Zephaniah 2:3
Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.
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Zephaniah 2:3. Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek — Here the prophet addresses some others, different from those addressed before, namely, the few pious, who still remained in Jerusalem and Judah amidst the general corruption; which have wrought his judgment — Who have obeyed his laws, and done his will. Seek righteousness — That is, continue to seek it; persevere in the practice of every branch of piety and virtue. Seek meekness — Patiently wait on the holy and gracious God. It may be ye shall be hid, &c. — That ye shall be protected and preserved by the divine providence, amidst the dangers and calamities of that dreadful time, when God shall execute his judgments.

2:1-3 The prophet calls to national repentance, as the only way to prevent national ruin. A nation not desiring, that has not desires toward God, is not desirous of his favour and grace, has no mind to repent and reform. Or, not desirable, not having any thing to recommend them to God; to whom God might justly say, Depart from me; but he says, Gather together to me that you may seek my face. We know what God's decree will bring against impenitent sinners, therefore it highly concerns all to repent in the accepted time. How careful should we all be to seek peace with God, before the Holy Spirit withdraws from us, or ceases to strive with us; before the day of grace is over, or the day of life; before our everlasting state is determined! Let the poor, despised, and afflicted, seek the Lord, and seek to understand and keep his commandments better, that they may be more humbled for their sins. The chief hope of deliverance from national judgments rests upon prayer.Seek ye the Lord - He had exhorted sinners to penitence; he now calls the righteous to persevere and increase more and more. He bids them "seek diligently" , and that with a three-fold call, to seek Him from whom they received daily the three-fold blessing Numbers 6:23-26, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as he had just before threatened God's impending judgment with the same use of the mysterious number, three. They, whom he calls, were already, by the grace of God, "meek," and "had wrought His judgment." Rup.: "Submitting themselves to the word of God, they had done and were doing the judgment of God, 'judging themselves that they benot judged;' the beginning of which judgment is, as sinners and guilty of death, to give themselves to the Cross of the Lord, that is, to be 'baptized' in 'His Death and be buried with Him by Baptism into death;' but the perfection of that judgment or righteousness is, to 'walk in newness of life, as He rose from the dead through the glory of the Father' Romans 6:3-4."

Dionysius: "Since the meek already have God through grace as the Possessor and Dweller in their heart, how shall they seek Him but that they may have Him more fully and more perfectly, knowing Him more clearly, loving Him more ardently, cleaving to Him more inseparably, that so they may be heard by Him, not for themselves only, but for others?" It is then the same Voice as at the close of the Revelation, "the righteous, let him be still more righteous; the holy, let him be still more holy" Revelation 22:11. They are the "meek," who are exhorted "diligently" to "seek meekness," and they who had "wrought His judgment," who are "diligently" to "seek Righteousness." And since our Lord saith, "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart" Matthew 11:29, He bids (Jerome) "those who imitated His meekness and did His judgment, to seek the Lord in their meekness." Meekness and Righteousness may be His Attributes, Who is All-gentleness and All-Righteousness, the Fountain of all, wheresoever it is, in gentleness receiving penitents, and, as "the Righteous Judge, giving the crown of righteousness" to those who "love Him and keep His commandments," yea He joineth righteousness with meekness, since without His mercy no man living could be justified in His Sight. Cyril: "God is sought by us, when, of our choice, laying aside all listlessness, we thirst after doing what pleases Him; and we shall do judgment too, when we fulfill His divine law, working out what is good unshrinkingly; and we shall gain the prize of righteousness, when crowned with glory for well-doing and running the well-reported anti blameless way of true piety to God and of love to the brethren, for 'love is the fulfilling of the law' Romans 13:10."

It may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger - Rup.: "Shall these too then scarcely be 'hid in the day of the Lord's anger?' Doth not the Apostle Peter say the very same? 'If it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?' 1 Peter 4:17-18. So then, although any be 'meek,' although he 'have wrought the judgment' of the Lord, let him ever suspect himself, nor think that he has 'already attained,' since neither can any righteous be saved, if he be judged 'without mercy.'" Dionysius: "He saith, if 'may' be; not that there is any doubt that the meek and they who perseveringly seek God, shall then be saved, but, to convey how difficult it is to be saved, and how fearful and rigorous is the judgment of God." To be hid is to be sheltered from wrath under the protection of God; as David says, "In the time of trouble He shall hide me" Psalm 27:5; and, "Thou shalt hide them (that trust in Thee) in the secret of Thy presence from the pride of man; Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues" Psalm 31:20. And in Isaiah, "A Man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest" Isaiah 32:2; and, "There shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain" Isaiah 5:6.

3. As in Zep 2:1 (compare Note, see on [1170]Zep 1:12) he had warned the hardened among the people to humble themselves, so now he admonishes "the meek" to proceed in their right course, that so they may escape the general calamity (Ps 76:9). The meek bow themselves under God's chastisements to God's will, whereas the ungodly become only the more hardened by them.

