Zephaniah 3:16
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear you not: and to Zion, Let not your hands be slack.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zephaniah 3:16-17. In that day — Or, time of restitution, when the captives shall return and be settled in their own land; it shall be said to Jerusalem — By prophets, or by friends congratulating and encouraging them; Fear thou not — Disquiet not yourselves with unnecessary fears, though you may apprehend some danger from Sanballat, Tobiah, and the Samaritans: see Nehemiah 4:1-2; and though you shall have troublesome times, Daniel 9:25. Let not thy hands be slack — In the work of the Lord, in rebuilding the city and temple, and restoring the worship of God. The Lord — Hebrew, Jehovah; thy God — Thine in a covenant never to be repealed or forgotten; in the midst of thee is mighty — He can and will restrain and destroy thine enemies, and support and defend his own people. He will save, &c. — Will deliver thee from thy fears, and thine enemies’ rage. Will rejoice over thee with joy — Will greatly rejoice in thee, and take pleasure in blessing and doing thee good. He will rest in his love — Will continue peculiarly to love thee, and will take satisfaction in so doing. These promises also, in their full sense, belong only to the Christian Church, composed of converted Jews and Gentiles, and shall be completely fulfilled during the millennium, when believers will have, as it were, a heaven on earth.3:14-20 After the promises of taking away sin, follow promises of taking away trouble. When the cause is removed, the effect will cease. What makes a people holy, will make them happy. The precious promises made to the purified people, were to have full accomplishment in the gospel. These verses appear chiefly to relate to the future conversion and restoration of Israel, and the glorious times which are to follow. They show the abundant peace, comfort, and prosperity of the church, in the happy times yet to come. He will save; he will be Jesus; he will answer the name, for he will save his people from their sins. Before the glorious times foretold, believers would be sorrowful, and objects of reproach. But the Lord will save the weakest believer, and cause true Christians to be greatly honoured where they had been treated with contempt. One act of mercy and grace shall serve, both to gather Israel out of their dispersions and to lead them to their own land. Then will God's Israel be made a name and a praise to eternity. The events alone can fully answer the language of this prophecy. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but they may rejoice in God's love. Surely our hearts should honour the Lord, and rejoice in him, when we hear such words of condescension and grace. If now kept from his ordinances, it is our trial and grief; but in due time we shall be gathered into his temple above. The glory and happiness of the believer will be perfect, unchangeable, and eternal, when he is freed from earthly sorrows, and brought to heavenly bliss.In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not - For "perfect love casteth out fear" John 4:18; from where he saith, "Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" Luke 12:32. Who then and what should the Church or the faithful soul fear, since "mightier is He that is in her, than he that is in the world? And to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack," through faint-heartedness (see Hebrews 12:12), but work with all thy might; be ready to do or bear anything; since Christ worketh with, in, by thee, and "in due time we shall reap, if we faint not" Galatians 6:9. 16. Let not thine hands be slack—(Heb 12:12). Do not faint in the work of the Lord. In that day; the day or time of restitution, when the captivity returned shall be settled in their land.

It shall be said; by prophets, or by friends, congratulating them, or by each to other.

To Jerusalem; inhabitants of Jerusalem, the place being put for the people.

Fear thou not; disquiet not yourselves with fears, though you may apprehend some dangers from Sanballat and Tobiah, &c., though troublous times. as Nehemiah 4:1,2 Da 9:25.

Let not thine hands be slack, in the work of the Lord, building the city and temple, and restoring the worship of God; take heart, O ye returned captives, for God your King is with you. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, fear thou not,.... Do not be afraid of any enemies; neither outward ones, the armies of Gog and Magog, the Turk, who will threaten, and will attempt to dispossess them of their land, now returned to it; nor inward and spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, death, and hell, being all vanquished and subdued by Christ: this will be said, not by the enemies themselves, who will confess they have no power to stand before the mighty God, as Aben Ezra; but either by the prophets of the Lord, or by the people themselves, encouraging one another, every man his neighbour, as Kimchi; or rather by the Lord himself, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions supply it,

