New American Standard Bible
"It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, 'The LORD will not do good or evil!'
King James Bible
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
Darby Bible Translation
And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men that are settled on their lees, that say in their heart, Jehovah will not do good, neither will he do evil.
World English Bible
It will happen at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, "Yahweh will not do good, neither will he do evil."
Young's Literal Translation
And it hath come to pass, at that time, I search Jerusalem with lights, And I have laid a charge on the men Who are hardened on their preserved things, Who are saying in their heart: Jehovah doth no good, nor doth He evil.
Zephaniah 1:12 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
I will search - (Literally, "diligently"). The word is always used of a minute diligent search, whereby places, persons, things, are searched and sifted one by one in every corner, until it be found whether a thing be there or no . Hence, also of the searching out of every thought of the heart, either by God Proverbs 20:27, or in repentance by the light of God Lamentations 3:40.
Jerusalem with candles - so that there should be no corner, no lurking-place so dark, but that the guilty should be brought to light. The same diligence, which Eternal Wisdom used, to "seek and to save that which was lost Luke 15:8, lighting a candle and searching diligently," until it find each lost piece of silver, the same shall Almighty God use that no hardened sinner shall escape. Cyril: "What the enemy would do, using unmingled phrensy against the conquered, that God fitteth to His own Person, not as being Himself the Doer of things so foreign, but rather permitting that what comes from anger should proceed in judgment against the ungodly." It was an image of this, when, at the taking of Jerusalem by the Romans, they "dragged out of common sewers and holes and caves and tombs, princes and great men and priests, who for fear of death had hid themselves."
How much more in that Day when "the secrets of all hearts shalt be revealed" by Him who "searcheth the hearts and reins, and to Whose Eyes" Psalm 7:9; Psalm 26:2; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12; Revelation 2:23, "which are like flashing Fire, all things are naked and open!" Revelation 1:14. The candles wherewith God searcheth the heart, are men's own consciences Proverbs 20:27, His Own revealed word Psalm 119:104; Proverbs 6:23; 2 Peter 1:19, the lives of true Christians Philippians 2:15. Those, through the Holy Spirit in each, may enlighten the heart of man, or, if he takes not heed, will rise in judgment against him, and show the falsehood of all vain excuses. : "One way of escape only there is. If we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged. I will "search out my" own "ways" and my desires, that He who "shall search out Jerusalem with candles," may find nothing in me, unsought and unsifted. For He will not twice judge the same thing. Would that I might so follow and track out all my offences, that in none I need fear His piercing Eyes, in none be ashamed at the light of His candles! Now I am seen, but I see not. At hand is that Eye, to whom all things are open, although Itself is not open. Once "I shall know, even as I am known" 1 Corinthians 13:12. Now "I know in part," but I am not known in part, but wholly."
The men that are settled on their lees - Stiffened and contracted . The image is from wine which becomes harsh, if allowed to remain upon the lees, unremoved. It is drawn out by Jeremiah, "Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity; therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed" Jeremiah 48:11. So they upon whom "no changes come, fear not God (see Psalm 55:19). The lees are the refuse of the wine, yet stored up (so the word means) with it, and the wine rests, as it were, upon them. So do men of ease rest in things defiled and defiling, their riches or their pleasure, which they hoard up, on which they are bent, so that they, Dionysius: "lift not their mind to things above, but, darkened with foulest desires, are hardened and stiffened in sin."
That say in their heart - Not openly scoffing, perhaps thinking that they believe; but people "do" believe as they love. Their most inward belief, the belief of their heart and affections, what they wish, and the hidden spring of their actions, is, "The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil." They act as believing so, and by acting inure themselves to believe it. They think of God as far away, "Is not God in the height of heaven? And behold the height of the stars, how high they are! And thou sayest, How doth God know? Can He judge through the dark cloud? Thick goads are a covering to Him, that He seeth not; and He walketh in the circuit of heaven" Job 22:12-14, "The ungodly in the pride of his heart" (thinketh); "He will not inquire; all his devices" (speak), "There is no God. Strong are his ways at all times; on high are Thy judgments out of his sight" Psalm 10:4-5. "They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless, and they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it" Psalm 94:5-6.
"Such things they did imagine and were deceived, for their own wickedness blinded them. As for the mysteries of God, they knew them not" (Wisd. 2:21-22). "Faith without works is dead" James 2:20. Faith which acts not dies out, and there comes in its stead this other persuasion, that God will not repay. There are more Atheists than believe themselves to be such. These act as if there were no Judge of their deeds, and at last come, themselves to believe that God will not punish Isaiah 5:19; Malachi 2:17. What else is the thought of all worldlings, of all who make idols to themselves of any pleasure or gain or ambition, but "God will not punish?" "God cannot punish the (wrongful, selfish,) indulgence of the nature which He has made." "God will not be so precise." "God will not punish with everlasting severance from Him, the sins of this short life." And they see not that they ascribe to God, what He attributes to idols that is, not-gods. "Do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and behold it together" . "Be not afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good" Jeremiah 10:5. These think not that God does good, for they ascribe their success to their own diligence, wisdom, strength, and thank not God for it. They think not that He sends them evil. For they defy Him and His laws, and think that they shall go unpunished. What remains but that He should be as dumb an idol as those of the pagan?
"Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen," declares the LORD, "and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.
"For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.
"Moab has been at ease since his youth; He has also been undisturbed, like wine on its dregs, And he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into exile. Therefore he retains his flavor, And his aroma has not changed.
Then He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what the elders of the house of Israel are committing in the dark, each man in the room of his carved images? For they say, 'The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.'"
The LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst."
Then He said to me, "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion; for they say, 'The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!'
Woe to those who are at ease in Zion And to those who feel secure in the mountain of Samaria, The distinguished men of the foremost of nations, To whom the house of Israel comes.
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