Zephaniah 3:12
I will also leave in the middle of you an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.
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Zephaniah 3:12-13. I will also leave in the midst of thee — Of Judea and Jerusalem; an afflicted and poor people — Hebrew, עם עני ודל, a people humble, or meek, and poor. When the Chaldeans carried away the Jews into captivity, they left of the poor of the land for vine-dressers and husbandmen; and such as returned from the Babylonish captivity were generally both poor and lowly, and dead to all confidence in external privileges. These were a type and figure of God’s spiritual remnant, who, at the coming of the Messiah, should believe on him, and embrace his gospel; who were both poor in spirit, and generally poor as to this world, and were meek and lowly in heart, and very different in their dispositions from the proud, self-righteous Pharisees, who rejected Christ on account of his appearing among them in a state of poverty, reproach, and humiliation. And they shall trust in the name of the Lord — Not in their descent from Abraham, their rite of circumcision, their city or temple, or any of their civil or religious advantages, but only in the Lord, in his mercy, power, and faithfulness. The remnant of Israel — Preserved in the captivity and dispersion, purified in the furnace of affliction, and now restored to their own land; shall not do iniquity — Shall not commit the sins they formerly committed, nor provoke God with their idolatries and other abominations as before; they shall be reformed and righteous. Nor speak lies — Nor shall they deceive each other, as they had been wont to do: they shall be honest and upright, men of veracity and fidelity. Neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth — Their spirit being without guile, their speech shall be without deceit. For they shall feed — Or, They shall also feed, and lie down — That is, they shall abound in necessary things, and live securely; a blessing which shall be added as a crown of their piety and truth. And none shall make them afraid — So as to induce them to commit iniquity, or speak lies: or, they shall be in no fear of any of the neighbouring nations, but shall have perfect peace on all sides. But this promise undoubtedly was to receive its full accomplishment only in the holy and happy state of the Christian Church, fed and protected by the good Shepherd, and safe under his watchful care; especially in the latter days, and during his millennial reign. Compare the places referred to in the margin.3:8-13 The preaching of the gospel is predicted, when vengeance would be executed on the Jewish nation. The purifying doctrines of the gospel, or the pure language of the grace of the Lord, would teach men to use the language of humility, repentance, and faith. Purity and piety in common conversation is good. The pure and happy state of the church in the latter days seems intended. The Lord will shut out boasting, and leave men nothing to glory in, save the Lord Jesus, as made of God to them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Humiliation for sin, and obligations to the Redeemer, will make true believers upright and sincere, whatever may be the case among mere professors.I will also leave - (Over, as a remnant, it is still the same heavy prophecy, that a remnant only 'shall be saved') "an afflicted and poor people." priests, (except that 'great company who were obedient to the faith') Acts 6:7, scribes, lawyers, Pharisees, Sadducees were taken away; and there remained "the people of the land" , the "unlearned and ignorant" Acts 4:13, "the weak things of the world and the things despised" 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 who bore the very title of their Master, "the poor and needy; poor in Spirit" Psalm 41:1; poor also in outward things, since "they who had lands, sold them and they had all things common" Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32, Acts 4:35. They were afflicted above measure outwardly in the (Acts 8:1; Acts 9:2, Acts 9:13-14; Acts 12:1-2; Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5, Acts 14:22; 22; etc. Romans 8:17, Romans 8:35-36; Romans 12:14; 1 Corinthians 9:19; 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Timothy 3:11-12; Hebrews 10:32-34; James 2:6-7; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 1 Peter 4:13; Revelation 1:9; Revelation 6:9 etc.) persecutions, "reproaches, spoiling of" their "goods," stripes, deaths, which they endured for Christ's sake.

They knew too their own poverty, Rup: "knowing themselves to be sinners, and that they were justified only by faith in Jesus Christ." When the rest were cast out "of the midst of her," these should be left "in the midst of her" (the words stand in contrast with one another) in the bosom of the Church. "And they shall trust in the name of the Lord." "As they looked to be justified only in the Name of Christ," and (Dionysius) "trusted in the grace and power of God alone, not in any power or wisdom or eloquence or riches of this world, they converted the world to a faith above nature." Cyril: "Conformed in this too to Christ. Who for our sakes became poor and almost neglected both His divine glory and the supereminence of His nature, to subject Himself to the condition of a servant. So then those instructed in His laws after His example, think humbly of themselves, They became most exceedingly loved of God, and chiefly the divine disciples, who were set as lights of the world."

12. afflicted … they shall trust in … Lord—the blessed effect of sanctified affliction on the Jewish remnant. Entire trust in the Lord cannot be, except where all cause for boasting is taken away (Isa 14:32; Zec 11:11). I will also leave: the Chaldeans had spared none if the Lord had not preserved a remnant; it is he, rather than they, which did leave a remnant.

In the midst of thee; to return and dwell in Judea and Jerusalem.

An afflicted people; or a people of a broken spirit, a meek, humble, spirited people, instead of that proud heart which was once among them. Poor; not so much in outward respects as poor in spirit, such a people as the Lord can delight in.

