Zephaniah 1:13-18

Zephaniah 1:13 (KJB)

Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.


As a result of their sinful lifestyles, all the possessions they have amassed will become prey or booty for the Chaldeans who will strip Judah of all its wealth from both the king’s palace to the individual homes.  Their homes will be abandoned and will be places of waste.  They shall continue to build houses but the judgment of God will come and they will not have a chance to dwell in the houses they built, instead they will sit dormant and eventually deteriorate.  The same judgment will fall upon their vineyards.  They will plant them with the anticipation of being able to enjoy the wine which they will be able to make from it.  They will be whisked away from their homes and vineyards and not enjoy the results of either their homes or their vineyards.  The Chaldeans will come in and cause ruin to their plans.


Zephaniah 1:14 (KJB)

The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.


The day of the LORD is near and God mentions it twice which means that it is going to happen and that day is rapidly approaching.  “Near” also carries with the meaning of “at hand” which means it is very close and it will be swift.  The word “hasteth” carries with it the meaning of “speedily, quickly, or suddenly.”  The time is so close to their judgment that they literally hear the voice of the LORD warning them of impeding judgment.  The invasion will be so swift and so thorough that the mighty warriors of Judah will not have a time to react and it will result in them either being killed or also going into captivity with the rest of the people and that will cause the mighty men to wail and cry out because of the hopelessness of the situation.


Zephaniah 1:15 (KJB)

That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,


In both verse 15 and 16, God points out specifically the type of day it is going to be as he uses the term “a day of” six times.  First, he states it is going to be a day of wrath which means that the wrath of God is going to come against Judah for living in extremely sinful conditions and not straightening up their ways and as a result the Chaldeans will be the instrument whereby God delivers his wrath on Judah.   Secondly, it is a day of trouble and distress which means times of difficulty and suffering will come upon them when they are removed from their homeland.  Thirdly, it is a day of wasteness and desolation.  The word in the Hebrew for “desolation” is related to a storm and can refer to the desolation or extinction it could bring.  The wasteness will be when the Chaldeans march in and begin to take everything they could possibly carry away.  Fourthly, it will be a day of darkness and gloominess.  The sun may be shining when the Chaldeans come but the atmosphere surrounding Judah’s doom will be that of darkness.  The word “darkness” carries with it the meaning of “misery, sorrow and death.”  The word “gloominess” carries with it the meaning of “despondency or depression.”  Just as a depressed person exudes a gloomy personality, this is the milieu that Judah can expect.  Fifthly, it is a day of clouds and thick darkness.  The word “clouds” carries with to the meaning of a “thunder cloud.”  The thick darkness would be like the darkness which covered the land of Egypt.  Exodus 10:21 (KJV) And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.  The darkness over Judah would be as thick as what covered the land of Egypt.


Zephaniah 1:16 (KJB)

A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.


Sixthly, it will be a day of alarm which will be sounded against all the fortifications in Judah which will have no effect in stopping the Chaldeans.  The high towers were where they stored their weapons to able to get them at a moment’s notice but this time it will be to no avail because they will be overrun by the Chaldeans swiftly and forcibly.  The fenced cities and the high towers were as security blankets for the people of Judah but this time they will be destroyed and no security will exist.


Zephaniah 1:17 (KJB)

And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.


The LORD makes no bones about it in that he names himself as the one who is bringing the judgment upon Judah.  The word “distress” carries with to the meaning of “pangs or vexation.”  In their distress they will be as confused as a blind man who attempts to walk in an unfamiliar place and finds himself stumbling over objects.  That is going to be the condition in Judah as they try to escape the Chaldeans but find themselves in total confusion and disarray.  This was part of the curse God promised Israel if they did not remain obedient to him.  Deuteronomy 28:29 (KJV) And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.  Then the Lord tells them that their blood was going to run as free as the dust.  There was dust all over Judah, on the streets and in the houses and that is how widespread the killing will be when they attempt to resist the Chaldeans.  Their bodies will also lie in many places as dung is used to fertilize the land, so will the bodies of many in Judah will also be spread out throughout the land.  In other words, many will die when the Chaldeans will come into Judah and this was all because they chose to be disobedient to the LORD.


Zephaniah 1:18 (KJB)

Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.


Just as it was customary among many ancient civilizations that tribute was paid to prevent them from being conquered by a bigger empire, that will not happen here.  The day of trying to bribe a conquering king to hopefully avoid the invasion has passed.  This was a decreed judgment by God and no matter how much gold and silver they offered, it would not ameliorate the situation.  The Chaldeans were going to come in and take all the silver and gold along with the people to Babylon.  The first commandment God gave to Israel was not have any gods before him but they took totally to idolatry and God’s jealousy over his people have driven him to bring the fire or wrath of his judgment upon them.  Exodus 20:5 (KJV) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  The entire land of Judah would experience the wrath of God and not just Jerusalem.  God was going to make the judgment of Judah speedily as they would be removed from the land in response to the judgment which God pronounced on them.  There would be no beseeching of the Lord for mercy this time and no promises of obedience would help.  The judgment was set and it would happen when the Lord determined the time.