Zephaniah 3:2
She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
3:1-7 The holy God hates sin most in those nearest to him. A sinful state is, and will be, a woful state. Yet they had the tokens of God's presence, and all the advantages of knowing his will, with the strongest reasons to do it; still they persisted in disobedience. Alas, that men often are more active in doing wickedness than believers are in doing good.She obeyed not the Voice - Of God, by the law or the prophets, teaching her His ways; and when, disobeying, He chastened her, "she received not correction," and when He increased His chastisements, she, in the declining age of the state and deepening evil, turned not unto Him, as in the time of the judges, nor ceased to do evil.

In the Lord she trusted not - But in Assyria or Egypt or her idols. Our practical relation to God is summed up in the four words, "Mis-trust self; trust God." Man reverses this, and when "self-trust" has of course failed him, then he "mistrusts God" . "Such rarely ask of God, what they hope they may obtain from man. They strain every nerve of their soul to obtain what they want; canvass, flatter, fawn, bribe, court favor; and betake themselves to God when all human help fails. They would be indebted, not to God, but to their own diligence. For the more they receive of God, the less, they see, can they exalt their own diligence, the more they are bound to thank God, and obey Him the more strictly."

To her God she drew not nigh - Even in trouble, when all draw near unto Him, who are not wholly alien from Him; she drew not near by repentance, by faith hope or love, or by works meet for repentance, but in heart remained far from Him. And yet He was "her" own "God," as He had shown Himself in times past, who changes not, while we change; is faithful to us, while we fail Him; is still our God, while we forget Him; "waits, to have mercy upon us;" shines on us while we interpose our earth-born clouds between us and Him. Dionysius: "Not in body nor in place, but spiritually and inwardly do we approach to the uncircumscribed God," owning Him as our Father, to whom we daily say "Our Father."

2. received not correction—Jerusalem is incurable, obstinately rejecting salutary admonition, and refusing to be reformed by "correction" (Jer 5:3).

trusted not in … Lord—Distrust in the Lord as if He were insufficient, is the parent of all superstitions and wickednesses [Calvin].

drew not near to her God—Though God was specially near to her (De 4:7) as "her God," yet she drew not near to Him, but gratuitously estranged herself from Him.

She obeyed not the voice, of the law, her prophets or her faithful priests, (which were too few, yet some there were.) nor of God, by his mercy and judgments crying loud, warning, inviting, persuading to return.

She received not correction, or instruction, did not learn, would not be instructed; there is a meiosis in the words, she hated instruction, as that wicked one, Psalm 50:17 Proverbs 5:12 13:18.

She trusted not in the Lord; put her confidence in Egypt and Asshur, in any carnal refuges, rather than in her God; in her kings, princes, counsellors, warriors, and confederates, &c.

She drew not near to her God; when revolted did not return, when in distress did not seek him, did not draw near with prayer, &c.

She obeyed not the voice, of the law, her prophets or her faithful priests, (which were too few, yet some there were.) nor of God, by his mercy and judgments crying loud, warning, inviting, persuading to return.

She received not correction, or instruction, did not learn, would not be instructed; there is a meiosis in the words, she hated instruction, as that wicked one, Psalm 50:17 Proverbs 5:12 13:18.

She trusted not in the Lord; put her confidence in Egypt and Asshur, in any carnal refuges, rather than in her God; in her kings, princes, counsellors, warriors, and confederates, &c.

She drew not near to her God; when revolted did not return, when in distress did not seek him, did not draw near with prayer, &c. She obeyed not the voice,.... Of his servants the prophets, as the Targum, by way of explanation, adds, who warned her of her sins and of her ruin. The inhabitants of Jerusalem hearkened not to the voice of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, who gave notice of his coming; nor to the voice of Christ himself, who stretched out his hand all the day to a disobedient and gainsaying people; nor to the voice of his apostles, whose doctrines they contradicted and blasphemed; and put away the word of God from them, thereby judging themselves unworthy of eternal life:

she received not correction; by the rod, by the judgments of God upon her: or "instruction" (y); by the Gospel preached to her inhabitants. So the Targum interprets it,

"she received not doctrine;''

the doctrine of baptism, repentance, and remission of sins, preached by John; but rejected the counsel of God by him against themselves, Luke 7:31 nor the doctrine and instruction of Christ and his apostles, though of more worth than gold and silver; but, on the contrary, slighted and despised it, and rejected it with the utmost contempt:

she trusted not in the Lord; not in the Word of the Lord, as the Targum; the essential Word, Christ Jesus; the Word made flesh, and dwelling among them; they trusted in the law of Moses, and in their obedience to it; in their rites and ceremonies, and in the observance of them, and the traditions of their elders; they trusted in the flesh, in their carnal privileges; in their own legal righteousness, and in themselves, that they were righteous, and despised others; and particularly the righteousness of Christ they submitted not unto; they trusted not in him, nor in that; though they were told, that, if they believed not that he was the Messiah, they should die in their sins:

she drew not near to her God; Immanuel, God manifest in the flesh, who was promised to the Jews, and sent unto them, whom their fathers expected, and whose God he was, and theirs also; being in his human nature of them, and God over all blessed for ever; so far were they from drawing near to him, and embracing, him, that they hid, as it were, their faces from him; they would not come to him for life and light, for grace, righteousness, and salvation; nor even to hear him preach, nor suffer others to do the same; but, as much as in them lay, hindered them from attending his ministry, word, and ordinances. The Targum is,

"she drew not nigh to the worship of her God.''

