Zephaniah 3:19
Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Behold, at that time I will undo - (Literally, I deal with . While God punisheth not, He seemeth to sit still Isaiah 18:4, be silent Habakkuk 1:13, asleep Psalm 44:23. Then He shall act, He shall "deal" according to their deserts with "all," evil men or devils, "that afflict thee," His Church. The prophecy looked for a larger fulfillment than the destruction of Jerusalem, since the Romans who, in God's Hands, avenged the blood of His saints, themselves were among those who "afflicted her." "And will save her," the flock or sheep "that halteth" (see Micah 4:6-7), Dionysius: "imperfect in virtue and with trembling faith," "and gather," like a good and tender shepherd, "her that was driven out" (see Isaiah 40:11); scattered and dispersed through persecutions. All infirmities within shall be healed; all troubles without, removed.

And I will get them praise and fame - (Literally, I will make them a praise and a name) "in every land where they have been put to shame." . Throughout the whole world have they been "the offscourings of all things" 1 Corinthians 4:13; throughout the whole world should their praise be, as it is said, "Thou shalt make them princes in all lands" Psalm 45:16. One of themselves saith, "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of this world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are" 1 Corinthians 1:26-28. Rup.: "These He maketh a praise and a name there, where they were without name and dispraised, confounding by them and bringing to nought those wise and strong and mighty, in whose sight they were contemptible."

19. undo—Maurer translates, "I will deal with," that is, as they deserve. Compare Eze 23:25, where the Hebrew is similarly translated. The destruction of Israel's foes precedes Israel's restoration (Isa 66:15, 16).

her that halteth—all that are helpless. Their weakness will be no barrier in the way of My restoring them. So in Ps 35:15, Margin, "halting" is used for adversity. Also Eze 34:16; Mic 4:6, 7.

I will get them praise, &c.—literally, "I will make them (to become) a praise and a name," &c.

shame—(Eze 34:29).

Behold; mark well.

I will undo; I will deal with them, do their work for them, as we say, I will break their power and dissolve their kingdom.

All that afflict thee; Babylonians who afflicted the Jews. and who were undone by Cyrus and his Persians.

I will save her that halteth; who is in great trouble and ready to fall, as Psalm 38:16,17; who is under greatest distress, and hath least strength to bear, or get out.

Driven out; by force of the enemy, carried away captives, and scattered into far remote countries.

Get them praise and fame; vindicate them, as a people that are not rejected of their God, as the people of the great God of heaven and earth, as Psalm 121:2.

In every land; among all people with whom they dwelt as strangers.

Where they have been put to shame; were scorned and reproached as slaves and abjects, whose God could not, or would not, help them, or had cast them off, and none other would take care of them. But now, gathered together by the Lord, they shall appear to be still his peculiar people and his delight.

Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee,.... Or, "I will do" (w); their business for them; "slay" them, as the Vulgate Latin version; and make an entire destruction of them, as the Targum; bring them to utter ruin. This must be understood of antichrist, both eastern and western, the Turk and Pope, and all the antichristian states that have afflicted the Jews, or shall attempt to distress them at the time of their conversion; and will be fulfilled at the time of the pouring out of the seven vials of God's wrath upon them, which will issue in the entire undoing and ruin of them, especially the seventh and last of them; which, when poured out, will clear the world of all the enemies of Christ, his church and people; and because this will be a wonderful event, and of great moment and importance, hence the word "behold" is prefixed to it, as exciting attention, as well as a note of admiration and asseveration: "and I will save her that halteth", that has sinned, and is weak in faith, and cannot walk, at least but haltingly; which is like a lame and maimed sheep, of which there is danger of its being left behind and lost; but the Lord here promises he will take care of such, and save them from all their sins, and out of the hands of all their enemies; and bring them through all difficulties and discouragements into his church, and to their own land; they shall none of them be lost, even the meanest and weakest of them, any more than the healthful and strong:

and gather her that was driven out; even everyone that was scattered abroad in each of the nations of the world; See Gill on Micah 4:6, Micah 4:7,

and I will get them praise and fame in every land, where they have been put to shame; being converted, they shall be spoke well of everywhere; they shall be praised for their ingenuous acknowledgment of their sins; for their sincere repentance of them; and for their faith in Christ, and for their ready submission to his Gospel and ordinances; and the fame of their conversion shall be spread everywhere; and they shall be in great credit and esteem in all Christian countries, where their name has been used for a taunt and a proverb; and so, "instead of their shame", as R. Moses interprets it, they shall have glory and honour in all places.

(w) "agam", Tigurine version; "conficiam", Castalio; "ego conficiens", Calvin; "ego faciens, vel facio", Burkius.

Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will {p} save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every {q} land where they have been put to shame.

(p) I will deliver the Church, which now is afflicted, as in Mic 4:6.

(q) As among the Assyrians and Chaldaeans, who mocked them and put them to shame.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. I will undo all that afflict thee] As R.V., I will deal with all.

I will save her that halteth] The people are spoken of under the metaphor of a flock, in which are some that are lame, and to which belong some that have been driven away. Hence the use of the fem. gender. Comp. Ezekiel 34:16, “I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back again that which was driven away.” Micah 4:6-7.

