God’s judgment, having scanned the points of the compass in Zephaniah 2, now centers on the little country of Ethiopia.
After a clear warning to Israel (Judah) in verses 1-3, God began His parade of judgment, almost as if He held a map in His Hands! Philistia in the west! Moab and Ammon in the east! Today we see Ethiopia in the south! And tomorrow (Lord willing) Assyria in the north!
Wow, all the enemies situated around God’s people!
Yet our current Text, Zephaniah 2:12, is quite unique. I know of no other Judgment Oracle as succinct as this! In all the Bible! “Ye Ethiopians also, ye shall be slain by my sword.” With God speaking!
The Ethiopians also seem to have been called the “Cushites” in Scripture. Look how “Ethiopian” is spelled in Hebrew: “kushiy,” obviously a derivation/cognate of “Cush.”
These people are the descendants of Cush, the Son of Ham, the Son of Noah, too.
The Bible land of “Ethiopia” likely includes today’s nations of Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan!
And of course, then as now, this Country was an avowed enemy of Israel, of Judah.
That’s why God is judging her, primarily.
Simply put, killed by God’s Sword! (Exodus 15:3 thunders: “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” And Judges 17:8 is here pertinent, where this poignant phrase occurs: “The sword of the LORD.” Amazing!)
But Ethiopia was not so judged until she had been given many an opportunity to repent of her sins! Yet she still rebelled! “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23, that “set” in her sins!
How great (powerful) God is!
Just six words (in Hebrew), only ten (in English) … and a Nation is gone!
Truly here in Zephaniah 2 we have “living proof” of Isaiah 54:17, God’s promise to the Jews. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”
Praise the Lord!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
Now tomorrow, the north … Assyria!