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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Tzefaniah - Zephaniah - Chapter 2

Tzefaniah - Zephaniah - Chapter 2

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 2

1. Gather yourselves together! Yea, gather together, O nation that has no desire,   א. הִתְקוֹשְׁשׁוּ וָקוֹשּׁוּ הַגּוֹי לֹא נִכְסָף:
Gather yourselves together: Gather and assemble together as in (Exod. 5:12) “To Gather a gathering.”  
gather together: your deeds. Conform your deeds to the will of Your Maker.  
O nation that has no desire: That has no desire to return to the Torah.  
2. before the decree is born, as chaff that passes..the sun; before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you; before the day of the Lord's anger comes upon you.   ב. בְּטֶרֶם לֶדֶת חֹק כְּמוֹץ עָבַר יוֹם בְּטֶרֶם | לֹא יָבוֹא עֲלֵיכֶם חֲרוֹן אַף יְהֹוָה בְּטֶרֶם לֹא יָבוֹא עֲלֵיכֶם יוֹם אַף יְהֹוָה:
before the decree is born: Before the arrival of the decree.  
as chaff that passes… the sun: This is an ellipsis for, “As chaff that passes from before the wind, and as smoke that passes from before the sun.” This is the translation of עָבַר יוֹם, that passes the sun. In this manner, Jonathan renders: And you shall be like the chaff that the wind blows, like smoke that passes from before the sun. Another version: and like the shadow that passes, etc.; this is an expression of a shadow.  
3. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who executed His judgment; Seek righteousness, seek humility! Perhaps you will be concealed on the day of the Lord's wrath.   ג. בַּקְּשׁוּ אֶת יְהֹוָה כָּל עַנְוֵי הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר מִשְׁפָּטוֹ פָּעָלוּ בַּקְּשׁוּ צֶדֶק בַּקְּשׁוּ עֲנָוָה אוּלַי תִּסָּתְרוּ בְּיוֹם אַף יְהֹוָה:
4. For Gaza shall be deserted, and Ashkelon shall become wasteland. Ashdod-At noon they shall drive her out, and Ekron shall be uprooted.   ד. כִּי עַזָּה עֲזוּבָה תִהְיֶה וְאַשְׁקְלוֹן לִשְׁמָמָה אַשְׁדּוֹד בַּצָּהֳרַיִם יְגָרְשׁוּהָ וְעֶקְרוֹן תֵּעָקֵר:
For Gaza shall be deserted: For, if you will do so, [as in verse 1,] I will visit retribution upon your evil neighbors; Philistia, Ammon, and Moab. The prophet proceeds to mention them [the neighbors] in [geographical] order.  
Ashdod at noon they shall drive her out: Her name is Ashdod, and, at noon, when the destruction wastes, they shall drive her out, and she shall be plundered. Another explanation. At noon they shall drive her out. [Ashdod] was a place to pasture sheep, and it is hard for the sheep to go out at noontime; so Scripture says (Song 1:7): “How do you make them lie down at noon?”  
5. Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of Cherethites! The word of the Lord is against you, Canaan land of the Philistines, and I will destroy you so that there shall not be an inhabitant.   ה. הוֹי יֹשְׁבֵי חֶבֶל הַיָּם גּוֹי כְּרֵתִים דְּבַר יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיכֶם כְּנַעַן אֶרֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּים וְהַאֲבַדְתִּיךְ מֵאֵין יוֹשֵׁב:
the seacoast: the border of the sea. The expression חֶבֶל is a measure of land that they measured with a rope, i.e., those close to the sea.  
the nation of Cherethites: the people liable to destruction. Who are the inhabitants of the seacoast of Canaan, the land of the Philistines? The Philistines, who dwell on the coast of the western sea, in the west of Eretz lsrael, within its boundaries. Although Jonathan explains this phrase homiletically as [the nation of] destruction, the nation of the Cherethites is a province of the Philistines; its name is Cherethi. So Scripture states (I Sam. 30:14) regarding Ziklag: “We made a raid upon the south of the Cherethites, etc.” Jonathan translates: on the south of Cherethi. Below (ibid. 30:16) it is written: “Because of all the great spoil which they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.”  
6. And the seacoast shall be breakfast nooks for shepherds and sheepfolds.   ו. וְהָיְתָה חֶבֶל הַיָּם נְוֹת כְּרֹת רֹעִים וְגִדְרוֹת צֹאן:
breakfast nooks for shepherds: a temporary dwelling where the shepherds eat bread in the morning. כְּרֹת is an expression related to (II Kings 6:23) “He prepared for them a lavish feast.”  
7. And it shall be a lot for the remnant of the house of Judah, whereupon they shall pasture. In the houses of Ashkelon they shall lie down in the evening, for the Lord their God shall visit upon them and return their captivity.   ז. וְהָיָה חֶבֶל לִשְׁאֵרִית בֵּית יְהוּדָה עֲלֵיהֶם יִרְעוּן בְּבָתֵּי אַשְׁקְלוֹן בָּעֶרֶב יִרְבָּצוּן כִּי יִפְקְדֵם יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וְשָׁב שְׁבִיתָם:
