Zephaniah 3:13
The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.The remnant of Israel - The same poor people, the "true Israel" of whom God said, "I leave over" (the word is the same) "a poor people," few, compared with the rest who were blinded; of whom the Lord said, "I know whom I have chosen" John 13:18. These "shall not do iniquity nor speak lies." Cyril: "This is a spiritual adorning, a most beautiful coronet of glorious virtues. For where meekness and humility are and the desire of righteousness, and the tongue unlearns vain words and sinful speech, and is the instrument of strict truth, there dawns a bright and most perfect virtue. And this beseems those who are in Christ. For the beauty of piety is not seen in the Law, but gleams forth in the power of Evangelic teachings."

Our Lord said of Nathanael, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile" John 1:47, and to the Apostles, "I send you forth as sheep among wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves" Matthew 10:16; and of the first Christians it is said, "they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house did eat their merit with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people" Acts 2:46-47. This is the character of Christians, as such, and it was at first fulfilled; "whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin" 1 John 3:9; "whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" 1 John 5:18. An Apologist, at the close of the second century, could appeal to the Roman Emperor , that no Christian was found among their criminals, "unless it be only as a Christian, or, if he be anything else, he is immediately no longer a Christian. We alone then are innocent! What wonder if this be so, of necessity? And truly of necessity it is so. Taught innocence by God, we both know it perfectly, as being revealed by a perfect Master; and we keep it faithfully, as being committed to us by an Observer, Who may not be despised." : "Being so vast a multitude of men, almost the greater portion of every state, we live silently and modestly, known perhaps more as individuals than as a body, and to be known by no other sign than the reformation of our former sins."

Now in the Church, which "our earth dimm'd eyes behold," we can but say, as in regard to the cessation of war under the Gospel, that God's promises are sure on His part, that still "they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts," that the Gospel is "a power of God unto salvation" Romans 1:16, that "the preaching of the Cross is, unto us which are saved, the power of God" 1 Corinthians 1:18; "unto them that are called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God" 1 Corinthians 1:24; that those who will, "are kept by God through faith unto salvation" 1 Peter 1:5; but that now too "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" Romans 9:6, and that "the faithlessness of man does not make the faith of God of none effect" Romans 3:3. : "The Church of God is universally holy in respect of all, by institutions and administrations of sanctity; the same Church is really holy in this world, in relation to all godly persons contained in it, by a real infused sanctity; the same is farther yet at the same time perfectly holy in reference to the saints departed and admitted to the presence of God; and the same Church shall hereafter be most completely holy in the world to come, when all the members, actually belonging to it, shall be at once perfected in holiness and completed in happiness."

Most fully shall this be fulfilled in the Resurrection. Rup.: "O blessed day of the Resurrection, in whose fullness no one will sin in word or deed! O great and blessed reward to every soul, which, although it hath now "done iniquity" and "spoken falsehood," yet willeth not to do it further! Great and blessed reward, that he shall now receive such. immovableness, as no longer to be able to do iniquity or speak falsehood, since the blessed soul, through the Spirit of everlasting love inseparably united with God its Creator, shall now no more be capable of an evil will!"

For they shall feed - On the hidden manna, Dionysius: "nourished most delicately by the Holy Spirit with inward delights, and spiritual food, the bread of life." In the things of the body too was "distribution made unto every man according as he had need" Acts 4:35. "And they shall lie down" in the green pastures where He foldeth them; "and none shall make them afraid" 1 Peter 1:5, "for they were ready to suffer and to die for the Name of the Lord Jesus" Acts 21:13. "They departed from the presence of the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name" Acts 5:41. Before the Resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit, how great was the fearfulness, unsteadfastness, weakness of the disciples; how great, after the infusion of the Holy Spirit, was their constancy and imperturbableness, it is delightsome to estimate in their Acts," when they "bare His Name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel" Acts 9:15, and he who had been afraid of a little maid, said to the high priest, "We ought to obey God rather than men" Acts 5:29. Cyril: "When Christ the Good Shepherd Who laid down His life for His sheep, shone upon us, we are fed in gardens and pastured among lilies, and lie down in folds; for we are folded in Churches and holy shrines, no one scaring or spoiling us, no wolf assailing nor lion trampling on us, no robber breaking through, no one invading us, to steal and kill and destroy; but we abide in safety and participation of every good, being in charge of Christ the Saviour of all."

