The Book of Zephaniah Bible Study Chapter 2 Part 2

Our next reading is Zephaniah 2:8-15

v8: I have heard: G-d is speaking. G-d is going to respond to this. 

  • Threats against their borders: These people are out of line in regard to how they have treated the Jewish people.

Literally: Verse 9: “’Therefore, I am alive,’ declares the L-rd of hosts, the G-d of Israel. ‘Surely Moab will be like Sodom, and the people of Ammon like Gomorrah – overrun with weeds and saltpits, and an eternal desolation. The remnant of My people shall plunder them, and the remnant of the nations shall inherit them.’” 

I am alive: G-d is living, and He is going to show that He is alive through what He is going to do. The whole purpose of G-d’s judgment it so that it can be unmistakenly seen that G-d is alive. His judgment is not going to be achieved through man-made weapons or nuclear. G-d has no need for our weapons of war. His weapons will be unmistakenly His (the Day of the L-rd commences with the trumpet judgments and ends with the bowl judgments – Rev 8 and Rev 16). 

  • The G-d of Israel: Israel is a Kingdom word. In Romans 9:6, Paul uses the word ‘Israel’ twice but in two very different ways. The first ‘Israel’ is referring to the Jewish people. Paul’s second reference to ‘Israel’ is in regard to the Kingdom people. In other words, not all of the Jewish people, simply because they are Jewish, are going to be Kingdom people. G-d is the G-d of His Kingdom people. 
  • Moab …Ammon: The Moabites and Ammonites did not want to agree with what G-d was up to – His plan and His purpose. For this reason, G-d pronounces a judgment on them.
  • Overrun with weeds and saltpits: The land that was once good and desirable is going to become like a wasteland – good for nothing. 
  • Saltpits: The water is so salty that everything in it dies. This water is not living water. 
  • Eternal desolation: When we do not want to submit to G-d, when we do not want to play a role in His purpose and plans, and instead try to thwart what He is doing, we will find ourselves experiencing judgment. 
  • The remnant of My people: G-d works with the remnant. 
  • Shall plunder…shall inherit: A transfer is going to take place from the nations to the people of G-d – the remnant. 

v10: This: When this word stands alone it is usually talking about a primary or a foundational thing. 

  • Pride: G-d does THIS as an outcome of their pride. Pride, which originates within a man and is not from G-d, is rooted in a desire to exalt oneself. These people (just like their father – satan) wanted to magnify themselves above the people of the L-rd of hosts.
  • The people of the L-rd of hosts: The context (the Day of the L-rd – which happens after the rapture) makes it clear this is not speaking about the New Covenant Believers. Believers will not be on earth when the wrath of G-d falls. Within the context this is referring to G-d’s people Israel. G-d is going to show Himself faithful to His Old Covenant people so that they can be a blessing to the nations, as G-d promised Abraham they would be (Gen 12:3, Ezekiel 37:28). 

v11: Awesome: Literally Terrifying 

  • Reduce: To make thin, to make skinny
  • People shall worship Him: They are going to bow down to Him. Everything and everyone are going to one day acknowledge G-d as the only One worthy of worship (1 Sam 5:1-4, Phil 2:9-10).
  • Each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations: Like the gods are going to bow to G-d, the men are also going to bow – no matter how far away they live. 

v12: Ethiopians: The Ethiopians have a rich history. At one time they were a powerful empire. 

  • You shall be slain by My sword: G-d is going to destroy them (His enemies). 

v13: Note: In the last days, G-d is going to judge all the nations of the earth. 

  • Nineveh: The capital city of Assyria. It was a place of power, of buildings and great wealth. 
  • Dry as the wilderness (desert): G-d’s wrath causes the bounty of Assyria to wither and dry out. 

v14: Herds: Cattle. Livestock.

  • Pelican: There is a debate as to whether this is a pelican or a porcupine. In both instances it is speaking of an unclean animal. 
  • Bittern: A waterbird that has long legs. It is related to the heron. 
  • Lodge (roost) on… her pillars: These unkosher birds are going to dwell in the places that had once been reserved for dignitaries, the wealthy, the powerful.
  • Desolation … at the threshold; … lay bare the cedar work: The prized places are going to be destroyed. 

v15: The rejoicing city: This is still referring to Ninevah. Once upon a time she was viewed as powerful, mighty and wealthy. She had a large military. They never anticipated that G-d’s judgment would come to them. 

  • Dwelt securely: They thought, from a human standpoint, that they were secure from all of their enemies.
  • I am it: She claimed that there was no one else but her. She thought everything was about her. She thought no one else mattered except her.
  • (Whistle): This is not the word for ‘hiss’. It is a word for a unique kind of whistling – a whistle that someone does in unbelief (eg: a whistle that is given when seeing an item priced too high). 

Note: In the same way that G-d destroyed Ninevah, He is going to destroy the antichrist Empire. These empires are both symbolic of wanting what they themselves wanted. They did not (will not) want the things of G-d. 

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