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The love of the Lord for His people is amazing when set against the backdrop of unfaithfulness and rebellion. The history of Jerusalem in the OT is not a pretty one. There are only patches of obedience and faithfulness amidst extended periods of spiritual adultery and defilement. Yet the covenant-keeping God remains righteous and just while working out His kingdom program. There will be the need for purification; but there will be tremendous blessing when the King returns to triumphantly reign from her midst.


A. (:1-4) Indictment Against Jerusalem – Total Failure and Spiritual Bankruptcy

1. Summary Indictment – for Rebellion, Impurity and Exploitation

“Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled,

The tyrannical city!”

2. Failure of People to Walk With God

a. Failure to Obey God

“She heeded no voice,

She accepted no instruction.”

MacArthur: Jerusalem was soon to learn that to reject God’s correction leads to destruction (Pr 5:23). She did not draw near to her God. The Lord had taken up residence in that city, making Him easily accessible (Dt 4:7), yet they had refused to draw near to Him in proper worship.

b. Failure to Cling to God

“She did not trust in the Lord,

She did not draw near to her God.”

3. Failure of Political and Judicial Leaders

a. Political Leaders Devour the People

“Her princes within her are roaring lions”

Not exactly civil servants, meeting the needs of the people

b. Judicial Leaders Devour the People

“Her judges are wolves at evening;”

Exploiting instead of defending the helpless

c. Summary

“They leave nothing for the morning.”

Baker: Rather than protecting and leading the flock which is entrusted to them, the leaders devour the people for their own gain (cf. Is. 56:11); Je. 23:1; Ezk. 34:2). They do their work so well that there are not even bones left to ‘gnaw’ (AV; Nu. 24:8; cf. Gn. 49:14; Pr. 17:22) by morning, a time associated with legal judgment and justice (v. 5; cf. 2 Sa. 15:2; Ps. 101:8; Je. 21:12).

4. Failure of Religious Leaders

a. Prophets Cannot Be Trusted

“Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men”

Will speak whatever serves their own agenda

b. Priests Promote Impurity

“Her priests have profaned the sanctuary.”

No regard for the Lord’s holiness and majesty

c. Summary

“They have done violence to the law.”

Shows the importance of God’s unchanging Law

Constable: The prophets were reckless in the way they announced their own advice as divine revelation and treacherous in deceiving the people into thinking that their words were authoritative. The priests did not observe the laws of holiness that God had prescribed for worship, and they twisted the meaning of the Mosaic Law to suit their purposes (cf. 1:4-5).

B. (:5-7) No Failure on the Part of God – Who Remains Righteous and Just

1. (:5) Remains True to His Righteous Standards

a. Righteous – despite corrupt surroundings

“The Lord is righteous within her”

b. Right / Just – Consistently and Manifestly Just

“He will do no injustice.

Every morning He brings His justice to light”

c. Reliable – He will follow through on Promised Judgments

“He does not fail.”

Baker: Yahweh is also within the city (cf. v. 3), but his character and actions are in contradistinction to its leaders’ (vv. 1-4). In particular, his righteousness, which is explained as a lack of ‘wrongdoing’ (v. 13; cf. Mi. 3:10; Hab. 2:12; Mal. 2:6), is contrasted with their misbehaviour. His justice, too, is continually and dependably disclosed (cf. La. 3:22-23; Ho. 6:3). Yahweh himself is infallible and lacks nothing (cf. 2 Sa. 17:22; Is. 40:26), never guilty of a miscarriage of justice, as opposed to the ‘wrongdoer’ (Jb. 18:21; 27;7; 31:3) who never experiences shame (v. 19; cf. Is. 30:3, 5; Je. 2:26; Hab. 2:10). In all of the points where the city’s appointed leaders were derelict in character or in fulfilling their duty, Yahweh, their overlord, is faithful in his being and actions. In spite of Israel’s disregard of their promise to maintain a monogamous relationship with God alone (see 1:4-6), Yahweh remains committed to his people. He is there in their very capital city, even though they no longer acknowledge him.

2. (:6) Ruins the Rebellious Nations as a Warning to Jerusalem

“I have cut off nations; Their corner towers are in ruins.

I have made their streets desolate, With no one passing by;

Their cities are laid waste, Without a man, without an inhabitant.”

Hanke: Evidently Syria and Israel are meant here. This was prophetic of what the Lord was in the process of doing.

MacArthur: The desolations brought by the Lord on surrounding nations were to serve as warnings to Judah, meant to turn His people back to Him. But instead, enticed by the fruits of corruption, the people rose early to zealously and deliberately pursue the way of sin.

3. (:7) Reaches Out One Last Time With Plea for Repentance

a. Worship Commanded – Repentance Required

“I said, ‘Surely you will revere Me, Accept instruction.’”

b. Wrath Impending – Repentance Rewarded

“So her dwelling will not be cut off

according to all that I have appointed concerning her.”

c. Wickedness Embraced – Repentance Rejected

“But they were eager to corrupt all their deeds.”


A. (:8) Wait for the Day of the Lord’s Wrath and Judgment Against the Nations

1. Command to Wait for the Coming of the Lord

“‘Therefore wait for Me,’ declares the Lord”

2. Court Room Scene Anticipated

“For the day when I rise up as a witness”

3. Condemnation and Execution in Accordance with the Lord’s Wrath

“Indeed, My decision is to gather nations,

To assemble kingdoms;

To pour out on them My indignation,

All my burning anger;”

4. Complete Destruction Decreed

“For all the earth will be devoured.”

