Zephaniah 1:15
That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
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1:14-18 This warning of approaching destruction, is enough to make the sinners in Zion tremble; it refers to the great day of the Lord, the day in which he will show himself by taking vengeance on them. This day of the Lord is very near; it is a day of God's wrath, wrath to the utmost. It will be a day of trouble and distress to sinners. Let them not be laid asleep by the patience of God. What is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? And what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Let us flee from the wrath to come, and choose the good part that shall never be taken from us; then we shall be prepared for every event; nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.A day of wrath - In which all the wrath of Almighty God, which evil angels and evil men have treasured to them for that day, shall be poured out: "the" day of wrath, because then they shall be brought face to face before the presence of God, but thenceforth they shall be cast out of it forever.

A day of trouble and distress - Both words express, how anguish shall narrow and hem them in; so that there shall be no escape; above them, God displeased; below, the flames of Hell; around, devils to drag them away, and Angels casting them forth "in bundles to burn them;" without, "the books" which shall be opened;" and within, conscience leaving them no escape.

A day of wasteness and desolation - In which all things shall return to their primeval void, before "the Spirit of God brooded upon the face of the waters," His presence being altogether withdrawn.

A day of darkness and gloominess - For sun and moon shall lose their brightness, and no brightness from the Lamb shall shine upon the wicked, but they shall be driven into "outer darkness."

A day of clouds and thick darkness - Hiding from them the Face of the Sun of Righteousness, and covering Him, so that their "prayers should not pass through" Lamentations 3:44.

15. wasteness … desolation—The Hebrew terms by their similarity of sounds, Shoah, Umeshoah, express the dreary monotony of desolation (see on [1169]Na 2:10). That day, great day, Zephaniah 1:14,

is a day of wrath, from the Chaldeans; and from the Lord, actively, upon the Jews, passively.

A day of trouble and distress: here the prophet heapeth up words of much the same sense, to express the grievousness of the troubles of those times which shall suddenly come upon them; most distressing trouble, none knowing how to bear it, or where to hide from it.

Of wasteness and desolation; most desolate wasteness in city, villages, and fields; every where the spoiling soldier shall lay waste, carrying away all he can, and destroying what he cannot carry away,

Of darkness and gloominess; possibly it might be so as to the temper of the air, dark and gloomy, but figuratively I am sure it was so.

Of clouds and thick darkness; either literally, from the heavens clouded over them, or (if it refer, as it may, to the day of sacking Jerusalem, and effects of it) darkness, gloominess, clouds, and thick darkness, arising from the smoke and fire of the city every where fired by the enemy; but metaphorically these speak the most unparalleled calamities.

That day is a day of wrath,.... Both of the wrath of God against his people for their sins; these judgments being the effects of his wrath, provoked by their iniquities; and of the wrath and cruelty of the Chaldeans, exercised in a furious manner:

a day of trouble and distress; to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, they being taken and led captive, their houses plundered and demolished, and the whole city and temple laid in ruins:

a day of wasteness and desolation; of the whole country of Judea, and the metropolis of it; of their houses, fields, and vineyards:

a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness: as it might be in a natural sense; the displeasure of God being shown in the very heavens, by the darkness and gloominess of them, and the thick clouds with which they were covered; and made still more dark and gloomy by the burning of the city, and the smoke of it; and, in such circumstances, gloominess and melancholy must sit upon the minds of men: and thick clouds and darkness portend greater troubles and calamities coming on; and the whole is expressive of great adversity; for, as light frequently designs prosperity, so darkness adversity.

That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
15. a day of wrath] i.e. of the outpouring of the wrath of God. The effects of this wrath are then detailed: (1) trouble and distress; (2) wasteness and desolation; (3) darkness and gloominess, clouds and thick darkness. The combination “trouble and distress” is found again Job 15:24; cf. Isaiah 30:6; “wasteness” or devastation “and desolation,” Job 38:27; and the phrase “a day of darkness,” &c. Joel 2:2. Cf. Isaiah 13:10; Amos 5:18. These supernatural terrors are not to be regarded as figures, they are realities; the world is a human and moral world: nature is convulsed and dissolved in man’s judgment, and transfigured and glorified in his redemption. The first words of the Vulgate translation of this verse, Dies iræ dies illa, were adopted by Thomas of Celano as the opening words of his splendid hymn on the Last Judgment. See Trench, Sacred Latin Poetry, p. 296.

Verse 15. - That day is a day of wrath; Vulgate, Dies irae, dies illa, words which form the commencement of the famous hymn. The better to describe the terrible nature of the judgment, the prophet crowds together all available expressions of terror and calamity. First, it is a day when God's anger shall blaze forth (Isaiah 9:18). Of trouble and distress. In its effects upon sinners (Job 15:24). Of wasteness and desolation. As if things returned to the primeval chaos (Genesis 1:2; comp. Job 30:3; Job 38:27, where there is a similar combination; see note on Nahum 2:10). Of darkness and gloominess (Joel 2:2; Amos 5:18, 20). Of clouds and thick darkness (Deuteronomy 4:11; comp. Habakkuk 3:11). Zephaniah 1:15This judgment will not be delayed. To terrify the self-secure sinners out of their careless rest, Zephaniah now carries out still further the thought only hinted at in Zephaniah 1:7 of the near approach and terrible character of the judgment. Zephaniah 1:14. "The great day of Jehovah is near, near and hasting greatly. Hark! the day of Jehovah, bitterly crieth the hero there. Zephaniah 1:15. A day of fury is this day, a day of anguish and pressure, a day of devastation and desert, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of cloud and cloudy night. Zephaniah 1:16. A day of the trumpet and battering, over the fortified cities and high battlements." The day of Jehovah is called "the great day" with reference to its effects, as in Joel 2:11. The emphasis lies primarily, however, upon the qârōbh (is near), which is therefore repeated and strengthened by מהר מאד. מהר is not a piel participle with the Mem dropped, but an adjective form, which has sprung out of the adverbial use of the inf. abs. (cf. Ewald, 240, e). In the second hemistich the terrible character of this day is described. קול before yōm Yehōvâh (the day of Jehovah), at the head of an interjectional clause, has almost grown into an interjection (see at Isaiah 13:4). The hero cries bitterly, because he cannot save himself, and must succumb to the power of the foe. Shâm, adv. loci, has not a temporal signification even here, but may be explained from the fact that in connection with the day the prophet is thinking of the field of battle, on which the hero perishes while fighting. In order to depict more fully the terrible character of this day, Zephaniah crowds together in Zephaniah 1:15 and Zephaniah 1:16 all the words supplied by the language to describe the terrors of the judgment. He first of all designates it as yōm ‛ebhrâh, the day of the overflowing wrath of God (cf. Zephaniah 1:18); then, according to the effect which the pouring out of the wrath of God produces upon men, as a day of distress and pressure (cf. Job 15:24), of devastation (שׁאה and משׁואה combined, as in Job 38:27; Job 30:3), and of the darkest cloudy night, after Joel 2:2; and lastly, in Zephaniah 1:16, indicating still more closely the nature of the judgment, as a day of the trumpet and the trumpet-blast, i.e., on which the clangour of the war-trumpets will be heard over all the fortifications and castles, and the enemy will attack, take, and destroy the fortified places amidst the blast of trumpets (cf. Amos 2:2). Pinnōth are the corners and battlements of the walls of the fortifications (2 Chronicles 26:15).
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