Zephaniah 1:18
Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
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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.Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath - Gain unjustly gotten was the cause of their destruction. For, as Ezekiel closes the like description; "They shall cast their silver into the streets, and their gold shall be removed; their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord; they shall not satisfy their souls nor fill their bowels: "because it is the stumbling-block of their iniquity" Ezekiel 7:19. Much less shall any possession, outward or inward, be of avail in the Great Day; since in death the rich man's "pomp shall not follow him" Psalm 49:17, and every gift which he has misused, whether of mind or spirit, even the knowledge of God without doing His will, shall but increase damnation. "Sinners will then have nothing but their sins."

Here the prophet uses images belonging more to the immediate destruction; at the close the words again widen, and belong, in their fullest literal sense, to the Day of Judgment. "The whole land," rather, as at the beginning, "the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of His jelousy; for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land:" rather, "He shall make an utter, yea altogether a terriffic destruction of all the dwellers of the earth." What Nahum had foretold of Nineveh , "He shall make the place thereof an utter consumption," that Zephaniah foretells of all the inhabitants of the world. For what is this, "the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy," but what Peter says, "the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up?" 2 Peter 3:13. And what is that he says, "He shall make all the dwellers of the earth an utter, yea altogether a hasty destruction," but a general judgment of all, who belong to the world, whose home, citizenship, whose whole mind is in the world, not as true Christians, who are strangers and pilgrims here, and their "citizenship is in heaven?" Hebrews 11:13; Philippians 3:20.

These God shall make an utter, terrific, speedy destruction, a living death, so that they shall at once both be and not be; be, as continued in being; not be, as having no life of God, but only a continued death in misery. And this shall be through the jealousy of Almighty God, that divine quality in Him, whereby He loves and wills to be loved, and endures not those who give to others the love for which He gave so much and which is so wholly due to Himself Alone. Augustine, Conf. i. 5. p. 3, Oxford Translation: "Thou demandest my love, and if I give it not, art wroth with me, and threatenest me with grievous woes. Is it then a slight woe to love Thee not?" What will be that anger, which is Infinite Love, but which becomes, through man's sin, Hate?

18. Neither … silver nor … gold shall … deliver them, &c.—(Pr 11:4).

fire of his jealousy—(Eze 38:19); His wrath jealous for His honor consuming the guilty like fire.

make even a speedy riddance of all—rather, a "consummation" (complete destruction: "full end," Jer 46:28; Eze 11:13) "altogether sudden" [Maurer]. "A consumption, and that a sudden one" [Calvin].

Neither their silver nor their gold: sometimes these have purchased friends, and redeemed a life at the hand of greedy soldiers, who have spared on promise of money; but now it shall not be so, neither silver nor gold shall help.

Shall be able to deliver; to pacify the enraged sultan of Babylon, who had been formerly appeased with presents and tribute money, but will no more. Nor shall his soldiers dare to spare or save any when they are charged to slay man, woman, and child, as in the taking of Jerusalem it is probable they were charged, Psalm 137:7-9.

The Lord’s wrath: were it the wrath of man only, gifts might appease it; but it is the wrath of God, who is a righteous Judge, and receives not gifts.

Shall be devoured; utterly ruined, its wealth carried away, its provisions eat up, its stores exhausted, and its stock (which should continue their provision) utterly destroyed, as Zephaniah 1:2.

By the fire of his jealousy; to which their sins provoked the Lord, which their sins enkindled, and now it burns that notre can quench it; see Deu 28:15, to the end of the chapter; all which God will now make good against them.