MacArthur: The prophet transitions from the historical invasion of Judah by Babylon to the future day of the Lord. He speaks of the Great Tribulation, when the Lord will gather all the nations for judgment (cf Joel 3:1, 2, 12-17; Zec 12;2, 3; 14;2; Mt 24:21). The faithful remnant, presumably the meek of 2:1-3, are exhorted to wait in trust for Him to carry out His judgment.

B. (:9-11) Anticipate the Day of the Lord’s Restoration of His Remnant

1. (:9) Purified for the Purpose of Service

a. Grace of Purification

“For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,”

Not just speaking of the Jews, but all peoples; context here

speaks to the nations as well (Baxter)

b. Privilege of Dependence on the One True God

“That all of them may call on the name of the Lord,”

c. Fellowship of Service

“To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.”

2. (:10) Regathered for the Purpose of Worship

“From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,

My worshipers, My dispersed ones,

Will bring My offerings.”

3. (:11) Humbled and Forgiven for the Purpose of Holy Submission

“In that day you will feel no shame Because of all your deeds

By which you have rebelled against Me;

For then I will remove from your midst

Your proud, exulting ones,

And you will never again be haughty On My holy mountain.”


A. (:12-13) Six Fundamental Blessings Promised to the Purified Remnant

1. Blessing of Humility

“But I will leave among you

A humble and lowly people”

2. Blessing of Refuge

“And they will take refuge in the name of the Lord”

3. Blessing of Integrity

“The remnant of Israel will do no wrong and tell no lies,

Nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths;”

4. Blessing of Provision

“For they will feed

5. Blessing of Peaceful Rest

“and lie down”

6. Blessing of Security

“With no one to make them tremble.”

B. (:14-17) Mindset of Rejoicing and Confidence because the Lord Reigns

1. (:14) Mindset of Triumphant Rejoicing

“Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion!

Shout in triumph, O Israel!

Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!”

MacArthur: The basis for rejoicing in v. 14 is that Israel’s day of judgment is past and her King is residing in her midst. His departure just prior to Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the temple is graphically depicted in Eze 8-11; but He will return as Lord and Messiah, a fact so glorious that it is repeated in v. 17.

Baker: In a tripartite example of synonymous parallelism, where the same idea is repeated three times in different words, God’s people are called to sing, shout and joyfully exult.

2. (:15) Refrain: The Lord Reigns As Victorious Warrior

a. No Condemnation

“The Lord has taken away His judgments against you,”

b. No Opposition

“He has cleared away your enemies.”

c. The Lord Reigns

“The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;”

d. No Future Calamities

“You will fear disaster no more.”

3. (:16) Mindset of No Fear – but Confidence and Courage

“In that day it will be said to Jerusalem:

‘Do not be afraid, O Zion;

Do not let your hands fall limp.’”

4. (:17) Refrain: The Lord Reigns As Victorious Warrior

a. The Lord Reigns

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.”

b. The Joy of the Lord

“He will exult over you with joy,”

Hanke: After saving them, the Messiah will find in the redeemed Israel his ground of rejoicing (cf. Jn. 15:11).

Piper: When I think of the voice of God singing I hear the booming of Niagara Falls mingled with the trickle of a mossy mountain stream. I hear the blast of Mt. St. Helens mingled with the a kitten’s purr. I hear the power of an East coast hurricane and the barely audible puff of a night snow in the woods. And I hear the unimaginable roar of the sun 865,000 miles thick, one million three hundred thousand times bigger than the earth, and nothing but fire, 1,000,000 degrees centigrade on the cooler surface of the corona. But I hear this unimaginable roar mingled with the tender, warm crackling of the living room logs on a cozy winter’s night.

c. The Love of the Lord

“He will be quiet in His love,”

d. The Joy of the Lord

“He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

Pastor Fred (Church of Christ – Hilton Head message – vs. 17) –

The Lord’s Attitude Towards You (God’s View of Us)

  1. Presence – grow in awareness
  2. Power – rely on it
  3. Peace – be calmed by his love
  4. Pleasure – delights in us
  5. Praise – celebrates us with dancing and singing

C. (:18-20) Six Sovereign Acts of the Lord’s Initiative in Blessing His People

1. Removing all Reproach and Sorrow

“I WILL GATHER those who grieve about the appointed feasts –

They came from you, O Zion;

The reproach of exile is a burden on them.”

Hannah: Many Jews, scattered from their homeland, had sorrows because they were unable to take part in the appointed feasts. But the Lord will remove those sorrows when He regathers His people to Jerusalem where they will enjoy His blessings. No longer will their feasts be a burden, something they hate to do, and a reproach, a cause for God’s displeasure because of their sinful ways.

2. Punishing all Oppressors

“Behold, I AM GOING TO DEAL at that time

With all your oppressors”

3. Reversing the Shame of the Helpless

“I WILL SAVE the lame

And GATHER the outcast,

And I WILL TURN their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.”

4. Restoring the People to Their Promised Land

“At that time I WILL BRING you in,

Even at that time when I GATHER you together”

5. Bestowing Honor

“Indeed, I WILL GIVE you renown and praise

Among all the peoples of the earth”

6. Restoring Fortunes

“‘When I RESTORE your fortunes before your eyes,’

Says the Lord.’”