Zephaniah 3:6-10

Zephaniah 3:6 (KJB)

I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant.


The Lord brings to mind for those in Judah what he has done for them in the past.  He has cut off the nations which would be the pagan nations such as Ammon or Moab and soon the Assyrians and later the Babylonians themselves.  The towers which would be on the walls of the cities and be used as a defense were thrown down and were made of no use in defense or offense.  The streets which teemed with people were now a waste place where there was no activity because of the destructions.  God had destroyed their chief cities and turned them all into waste places to the point that no one could live there except the animals who would find refuge among the ruins.


Zephaniah 3:7 (KJB)

I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings.


By bringing these deeds to mind God was trying to get the minds of those in Judah to fear him and in that fear they would receive instruction and would return unto the Lord before the day of judgment came.  God was giving them an opportunity to avoid the coming invasion so they would not be cut off entirely.  God had chastised them in the past especially in the book of Judges where they went into captivity but were not cut off.  However, no matter what God did to bring them back, they did not listen and instead continued in their sinful, rebellious ways.  The term “rise up early” means they had planned rebellion for each day of their lives and were intentionally living opposite the revealed Law of God and that resulted in total depravity which is stated as “corrupted in all their doings.”


Zephaniah 3:8 (KJB)

Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.


The word “therefore” states that since they will not listen to the Lord and has rejected all his chastising, then God will become their enemy and will take them for a prey.  The LORD will take the nation of Judah and will remove them from their land into Babylon but God’s warning is that he is also going to gather all the nations, those who are in league with the Chaldeans and they will also encounter the judging hand of God upon them.  God’s anger will be kindled against the pagan nations.  All the earth will be devoured, in this case, it is not speaking of the entire earth because that will take place on Judgment Day but here God is specifically speaking of the land of Judah which will become a waste place once the people are removed and all their possessions taken for a spoil.


Zephaniah 3:9 (KJB)

For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.


Once God has executed his justice upon Judah for seventy years in captivity, they will be returned to the land and their language shall be pure again, that is, they will no longer be subject to the tongue of the Chaldeans but their language will once again be Hebrew as was spoken in Judah before the captivity.  Then when they return under Haggai they will rebuild the second temple and will once again call upon the name of the Lord and make sacrifices under the requirements of the Mosaic Law.  The word “consent” carries with it the meaning of “shoulder” which is stating that they will serve the Lord and carry burdens with a unified action as one person who bears something on his shoulder.  They will act as one nation again.


Zephaniah 3:10 (KJB)

From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.


God is going to bring the people back from Ethiopia which is the one in Arabia where some of the Jews were taken after the Babylonians took them to Babylon.  They no doubt dispersed them which makes good military sense so there would be no unified uprising and many smaller groups would be easier to handle than one large crowd.  The suppliants are the ones who were praying to the Lord and once they are back in the land they shall bring offerings to the temple once again after it is completed.  This will be done under Cyrus who will defeat the Babylonians and conquer them.