And it shall be a lot for the remnant of the house of Judah: And that border shall be a lot for the remnant. This חֶבֶל is an expression of a lot. In this manner, Jonathan rendered: And it shall be a lot for the remnant of the house of Judah.  
8. I heard the taunts of Moab and the jeers of the children of Ammon, who taunted My people, and they aggrandized themselves on their border.   ח. שָׁמַעְתִּי חֶרְפַּת מוֹאָב וְגִדֻּפֵי בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ אֶת עַמִּי וַיַּגְדִּילוּ עַל גְּבוּלָם:
who taunted My people: When [the people of] Israel were being led into exile toward the land of the Chaldeans, and they were passing through Ammon and Moab, and they would see Israel weeping, sighing, and crying out, they would taunt them and say, “Why are you suffering? Aren’t you going to your father’s house? Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the river from earliest times.” (Josh. 24:2)  
and they aggrandized themselves on their border: And they acted haughtily on their border.  
9. Therefore, as I live-says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel-for Moab shall be like Sodom, and the children of Ammon like Gemorrah; a rattling of nettles, and a salt mine, and desolation forever. The remnant of My people shall plunder them, and the remnant of My nation shall inherit them.   ט. לָכֵן חַי אָנִי נְאֻם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי מוֹאָב כִּסְדֹם תִּהְיֶה וּבְנֵי עַמּוֹן כַּעֲמֹרָה מִמְשַׁק חָרוּל וּמִכְרֵה מֶלַח וּשְׁמָמָה עַד עוֹלָם שְׁאֵרִית עַמִּי יְבָזּוּם וְיֶתֶר גּוֹיִ יִנְחָלוּם:
for Moab shall be like Sodom: You, too, shall return to your previous dwelling. Was not your father, Lot, from Sodom?  
a rattling of nettles: The sound made by the nettles growing there because there are no passersby, and they knock against each other and make sounds.  
and a salt mine: a place for digging salt.  
10. They shall have this instead of their haughtiness, for they taunted and aggrandized themselves over the people of the Lord of Hosts.   י. זֹאת לָהֶם תַּחַת גְּאוֹנָם כִּי חֵרְפוּ וַיַּגְדִּלוּ עַל עַם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת:
11. The Lord shall be feared by them, for He weakened all the gods of the earth. And every man shall prostrate himself to Him from his place, all the isles of the nations.   יא. נוֹרָא יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיהֶם כִּי רָזָה אֵת כָּל אֱלֹהֵי הָאָרֶץ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לוֹ אִישׁ מִמְּקוֹמוֹ כֹּל אִיֵּי הַגּוֹיִם:
for He weakened: He weakened their strength.  
and… shall prostrate himself to Him: when they see that their deity has deteriorated.  
12. You, too, Cushites-they are the slain of My sword.   יב. גַּם אַתֶּם כּוּשִׁים חַלְלֵי חַרְבִּי הֵמָּה:
You, too, Cushites: When Israel was exiled there to the other side of the rivets of Cush.  
13. And He shall incline His hand on the north, and destroy Assyria and make Nineveh desolate wasteland like the desert.   יג. וְיֵט יָדוֹ עַל צָפוֹן וִיאַבֵּד אֶת אַשּׁוּר וְיָשֵׂם אֶת נִינְוֵה לִשְׁמָמָה צִיָּה כַּמִּדְבָּר:
on the north: Assyria is on the north, neighboring on Babylon.  
Nineveh: That is the capital of Assyria.  
14. And flocks shall lie down in its midst, all the beasts of the nations. Also, both the pelican and the owl shall lodge in its lintels. Their voice shall sing in the window; desolation, in the doorpost-for the cedarwork has been destroyed.   יד. וְרָבְצוּ בְתוֹכָהּ עֲדָרִים כָּל חַיְתוֹ גוֹי גַּם קָאַת גַּם קִפֹּד בְּכַפְתֹּרֶיהָ יָלִינוּ קוֹל יְשׁוֹרֵר בַּחַלּוֹן חֹרֶב בַּסַּף כִּי אַרְזָה עֵרָה:
all the beasts of the nations: all the cattle of the nations.  
the pelican and the owl: birds.  
owl: a bird that flies at night (chouette in French), an owl.  
in its lintels: rounded knobs on the top of the roof; pomels in French.  
Their voice shall sing in the window: The voice of the birds chirping in the windows.  
desolation, in the doorpost: The desolation shall be discernible in the doorposts of the house.  
for the cedarwork has been destroyed: For he has uprooted its cedars, as in (Ps. 137:7) “Raze it, raze it.” Jonathan rendered: And they demolished its roof. That is the roof of the house that is ceiled with cedar; even stone houses are ceiled with boards of wood.  
15. This is the joyful city, dwelling securely, saying to herself, "I am, and there is none besides me." How did it become desolate, a resting place for the beasts? Yea, everyone who passes by her shall hiss and wave his hand.   טו. זֹאת הָעִיר הָעַלִּיזָה הַיּוֹשֶׁבֶת לָבֶטַח הָאֹמְרָה בִּלְבָבָהּ אֲנִי וְאַפְסִי עוֹד אֵיךְ | הָיְתָה לְשַׁמָּה מַרְבֵּץ לַחַיָּה כֹּל עוֹבֵר עָלֶיהָ יִשְׁרֹק יָנִיעַ יָדוֹ:
and there is none besides me: וְאַפְסִי  
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