Zephaniah 1:16
A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
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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 the trumpet and alarm - o that is, of the loud blast of the trumpet, which sounds alarm and causes it. The word is especially the shrill loud noise of the trumpet (for sacred purposes in Israel itself, as ruling all the movements of the tabernacle and accompanying their feasts); then also of the "battle cry." They had not listened to the voice of the trumpet, as it called them to holy service; now they shall hear "the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God" 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

Against the high towers - Literally, "corners" , and so "corner-towers." This peculiarity describes Jerusalem, whose walls "were made artificially standing in a line curved inwards, so that the flanks of assailants might be exposed." By this same name Judges 20:2; 1 Samuel 14:38; Isaiah 19:13; Zechariah 10:4 are called the mighty men and chiefs of the people, who, humanly speaking, hold it together and support it; on these chiefs in rebellion against God, whether devils or evil men, shall punishment greatly fall.

16. the trumpet—namely, of the besieging enemy (Am 2:2).

alarm—the war shout [Maurer].

towers—literally, "angles"; for city walls used not to be built in a direct line, but with sinuous curves and angles, so that besiegers advancing might be assailed not only in front, but on both sides, caught as it were in a cul-de-sac; towers were built especially at the angles. So Tacitus describes the walls of Jerusalem [Histories, 5.11.7].

The trumpet; God’s trumpet calling the Chaldeans, the Chaldeans’ trumpet also gathering together their troops.

Alarm, threatening and affrighting, against the fenced cities of Judah.

The high towers; stately palaces and strong munitions, fortified with high towers, built at the angles of walls, and therefore the Hebrew calls them high corners; it may mean also the great men, which, as corners well built are the strength and beauty of a wall, so they of a state, Judges 20:2 Zechariah 10:4.

A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities,.... The trumpet of the enemy, sounding the alarm of war against the fenced cities of Judea, which were taken before Jerusalem; calling and gathering the soldiers together, and animating them to the assault of them; and blowing them in a way of triumph; and as expressive of victory, having got possession of them:

and against the high towers; or "corners" (x); towers being usually built corner-wise, and full of corners, and on the corners of walls of cities; sometimes these signify princes, magistrates, and great men, Zechariah 10:4.

(x) "pinnas", Montanus, Castalio; "angulos", Junius & Tremellius, Burkius.

A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
16. Besides the supernatural terrors of the judgment there is the hostile assault which the supernatural terrors accompany.

A day of the trumpet and alarm] The “trumpet” was blown amidst the attack (Jdg 7:19), as now martial music accompanies the advance. Amos 2:2, “Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.” The word “alarm” here is that rendered “shouting,” Amos 1:14; Amos 2:2, in accordance with its literal sense “to arms!” (Ital. all’ arme). The “shouting” (terû‘ah), originally that of battle (Jeremiah 4:19), became in later and more peaceful times the shout of the glad worshippers on the feast days (Ezra 3:11-13).

Verse 16. - A day of the trumpet and alarm. "Alarm" means "the sound of alarm." Among the Jews trumpets were used to announce the festivals (Numbers 29:1), and to give the signal for battle or of the approach of an enemy (Jeremiah 4:5, 19; Ezekiel 33:4). Here it is the signal of destruction (Amos 2:2). The fenced cities. The strongest fortresses shall feel the irresistible attack (Micah 5:11). The high towers. These are the turrets built at the angles of the walls for the better defence of the city, and to annoy the besiegers (Zephaniah 3:6). LXX., ἐπὶ τὰς γωνίας τὰς ὑψηλάς, "upon the lofty angles;" Vulgate, super angulos excelsos. Others take the words to mean "the battlements" on the walls. Henderson quotes Taeitus's description of the later walls of Jerusalem, "Duos colles immensum editos claudebant muri per artem obliqui aut introrsus sinuati, ut latera oppugnantium ad ictus patescerent" ('Hist.,' 5:11). Zephaniah 1:16This 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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