They shall trust in the name of the Lord; not in city or temple, but in the Lord, and in his mercy, faithfulness, and power. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people,.... Of a character just the reverse of the proud and haughty, that should be removed from Jerusalem and Judea by death or captivity; these are they that should be preserved from the general calamity, as the Christians were, and were left in the church of God: these were an "afflicted" people, as the Lord's people in all ages are afflicted with a body of sin; with the temptations of Satan; with the hidings of God's face; with bodily infirmities, and with the reproaches and persecutions of men; the first Christians, both among Jews and Gentiles, justly bore this character, especially with respect to the last article: and they were also "poor", for the most part the poor of this world, being stripped of their worldly enjoyments for the sake of Christ; but especially poor in spirit, broken hearted, contrite, lowly ones; that had a mean opinion of themselves, modest, meek, and humble; sensible of their spiritual poverty, and seeking after the true riches of grace and glory. The Targum renders it,

"a meek people, and receiving injuries;''

quietly and patiently:

and they shall trust in the name of the Lord; not in men, but in the Lord; not in descent from men, from the patriarchs, as the Jews were wont to do; not in Moses, as they, in his law, and obedience to it; not in any creature or creature enjoyment; not in wealth and riches: nor in their own hearts, or in their own righteousness; but in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; in his person for acceptance with God; in his righteousness for justification; in his blood for pardon and cleansing; in his sacrifice for atonement; in his fulness for supplies of grace; in his power and strength for protection and preservation; and in his obedience, sufferings, and death, for salvation and eternal life. This trust signifies, according to the sense of the word (n), a betaking of themselves to Christ as a refuge; a hiding themselves under the shadow of his wings; under his person, blood, and righteousness, where they are covered and sheltered from the avenging justice of God; from the curses of the law, and wrath to come: it is a committing themselves into the hands of Christ; a leaning and staying upon him, expecting grace and glory from him; trusting him with all they have, and for all they want in time and eternity: and this the chosen, redeemed, and called ones, "shall do"; for, through the efficacious grace of God, faith is given to them, and wrought in them; and this is drawn forth into act and exercise by the same grace, and is continued in them, and shall never fail, through the powerful intercession of Christ for them; they shall believe, and go on believing, to the saving of their souls.

(n) "se recipient", Junius & Tremellius, Drusius, Burkius; "confugient", Cocceius.

I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.
12. I will also leave] As R.V., But I will leave.

an afflicted and poor people] Comp. Isaiah 14:32, “The Lord hath founded Zion, and in her shall the afflicted of his people take refuge.” The rendering “afflicted,” in its modern sense, is too strong; compare the last words of Zephaniah 3:13. The term is used of the Messiah, Zechariah 9:9, “lowly and riding upon an ass”; comp. Isaiah 66:2, “him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word,” where the term seems used in a moral or religious sense. “Afflicted” does not mean “in distress,” but is the opposite of powerful (Habakkuk 3:14), or haughty (Zephaniah 3:11).

trust in the name of the Lord] This expresses the characteristic of the lowly and poor people left in Zion. Trust in the Lord is the essential mark of true religion. Comp. the passages cited on Zephaniah 3:2.Verse 12. - A further characteristic of Messiah's kingdom is here unfolded. No worldly pomp or splendour shall be found in it; its members are not proud, conceited, self-reliant. I will also leave in the midst of thee. I will leave over, as a remnant saved in the judgment (camp. Romans 9:27; Micah 2:12, and the note there). An afflicted and poor people. The two epithets and elsewhere joined together (Job 34:28; Isaiah 26:6) to express the feeling of patience under affliction and inability to help one's self by one's own efforts. The spirit signified is just the contrary of the haughty, complacent, self-satisfied temper previously mentioned (1 Corinthians 1:26; James 2:5). They shall trust in the Name of the Lord. All self-confidence shall be abolished, and the religion of the remnant shall be characterized by quiet trust in God. "Who is a God like Thee? removing guilt and passing over iniquity to the remnant of His inheritance. He retaineth not His anger for ever, for He delighteth in mercy. Micah 7:19. He will have compassion upon us again, tread down our transgressions; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:20. Mayest Thou show truth to Jacob, mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn to our fathers from the days of old." מי אל כּמוך looks back to Exodus 15:11; but whether Micah also plays upon his own name is doubtful. Like the first redemption of Israel out of Egypt, the second or still more glorious redemption of the people of God furnishes an occasion for praising the incomparable nature of the Lord. But whereas in the former Jehovah merely revealed Himself in His incomparable exaltation above all gods, in the restoration of the nation which had been cast out among the heathen because of its sins, and its exaltation among the nations, He now reveals His incomparable nature in grace and compassion. The words נשׂא עון וגו are formed after Exodus 34:6-7, where the Lord, after the falling away of Israel from Him by the worship of the golden calf, reveals Himself to Moses as a gracious and merciful God, who forgives guilt and sin. But this grace and compassion are only fully revealed in the restoration and blessing of the remnant of His nation by Jesus Christ. (For Micah 7:18, see Psalm 103:9.) As One who delighteth in mercy, He will have compassion upon Israel again (yâshūbh used adverbially, as in Hosea 14:8, etc.), will tread down its sins, i.e., conquer their power and tyranny by His compassion, and cast them into the depths of the sea, as He once conquered the tyrant Pharaoh and drowned him in the depths of the sea (Exodus 15:5, Exodus 15:10). This believing assurance then closes with the prayer (tittēn is optative) that the Lord will give His rescued nation truth and mercy ('ĕmeth and chesed, after Ezekiel 34:6), i.e., give them to enjoy, or bestow upon them, what He had sworn to the patriarchs (Genesis 22:16). Abraham and Jacob are mentioned instead of their family (cf. Isaiah 41:8).

With this lofty praise of the Lord, Micah closes not only the last words, but his whole book. The New Testament parallel, as Hengstenberg has correctly observed, is Romans 11:33-36; and the μυστήριον made known by the apostle in Romans 11:25. gives us a view of the object and end of the ways of the Lord with His people.

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