I will get them praise] As R.V., I will make them (to be) a praise and a name. Jeremiah 33:9, “and this city shall be to me for a name of joy, for a praise and for a glory before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them.” Cf. Jeremiah 13:11. The precise sense is not clear. In the passages in Jer. the people, being righteous and blessed, are the source of praise and renown to Jehovah, whose people they are. But the meaning might be that the people themselves are the object of praise by the nations; Isaiah 61:9; Isaiah 62:7. Both ideas are elsewhere expressed; Jehovah bestows His glory on Israel (Isaiah 60:2), and this glory is reflected back upon Him, and He is glorified in Israel (Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:3; Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 61:3).

In every land … put to shame] A.V. marg., Heb. (every land) of their shame. R.V. renders: whose shame hath been in all the earth. Both renderings are possible, but both are unnatural. R.V. lays an unnatural emphasis upon the pronoun: “I will make them a praise and a name, whose shame,” &c., whereas “them” seems rather to refer back to “her that halteth” and “her that was driven away,” or, to the people generally. On the other hand, the construction assumed by A.V. is ungrammatical, although occasional instances of it appear. The Sept. rightly felt that the natural sense of the passage was: and I will make them a praise and a name in all the earth (Zephaniah 3:20), and so rendered. The Heb. word their shame, still remaining undisposed of in this rendering, the Sept. attached to the next verse: and they shall be ashamed at that time. This is quite unsatisfactory. But the analogy of Zephaniah 3:20, a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth, suggests that the expression their shame is not original.

Verse 19. - I will undo all that afflict thee; I will deal with in punishment (Jeremiah 18:23); Vulgate, "I will slay." The restoration of Israel is preceded by the destruction of the enemies of God and the Church. Septuagint, Ποιῶ ἐν σοὶ ἕνεκέν σου ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ λέγει Κύριος, "Dominus dicet ad Sion, Ecce, ego faciam in te propter te, id est, faciam ultionem tuam" (St. Jerome). Her that halteth (Micah 4:6). The afflicted of Israel, here compared to a lame and footsore flock of sheep. Septuagint, τὴν ἐκπεπιεσμένην, "pressed," like grapes or olives, to extract the juice. Her that was driven out. The exiled and dispersed. I will get them praise and fame; I will make them to be a praise and a name. This is in accordance with the promise in Deuteronomy 26:19. In every land where they have been put to shame; literally, in every land of their shame. The scene of their shame should be the scene of their glorification. The prophet does not consider that the restored theocracy shall be confined to the geographical limits of the Holy Land; he looks to its dissemination throughout the world. Wide as the dispersion itself shall be the diffusion of the knowledge of Goal and the admiration of his doings towards Israel (comp. Zephaniah 2:11; Zephaniah 3:9; Ezekiel 20:41; Ezekiel 28:25; Zechariah 8:23). Zephaniah 3:19"I gather together those that mourn for the festive meeting; they are of thee; reproach presses upon them. Zephaniah 3:19. Behold, at that time I will treat with all thine oppressors, and will save the limping, and gather together that which is dispersed, and make them a praise and a name in every land of their shame. Zephaniah 3:20. At that time will I bring you and gather you in time; for I will make you a name and a praise among all the nations of the earth, when I turn your captivity before your eyes, saith Jehovah." The salvation held up in prospect before the remnant of Israel, which has been refined by the judgments and delivered, was at a very remote distance in Zephaniah's time. The first thing that awaited the nation was the judgment, through which it was to be dispersed among the heathen, according to the testimony of Moses and all the prophets, and to be refined in the furnace of affliction. The ten tribes were already carried away into exile, and Judah was to share the same fate immediately afterwards. In order, therefore, to offer to the pious a firm consolation of hope in the period of suffering that awaited them, and one on which their faith could rest in the midst of tribulation, Zephaniah mentions in conclusion the gathering together of all who pine in misery at a distance from Zion, and who are scattered far and wide, to assure even these of their future participation in the promised salvation. Every clause of Zephaniah 3:18 is difficult. נוּגי is a niphal participle of יגה, with וּ instead of ו, as in Lamentations 1:4, in the sense of to mourn, or be troubled. Mō‛ēd, the time of the feast, when all Israel gathered together to rejoice before Jehovah, as in Hosea 12:10, except that the word is not to be restricted to the feast of tabernacles, but may be understood as relating to all the feasts to which pilgrimages were made. The preposition min is taken by many in the sense of far from; in support of which Hitzig appeals to Lamentations 1:4. But that passage is rather opposed to the application of the meaning referred to, inasmuch as we have מבּלי there, in which min denotes the cause. And this causal signification is to be retained here also, if only because of the close connection between נוּגי and ממּועד, according to which the dependent word can only denote the object or occasion of the nōgâh. Those who are troubled for the festal meeting are they who mourn because they cannot participate in the joy of assembling before the face of the Lord, namely, on account of their banishment into foreign lands. Mimmēkh hâyū, from thee were they, i.e., they have been thine (min expressing descent or origin, as in Isaiah 58:12; Ezra 2:59; Psalm 68:27; and the whole clause containing the reason for their meeting). The explanation given by Anton and Strauss is unsuitable and forced: "They will be away from thee, namely, separated from thee as mourners." In the last clause it is a matter of dispute to what the suffix in עליה refers. The explanation of Strauss, that it refers to Zion, is precluded by the fact that Zion is itself addressed, both in what precedes and what follows, and the thought does not require so rapid a change of persons. It is more natural to refer it to נוּגי, in which case the singular suffix is used collectively as a neuter, like the feminines הצּלעה and הנּדּחה; and the meaning takes this form: a burden upon them, viz., those who mourned for the feasts, was the reproach, sc. of slavery among the heathen (compare Zephaniah 3:19, at the close). Consequently the clause assigns a still further reason for the promise, that they are to be gathered together.

