Zephaniah 1:7-12

Zephaniah 1:7 (KJB)

Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.


Now since the people wanted to inquire of the false gods, they are now told to be quiet because the day of speaking is now over.  The time of seeking false gods has now come to an end and the day of the LORD is at hand.  This is not speaking of Judgment Day on the last day but is speaking about the day of judgment for Judah which is soon to happen when they are taken to Babylon for 70 years of captivity.  When he speaks of a sacrifice, it is speaking of the fact that justice will be exacted for their rebellion.  The guests he has bid is the whole nation of Babylon who will exact the judgment for God. Those who do not have a Savior must pay for their own sins and since Judah was now under the judgment of God for their sins, they must now pay the penalty which God has decreed.


Zephaniah 1:8 (KJB)

And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.


The day of the LORD’S sacrifice will not be as the temple sacrifices under the Law of Moses but it will be the sacrifice which the Lord prepared in the previous verse, that is, the nation of Judah.  Here in this verse God is openly stating that the judgment is also going to come on the royal household, that is, the king’s own family is going to pay the price for helping to lead the people into idolatry.  Exodus 39:27-29 (KJV) And they made coats of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons,  {28} And a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen,  {29} And a girdle of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, of needlework; as the LORD commanded Moses.  When God was beginning to give the law to Moses he had laid out the apparel which the priests were to wear.  They were to be simple clothes as we read in Exodus 39:27-29 but in Zephaniah God is also going to punish those who were wearing strange apparel which would be the priests and the royal household dressing in worldly apparel.  They started imitating the clothing of the pagan nations such as Egypt and Babylon but with it came the idolatry and that is why they are being judged.


Zephaniah 1:9 (KJB)

In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit.


A threshold is like an entrance such as a doorway or a door.  A new husband carries his wife over the threshold.  When God made a judgment upon Dagon of the Philistines, the idol was broken and lay on the threshold of its temple.  This happened because they placed the Ark of the Covenant next to the statue of Dagon.  1 Samuel 5:4-5 (KJV) And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.  {5} Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.  So from that day forward, neither the priests or the worshippers of Dagon would dare step on the threshold of their temple, instead they would step over it.  The custom was picked up by the idolatrous Jews in Judah who had taken up worship of the false gods.  It may not have been Dagon but God did mention Milcom which they probably built an idol to. 


Then they not only adopted a pagan ritual in leaping over the threshold but they also began to plunder their master’s houses, probably stating they had fines to pay along with false accusations. Of course, these were all done so they could just build their personal wealth whomever did it whether it be servants or the false priests.  Both Ezekiel and Habakkuk had condemned the practice.


Ezekiel 45:9-10 (KJV) Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD.  {10} Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath.


Habakkuk 1:3 (KJV) Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.


Zephaniah 1:10 (KJB)

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills.


God now states that within the time Judah is being besieged by Babylon, the following will occur.  The fish gate was on the west side of Jerusalem and that is the gate that fish was brought into the city and led to Joppa and Diospolis.  The great cry from the fish gate will be when the Babylonians will enter the city of Jerusalem and begin the plunder and captivity.  The second gate was in the second wall of Jerusalem which was fortified with three walls.  It was north of the temple which opened to the main part of the city. The howling could be a great cry or lamentation which would emanate from this second gate.  The great crashing was the complete destruction of Jerusalem because the hills was a district within Jerusalem and since invasions would normally come from the northern part of the city, the crashing would signify a complete destruction of the city.  “Crashing” carries with it the meaning of “destruction or vexation.”


Zephaniah 1:11 (KJB)

Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.


Maktesh is a proper noun and actually means “mortar.”  It is used to designate a place in Jerusalem.  A mortar was something which was used to grind up material in with a pestle.  We have seen that in pharmacies where they grind up materials to make a certain medicine.  Apparently Maktesh was an area in Jerusalem where there was much business conducted, probably like it was the financial district but now it is going to become like a mortar in that everything within it is going to become like powder which means that the city of Jerusalem will experience total destruction.  The silver traders who would carry much money into Jerusalem are being totally cut off because they would no longer bring their goods into the city because they would be stolen by the Chaldeans and afterward the city would be vacant and no traders would be available.  Jerusalem would be destroyed both physically and financially breaking the back of the economy.


Zephaniah 1:12 (KJB)

And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.


When the Lord states that he will search Jerusalem with candles it means that he is going to bring to light all the sins that are committed in Jerusalem.  Hebrews 4:13 (KJV) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.  Nothing is hidden from the Lord and he will make known all the sins that he is going to punish Jerusalem for.  The small sins as well as the big sins are just as heinous in his sight.  The men settled on their lees refers to the sediment of a liquor during fermentation.  They grow thick and settled like the men who refuse to change their ways and continue to sin making them hard and unwilling to change their ways.  They believed that the Lord would remain neutral and inactive and that he would not punish them or reward them.  They will soon see the errors of their ways when the Chaldeans invade Judah and then they will know that the Lord will do something about their sins.