THE PROPHECY OF SOPHONIAS.
Sophonias, whose name, saith S. Jerom, signifies "the watchman of the Lord," or "the hidden of the Lord," prophesied in the beginning of the reign of Josias. He was a native of Sarabatha, and of the tribe of Simeon, according to the more general opinion. He prophesied the punishments of the Jews, for their idolatry and other crimes; also the punishments that were to come on divers nations; the coming of Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, the blindness of the Jews, and their conversion towards the end of the world. Ch.
--- Some editions read, Ezechias. H.
--- But this opinion is not well grounded no more than that of the Jews, who assert (C.) that all the ancestors mentioned by the prophets were endued with the prophetic spirit, for which reason Amos specifies none, as he was not the son of a prophet. C. vii. 14. S. Jer.
--- Sophonias appeared a little before Jeremias, Ezec. Bar. and Daniel, foretelling the captivity and return of the two tribes, the destruction of various nations, the conversion of the Gentiles, and of the Jews also towards the end of the world. W.
--- Many of the promises regard only the Christian Church. C.
Ver. 1. Lord. Thus the prophets insinuate that they are not the authors but the ministers of God's word. W.
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. Ch.
--- To gather commonly implies a benefit, but the sequel shews that the contrary is here meant. W.
--- It often signifies to kill or bury. Jer. viii. 2. The whole country round Judea to Babylon, shall be a sepulchre for men and beasts. Osee iv. 3. C.
Ver. 3. Sea: the waters and air shall be pestilential. H.
--- S. Jerom 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. Sept. "be weak." Heb. "I will gather (C. Prot. "consume." H.) scandals (or idols) with the wicked." Sym.
Ver. 4. Baal. Josias had not yet begun his reformation. 4 K. xxiii. 4. C.
--- At least he had not brought it to perfection, though from his infancy he had encouraged religion. H.
--- Wardens of the temples of the idols. Ædituos, in Hebrew, the Cemarim, that is such as kindle the fires or burn incense. Ch.
--- Lit. "the blacks, (H.) 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, (C.) cemarim, (H.) in Tuscan, signifies priests, or rather (C.) children who went naked before them. Macrob. iii. 8.
--- The priests of Baal appeared in this manner, and cut themselves, (3 K. xviii. 28.) committing great indecencies, while God ordered his ministers to be clothed in white with the utmost gravity. C.
--- 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. H.
BaalBaal (1Chron 4:33), probably identical with Baalath Beer Ramath (Josh 19:8; Simeon), poss. Biâr Mãyîn, or Tell el-Lekiyeh, N. of Bersabee. Baal, or Ballath. Jos. xix. 1.
Ver. 5. Houses. The roofs were flat. Josias afterwards reformed this abuse. 4 K. xxiii. 5. C.
--- It continued among the Arabs. Strabo xvii.
--- Melchom. The idol of the Ammonites. Ch.
--- Those who join idols with God do not worship Him indeed. W.
--- Swearing was an act of religion. Mat. v. 33. God will not allow his glory to be given to another. Such lame worship or divided hearts he rejects. 3 K. xviii. 21. C.
Ver. 7. Silent. Heb. has, (H.) an interjection, (S. Jer.) like our hush. H.
--- This denotes the importance of what he is going to say.
--- Guests. The blood of the wicked is his victim. Jer. xlvi. 10. Ezec. xxxix. 17. C.
--- The day of punishment is commonly styled the day of the Lord. Is. ii. and 1 Cor. iii. W.
Ver. 8. Victim. Heb. "sacrifice." But MS. 1. Camb. has, "in that day, says the Lord," eeva nam being substituted for zebach, (H.) which is "a very remarkable variation." In v. 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. Ex. xxii. 26. Deut. xxii. 5. 11. &c. C.
--- All the posterity of Josias was afflicted. Joachaz died in Egypt; Joakim was harassed and put to death; Sedezias 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. W.
Ver. 9. Entereth the temple, as if to shew themselves. Amos vi. 1. Heb. "jumpeth over," &c. denoting the Philistines. Chal. 1 K. v. 5. C.
--- Sept. "I will take vengeance on all openly before the gate in that day," (H.) on all who have cast themselves out of the Church. S. Jer.
--- Lord. Heb. "of their masters with," &c. This may relate to the Philistines, (C.) or to those who made the house of God a place of traffic, (Matt. xxi. 13.) and offered victims unjustly acquired. H.
Ver. 10. Gate, looking towards Joppe. S. Jer.
--- The news of the defeat at Mageddo came this way, or the cries of the Philistines were heard. C.
--- Second. A part of the city so called, (Ch.) built by Manasses on the same side of the city, 2 Par. xxxiii. 14. C.
Ver. 11. The Morter: (Maktesh) a valley in or near Jerusalem. Ch.
--- All the people shall suffer in the city. Sanct. T.
--- Mactes was rendered famous by Samson, (Judg. xv. 19.) and was in or near the country of the Philistines, who seem to be designated. The original is variously interpreted. C.
--- Sept. "of the city cut in pieces, because all the people resemble Chanaan." H.
--- Chanaan. So he calls the Jews, from their following the wicked ways of the Chanaanites. Ch.
--- The merchants (Grot.) are confounded, or (H.) the Philistines are still meant. C.
Ver. 12. Lamps, with the utmost diligence, (Lu. xv. 8.) so that none shall escape even in the most filthy places. C.
--- The Romans found many Jews in the common sewers. Jos. Bel. 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. Ch.
--- Evil, denying Providence. C.
Ver. 13. Strength. Children or riches. H.
Ver. 14. Near. When all these miseries shall overtake the wicked, (W.) after the death of Josias. 4 K. xxi. 14. C.
--- The mighty. Sept. "and dreadful, powerful is the day of," &c.
--- Meet. Prot. "cry bitterly." H.
Ver. 15. Day, is a day. The repetition elegantly describes the great danger. W.
Ver. 16. Trumpet, when Nachao came and deposed Joachas.
Ver. 17. Blind. Not knowing what course to take. Deut. xxviii. 29. Is. lix. 10. C.
--- Such will be the horror preceding judgment. H.
Ver. 18. Gold. Ezek. vii. 19. Thus the Medes despised riches. Is. xiii. 17. C.
--- Jealousy. God regarded the synagogue as his spouse. M.
--- "If he loved not the soul of man, he would not be jealous of it." S. Jer. H.