Zechariah 7:10
And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
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7:8-14 God's judgements upon Israel of old for their sins, were written to warn Christians. The duties required are, not keeping fasts and offering sacrifices, but doing justly and loving mercy, which tend to the public welfare and peace. The law of God lays restraint upon the heart. But they filled their minds with prejudices against the word of God. Nothing is harder than the heart of a presumptuous sinner. See the fatal consequences of this to their fathers. Great sins against the Lord of hosts, bring great wrath from his power, which cannot be resisted. Sin, if regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the success of prayer. The Lord always hears the cry of the broken-hearted penitent; yet all who die impenitent and unbelieving, will find no remedy or refuge from miseries which while here they despised and defied, but which they then will not be able to bear.And oppress not - He had commanded positive acts of love; he now forbids every sort of unlove. "He that oppresseth the poor," Solomon had said, "reproacheth his Maker. The widow, the orphan, the stranger, the afflicted" Proverbs 24:31, are, throughout the law, the special objects of God's care. This was the condition which God made by Jeremiah; "If ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; if ye oppress not the stranger the fatherless and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt, then will I cause you to dwell in this, place" Jeremiah 7:5-7. It was on the breach of the covenant to set their brethren free in the year of release, that God said; "I proclaim a liberty for you to the sword, to the pestilence and to the famine, and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth" Jeremiah 34:17.

And let none of you imagine - that is, "devise, as, by Micah, God retorted the evil upon them. They "devised evil on their beds; therefore, behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks" Micah 2:1, Micah 2:3.

10. imagine evil—that is, devise evil. The Septuagint takes it, Harbor not the desire of revenge (Le 19:18). "Devise evil against one another" is simpler (Ps 36:4; Mic 2:1). Oppress not; do not first misreport their persons, their actions, and their cases, and on that pretence do them wrong, and oppress them: it is double oppression, to oppress by false information, and then condemn; the first is an oppression of righteousness, the next is oppression of the righteous.

The widow, i.e.: a catalogue of helpless ones, who are under the peculiar tutelage of God, Exodus 22:21,22 Deu 10:18,14:29 24:17,19 Isa 1:17,23, &c.

Let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart; neither think ill of, nor wish ill to, nor plot evil against, one another. And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor,.... Such as have no husband to provide for them, nor father and mother to care for them, and are in a strange land, where they have no friends or acquaintance, and are poor, and can not help themselves. Laws of this kind were frequently inculcated among the Jews; see Deuteronomy 24:14,

and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart; thoughts of evil are sinful, and forbidden by the law of God, as well as actions, which agrees with our Lord's sense of the law, Matthew 5:22, see Leviticus 19:17.

And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
Verse 10. - Oppress not the widow, etc. (Exodus 22:21, 22; Deuteronomy 10:18, 19); Vulgate, nolite calumniari, where calumniari is used in the sense "to vex, torment." Imagine evil against his brother in year heart. God's Law forbids even a thought of revenge or injury against a neighbour, for this is only the first step to wrong doing (comp. Micah 2:1). Septuagint, Κακίαν ἕκαστος τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ μὴ μνησικακείτω ἐν ταῖς καρδίας ὑμῶν, "Let none of you remember in your hearts the malice of your brother." To give still greater emphasis to his exhortation to repentance, the prophet turns to Jerusalem again, that he may once more hold up before the hardened sinners the abominations of this city, in which Jehovah daily proclaims His right, and shows the necessity for the judgment, as the only way that is left by which to secure salvation for Israel and for the whole world. Zephaniah 3:1. "Woe to the refractory and polluted one, the oppressive city! Zephaniah 3:2. She has not hearkened to the voice; not accepted discipline; not trusted in Jehovah; not drawn near to her God. Zephaniah 3:3. Her princes are roaring lions in the midst of her; her judges evening wolves, who spare not for the morning. Zephaniah 3:4. Her prophets boasters, men of treacheries: her priests desecrate that which is holy, to violence to the law." The woe applies to the city of Jerusalem. That this is intended in Zephaniah 3:1 is indisputably evident from the explanation which follows in Zephaniah 3:2-4 of the predicates applied to the city addressed in Zephaniah 3:1. By the position of the indeterminate predicates מוראה and נגאלה before the subject to which the hōi refers, the threat acquires greater emphasis. מוראה is not formed from the hophal of ראה (ἐπιφανής, lxx, Cyr., Cocc.), but is the participle kal of מרא equals מרה or מרר, to straighten one's self, and hold one's self against a person, hence to be rebellious (see Delitzsch on Job, on Job 33:2, note). נגאלה, stained with sins and abominations (cf. Isaiah 59:3). Yōnâh does not mean columba, but oppressive (as in Jeremiah 46:16; Jeremiah 50:16, and Jeremiah 25:38)), as a participle of yânâh to oppress (cf. Jeremiah 22:3). These predicates are explained and vindicated in Zephaniah 3:2-4, viz., first of all מוראה in Zephaniah 3:2. She gives no heed to the voice, sc. of God in the law and in the words of the prophets (compare Jeremiah 7:28, where קול יהוה occurs in the repetition of the first hemistich). The same thing is affirmed in the second clause, "she accepts no chastisement." These two clauses describe the attitude assumed towards the legal contents of the word of God, the next two the attitude assumed towards its evangelical contents, i.e., the divine promises. Jerusalem has no faith in these, and does not allow them to draw her to her God. The whole city is the same, i.e., the whole of the population of the city. Her civil and spiritual rulers are no better. Their conduct shows that the city is oppressive and polluted (Zephaniah 3:3 and Zephaniah 3:4). Compare with this the description of the leaders in Micah 3:1-12. The princes are lions, which rush with roaring upon the poor and lowly, to tear them in pieces and destroy them (Proverbs 28:15; Ezekiel 19:2; Nahum 2:12). The judges resemble evening wolves (see at Habakkuk 1:8), as insatiable as wolves, which leave not a single bone till the following morning, of the prey they have caught in the evening. The verb gâram is a denom. from gerem, to gnaw a bone, piel to crush them (Numbers 24:8); to gnaw a bone for the morning, is the same as to leave it to be gnawed in the morning. Gâram has not in itself the meaning to reserve or lay up (Ges. Lex.). The prophets, i.e., those who carry on their prophesying without a call from God (see Micah 2:11; Micah 3:5, Micah 3:11), are pōchăzı̄m, vainglorious, boasting, from pâchaz, to boil up or boil over, and when applied to speaking, to overflow with frivolous words. Men of treacheries, bōgedōth, a subst. verb, from bâgad, the classical word for faithless adultery or apostasy from God. The prophets proved themselves to be so by speaking the thoughts of their own hearts to the people as revelations from God, and thereby strengthening it in its apostasy from the Lord. The priests profane that which is holy (qoodesh, every holy thing or act), and do violence to the law, namely, by treating what is holy as profane, and perverting the precepts of the law concerning holy and unholy (cf. Ezekiel 22:26).
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