Zephaniah 2:1-5

Zephaniah 2:1 (KJB) Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;


Here God is giving Judah a glimmer of hope that judgment may be avoided as he tells them to gather themselves together and then repeats it.  Joel 1:14 (KJV) Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD,  Just like in the book of Joel God tells Judah to gather together and fast.  Then they are called a nation not desired which means they were and are unwilling to change their ways and return unto the Lord.  God wanted them to search out their ways and see how rebellious they had become so they could repent and turn back but they did not.


Zephaniah 2:2 (KJB)

Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.


Before the decree brings forth the judgement that the Babylonians will bring on the nation of Judah.  Before the day passes as the chaff which refers to the swiftness of which the judgment will come.  It is like in the winnowing process when the wheat and chaff are both thrown into the air, the chaff is taken away swiftly by the wind and that is how fast Judah will be subjected to the decree.   Then they will face the fierce anger of the Lord which means that the Babylonians will be the instruments of God’s anger upon Judah if they continue to refuse to turn back to the Lord.  The word “fierce” carries with it the meaning of “fury, burning, or wrath.”  God again repeats the warning and request that they return to the Lord before his anger is ignited on Judah.


Zephaniah 2:3 (KJB)

Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.


Here God is telling them to seek the LORD, that is, the meek and humble among them because God does not dwell among the prideful or arrogant but among the humble.  Isaiah 57:15 (KJV) For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  He counsels them to seek righteousness, that is, to turn from the idolatry and all the sinful ways and do a complete turn around and to seek the Lord.  Then he counsels them to seek meekness which is gentleness or humility.  They have been acting very evil and haughty toward each other but the Lord wants those attitudes removed from Judah.  If they return in quiet humility, then those who have repented of their ways will be spared of the judgment that will come upon the whole nation.  They will be hid as the Christian is hid in Christ (Colossians 3:3) and will never come into judgment, so those Israelites who come back to the Lord will be protected from the coming onslaught.


Zephaniah 2:4 (KJB)

For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.


God is now telling those in Judah that not only will they be destroyed, but all the pagan nations which surround them will also be destroyed.  Gaza was a chief fortified city of the Philistines and it was located in the south to prevent any attacks from Egypt.  Ashkelon was north of Gaza on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.  Ashdod was also on the coast and about 13 miles (21 km) north of Ashkelon.  Ekron was about 15 miles (24 km) east of Ashkelon.  God pronounces four judgments against these cities of the Philistines.  Gaza will become a waste place or a place of refuse.  Askelon will become a city of devastation or ruin.  Ashdod will be attacked and the inhabitants of it will be taken captive in the noon day which refers to either the time of day the people will be taken captive or noon is the brightest time of day referring to the fact that Ashdod may be taken at the height of its strength or power.  Ekron will be rooted up as one plucks up a plant out of the ground and only leaves a hole where the plant was growing.  Ekron will be the same way as it will be plucked or rooted up.


Zephaniah 2:5 (KJB)

Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.


The Philistine cities were all along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and that is why a woe is being called upon the people of the sea coast.  The Cherethites were sea people and were associated with the island of Crete.  They were valiant men who even guarded King David but they had become enemies and malicious toward their neighbors and that is why the word of the LORD was totally against them too.  Then Canaan which was part of the Philistine empire that was kept from the Jews.  It was a low maritime plain as the name Canaan means “low-lying ground.”  The Philistines may have kept it back from the Jews but God states that he is going to destroy it to the point that there will be no one living there or able to live there.