For he shall make even a speedy riddance: though lie had with wonderful patience waited and forborne, now he would wait no longer, but with speedy executions fulfil his threats and accomplish his wrath; which he did within less than twenty years after this prophecy, as is most likely, on the accuratest computation we can make of the times of Zephaniah’s prophesying and Nebuchadnezzar’s taking the city. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath,.... Which they have gotten in an unjust way, and have hoarded up, and put their confidence in; these were the lees on which they were settled; but now, as they would be disregarded by the Lord, as insufficient to atone for their sins, and appease his wrath, and procure his favour; see Job 36:18 so they would be of no avail to them, to deliver from their enemies, who would not be bribed therewith to save their lives; the same is said of the Medes at the taking of Babylon, Isaiah 13:17,

but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; his zeal against sin, and for his own glory, shall burn like fire; which shall consume the whole land, and all the inhabitants of it, and was not to be stopped by anything that could be done by them; so furious and raging would it be:

for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land; burn up at once all the briers and thorns, even all that offend, and do iniquity, and spare neither root nor branch; or, as when a field is cleared of the stubble on it, after the wheat is gathered in; or a grain floor of its chaff, after the wheat is separated from it; thus with the besom of destruction would the Lord sweep away the sinful inhabitants of Judea, and clear it of them, as he did by the sword, by famine, by pestilence, and by captivity.

Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
18. The idea of the verse is illustrated in Proverbs 11:4, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivereth from death,” cf. Ezekiel 7:19. The instruments also whom Jehovah employs to execute His judgments are sometimes animated by a loftiness of purpose and mind that despises mere earthly treasures: “Behold, I stir up the Medes against them, which regard not silver, and as for gold they delight not in it” (Isaiah 13:17).

the whole land] Rather, the whole earth; ch. Zephaniah 3:8.

devoured by the fire of his jealousy] “Jealousy” means heat, and may refer to any violent emotion, as military ardour (Isaiah 42:13); usually it means the strong reaction or self-assertion of the mind against an injury. If the term have this special sense here it is explained by the words “they have sinned against Jehovah” (Zephaniah 1:17). The figure of jealousy here is that of a fire devouring the whole earth. The words are repeated Zephaniah 3:8.

make even a speedy riddance] lit. for an end, surely a terrible (or, sudden) destruction will he make (of) all the inhabiters of the earth. Cf. Nahum 1:8. The chapter ends with announcing anew the universal destruction threatened in Zephaniah 1:2-3.Verse 18. - Neither their silver, etc. They cannot bribe this enemy; their wealth cannot win for them immunity (Isaiah 13:17; Ezekiel 7:19). The fire of his jealousy (Zephaniah 3:8). The whole earth (for, as we have seen in Zephaniah 1:2, 3, the judgment is universal) shall be punished in the wrath of the Lord, who will not have the honour which is due to him given to any other. He shall make even a speedy riddance; more closely, he shall make an end, yea, a speedy end (comp. Nahum 1:8; Isaiah 10:23, which our text imitates). (For the sudden and unexpected arrival of the day of the Lord, see Luke 17:26, etc.)

The prophet therefore proceeds in Micah 6:8 to overthrow these outward means of reconciliation with God, and reminds the people of the moral demands of the law. Micah 6:8. "They have told thee, O man, what is good, and what Jehovah requires of thee, simply to do right, and love good, and walk humbly with thy God." הגּיד, impersonal, "one has told," or they have told thee, namely Moses in the law. The opinion that Jehovah should be supplied as the subject is a very improbable one, for the simple reason that Jehovah is expressly mentioned in the second dependent clause. The use of כּי אם, nisi, as in the similar connection of thought in Deuteronomy 10:12, may be accounted for from the retrospective allusion to the gifts mentioned by the people: not outward sacrifices of any kind, but only the fulfilment of three following duties: namely, above all things, doing righteousness and exercising love. These two embrace all the commandments of the second table, of whose fulfilment Israel thought so little, that it was addicted to the very opposite, - namely, injustice, oppression, and want of affection (vid., Micah 2:1-2, Micah 2:8; Micah 3:2-3, Micah 3:9 ff., Micah 6:10 ff.). There is also a third: humble walk with God, i.e., in fellowship with God, as Israel, being a holy priestly nation, ought to walk. Without these moral virtues, sacrificial worship was a spiritless opus operatum, in which God had no pleasure (see at 1 Samuel 15:22 and Hosea 6:6).
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