Zephaniah 3:20
At that time I will bring you in; yes, at that time I will gather you. For I will give you fame and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your captives before your very eyes," says the LORD.
The Promise of RestorationJ.S. Candlish Zephaniah 3:9-20
The Moral Restoration of MankindD. Thomas Zephaniah 3:18-20
The Turning Again of Israel's Captivity; Or, Good News for Sin's ExilesT. Whitelaw Zephaniah 3:18-20

I. LIBERTY FOR THE CAPTIVES. "I will deal with all them that afflict thee," etc. Those members of the Israelitish community who were soon to be carried off into exile and enslaved in a foreign land were to be eventually (in the day when God rose up to the prey) rescued from their oppressors and set free from the reproach of slavery which pressed upon them like a heavy burden. So were the members of the human race captives of sin and Satan, and bondmen in a far off land of alienation from Cod, when Christ came to preach deliverance to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that were bound (Isaiah 41:1; Luke 4:18). So are men by nature sin's captives still (John 8:34), and the burden of the gospel message still runs, "If the Son shall make you free, then are ye free indeed" (John 8:36).

II. COMFORT FOR THE SORROWFUL. "I will gather them that sorrow for the solemn assembly." Those about to be exiled in Babylon, especially such among them as should preserve their piety, would regard it as the saddest element in their lot that through banishment they were no longer permitted to take part in the festal assemblies of the nation, in particular in the Feast of Tabernacles, the most joyful of all their celebrations (Hosea 12:10). To them, therefore, it would come "like cold water to a thirsty soul," or "like good news from a far country," that they should afterwards, "at that time," be restored to their religious privileges, and the fellowship with Jehovah which these signified. So men "in sin," being far off from him whose favour and fellowship alone is life, when they first awake to this thought, are filled with sorrow, and mouth after God, after that reconciliation and communion with him in which alone true happiness can be found (Psalm 31:16; Psalm 51:8-12; Psalm 85:4, 6; Psalm 143:7, 8). To all such the gospel promises comfort and consolation (Matthew 5:4).

III. GATHERING FOR THE DISPERSED. Many of Israel's sons and daughters should be scattered into far off lands when Jenovah rose to pour his indignation on the nations (ver. 8). But into whatsoever region they should have wandered, Jehovah would recollect them in the day when he turned again Israel's captivity. So bare men by sin been driven away into many different "far countries" - into conditions of existence where their material environments, dispositions of soul, and habits of life have become widely divergent. But up out of all situations and from all characters God by his grace can bring men who have departed from him and separated from each other, and can form them again into a united community, a holy brotherhood, a spiritual household, a redeemed family. To do this is the aim of the gospel (Ephesians 2:17-22).

IV. GLORY FOR THE SHAMED. Whereas the approaching exile would lead to Israel becoming overwhelmed with dishonour, when the Lord turned again her captivity that dishonour would be wiped out, and she should once more acquire a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth. This certainly was true of the Jewish people, who, for all their humiliation, rose to a position of commanding influence because of her relation to Jehovah and the Christian Church, to which no nation on earth has ever attained; while Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome, her great world-rivals, and frequently her oppressors, have passed away into comparative oblivion. So, if sin turns man's glory into shame, the gospel of Jesus Christ promises to reconvert man's shame into glory; and this it does by giving to the Christian Church a position and power possessed by no other human institution, and by conferring on the individual believer the glory

(1) of a good name;

(2) of an influential life;

(3) of a peaceful end; and

(4) of a blessed future.


1. "Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound" (Psalm 89:15).

2. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). - T.W.

She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord.
There can be no doubt that the city mentioned in the first verse of this chapter is Jerusalem; and if we duly consider the whole description of its moral state, as detailed from vers. 1 to 4 inclusive, we shall be constrained to exclaim, "How is the faithful city become an harlot!" And to confirm this statement, we only need refer to the historical records of the two preceding reigns, to that of Josiah, at the beginning of the latter of which Zephaniah prophesied. Manasseh and Amen, the two preceding kings of Judah referred to, were flagrant idolaters, and filled Jerusalem with impiety, violence, and blood (2 Kings 21:3-6, 11, 16, 19, 22). What a change in that city which had been called "a city of righteousness!" Well, indeed, might Jehovah say, "Shall I not visit far these things, and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" Yes; and He assures them in ver. 8 that He will punish them in an exemplary manner. The timely reformation of good King Josiah, however, averted the stroke for a time; but ultimately "wrath came upon them to the uttermost."


