on Zephaniah 3 :7
Surely thou wilt fear me - After so many displays of my sovereign power and judgments.
But they rose early - And instead of returning to God, they practiced every abomination. They were diligent to find out times and places for their iniquity. This is the worst state of man.
on Zephaniah 3 :7
I said, surely thou wilt fear Me - God speaks of things here, as they are in their own nature. "It could not but be," that in the very presence of the Hand of God, destroying others but as yet sparing them, they must learn to fear Him; they must stand in awe of Him for His judgments on others; they must be in filial fear of Him for His loving longsuffering toward themselves. "Thou 'wilt' receive instruction," corrected and taught through God's correction of others and the lighter judgments on themselves, as Solomon says, "I looked, I set my heart: I saw, I received instruction" Proverbs 24:32. He saith, "receive," making it man's free act. God brings it near, commends it to him, exhorts, entreats, but leaves him the awful power to "receive" or to refuse. God speaks with a wonderful tenderness. "Surely thou 'wilt' stand in awe of Me; thou 'wilt' receive instruction; thou wilt now do what hitherto thou hast refused to do." There was (so to speak) nothing else left for them, in sight of those judgments. He pleads their own interests. The lightning was ready to fall. The prophet had, in vision, seen the enemy within the city. Yet even now God lingers, as it were, "If thou hadst known in this thy day, the things which are for thy peace" Luke 19:42.
So their - (her) dwelling should not be cut off His own holy land which He had given them. A Jew paraphrases , "And He will not cut off their dwellings from the land of the house of My Shechinah" (God's visible presence in glory). Judah, who was before addressed "thou," is now spoken of in the third person, "her;" and this also had wonderful tenderness. It is as though God were musing over her and the blessed fruits of her return to Him; "it shall not be needed to correct her further." "Howsoever I punished them:" literally, "all" (that is, 'all' the offences) "which I visited upon her," as God saith of Himself, "'visiting' the 'sins' of the fathers 'upon' the children" Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18, and this is mostly the meaning of the words "visit upon." Amid and not withstanding all the offences which God had already chastised, He, in His love and compassion, still longeth, not utterly to remove them from His presence, if they would but receive instruction "now;" but they would not. "How often," our Lord says, "would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not" Matthew 23:37. "But indeed," "probably, Of a truth" (it is a word strongly affirming what follows) "they rose early, they corrupted all their doings;" God gave them His warnings, awaited the result; they lost no time, they began with morning light; they hasted to rise, burdened themselves, made sure of having the whole day before them, to - seek God as He had sent His prophets, "rising early and sending them?" Jeremiah 7:13, Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 11:7; Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 29:19.
No, nor even simply to do ill, but of set purpose. to do, not this or that corruptly, but "to corrupt all their doings." Jerome: "They with diligence and eagerness rose early, that, with the same haste wherewith they ought to have returned to Me, they might shew forth in deed what they had conceived amiss in their mind." There are as many aggravations of their sin as there are words. The four Hebrew words bespeak eagerness, willfulness, completeness enormity, in sin. They "rose early," themselves deliberately "corrupted," of their own mind made offensive, "all" their "doings," not slight acts, but "deeds," great works done with a high hand .
on Zephaniah 3 :7
3:7 I said - I thought (speaking after the manner of men). Thou - O Jerusalem. Fear me - For the many and great judgments executed upon others. I punished them - In some measure.