Seek ye the Lord—in contrast to those that "sought not the Lord" (Zep 1:6). The meek are not to regard what the multitudes do, but seek God at once.

his judgment—that is, law. The true way of "seeking the Lord" is to "work judgment," not merely to be zealous about outward ordinances.

seek meekness—not perversely murmuring against God's dealings, but patiently submitting to them, and composedly waiting for deliverance.

it may be ye shall be hid—(Isa 26:20; Am 5:6). This phrase does not imply doubt of the deliverance of the godly, but expresses the difficulty of it, as well that the ungodly may see the certainty of their doom, as also that the faithful may value the more the grace of God in their case (1Pe 4:17-19) [Calvin]. Compare 2Ki 25:12.

Seek ye the Lord; turn to him with sound and true repentance, pray for pardon, engage in new obedience, inquire in the law what is your duty, and do it; fear, worship, depend on the Lord alone.

All ye meek; ye humble ones, who have not hardened yourselves with the stubborn, proud, idolatrous hypocrites, but have trembled at the word of the Lord.

Of the earth; of Judea, which is here spoken of, as Zephaniah 1:2.

Which have wrought his judgment; obeyed his precepts; so doth the Scripture express obedience to the law of God by doing judgment, Deu 4:5 Psalm 119:121.

Seek righteousness; inquire and know the righteousness which God commandeth, which you ought to persist in, and continue ye in it.

Seek meekness; carry it humbly towards God, and patiently under his corrections; so wait on the just and merciful God.

It may be: this is sufficient to raise hope; if it be not sure, if it be hard, yet it is not impossible.

Ye shall be hid; under the wing of Divine protecting Providence kept safe from, or in, these troubles they shall be either averted or abated.

Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth,.... Or "of the land", of the land of Judea. In this time of great apostasy, there was a remnant according to the election of grace, whom the Lord reserved for himself, and bestowed his grace upon; and it is for the sake of these that the general exhortations to repentance and reformation are given out, to whom alone they were to be useful, that they might be protected and preserved from the general ruin; for such as are here described are persons the Lord takes great notice of; he gives them more grace; he lifts them up when bowed down; he beautifies them with salvation; he feeds them to full satisfaction; he teaches them his ways, his mind and will; he dwells with them here, and will cause them to inherit the new heaven and new earth hereafter: they are such who have a true sense of sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of it, which humbles them; and, conscious of the imperfection of their own righteousness, submit to the righteousness of Christ; acknowledge they are saved alone by the grace of God; and that all they have and expect to enjoy is owing to that; they are humble under the mighty hand of God, in every afflictive providence; patiently take all wrongs, abuses, and injuries done them by men; and not envious at the superior gifts, grace, and usefulness of others, but rejoice therein; have mean sentiments of themselves, and very high ones of others that excel in grace and holiness; these are truly gracious persons; and are like unto, and are followers of, the meek and lowly Jesus: and are here exhorted "to seek the Lord": that is, by prayer and supplication, to know more of his mind and will, and especially their duty in their present circumstances; implore his grace and mercy, protection and safety, in a day of common danger; and attend the public ordinances of his house, in order to enjoy his presence and communion with him: for to seek the Lord is to seek his face and favour, to have the light of his countenance, and the discoveries of his love; and to seek his honour and glory in all things: particularly the Lord Christ may be meant, who was to come in the flesh, and good men sought for before he came, and now he is come; and to him should men seek for righteousness and life; for peace and pardon; for grace, and all supplies of it: and for everlasting salvation; and all this before as well as since his coming: and such seek him aright, who seek him early, in the first place, and above all things; who seek him with their whole hearts, sincerely, diligently, and constantly; and where he is to be found, in the ministry of his word and ordinances:

which have wrought his judgment: the judgment of the Lord; acted according to his mind and will, revealed in his word, which is the rule of judgment, both as to faith and practice; observed his laws and statutes; kept his ordinances, as they were delivered; and did works of righteousness from right principles, and with right views, as fruits of faith, and as meet for repentance:

seek righteousness; not their own, and justification by that; for this would be doing what the carnal Jews did, and in vain, and is inconsistent with seeking the Lord, as before; but the righteousness of God, the kingdom of God and his righteousness, even the righteousness of Christ, who is God, and which only gives a right unto the kingdom of God or heaven: seeking this supposes a want of righteousness, which is in every man; a sense of that want, which only some have; a view of a righteousness without a man, in another, even in Christ; and of the glory, fulness, and excellency of his righteousness, which make it desirable, and worth seeking for; though this exhortation may also include in it a living to him soberly and righteously, as a fruit of divine grace, and to the glory of God, and according to his will, without trusting in it, and depending upon it, for life and salvation:

seek meekness; even though they were meek ones already, yet it became them to seek after more of this grace of meekness, that they might increase therein, and abound in the exercise of it, and be careful that they failed not in it; since the enemy of souls often attacks the saints in that in which they most excel, and succeeds: so Moses, the meekest man on earth, being off of his guard, and provoked, spoke unadvisedly with his lips; and it went ill with him on that account, Numbers 12:3 besides, this exhortation, as well as the preceding, may have a respect to their concern with others; that they should study, as much as in them lay, not only to do righteousness and exercise meekness themselves, but to cultivate these among others; with which agrees Kimchi's note,

