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Zephaniah 2:14

    Zephaniah 2:14 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And flocks shall lie down in the middle of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds; for he shall uncover the cedar work.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And herds shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the pelican and the porcupine shall lodge in the capitals thereof; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he hath laid bare the cedar-work.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And herds will take their rest in the middle of her, all the beasts of the valley: the pelican and the porcupine will make their living-places on the tops of its pillars; the owl will be crying in the window; the raven will be seen on the doorstep.

    Webster's Revision

    And herds shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the pelican and the porcupine shall lodge in the capitals thereof; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he hath laid bare the cedar-work.

    World English Bible

    Herds will lie down in the midst of her, all the animals of the nations. Both the pelican and the porcupine will lodge in its capitals. Their calls will echo through the windows. Desolation will be in the thresholds, for he has laid bare the cedar beams.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And herds shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the pelican and the porcupine shall lodge in the chapiters thereof: their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds; for he hath laid bare the cedar work.

    Clarke's Commentary on Zephaniah 2:14

    And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her - Nineveh was so completely destroyed, that its situation is not at present even known. The present city of Mossoul is supposed to be in the vicinity of the place where this ancient city stood.

    The cormorant קאת kaath; and the bittern, קפד kippod. These Newcome translates, "The pelican and the porcupine."

    Their voice shall sing in the windows - The windows shall be all demolished; wild fowl shall build their nests in them, and shall be seen coming from their sills, and the fine cedar ceilings shall be exposed to the weather, and by and by crumble to dust. See the note on Isaiah 34:11-14 (note), where nearly the same terms are used.

    I have in another place introduced a remarkable couplet quoted by Sir W. Jones from a Persian poet, which speaks of desolation in nearly the same terms.

    "The spider holds the veil in the palace of Caesar:

    The owl stands sentinel in the watchtower of Afrasiab."

    Barnes' Notes on Zephaniah 2:14

    And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her - No desolation is like that of decayed luxury. It preaches the nothingness of man, the fruitlessness of his toils, the fleetingness of his hopes and enjoyments, and their baffling when at their height. Grass in a court or on a once beaten road, much more, in a town, speaks of the passing away of what has been, that man was accustomed to be there, and is not, or is there less than he was. It leaves the feeling of void and forsakenness. But in Nineveh not a few tufts of grass here and there shall betoken desolation, it shall be one wild rank pasture, where "flocks" shall not feed only, but "lie down" as in their fold and continual resting place, not in the outskirts only or suburbs, but in the very center of her life and throng and busy activity, "in the midst of her," and none shall fray them away. So Isaiah had said of the cities of Aroer, "they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down and none shall make them afraid" Isaiah 17:2, and of Judah until its restoration by Christ, that it should be "a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks" (Isaiah 32:14, compare Jeremiah 6:2). And not only those which are wont to be found in some connection with man, but "all the beasts of a nation" , the troops of wild and savage and unclean beasts which shun the dwellings of man or are his enemies, these in troops have their lair there.

    Both the cormorant and the bittern - They may be the same. The pelican retires inland to consume its food. Tristram, Houghton, in Smith's Bible Dictionary, "Pelican" note. It could be a hedgehog.

    Shall lodge in the upper lintels of it. - The "chapiters" (English margin) or capitals of the pillars of the temples and palaces shall lie broken and strewn upon the ground, and among those desolate fragments of her pride shall unclean animals haunt. The pelican has its Hebrew name from vomiting. It vomits up the shells which it had swallowed whole, after they had been opened by the heat of the stomach, and so picks out the animal contained in them , the very image of greediness and uncleanness. It dwells also not in deserts only but near marshes, so that Nineveh is doubly waste.

    A voice shall sing in the windows - In the midst of the desolation, the muteness of the hedgehog and the pensive loneliness of the solitary pelican, the musing spectator is even startled by the gladness of a bird, joyous in the existence which God has given it. Instead of the harmony of music and men-singers and women-singers in their palaces shall be the sweet music of some lonely bird, unconscious that it is sitting "in the windows" of those, at whose name the world grew pale, portions of the outer walls being all which remain of her palaces. "Desolation" shall be "in the thresholds," sitting, as it were, in them; everywhere to be seen in them; the more, because unseen. Desolation is something oppressive; we "feel" its presence. There, as the warder watch and ward at the empty portals, where once was the fullest throng, shall "desolation sit," that no one enter. "For He shall uncover (hath uncovered, English margin) the cedar-work:" in the roofless palaces, the carved "cedar-work" shall be laid open to wind and rain. Any one must have noticed, how piteous and dreary the decay of any house in a town looks, with the torn paper hanging uselessly on its walls. A poet of our own said niche beautiful ruins of a wasted monastery:

    "For the gay beams of lightsome day

    Gild, but to flout the ruins gray."

    But at Nineveh it is one of the mightiest cities of the world which thus lies waste, and the bared "cedar-work" had, in the days of its greatness, been carried off from the despoiled Lebanon or Hermon .

    Wesley's Notes on Zephaniah 2:14

    2:14 All the beasts - All sorts of beasts which are found in those countries. The bittern - A bird that delights in desolate places.