1. Inattention to instruction, "She obeyed not the voice." During the reign of Manasseh, God sent His prophets to remonstrate with the idolatrous king and His people, but they would not hear (2 Chronicles 33:10). Their conduct in this matter seems to have disappointed Jehovah Himself, as is evident from verse 7: "I said thou wilt fear Me, for thou wilt receive instruction, but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings." Truly, then, "They obeyed not the voice." The fact is asserted concerning them, Jeremiah 22:21: "I spake unto thee in thy prosperity, but thou saidst I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not My voice." Ministers preach, conscience reproves, the Holy Spirit strives, and Providence pleads against men; yet do they not hearken nor consider. Furthermore, the text alleges against them —

2. Incorrigibleness. "She received not correction." For the confirmation of this part of the charge let us hear the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah 5:3: "O Lord, are not Thine eyes upon the truth? Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction; they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to .return." And if you would know how severely and repeatedly He had stricken them, read Amos 4:6-11, There you will find that Jehovah had stricken them by want of bread, scarcity of. water, blasting mildew, palmer worms, pestilence, the sword, fire, and destruction; and yet, after all, had to say, "Yet have ye not returned unto Me, saith the Lord." How impervious must have been their hearts to withstand all these corrective measures. Call to mind, "ye hitherto incorrigible sinners, the afflictions, privations, losses, and troubles that have come upon you; still many of you have not yet heard the rod, nor Him that appointed it. Can all these things have come upon you by chance? Is there no meaning in them? He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." "Hear, therefore, and your souls shall live." Again, our text alleges against them —

3. Perfidy, or faithlessness towards God — "She trusted not in the Lord." This stroke makes their moral portraiture darker still. In the days of their fidelity to the God of their forefathers, in seasons of perplexity, they had confided in the all-sufficiency of His wisdom, love, power, and faithfulness. But when they turned aside after other gods, in their straits and national troubles, they looked to man alone for succour and deliverance. Hence they are reproved for this by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 30:1, 3, 15, 16, and Jeremiah 2:18-36). Ah, how anxiously did they rely upon Egypt, Assyria, or any other heathen nation, in time of invasion, instead of trusting in their God. And, alas! is not this the conduct pursued by multitudes in the present day? In times of afflictive visitations they know not God, nor put their trust in Him. They look alone to human prudence and prowess; they "weary themselves in the fire"; but seek not unto Him who alone can save or deliver. But how frequently are they ashamed of their confidence, as was Israel of Egypt. No language can sufficiently describe the turpitude of this defection, from God. Finally, our text alleges against them —

4. Neglect of His worship. "She drew not near to her God." There can be no doubt that by "drawing near to God," His worship is meant (1 Samuel 4:36;. Psalm 73:28; Hebrews 10:22). It appears that in the days of the prophet Isaiah "they drew near with their lips"; but now they had entirely relinquished the worship of Jehovah. Manasseh, and Amon his son, had uprooted the worship of the living and true God, and established the worship of idols instead thereof, having placed images and altars in the very house of the Lord (chap. Zephaniah 1:4, 5; 2 Kings 21:3-7). Thus they "forsook the Lord, and lightly esteemed the Rock of their salvation." Solemn feasts and daily sacrifices to her God no longer graced this city. Well, indeed, might He say, I will go and return to My place till they acknowledge their iniquity" (Hosea 5:15). "I will forsake you" (Jeremiah 23. 33). But what did these backsliders more than is done by multitudes in the present day? Have we need to go far to find those who walk in the same footsteps? First look at the scanty attendance at every place of worship; then visit those synagogues of Satan which abound in our land, and mark the crowds, the bustle, and the business there. We need not ask, do these draw near to God?


1. An awful manifestation of wilful disobedience. The very facts here stated, as well as the manner of their being stated, demonstrate that all this was done by the Israelites contrary to the will of God. The doctrine of human free-agency is here, as in many other places of sacred writ, and also in the daily deportment of millions of transgressors, most decisively and irrefragably demonstrated.

2. A state of dreadful impiety. The allegations contained in the text are at variance with every thing like duty to God. There is no docility, reverence, affiance, nor devotion. Notwithstanding all God had done for that people, thus did they requite Him with hatred and disobedience. So enormous was their guilt that Jehovah exclaims, "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, — I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me." But what shall be said concerning the flagrant impiety of vast numbers in our times? If possible, the latter outdoes the former. If we reflect on the vastly increased facilities we enjoy for knowing and serving God, can we hesitate to entertain this fact?

3. A view of the gradations of apostasy from God. When men depart from God, He reproves them secretly by His Spirit; if they proceed, He chastens them by various means; if they fly from Him still, and put their trust in men, He withdraws His Spirit, and frequently confirmed apostasy is the result. Let this serve as a warning beacon to us; for assuredly it is written for our admonition. Would we avoid this disgraceful conduct we must beware of turning away our ear from the warning voice of the Spirit.

