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Yahweh your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save.
He will rejoice over you with joy.
He will calm you with his love.
He will rejoice over you with singing. Bible

“He will calm you with his love.” The Hebrew is more literally, “He will be silent in his love,” but that God would be “silent” makes very little sense in the context and especially so since the preceding sentence is about God rejoicing with joy over the people, and rejoicing is not silent. Quite a few English versions and commentaries, along with the REV, say that God will calm His people with His love, and given all the other verses about the blessings people will have in the Millennial Kingdom that is a most plausible meaning. Some scholars believe that the text saying God will be “silent” in His love refers to Him feeling His love for people very deeply and contemplating plans for the good of His people, but although the Hebrew can read that way, expressing that would be rare and unusual. Some English translations see the difficulty in the Hebrew text and so follow the Septuagint, which reads “He will renew you in his love,” but leaving the Hebrew text for the Greek is not necessary here. The Hebrew text can be understood to mean “He will calm [or “quiet”] you with His love, and many English versions including the REV have a reading similar to that (cp. Barker and Bailey, The New American Commentary: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah).

We can see why God would have a wonderful verse about Him quieting the worries and fears of His people here at the end of Zephaniah. The first two and a half chapters of Zephaniah were about destruction coming on Judah and the world, and those prophecies of destruction are echoed in the books of Zephaniah’s contemporaries, Jeremiah and Nahum, and it is likely that Habakkuk was a contemporary as well. Given the destruction the prophets foretold for Judah and Jerusalem, we can see why the people would be worried and anxious. But although God does not promise health and well-being in this life, it is comforting to know that there is another life coming that will be full of joy and good things.

Ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, there has always been a lot of anxiety and fear in human life. Life is uncertain and there are innumerable things to worry about. Life itself is fragile and death or disability can come without warning at any time for oneself or loved ones. Staying healthy is never guaranteed, and neither are the simple comforts of having food to eat, clothes to wear, or a bed at night. The Bible has many verses about worry and anxiety, and almost 1,000 years before Christ, Solomon said, “Anxiety in a person's heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad” (Prov. 12:25). But in contrast to the constant worries of this life, Christ’s future Millennial Kingdom will be a time of great joy. Many verses attest that people will be healthy, safe, well-fed, and joyful. What a wonderful promise of the future God gives us here in Zephaniah, that God will calm people with His love. Having a peaceful heart and mind is a wonderful blessing from God.

[For more on Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth”].


Commentary for: Zephaniah 3:17