Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Lord. Thus the prophets insinuate that they are not the authors but the ministers of God’s word. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Gather, &c. That is, I will assuredly take away and wholly consume, either by captivity or death, both men and beasts out of this land. (Challoner) — To gather commonly implies a benefit, but the sequel shews that the contrary is here meant. (Worthington) — It often signifies to kill or bury, Jeremias viii. 2. The whole country round Judea to Babylon, shall be a sepulchre for men and beasts, Osee iv. 3. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Sea: the waters and air shall be pestilential. (Haydock) — St. Jerome frequently observes that when a country is depopulated, as the Roman empire was in his days, the most fertile regions were soon abandoned even by beasts and birds. — Meet. Septuagint, “be weak.” Hebrew, “I will gather (Calmet; Protestants, “consume;” Haydock) scandals (or idols) with the wicked.” (Symmachus)
Ver. 4. Baal. Josias had not yet begun his reformation, 4 Kings xxiii. 4. (Calmet) — At least he had not brought it to perfection, though from his infancy he had encouraged religion. (Haydock) — Wardens of the temples of the idols. Ĉdituos, in Hebrew, the Cemarim, that is such as kindle the fires or burn incense. (Challoner) — Literally, “the blacks, (Haydock) or those in black,” whether it alludes to their clothes or to the colour of their bodies, in consequence of their going almost naked. Camilli, which may be derived from this root, (Calmet) cemarim, (Haydock) in Tuscan, signifies priests, or rather (Calmet) children who went naked before them. (Macrob. iii. 8.) — The priests of Baal appeared in this manner, and cut themselves, (3 Kings xviii. 28.) committing great indecencies, while God ordered his ministers to be clothed in white with the utmost gravity. (Calmet) — The very remembrance of such idols and priests shall be abolished, Osee ii. 16. They were designed for the worship of fire. Baal was the sun. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Houses. The roofs were flat. Josias afterwards reformed this abuse, 4 Kings xxiii. 5. (Calmet) — It continued among the Arabs. (Strabo xvii.) — Melchom. The idol of the Ammonites. (Challoner) — Those who join idols with God do not worship Him indeed. (Worthington) — Swearing was an act of religion, Matthew v. 33. God will not allow his glory to be given to another. Such lame worship or divided hearts he rejects, 3 Kings xviii. 21. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Silent. Hebrew has, (Haydock) an interjection, (St. Jerome) like our hush. (Haydock) — This denotes the importance of what he is going to say. — Guests. The blood of the wicked is his victim, Jeremias xlvi. 10., and Ezechiel xxxix. 17. (Calmet) — The day of punishment is commonly styled the day of the Lord, Isaias ii., and 1 Corinthians iii. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Victim. Hebrew, “sacrifice.” But Manuscript 1. Camb. has, “in that day, says the Lord,” eeva nam being substituted for zebach, (Haydock) which is “a very remarkable variation.” In ver. 7, it has Jehovah Elohim printed Adonai Jehovah. (Kennicott) — Princes. After the death of Josias all fell to ruin. His sons were deposed, and led into captivity with the chief nobility and priests, who were richly adorned, and imitated the manners of idolaters, or kept the garments of the poor, Exodus xxii. 26., and Deuteronomy xxii. 5, 11, &c. (Calmet) — All the posterity of Josias was afflicted. Joachaz died in Egypt; Joakim was harassed and put to death; Sedecias taken, and his eyes put out, when his children had been slain. Jechonias, or Joachin, was detained in prison at Babylon for a long time. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Entereth the temple, as if to shew themselves, Amos vi. 1. Hebrew, “jumpeth over,” &c., denoting the Philistines. (Chaldean) (1 Kings v. 5.) (Calmet) — Septuagint, “I will take vengeance on all openly before the gate in that day,” (Haydock) on all who have cast themselves out of the Church. (St. Jerome) — Lord. Hebrew, of their masters with,” &c. This may relate to the Philistines, (Calmet) or to those who made the house of God a place of traffic, (Matthew xxi. 13.) and offered victims unjustly acquired. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Gate, looking towards Joppe. (St. Jerome) — The news of the defeat at Mageddo came this way, or the cries of the Philistines were heard. (Calmet) — Second. A part of the city so called, (Challoner) built by Manasses on the same side of the city, 2 Paralipomenon xxxiii. 14. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. The Morter: (Maktesh) a valley in or near Jerusalem. (Challoner) — All the people shall suffer in the city. (Sanctius) (Tirinus) — Mactes was rendered famous by Samson, (Judges xv. 19.) and was in or near the country of the Philistines, who seem to be designated. The original is variously interpreted. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “of the city cut in pieces, because all the people resemble Chanaan.” (Haydock) Chanaan. So he calls the Jews, from their following the wicked ways of the Chanaanites. (Challoner) — The merchants (Grotius) are confounded, or (Haydock) the Philistines are still meant. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Lamps, with the utmost diligence, (Luke xv. 8.) so that none shall escape even in the most filthy places. (Calmet) — The Romans found many Jews in the common sewers. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vii. 16, 20, and 26.) — Lees. That is, the wealthy, and such as live at their ease, resting upon their riches, like wine upon the lees. (Challoner) — Evil, denying Providence. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Strength. Children or riches. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Near. When all these miseries shall overtake the wicked, (Worthington) after the death of Josias, 4 Kings xxi. 14. (Calmet) — The mighty. Septuagint, “and dreadful, powerful is the day of,” &c. — Meet. Protestants, “cry bitterly.” (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Day, is a day. The repetition elegantly describes the great danger. (Worthington)
Ver. 16. Trumpet, when Nachao came and deposed Joachas.
Ver. 17. Blind. Not knowing what course to take, Deuteronomy xxviii. 29., and Isaias lix. 10. (Calmet) — Such will be the horror preceding judgment. (Haydock)
Ver. 18. Gold. Ezechiel vii. 19. Thus the Medes despised riches, Isaias xiii. 17. (Calmet) — Jealousy. God regarded the synagogue as his spouse. (Menochius) — “If he loved not the soul of man, he would not be jealous of it.” (St. Jerome) (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
For divers enormous sins, the kingdom of Juda is threatened with severe judgment.
1 The word *of the Lord that came to Sophonias, the son of Chusi, the son of Godolias, the son of Amarias, the son of Ezechias, in the days of Josias, the son of Amon, king of Juda.
2 Gathering, I will gather together all things from off the face of the land, saith the Lord:
3 I will gather man, and beast, I will gather the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea: and the ungodly shall meet with ruin: and I will destroy men from off the face of the land, saith the Lord.
4 And I will stretch out my hand upon Juda, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and I will destroy out of this place the remnant of Baal, and the names of the wardens of the temples, with the priests:
5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the tops of houses, and them that adore, and swear by the Lord, and swear by Melchom.
6 And them that turn away from following after the Lord, and that have not sought the Lord, nor searched after him.
7 Be silent before the face of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is near, for the Lord hath prepared a victim, he hath sanctified his guests.
8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the victim of the Lord, that I will visit upon the princes, and upon the king’s sons, and upon all such as are clothed with strange apparel:
9 And I will visit in that day upon every one that entereth arrogantly over the threshold: them that fill the house of the Lord their God with iniquity and deceit.
10 And there shall be in that day, saith the Lord, the noise of a cry from the fish-gate, and a howling from the Second, and a great destruction from the hills.
11 Howl, ye inhabitants of the Morter. All the people of Chanaan is hush, all are cut off that were wrapped up in silver.
12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and will visit upon the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their hearts: The Lord will not do good, nor will he do evil.
13 And their strength shall become a booty, and their houses as a desert: *and they shall build houses, and shall not dwell in them: and they shall plant vineyards, and shall not drink the wine of them.
14 The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and exceeding swift: the voice of the day of the Lord is bitter, the mighty man shall there meet with tribulation.
15 *That day is a day of wrath, a day of tribulation and distress, a day of calamity and misery, a day of darkness and obscurity, a day of clouds and whirlwinds,
16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high bulwarks.
17 And I will distress men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as earth, and their bodies as dung.
18 *Neither shall their silver, and their gold be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord: **all the land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy destruction of all them that dwell in the land.
1: Year of the World about 3404, Year before Christ 600.
13: Amos v. 11.
15: Jeremias xxx. 7.; Joel ii. 11.; Amos v. 18.
18: Ezechiel vii. 19. — ** Sophonias iii. 8.