"the Lord shall say to Jerusalem;''

this will be said at the time of the Jews' conversion, when reinstated in their own land, and shall be threatened with another remove from it, which they will have no reason to fear:

and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack; weak, remiss, hang down through fear of mind, and fainting of spirit; and so unfit to meet the enemy, or perform duty; but, on the contrary, pluck up a good heart, be of good courage, fear not the enemy, be vigorous, active, and diligent, in the performance of the service of the Lord, animated by the following considerations:

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Let not thine hands be slack] that is, hang down, in terror or paralysis. Jeremiah 6:24; Hebrews 12:12.Verse 16. - It shall be said. So obvious to all men shall be the happy and secure, position of Zion under God's favour and rule, that they shall join in bidding her east away fear and exult in the Divine protection. Fear thou not (comp. Matthew 14:27; Matthew 28:5, 10; Luke 12:7, 32). And to Zion. Probably vocative, O Zion. Let not thine hands be slack. Be not despairing or faint hearted, but work with energy and confidence (comp. Isaiah 13:7; Hebrews 12:12); or the sentence may be rendered, "Jerusalem will be called Fear not, and Zion, Let not thine hands be slack." In this case we may compare the names Hephzibah and Beulah given to Jerusalem (Isaiah 62:4), and Jehovah-Tsidkenu (Jeremiah 33:16). The description of the divine justice, and its judicial manifestation on the earth, with which Nahum introduces his prophecy concerning Nineveh, has this double object: first of all, to indicate the connection between the destruction of the capital of the Assyrian empire, which is about to be predicted, and the divine purpose of salvation; and secondly, to cut off at the very outset all doubt as to the realization of this judgment. Nahum 1:2. "A God jealous and taking vengeance is Jehovah; an avenger is Jehovah, and Lord of wrathful fury; an avenger is Jehovah to His adversaries, and He is One keeping wrath to His enemies. Nahum 1:3. Jehovah is long-suffering and of great strength, and He does not acquit of guilt. Jehovah, His way is in the storm and in the tempest, and clouds are the dust of His feet." The prophecy commences with the words with which God expresses the energetic character of His holiness in the decalogue (Exodus 20:5, cf. Exodus 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 5:9; and Joshua 24:19), where we find the form קנּוא for קנּא. Jehovah is a jealous God, who turns the burning zeal of His wrath against them that hate Him (Deuteronomy 6:15). His side of the energy of the divine zeal predominates here, as the following predicate, the three-times repeated נקם, clearly shows. The strengthening of the idea of nōqēm involved in the repetition of it three times (cf. Jeremiah 7:4; Jeremiah 22:29), is increased still further by the apposition ba'al chēmâh, possessor of the wrathful heat, equivalent to the wrathful God (cf. Proverbs 29:22; Proverbs 22:24). The vengeance applies to His adversaries, towards whom He bears ill-will. Nâtar, when predicated of God, as in Leviticus 19:18 and Psalm 103:9, signifies to keep or bear wrath. God does not indeed punish immediately; He is long-suffering (ארך אפּים, Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18, etc.). His long-suffering is not weak indulgence, however, but an emanation from His love and mercy; for He is gedōl-kōăch, great in strength (Numbers 14:17), and does not leave unpunished (נקּה וגו after Exodus 34:7 and Numbers 14:18; see at Exodus 20:7). His great might to punish sinners, He has preserved from of old; His way is in the storm and tempest. With these words Nahum passes over to a description of the manifestations of divine wrath upon sinners in great national judgments which shake the world (שׂערה as in Job 9:17 equals סערה, which is connected with סוּפה in Isaiah 29:6 and Psalm 83:16). These and similar descriptions are founded upon the revelations of God, when bringing Israel out of Egypt, and at the conclusion of the covenant at Sinai, when the Lord came down upon the mountain in clouds, fire, and vapour of smoke (Exodus 19:16-18). Clouds are the dust of His feet. The Lord comes down from heaven in the clouds. As man goes upon the dust, so Jehovah goes upon the clouds.
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