13. nor speak lies—worshipping God in truth, and towards man having love without dissimulation. The characteristic of the 144,000 sealed of Israel.

none shall make them afraid—either foreign foe, or unjust prince (Zep 3:3), prophet, or priest (Zep 3:4).

The remnant of Israel, preserved in captivity and dispersion, purified in the furnace of affliction, and now returned to their own land, shall not do iniquity; shall not commit the sins they formerly committed, not provoke God with their abominations as before; it is not a prediction of a sinless, but of a reformed state; they shall be righteous, and taught of God, no more idolaters.

Nor speak lies; they shall love truth, and speak truth, or, in a larger sense, shall be honest and upright amongst men.

A deceitful tongue; a false accuser or witness, like Doeg, or Jezebel’s evidences against Naboth; according to that, Psalm 15:2 24:4.

For they shall feed; or, they shall feed also, &c.; so it will be a blessing added as a crown of their piety and truth. Or if you read it,

for they shall feed, & c., it gives you a reason why they shall not by frauds and lies, as formerly, sin against one another; they shall have a sufficiency by honest ways, and from God’s blessing, and shall not be under any great temptation to dishonesty and lying.

None shall make them afraid: frights made David, Abraham, and others to forget truth; here none should fright them, and they should not fear to speak the truth: their lips pure, Zephaniah 3:9; they trust in the Lord, Zephaniah 3:12; therefore shall not lie. Here is a cluster of spiritual promises with the temporal.

The remnant of Israel, preserved in captivity and dispersion, purified in the furnace of affliction, and now returned to their own land, shall not do iniquity; shall not commit the sins they formerly committed, not provoke God with their abominations as before; it is not a prediction of a sinless, but of a reformed state; they shall be righteous, and taught of God, no more idolaters.

Nor speak lies; they shall love truth, and speak truth, or, in a larger sense, shall be honest and upright amongst men.

A deceitful tongue; a false accuser or witness, like Doeg, or Jezebel’s evidences against Naboth; according to that, Psalm 15:2 24:4.

For they shall feed; or, they shall feed also, &c.; so it will be a blessing added as a crown of their piety and truth. Or if you read it,

for they shall feed, & c., it gives you a reason why they shall not by frauds and lies, as formerly, sin against one another; they shall have a sufficiency by honest ways, and from God’s blessing, and shall not be under any great temptation to dishonesty and lying.

None shall make them afraid: frights made David, Abraham, and others to forget truth; here none should fright them, and they should not fear to speak the truth: their lips pure, Zephaniah 3:9; they trust in the Lord, Zephaniah 3:12; therefore shall not lie. Here is a cluster of spiritual promises with the temporal.

The remnant of Israel, preserved in captivity and dispersion, purified in the furnace of affliction, and now returned to their own land, shall not do iniquity; shall not commit the sins they formerly committed, not provoke God with their abominations as before; it is not a prediction of a sinless, but of a reformed state; they shall be righteous, and taught of God, no more idolaters.

Nor speak lies; they shall love truth, and speak truth, or, in a larger sense, shall be honest and upright amongst men.

A deceitful tongue; a false accuser or witness, like Doeg, or Jezebel’s evidences against Naboth; according to that, Psalm 15:2 24:4.

For they shall feed; or, they shall feed also, &c.; so it will be a blessing added as a crown of their piety and truth. Or if you read it,

for they shall feed, & c., it gives you a reason why they shall not by frauds and lies, as formerly, sin against one another; they shall have a sufficiency by honest ways, and from God’s blessing, and shall not be under any great temptation to dishonesty and lying.

