Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Zephaniah
Book: Zephaniah
Chapter: 3

Further reproofs for Sin. (1-7) Encouragement to look for
Mercy. (8-13) Promises of future favour and prosperity. (14-20)

1-7 The holy God hates Sin most in those nearest to him. A
sinful state is, and will be, a woeful 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.

8-13 The preaching of the Gospel is predicted, when vengeance
would be executed On the Jewish nation. The purifying doctrines
of the Gospel, or the pure language of the Grace of the Lord,
would teach men to use the language of Humility, Repentance, and
Faith. Purity and Piety in common Conversation is good. The pure
and happy state of the Church in the latter days seems intended.
The Lord will shut out boasting, and leave men nothing to Glory
in, save the Lord Jesus, as made of God to them Wisdom,
Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption. Humiliation for
Sin, and obligations to the Redeemer, will make true believers
upright and sincere, whatever may be the case among mere

14-20 After the promises of taking away Sin, follow promises of
taking away trouble. When the cause is removed, the effect will
cease. What makes a people holy, will make them happy. The
precious promises made to the purified people, were to have full
accomplishment in the Gospel. These verses appear chiefly to
relate to the future Conversion and restoration of Israel, and
the glorious times which are to follow. They show the abundant
peace, comfort, and prosperity of the Church, in the happy times
yet to come. He will save; he will be Jesus; he will answer the
name, for he will save his people from their sins. Before the
glorious times foretold, believers would be sorrowful, and
objects of reproach. But the Lord will save the weakest
believer, and cause true Christians to be greatly honoured where
they had been treated with contempt. One act of Mercy and Grace
shall serve, both to gather Israel out of their dispersions and
to lead them to their own land. Then will God's Israel be made a
name and a praise to eternity. The events alone can fully answer
the language of this Prophecy. Many are the troubles of the
righteous, but they may rejoice in God's Love. Surely our hearts
should honour the Lord, and rejoice in him, when we hear such
words of condescension and Grace. If now kept from his
ordinances, it is our trial and grief; but in due time we shall
be gathered into his Temple above. The Glory and happiness of
the believer will be perfect, unchangeable, and eternal, when he
is freed from earthly sorrows, and brought to heavenly bliss.