eastern extremity, and to have been so called because through it were brought the fish from the Jordan and the Sea of Galilee, and there was a fish market in its immediate neighbourhood (see Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 12:39; 2 Chronicles 33:14). It was probably on this side that the Chaldeans entered Jerusalem, us Zedekiah seems to have escaped from the south (Jeremiah 39:4). The LXX. has, ἀπὸ πύλης ἀποκεντούντων, which Jerome notes as a mistake. From the second district, the lower city upon the hill Acra, to the north of the old town, Zion. This is so called, according to one rendering, in 2 Kings 22:14, and Nehemiah 11:9. A great crashing. Not merely the crash of falling buildings, but the cry of men when a city is taken and the inhabitants are put to the sword. The hills on which the greater part of the city was built. Keil thinks that the hills surrounding the lower city are meant, viz. Bezetha, Gareb, etc., as the hearer of the cry is supposed to be on Zion. Micah 5:14 sums up the objects enumerated in Micah 5:10-13, which are to be exterminated, for the purpose of rounding off the description; the only objects of idolatrous worship mentioned being the 'ăshērim, and the only materials of war, the cities as means of defence. אשׁירים, written with scriptio plena, as in Deuteronomy 7:5 and 2 Kings 17:16, lit., stems of trees or posts standing upright or set up as idols, which were dedicated to the Canaanitish goddess of nature (see at Exodus 34:13). ערים, cities with walls, gates, and bolts. These two rather subordinate objects are mentioned instar omnium, to express the entire abolition of war and idolatry. We must not infer from this, however, that the nation of God will still have images made by human hands and worship them, during the stage of its development described in Micah 5:10-14; but must distinguish between the thought and its formal dress. The gross heathen idolatry, to which Israel was addicted under the Old Testament, is a figure denoting that more refined idolatry which will exist even in the church of Christ so long as sin and unbelief endure. The extermination of every kind of heathen idolatry is simply the Old Testament expression for the purification of the church of the Lord from everything of an idolatrous and ungodly nature. To this there is appended in Micah 5:15 a promise that the Lord will take vengeance, and wrath, and fury upon the nations which have not heard or have not observed the words and acts of the Lord, i.e., have not yielded themselves up to conversion. In other words, He will exterminate every ungodly power by a fierce judgment, so that nothing will ever be able to disturb the peace of His people and kingdom again.
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