None shall make them afraid: frights made David, Abraham, and others to forget truth; here none should fright them, and they should not fear to speak the truth: their lips pure, Zephaniah 3:9; they trust in the Lord, Zephaniah 3:12; therefore shall not lie. Here is a cluster of spiritual promises with the temporal. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity,.... This is the remnant, according to the election of grace, the few the Lord reserved for himself, left in the land, and in his church, for his own glory; who, being truly convinced of sin, and brought to believe in Christ, should leave and forsake their former course of sinning; not that they should be without sin, or none be committed by them; but should not live in it, and be workers of it; make a trade of sinning, and continue therein; or should not commit the sin against the Holy Ghost, as great numbers of the Jews did, in rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, against clear evidence, and the light of their own consciences:

nor speak lies; in common talk and conversation; which a child of God, a true believer in Christ, a real Christian, should not and dare not do, Isaiah 63:8 or doctrinal lies, lies in hypocrisy; such doctrines as are not of the truth of the Gospel, but contrary to it; such as the doctrine of justification by works; atonement by ceremonial sacrifices; acceptance with God, through the merits of their fathers; and keeping the traditions of the elders; and other Jewish lies and fables of the same stamp; but rejected by those who have embraced the truth, as it is in Jesus:

neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; having clean hearts created and right spirits renewed in them; being Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile, and true followers of Jesus, in whom nothing of this kind could be found:

for they shall feed, like a flock of sheep, to which they may be compared for their innocence and harmlessness, meekness and patience; feed in the fat pastures of the word and ordinances of Christ, under the care and guidance of him the good Shepherd; and so go in and out, and find pasture, food, and fulness of it, in him, his flesh, and blood; in his precious truths, and Gospel provisions made in his house:

and lie down; in green pastures of ordinances, beside the still waters of everlasting love and divine grace, and in the good fold of the church; all which is a reason why they do not and cannot sin as others do; nor tell lies, and be guilty of deceit and falsehood; for they are better taught; and the grace of God, in giving them spiritual food and rest, influences and engages them to such a conduct and behaviour: or, "therefore they shall feed" (o), &c. being truly gracious and sincere souls, who cannot indulge themselves in sin, nor act a false and deceitful part:

and none shall make them afraid; of feeding in those pastures, and lying down in those folds; or shall deter them from an attendance on the word and ordinances; or joining in fellowship with the churches of Christ therein; neither Satan, the roaring lion, nor false teachers, and persecuting tyrants, those grievous wolves, and cruel bears; or so frighten them, that in their fright they shall tell lies, and use deceit.

(o) "ideo", Grotius.

The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. The remnant of Israel] After the great judgment of the day of the Lord, only a remnant shall be left (Joel 2:28-32). The idea that only a remnant shall be saved is common to all the prophets; Isaiah called his son Shear-jashub, “a remnant shall turn,” making him a living sign to king (Isaiah 7:3) and people of his conviction that a great judgment was impending. Cf. Isaiah 10:21-23.

shall not do iniquity] Comp. Zephaniah 3:5, where it is said of the Lord “he doeth no iniquity.” In those days the people shall be like their God. His Spirit within them shall rule their life: Ezekiel 36:25-27.

For they shall feed] The figure is the very common one of flocks feeding and lying down in complete security. Cf. Isaiah 17:2; Ezekiel 34:25; Ezekiel 34:28. The word for does not assign their perfect security from all trouble without as the reason for the righteousness that shall prevail within, though of course security from all external evils would permit and help the peaceable expansion of the community and the growth of religious life among them. The words introduced by for rather restate under another aspect the peaceful and happy condition of the people, already described in Zephaniah 3:12-13 a.Verse 13. - The remnant of Israel (see note on ver. 12). Though they claim no worldly eminence, the true Israelites shall be conspicuous for spiritual graces. Shall not do iniquity. Their acts shall be just and holy; their daily conduct such as becomes the children of God's election (Leviticus 19:2; 1 John 3:9). Nor speak lies. There shall be no lying prophets there, and all fraud and double-dealing shall be abolished. The proof of their righteous conduct is found in the favour of the Lord and the security in which they shall live. For they shall feed, etc. The remnant is compared to a "little fleck" (Luke 12:32), of which the Lord is the Shepherd (comp. Micah 7:14). The blessing is that promised to Israel in the Law if she kept the commandments (Leviticus 26:5, 6). Vers 14-20. - § 3. Israel shall be cam forted and largely blessed by the presence of Jehovah and exalted to honour in the eyes of all the world. "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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