4. A rational vindication of those signal acts of retribution which have fallen on incorrigible sinners at sundry times. Certainly the most appalling calamities have befallen the Jews at sundry times, especially by the Chaldeans and others of their surrounding nations, as well as the Romans. Yes, whenever God has arisen to shake terribly the nations, or sections of His Church, there has certainly been a cause; nor could that cause be other than what is indicated in our text. Apart from the necessary exercises of a probationary state, the unerring wisdom, pure benevolence, and impartial justice of our Sovereign God, necessarily prevent Him from wanton displays of His omnipotent power and terrible majesty. "The just Lord," it was said of old, "is in the midst of us, and He will not do iniquity." Rather than complain, therefore, when "God cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth," be it our care to "stand in awe and sin not"; "to humble ourselves under His mighty hand." Remark —

1. What a caution we have here against apostasy: in effect it says to professors of religion, "awake to righteousness, and sin not."

2. What care and concern does the Almighty manifest in using so many endeavours for the preservation of His followers.

3. What an inducement for sinners to avail themselves of the mercy and forbearance of God.

4. How affecting the expressions of God's regret at the infidelities and apostasies of His people. How pathetic His apostrophy, "Why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

(G. W. Armitage.)

Cush, Jerusalem, Nineveh, Zion
Assembling, Bring, Captivity, Changed, Fate, Fortunes, Gather, Home, Honor, Indeed, Peoples, Praise, Praised, Renown, Renowned, Restore, Says, Turn, Turning, Yea
1. A sharp reproof of Jerusalem for various sins.
8. An exhortation to wait for the restoration of Israel,
14. and to rejoice for their salvation by God.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Zephaniah 3:20

     1431   prophecy, OT methods
     5339   home
     7217   exile, in Babylon
     9165   restoration

Zephaniah 3:8-20

     9220   day of the LORD

Zephaniah 3:19-20

     5878   honour

Zion's Joy and God's
'Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.... 17. He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.'--ZEPHANIAH iii. 14, 17. What a wonderful rush of exuberant gladness there is in these words! The swift, short clauses, the triple invocation in the former verse, the triple promise in the latter, the heaped together synonyms, all help the impression. The very words seem to dance with joy.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Sermon for the Time Present
I am going to begin with the last verse of the text, and work my way upwards. The first; head is, a trying day for God's people. They are sorrowful because a cloud is upon their solemn assembly, and the reproach thereof is a burden. Secondly, we will note a glorious ground of consolation. We read in the seventeenth verse, "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." And, thirdly,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 33: 1887

The Song of his Joy
"He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing."--Zeph. iii. 17. T. P. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 Wondrous joy, Thy joy, Lord Jesus, Deep, eternal, pure, and bright-- Thou alone the Man of Sorrows, Thus couldst tell of joy aright. Lord, we know that joy, that gladness, Which in fulness Thou hast given-- Sharing all that countless treasure, We on earth with Thee in Heaven. ... Even as He went before us Through the wilderness below.
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

A vision of the King.
ONE of the most blessed occupations for the believer is the prayerful searching of God's holy Word to discover there new glories and fresh beauties of Him, who is altogether lovely. Shall we ever find out all which the written Word reveals of Himself and His worthiness? This wonderful theme can never be exhausted. The heart which is devoted to Him and longs through the presence and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be closer to the Lord, to hear and know more of Himself, will always find something
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

The Mystery
Of the Woman dwelling in the Wilderness. The woman delivered of a child, when the dragon was overcome, from thenceforth dwelt in the wilderness, by which is figured the state of the Church, liberated from Pagan tyranny, to the time of the seventh trumpet, and the second Advent of Christ, by the type, not of a latent, invisible, but, as it were, an intermediate condition, like that of the lsraelitish Church journeying in the wilderness, from its departure from Egypt, to its entrance into the land
Joseph Mede—A Key to the Apocalypse

The Angel's Message and Song
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the LORD came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD . And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The rule of obedience being the moral law, comprehended in the Ten Commandments, the next question is: What is the sum of the Ten Commandments? The sum of the Ten Commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.' Deut 6: 5. The duty called for is love, yea, the strength of love, with all
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

John Bunyan on the Terms of Communion and Fellowship of Christians at the Table of the Lord;
COMPRISING I. HIS CONFESSION OF FAITH, AND REASON OF HIS PRACTICE; II. DIFFERENCES ABOUT WATER BAPTISM NO BAR TO COMMUNION; AND III. PEACEABLE PRINCIPLES AND TRUE[1] ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. Reader, these are extraordinary productions that will well repay an attentive perusal. It is the confession of faith of a Christian who had suffered nearly twelve years' imprisonment, under persecution for conscience sake. Shut up with his Bible, you have here the result of a prayerful study of those holy
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Zephaniah 3:20 NIV
Zephaniah 3:20 NLT
Zephaniah 3:20 ESV
Zephaniah 3:20 NASB
Zephaniah 3:20 KJV

Zephaniah 3:20 Bible Apps
Zephaniah 3:20 Parallel
Zephaniah 3:20 Biblia Paralela
Zephaniah 3:20 Chinese Bible
Zephaniah 3:20 French Bible
Zephaniah 3:20 German Bible

Zephaniah 3:20 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Zephaniah 3:19
Top of Page
Top of Page