Zephaniah 1:13
Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
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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.Therefore their goods - Literally, "And their strength." It is the simple sequel in God's Providence. It is a continued narrative. God will visit those who say, that God does not interfere in man's affairs, and, it shall be seen Jeremiah 44:28 whose words shall stand, God's or their's. All which God had threatened in the law shall be fulfilled. God, in the fulfillment of the punishment, which He had foretold in the law Leviticus 26:32-33; Deuteronomy 28, would vindicate not only His present Providence, but His continual government of His own world. All which is strength to man, shall the rather fail, because it is strength, and they presume on it and it deceives them. Its one end is to "become a prey" of devils. Riches, learning, rule, influence, power, bodily strength, genius, eloquence, popular favor, shall all fail a man, and he, when stripped of them, shall be the more bared because he gathered them around him. "Wealth is ever a runaway and has no stability, but rather intoxicates and inclines to revolt and has unsteady feet. Exceeding folly is it to think much of it. For it will not rescue those lying under the divine displeasure, nor will it free any from guilt, when God decreeth punishment, and bringeth the judgment befitting on the transgressors. How utterly useless this eagerness after wealth is to the ungodly, he teacheth, saying, that "their strength shall be a prey" to the Chaldaean."

And their houses a desolation - Cyril: "For they are, of whom it may be said very truly, "This is the man that took not God for his strength, but trusted unto the multitude of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness" Psalm 52:7. But if indeed their houses are adorned in a costly manner, they shall not be theirs, for they shall be burned, and themselves go into captivity, leaving all in their house, and deprived of all which would gladden. And this God said clearly to the king of Judah by Jeremiah, "Thou hast builded thyself a large house and wide chambers, ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign because thou closest thyself with cedar!" Jeremiah 22:14-15. Gregory (Mor. viii. 14): "As the house of the body is the bodily dwelling, so to each mind its house is that, wherein through desire it is wont to dwell," and "desolate" shall they be, being severed forever from the things they desired, and forever deserted by God. "They shall also build houses but not inhabit them," as the rich man said to his soul, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years .... Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?" Luke 12:19-20. Before the siege by the Romans, Jerusalem and the temple had been greatly beautified, only to be destroyed. "And they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof." This is the woe, first pronounced in the law Deuteronomy 28:39, often repeated and ever found true. Wickedness makes joy its end, yet never finds it, seeking it where it is not, out of God.

13. Therefore their goods shall become a booty, &c.—Fulfilling the prophecy in De 28:30, 39 (compare Am 5:11). Therefore; as a punishment for other sins, so for this secure, atheistical denial of Providence; though they have denied, they shall feel, and confess, that the evil they suffer is both just, and from my hand too.

Their goods; stores in their shops and warehouses, furniture in their chambers, and wardrobes.

A booty; a prey divided among the Babylonish soldiers, invading, prevailing, wasting villages and cities.

Their houses a desolation; that they may remember the curse threatened in the law, executed on them, and acknowledge that he who gave the law rules by it.

Build houses, but not inhabit them, & c.; according to that Deu 28:30,39.

Therefore their goods shall become a booty,.... To the enemy; the riches they trusted in, and thought themselves so secure of; and therefore denied divine Providence, which ought to be depended upon amidst the greatest affluence; or otherwise the Lord has various ways by which he can soon strip men of all their enjoyments, and dispose of them to others:

and their houses a desolation; be pulled down by the enemy; or left uninhabited, they being killed or carried captive, even their whole families:

they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; not long, at least; not always, as they expected, and promised themselves when they built them:

and they shall plant vineyards, and not drink the wine thereof: but before the vines planted by them bring forth grapes, and these are pressed, and wine made of them, they should fall into the hands of the enemy, who would drink it, and not they; and all this agreeably to what was threatened them in the law of Moses, which they ought to have regarded, Deuteronomy 28:30.

Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
13. The verse implies that the “search” (Zephaniah 1:12) is made by the foe under commission of the Lord; the foe is in quest of spoil, but his acts are the Lord’s “visitation” on the unbelieving.

They shall also build houses] and they shall build houses, but not inhabit them. The phrase is a common one signifying that they shall not enjoy the fruit of their labour; meaning, and the houses which they have built they shall not inhabit. Comp. Amos 5:11; Micah 6:15; Deuteronomy 28:30; Deuteronomy 28:39; Isaiah 65:21-22.

Verse 13. - Their goods; literally, their strength; their wealth in which they trusted shall become the prey of the enemy, and thus they shall learn that God ruleth in the affairs of men. They shall also build houses, etc. They shall prove in their own case the reality of the punishment threatened in the Law (Leviticus 26:32, etc.; Deuteronomy 28:30, 39; comp. Amos 5:11; Micah 6:15). Zephaniah 1:13The debauchees and rioters generally will also not remain free from punishment. Zephaniah 1:12. "And at that time it will come to pass, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and visit the men who lie upon their lees, who say in their heart, Jehovah does no good, and no evil. Zephaniah 1:13. Their goods will become plunder, and their houses desolation: they will build houses, and not dwell (therein), and plant vineyards, and not drink their wine." God will search Jerusalem with candles, to bring out the irreligious debauchees out of their hiding-places in their houses, and punish them. The visitation is effected by the enemies who conquer Jerusalem. Jerome observes on this passage: "Nothing will be allowed to escape unpunished. If we read the history of Josephus, we shall find it written there, that princes and priests, and mighty men, were dragged even out of the sewers, and caves, and pits, and tombs, in which they had hidden themselves from fear of death." Now, although what is stated here refers to the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus, there can be no doubt that similar things occurred at the Chaldaean conquest. The expression to search with candles (cf. Luke 15:8) is a figure denoting the most minute search of the dwellings and hiding-places of the despisers of God. These are described as men who sit drawn together upon their lees (קפא, lit., to draw one's self together, to coagulate). The figure is borrowed from old wine, which has been left upon its lees and not drawn off, and which, when poured into other vessels, retains its flavour, and does not alter its odour (Jeremiah 48:11), and denotes perseverance or confirmation in moral and religious indifference, "both external quiet, and carelessness, idleness, and spiritual insensibility in the enjoyment not only of the power and possessions bestowed upon them, but also of the pleasures of sin and the worst kinds of lust" (Marck). Good wine, when it remains for a long time upon its lees, becomes stronger; but bad wine becomes harsher and thicker. Shemârı̄m, lees, do not denote "sins in which the ungodly are almost stupefied" (Jerome), or "splendour which so deprives a man of his senses that there is nothing left either pure or sincere" (Calvin), but "the impurity of sins, which were associated in the case of these men with external good" (Marck). In the carnal repose of their earthly prosperity, they said in their heart, i.e., they thought within themselves, there is no God who rules and judges the world; everything takes place by chance, or according to dead natural laws. They did not deny the existence of God, but in their character and conduct they denied the working of the living God in the world, placing Jehovah on the level of the dead idols, who did neither good nor harm (Isaiah 41:23; Jeremiah 10:5), whereby they really denied the being of God.

(Note: "For neither the majesty of God, nor His government or glory, consists in any imaginary splendour, but in those attributes which so meet together in Him that they cannot be severed from His essense. It is the property of God to govern the world, to take care of the human race, to distinguish between good and evil, to relieve the wretched, to punish all crimes, to restrain unjust violence. And if any one would deprive God of these, he would leave nothing but an idol." - Calvin.)

To these God will show Himself as the ruler and judge of the world, by giving up their goods (chēlâm, opes eorum) to plunder, so that they will experience the truth of the punishments denounced in His word against the despisers of His name (compare Leviticus 26:32-33; Deuteronomy 28:30, Deuteronomy 28:39, and the similar threats in Amos 5:11; Micah 6:15).

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