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Verses 2-3

Zephaniah 1:2-3. I will utterly consume all things, &c. That is, I will make the land of Judea quite desolate. I will consume man and beast, &c. That is, beasts of the tame and domestic kind. I will consume the fowls of the heaven and the fishes of the sea Or of the waters, as we are wont to speak, for the Jews called every large collection of waters a sea. The meaning is, I will bring a judicial and extraordinary desolation on the land, which shall extend itself even to the birds and fishes: see notes on Hosea 4:3; Jeremiah 4:23-25. Virgil speaks of pestilential disorders affecting both the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the heaven.

“Jam maris immensi prolem, et genus omne natantum Litore in extremo, ceu naufraga corpora, fluctus Proluit.” GEORG. 3. 50:541.

“Ipsis est aër avibus non æquus; et illæ Præcipites altâ vitam sub nube relinquunt.” Ib. 50:546.

“The scaly nations of the sea profound, Like shipwreck’d carcasses, are driven aground: And mighty phocæ, never seen before, In shallow streams, are stranded on the shore. To birds their native heavens contagious prove, From clouds they fall, and leave their souls above.” DRYDEN.

“It is known,” says Bishop Newcome, “that birds are affected by pestilential disorders arising from putrefied carcasses. They fall dead when they alight on bales of cloth infected by the plague.” And St. Jerome upon this place says, that there are sufficient proofs when cities are laid waste, and great slaughter is made of men, that it creates also a scarcity or solitude of beasts, birds, and fishes; and he mentions several places which, in those days, bore witness to this, where he says, there was nothing left but earth and sky, and briers and thick woods. And the stumbling-blocks with the wicked In the Hebrew it is, The offences with the wicked; that is, the idols with their worshippers. I will cut off man from the land The land shall be depopulated, either by its inhabitants being slain, or carried away captive.

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