1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired [that hath no longing -RV] [shameful nation];

"Gather yourselves together" -

The words "gather yourselves" are translated from the Hebrew qashash, which signifies

"to become sapless" through drought. The word qash which forms the base of this word is the Hebrew word for "straw."

Saulez in The Romance of the Hebrew Language states of this word: "The verb in Hithpoel

conjugation signifies "collect your thoughts. .."

Possibly a slight irony is intended by the prophet, as much as to say, "Your thoughts are

not worth much, but such as they are, gather them together and see if there is no sense of shame, no consciousness of sin in you." Rotherham renders the phrase:

"Collect your thoughts, aye collect them, Ο nation depressed."

In view of the impending Day of Yahweh, the nation is called upon to consider

its ways, to meditate upon its doings, and then submit to God, as a final opportunity of escaping the judgment that then threatened.

"O nation not desired" - The R.V. mg renders this as the nation "that hath no longing."

The people had no longing to serve God, no vision to create an incentive or ambition to seek Him. They were quite satisfied to give nominal, lukewarm service, and had no taste for the promises of Yahweh, nor desire to sacrifice to attain unto them. See Prov. 29:18; Hos. 12:8;

Rev. 3:17.

Bro HP Mansfield, The Christadelphian Expositor

2 Before the decree bring forth, before [KJV italics] the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of Yahweh come upon you, before the day of Yahweh's anger come upon you.

The word "before" is used four times in this verse. However, the second occurrence is in italics, indicating that there is no comparable word in Hebrew. Eliminating that use of the word, therefore, we are left with three warnings by Zephaniah that the day of opportunity was about to close for the people of Judah.

He likened the Divine purpose to a woman in travail and about to "bring forth." This is a frequently used figure of speech in Scripture, and a most significant one. The pangs of childbirth are not continuous. They come on and recede with greater strength, in three main developments*... In conformity with that, Zephaniah connects three warnings with the allusion to a woman "bringing forth."

A further link with this thought was the sounding of the shofar trumpet on the first day of the seventh month in anticipation of the Day of Atonement, ten days later. It, also, sounded three distinct warning notes constituting three calls to contrition and penitence, and reminders of the need for self-examination and of humble petition for the forgiveness of sins.

Zephaniah's threefold warnings were like the strident, ear-splitting sounds of the shofar trumpet, or the troublous warning pangs of childbirth. They could not be ignored if people wanted to escape. ... A similar state exists today, inasmuch as another Day of Yahweh impends.

The world has experienced two great warning shocks in World War I and World War II.

The first saw the doors of Palestine swing open to receive the Jewish people; the second saw the establishment of the Jewish State. The third, World War III, will lead to the birth of the New World Order under Christ.

...Meanwhile, in Zephaniah's day, though the time was short, there still remained opportunity to heed (Rom. 9:22-23; 2 Pet. 3:15). Previously, the Scythians had attacked

Nineveh, seriously weakening Assyrian power. For the time, Judah was free of foreign domination, and Josiah was able to institute his reforms. Soon the ugly cloud of Babylonish power and domination would overshadow Jerusalem, and the nation would be sifted as chaff.

Meanwhile, the door of opportunity still remained open.

The Christadelphian Expositor

*Labour is divided into 3 stages. The first stage is the dilation of the cervix, the second stage is the birth of the baby, and the third stage is the delivery of the placenta. For first-time mothers, labour takes around 12 to 14 hours. Women who have undergone childbirth before can expect about 7 hours of labour

8 I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people, and magnified themselves against their border.

...the powers contemporary with Judah did not fulfil completely the burdens concerning them. Take the "Burden of Moab" for instance. In the days of the prophets, Moab, or the power existing on the territory called Moab, was hostile to Israel; and when disaster overtook the tribes of Israel, Moab rejoiced at it,

"skipping (like a three year old heifer) for joy"-Jer.‮ ‬48:27,‮ ‬34.‮

...Moab, whose "branches are extended, and gone over the sea" (Isai. 16:8), was a proud monarchy (verse 6; and Jer. 48:29), hostile and arrogant towards Israel, and a worshipper of Chemosh.

Their elohim, or king, nobles, magistrates, and priests, were denounced, and sentenced to become famished gods. The judgments predicted have been accomplished in part. The effect of them has continued to the present time; and, according to the prophecy, will continue "to the age." The power no longer exists there, and its country is a place of nettles, salt-pits, and a desolation.

But the burden testifies that

"the residue of Yahweh's people shall spoil them, and the remnant of his nation shall possess them"-"They shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them"-Isai. 11:14.

It is evident, however, from the history of Israel since these words were spoken, that this part of the burden has not been accomplished. The Jews have never since spoiled and possessed the Moabites; but have been themselves the spoiled of other powers...Moab's history, past and present, fulfils not the burden: its full accomplishment is deficient.

We may, therefore, conclude ...that it became an occasion for a prophecy concerning a power that shall exist on the same territory, and through which the burden shall be completely filled up.