(y) "institutionem", Drusius, Tarnovius.

She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the LORD; she drew not near to her God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. She obeyed not the voice] i.e. the voice of God by the prophets. Jeremiah 7:23; Jeremiah 22:21.

she received not correction] Or, instruction, Jeremiah 5:3. Comp. Jeremiah 7:28, “This is the nation that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord, nor receiveth correction.” Ch. Jeremiah 32:33.

trusted not in the Lord] Faith was always greatly insisted on by the prophets as the essential thing in religion; Isaiah 7:9, “if ye will not believe ye shall not be established;” Jeremiah 17:7, “Blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord.” Cf. Isaiah 10:20; Isaiah 17:7; Isaiah 30:18.Verse 2. - The voice; i.e. of God, as heard in the Law and at the mouth of his prophets (comp. Jeremiah 7:24, etc.; Jeremiah 9:13). Received not correction. They took not to heart the chastisements sent upon them, and did not profit by them. She trusted not in the Lord, but in man. When danger threatened, she relied on human aid, made alliances with the heathen, or else had recourse to idols and prayed for help to false gods, as the next clause complains. She drew not near to her God. She broke the covenant which she had made, would not avail herself of the privilege bestowed upon her, and had no intercourse with the Lord in prayer and worship. "The wrath of Jehovah shall I bear, for I have sinned against Him, till He shall fight my fight, and secure my right. He will bring me forth to the light; I shall behold His righteousness. Micah 7:10. And may my enemy see it, and shame cover her, who hath said to me, Where is Jehovah thy God? Mine eyes will see it; now will she be for a treading down, like mire of the streets." Confidence in the help of the Lord flows from the consciousness, that the wretchedness and sufferings are a merited punishment for the sins. This consciousness and feeling generate patience and hope: patience to bear the wrath of God manifesting itself in the sufferings; hope that the sufferings, as inflicted by the righteous God, will cease as soon as the divine justice has been satisfied. Za‛aph: lit., the foaming up of wrath (Isaiah 30:30); hence strong wrath. This the church will bear, till the Lord conducts its conflict and secures its rights. ריבי is the judicial conflict between Israel and the heathen power of the world. Although, for example, God had given up His nation to the power of its enemies, the nations of the world, on account of its sins, so that they accomplished the will of God, by destroying the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and carrying away the people into exile; yet they grew proud of their own might in so doing, and did not recognise themselves as instruments of punishment in the hand of the Lord, but attributed their victories to the power of their own arm, and even aimed at the destruction of Israel, with scornful defiance of the living God (cf. Isaiah 10:5-15; Habakkuk 1:11). Thus they violated the rights of Israel, so that the Lord was obliged to conduct the contest of His people with the heathen, and secure the rights of Israel by the overthrow of the heathen power of the world. For ריב ריבי, see Psalm 43:1; for עשׂה משׁפּט, Psalm 9:4-5; and for the fact itself, Isaiah 49:25; Isaiah 51:22. Mishpât is Israel's right, in opposition to the powers of the world, who would destroy it. The following word יוציאני is not governed by עד אשׁר, as the absence of the copula Vav shows. With these words the hope takes the form of the certain assurance that the Lord will remove the distress, and let Israel see His righteousness. Tsedâqâh is the righteousness of God revealing itself in the forgiveness and restoration of Israel to favour; like tsedâqōth in Micah 6:5 : in actual fact, the salvation of Israel about to be secured, regarded as an emanation of the righteousness of the covenant God; hence parallel to אור. ראה with ב, to look at, so that one penetrates, as it were, into an object, seeing with feasting of the eyes (so also in Micah 7:10). This exaltation of Israel to new salvation it is hoped that the enemy will see (ותרא, opt.), and be covered with shame; for the power of the world is overthrown, in order that Israel may be redeemed out of its power. This desire is a just one, because the enemy has despised the Lord God. For the expression, "Where is Jehovah thy God?" compare Joel 2:17. And Israel will see its fulfilment (תּראינּה with Nun doubled after a sharpened ; see Ewald, 198, a). ‛Attâh, now (seeing the future in spirit, as having already come), the enemy will be trodden down like mire of the streets (for this figure, see Isaiah 10:6).
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