Calvin, Commentary on Zephaniah, Part 11

(... continued from part 10)
Lecture One Hundred and Twenty-eighth. 
    We stopped yesterday at the latter clause of the last verse but 
one of the Prophet Zephaniah, where God promises that the Jews, who 
had been before not only obscure, but also exposed to all kinds of 
reproaches, would again become illustrious; for to give them for a 
name and for a praise, is no other thing than to render them 
celebrated, that they might be, as they say, in the mouth of every 
    And he says, "in the land of their shame," or reproach; for 
they had been a mockery everywhere; as the unbelieving thought that 
they deluded themselves with a vain hope, because they boasted that 
God, under whose protection they lived, would be their perpetual 
guardian, though they were driven away into exile. Hence an occasion 
for taunt and ridicule was given. But a change for the better is 
here promised; for all in Assyria and Chaldea would have to see that 
this was a people chosen by God; so that there would be a remarkable 
testimony among all nations, that all who trust in God are by no 
means disappointed, for they find that he is faithful in his 
promises. The last verse follows - 
Zephaniah 3:20 
At that time will I bring you [again], even in the time that I 
gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people 
of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, 
saith the LORD. 
    He repeats the same things, with some change in the words; and 
not without reason, because no one of then thought that the Jews, 
who were cast as it were into the grave, would ever come forth 
again, and especially, that they would be raised unto such dignity 
and unto so elevated an honour., As ten this was not probable, that 
Prophet confirms his prediction - "I will restore you", says God, "I 
will gather you, even because I have given you a name"; that is, it 
is my resolved and fixed purpose to render you celebrated: but here 
again are laid down the words we have already noticed. 
    He afterwards adds - "When I shall restore your captivities". 
The plural number is to be noticed; and not rightly nor prudently is 
what has been done by many interpreters, who have rendered the word 
in the singular number; for the Prophet mentions "captivities" 
designedly, as the Jews had not only been driven into exile, but had 
also been scattered through various countries, so that they were not 
one captive people, but many troops of captives. Hence his purpose 
was to obviate a doubt; for it would not have been enough that one 
captivity should be restored, except all who had been dispersed were 
collected into one body by the wonderful power of God. And hence he 
adds "before your eyes", that the Jews might be convinced that they 
should be eye-witnesses of this miracle, which yet they could hardly 
conceive, without raising up their thoughts above the world. 
End of the Commentaries of Zephaniah. 

Calvin's Commentary on Zephaniah, Part 

(... conclusion, Calvin's Commentary on Zephaniah)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-06: cvzep-11.txt