"The people of Chemosh are perished;"

therefore, as a race and a power, Moab doth not exist...What preliminary is therefore necessary to the fulfilment of this part of the prophecy? Obviously, the only answer is that given in Jer. 48:47:

"I will bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith Yahweh."

As the people of Chemosh, or the racial descendants of Moab, son of Lot, son of Haran, son of Terah, the father of Abraham, are perished by sword and captivity so as to be no more distinguishable in the earth; the bringing again of Moab's captivity must have reference to the resuscitation of a power where they formerly dwelt.

This, then, is a phenomenon in the political world to be expected in the latter day, or pre-adventual "time of the end." The sentence of banishment is to be removed, and the country east of the Dead Sea, even Moab and Ammon, are to become the seat of a power destined to play an important part in the local arrangements of God respecting Palestine.

It may be well here to remind the reader that, before the Assyrian Image is broken by the Stone which the builders of Judah refused, the land lying between the Euphrates, the Persian Gulph, the Red Sea, the Nile, and the Mediterranean, will be oppressed by two powers in the latter days-the one, that of Edom, Moab, and Ammon; the other, the Assyrian, with whom are the sons of Esau.

The latter is a confederacy, which hates the Jews; the former a power occupying those districts, friendly to them, and affording them protection. These two powers in the latter days stand face to face in the Holy Land, contending for supremacy over it. If left to themselves to fight it out, the probability is that the Moabitish power would be again expelled from the country.

But we know from the Bible that affairs will take a different turn. The latter days are pregnant with wonderful and unexpected results. Gog is brought against the land of Israel in the latter days-Ezek. 38:8, 16; which implies, especially as the army which he brings against it is mighty, that he has there a powerful enemy to encounter. In the time of the end, the king of the north shall enter into the glorious land-Dan. 11:41.

The "time of the end" and the "latter days" are the same period: and Gog and the king of the north are the one power, which is symbolized by Nebuchadnezzar's Image-the Assyrian: for in his dream he saw it broken "in the latter days;" an event which, Isaiah informs us, is to take place on the mountains of Israel-

"I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off Israel, and his burden depart from off their shoulders, saith Yahweh of armies"-14:25.

Now, as it is testified by Daniel, that

"Edom and Moab, and the chief of the sons of Ammon, shall escape out of his hand,"

it is evident that a power at that time is entrenched in these countries that it fails to expel; so that the Assyrian can no more lead Moab into captivity.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March 1856

11 Yahweh will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods [Elohim - Mighty Ones] of the earth; and men shall worship Him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.

It is interesting to recollect that in these oracles of truth we have a divine view of human ways: a picture of the situation of things among men as they appear to God's eyes. It is here where their value lies. As the children of God-constituted such by the obedience of the gospel-it is of the first importance that we should use all diligence to obtain and cherish such an insight.

In fact the possession of it is the one thing that distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil. Human literature reflects human views of the situation, and the student of this literature gets only the human view. We have to go to the Scriptures to get the divine view, and this view is in complete contrast to that which is popular with society in general. As Jesus says,

"That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."

The point is illustrated in the statement before us. Who among men in general would make it a crime that a man or a nation should be proud? And that they should reproach the people of the Lord of Hosts? Why, this is the characteristic of all polite society in our day. They are proud-oh, so proud! -and it is considered one of the cardinal points of a true civilisation to have and to cultivate pride.

As for divine things and divine people, whether you understand the Jews nationally, or the poor who are rich in faith, there is no richer theme of jest among them. The characters of Scripture and their imitators among the living alike come in for their mirth, and they are not considered to sin very grievously in having their joke on such topics. Yet scripturally viewed, they are "sinners before the Lord exceedingly," and have no need to tremble in the presence of the patient Creator of Heaven and Earth. Their pride and their scorning will evoke the appointed visitation in due time. It is written,

"The Lord of Hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth":

And though His anger is held back against the appointed time, and men in their temerity make defiant use of the liberty God allows them meanwhile, the hour will arrive when the truth of His word will become manifest in the tempest that will strike confusion and terror into the hearts of His enemies, and bring their power in ruins to the earth.

"The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (Isa. 2:11).

The perfect reasonableness of all this will be manifest to those who realise that man is a creature only permitted to live by the power of the Creator, and that no ground of pride or glory exists in the possession of privileges. Even the angels, "greater in power and might," vaunt not themselves, but veil themselves in the presence of the terrible Majesty and power of the Eternal Self-existence filling heaven and earth, from whom they have derived their glorious attributes.

How odious and unreasonable then, are the pomposities and insubordinations of "dust and ashes." Even human reason rightly applied can see this: how much more hateful must it be in the eyes of the Eternal, from whom nothing in heaven and earth is hid? How hateful it is we may learn from the silent and dreary desolation that prevails where once flourished the busy, prosperous, and boastful communities of Phenicia, Moab, Ammon, Idumea, etc., against whom Yahweh's anger was declared.

Sunday Morning 59