Summary: Continuing the series through Zephaniah
Zephaniah part 2. Chapter 2. Judgement on Judah’s enemies
The year is 620BC God is speaking to Judah through the prophet Zephaniah a lone voice in a cacophony of competing voices, a minority voice, when others were speaking peace , Zephaniah tells them all to be silent before the Lord’s voice, “Judgement is coming, the Day of the Lord is at hand!” 1:7 (chapters 1 & 2).
• Can we hear it? Do we want to hear it? Are we silent? Before the Lord? For this voice still speaks from among its sacred pages? Prepare yourselves........................
Last week we saw that this lone prophetic voice of impending divine Justice was tempered with a gracious offer 2:3 to those who are humble in the land, who seek righteousness, can be saved; Yet the rebellious who have turned from Gods covenant, reject his laws will come under divine Justice. In the midst of this judgement and grace, we see his judgement is tempered with his covenant love, promising a remnant of the faithful will be saved, will be delivered 2:6-7 provided for, and brought back to the land ( 2:7, 3:20).
Now Zephaniah is turning our attention further away from Judah 1- 3 but upon Judah’s surrounding enemies 2:4-15. And he pronounces that judgement is coming to them
1. Yahweh’s pronounces Judgment upon Judah’s surrounding enemies ( cluster bomb) chapter 2.
God is the Sovereign Lord, God raise up & tears down nations (Psalm 75:7 :Daniel.2:21, John 19:10-11 ) down He raises up strange ministers to bring about his judgment - Assyrians – Israel Northern Kingdom; Babylonians - Upon Judah - Persians destroy the Babylonians – Judah will be a means of Judgement. The Ultimate day of Judgement upon all the nations psalm 110. Gods Eternal Kingdom
a. In years to come this remnant under God will plunder their enemies to the West. ( 2:9) the land of Canaan Gen 12:5 Canaanites were the original inhabitants before the arrival of Israel and then later the philistines).
The Philistines, who had taken the land from Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and to Ekron. Originally sea peoples migrated from the Aegean, Crete hence called Cherethites (5) they were unable to settle in Egypt they move northwards along the Mediterrian coast (Philistia/Canaan),.
From the 13th BC the Philistines were a constant thorn ( 7 Military Battles Saul, David, 10th BC Solomon, Hezekiah) held cities (2:4-5) but they will be deserted, uprooted and destroyed till no-one is left (5) . The land will be taken back, upon the restoration of the people 516BC - 423BC (Zeph. 2:7, Jeremiah 29:14). The Lord is mindful of his people.
b. Judgement also falls upon the nations to the east of Judah, in the Transjordan (2:8 - 10 ) upon the Moabities and the Ammonites descendants of Lot ( result of incestuous relationship with his daughters) they were known as longstanding enemies of Israel frequently opposed Israel (Num 22-24, 1 Sam 11:1-11 2 Kin 1:1). The Ammonites refused passage,(Deut 23:1-4) through the land to the promised land, . Pagan & idolatrous people worshipped Milcom & Molech fire god, babies sacrificed to him, they ripped open pregnant women Amos 1:13 Nahash the Ammonite suggested gauging out eyes of the Israelites as a treaty (1 Sam 11:2) They became Vassal nation under Saul & David’s reign; regrouped and allied themselves after the split of the Kingdoms (Eze 5:15;16:57) they verbally attacked Judah to demoralise them, rebuilding of the walls. ( Neh: 4:1-3) . They too were conquered and destroyed ( Babylonians)
c. V12 -15 Cushites & Assyrians V12 Then further afield South west Egypt was ruled by Cushites, Ethiopian dynasty for two centuries, they would be slain by the sword. Defeat came here in ( 525BC under the Persians) .
V13-14 Finally northwards the formidable Assyrians ( super power) will also be confronted, which had held the middle east in its grip for decades, with its capital city of Ninevah, the exultant and secure city (15b) , would become a desolation ( 612 BC Babylonians)..
2. Yahweh’s pronouncement is verified
a. Yahweh V 9 in his sureness of his judgment given through a solemn oath/promise As I live this strengthens the oath swearing by his own existence (Isa 49:18) using his own name Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel.
• Num 23:19: God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it? God’s Word is against these nations it did come to pass.
• Hebrews6:18 it is impossible for God to lie
Gods Word has been spoken, to the nations, to Judah, He has promised by his own very existence, the sureness of judgement and the certain restoration of a remnant.