"seek righteousness and meekness with others; as if it was said, study with all your might and main to return them to the right way:''

it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger; in the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, when some were put to the sword, and others carried captive: now there was a possibility, yea, a probability, that such persons before described would be saved at this time from the general calamity; be hid, protected, and preserved, by the power and, providence of God, Jeremiah, Baruch, and others, were: this, though it is not said as a certain thing, because a corporeal blessing, which the people of God cannot always be assured of in a time of public distress; yet not expressed in a doubting manner, much less despairing; but rather as presuming, at least hoping it would be, being possible and probable; and so encouraging to the above exercises of religion; and such that have the grace of God, and seek him, and seek to Christ alone for righteousness and life, may depend upon it that they shall be hid, and be safe and secure, when the wrath of God at the last day comes upon an ungodly world, Isaiah 32:2. The Targum of the whole is,

"seek the fear of the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, who do the judgments of his will; seek truth, seek meekness; it may be there will be a protection for you in the day of the Lord's anger.''

The Vulgate Latin version is, "seek the Lord--seek the just, seek the meek One"; as expressive of a person, even the Lord Christ, the just and Holy One, the meek and lowly Jesus.

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which {b} have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.

(b) That is, who have lived uprightly and godly according as he prescribes by his word.

3. all ye meek of the earth] Though the exhortation to seek the Lord (Amos 5:6; Isaiah 55:6) be addressed specially to the prophet’s own people of Judah, there is no necessity for rendering, meek of the land. The “meek” are those humble before Jehovah, cf. Zephaniah 3:12; they are further described as those that do His judgment or ordinance, that is, obey in life the statutes of the Lord. They are exhorted to renew, or to continue more importunately, their seeking of the Lord in face of the approaching day of trouble.

It may be ye shall be hid] The figure is that of finding refuge from a storm passing over, or a foe sweeping past. Isaiah 26:20, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers; hide thyself for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast”; Job 14:13, “Oh that thou wouldst hide me in Sheòl, that thou wouldst keep me secret until thy wrath be past.” Even amidst what looks like absolute certainty of the divine judgment, the prophets cannot renounce the idea of the possibility of the people’s repenting and averting the impending wrath; cf. Jeremiah 7:5-7; Jeremiah 26:3; Jeremiah 36:3; Jeremiah 36:5; Amos 5:6; Amos 5:15.

Verse 3. - The prophet here addresses especially the pious among the people, urging them to perseverance in the right way. Ye meek of the earth. The humble, peaceable, religious, among the Israelites are primarily meant; whose character is the direct contrary of the proud, self-confident infidels mentioned above (comp. Isaiah 11:4; Amos 2:7). But there is no reason why the admonition should not include the heathen who are striving to live after the light of conscience (Isaiah 24:5; Romans 2:14, etc.). Which have wrought his judgment. Who have fulfilled the ordinances of God's Law. Seek righteousness. This and the following injunction explain what is meant by "seek the Lord" at the beginning of the verse (Deuteronomy 16:20). Seek meekness. Persevere in showing a humble, gentle temper. Septuagint, καὶ ἀποκρίνασθε αὐτά "and answer them." It may be. Even the righteous shall scarcely be saved (comp. 1 Peter 4:17, 18). Ye shall be hid. Ye shall be preserved in the time of judgment (Psalm 27:5; Psalm 31:20; Isaiah 32:2). This recalls the prophet's name, which is interpreted, "Whom the Lord hides" (comp. Amos 5:14, 15). Zephaniah 2:3But because the judgment will so speedily burst upon them, all the pious especially - ‛anvē hâ'ârets, the quiet in the land, οι πραεῖς (Amos 2:7; Isaiah 11:4; Psalm 37:11) - are to seek the Lord. The humble (‛ănâvı̄m) are described as those who do Jehovah's right, i.e., who seek diligently to fulfil what Jehovah has prescribed in the law as right. Accordingly, seeking Jehovah is explained as seeking righteousness and humility. The thought is this: they are to strive still more zealously after Jehovah's right, viz., righteousness and humility (cf. Deuteronomy 16:20; Isaiah 51:1, Isaiah 51:7); then will they probably be hidden in the day of wrath, i.e., be pardoned and saved (cf. Amos 5:15). This admonition is now still further enforced from Zephaniah 2:4 onwards by the announcement of the coming of judgment upon all the heathen, that the kingdom of God may attain completion.
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