In Zephaniah 3:19, עשׂה with את signifies neither to handle in an evil sense, nor comprimere, conculcare, but to treat or negotiate with a person, as in Ezekiel 23:25 and Ezekiel 17:17, where אות, according to a later usage of the language, is a preposition, and not a sign of the accusative. The more precise definition of the procedure, or of the kind of negotiation, is evident from the context. The reference is to a punitive procedure, or treating in wrath. מענּיך as in Psalm 60:14, the heathen nations who had subjugated Israel. What follows is taken almost verbatim from Micah 4:6; and the last clause points back to Deuteronomy 26:19, to tell the people that the Lord will assuredly realize the glorification promised to the people of His possession, and make Israel an object of praise to the whole earth. בּכל־הארץ בּשׁתּם, in all lands, where they have suffered shame. Boshtâm is epexegetical of hâ'ârets, which governs it; this explains the use of the article with the nomen regens (cf. Ewald, 290, d). In order to paint the glory of the future salvation in still more vivid colours before the eyes of the people, the Lord ends by repeating this promise once more, with a slight change in the words. At that time will I lead you. The indefinite אביא might be expounded from the context, by supplying the place to which God will lead them, after such passages as Isaiah 14:2; Isaiah 43:5. But it is more natural to think of the phrase, to lead out and in, according to Numbers 27:17, and to take אביא as an abbreviation of הוציא והביא, picturing the pastoral fidelity with which the Lord will guide the redeemed. The following words קבּצי אתכם point to this: compare Isaiah 40:11, where the gathering of the lambs is added to the feeding of the flock, to give prominence to the faithful care of the shepherds for the weak and helpless. קבּצי is the infinitive: my gathering you, sc. will take place. The choice of this form is to be traced, as Hitzig supposes, to the endeavour to secure uniformity in the clauses. A fresh reason is then assigned for the promise, by a further allusion to the glorification appointed for the people of God above all the nations of the earth, coupled with the statement that this will take place at the turning of their captivity, i.e., when God shall abolish the misery of His people, and turn it into salvation ("turn the captivity," as in Zephaniah 2:7), and that "before your eyes;" i.e., not that "ye yourselves shall see the salvation, and not merely your children, when they have closed your eyes" (Hitzig) - for such an antithesis would be foreign to the context - but as equivalent to "quite obviously, so that the turn in events stands out before the eye," analogous to "ye will see eye to eye" (Isaiah 52:8; cf. Luke 2:30). This will assuredly take place, for Jehovah has spoken it.

On the fulfilment of this promise, Theodoret observes that "these things were bestowed upon those who came from Babylon, and have been offered to all men since then." This no doubt indicates certain points of the fulfilment, but the principal fulfilment is generalized too much. For although the promise retains its perfect validity in the case of the Christian church, which is gathered out of both Jews and Gentiles, and will receive its final accomplishment in the completion of the kingdom of heaven founded by Christ on the earth, the allusion to the Gentile Christians falls quite into the background in the picture of salvation in Zephaniah 3:11-20, and the prophet's eye is simply directed towards Israel, and the salvation reserved for the rescued ἐκλογὴ τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. But inasmuch as Zephaniah not only announces the judgment upon the whole earth, but also predicts the conversion of the heathen nations to Jehovah the living God (Zephaniah 3:9-10), we must not restrict the description of salvation in Zephaniah 3:11-20 to the people of Israel who were lineally descended from Abraham, and to the remnant of them; but must also regard the Gentiles converted to the living God through Christ as included among them, and must consequently say that the salvation which the Lord will procure through the judgment for the daughter Zion or the remnant of Israel, commenced with the founding of the Christian church by the apostles for Judah and the whole world, and has been gradually unfolded more and more through the spread of the name of the Lord and His worship among all nations, and will be eventually and fully realized at the second coming of Christ, to the last judgment, and to perfect His kingdom in the establishment of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21 and 22). It is true that both the judgment and the salvation of the remnant of Israel seeking Jehovah and His righteousness commenced even before Christ, with the giving up of Judah, together with all the tribes and kingdoms falling within the horizon of Old Testament prophecy, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar and the imperial rulers who followed him; but so far as the question of the fulfilment of our prophecy is concerned, these events come into consideration merely as preliminary stages of and preparations for the times of decision, which commenced with Christ not only for the Jews, but for all nations.

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