Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Zephaniah 3:3

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Her princes - are roaring lions - Tearing all to pieces without shadow of law, except their own despotic power.

Her judges are evening wolves - Being a little afraid of the lion-like princes, they practice their unjust dealings from evening to morning, and take the day to find their rest.

They gnaw not the bones till the morrow - They devour the flesh in the night, and gnaw the bones and extract the marrow afterwards. They use all violence and predatory oppression, like wild beasts; they shun the light, and turn day into night by their revellings.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The prophet having declared the wickedness of the whole city, rehearses how each in Church and state, the ministers of God in either, who should have corrected the evil, themselves aggravated it. Not enemies, without, destroy her, but

Her princes within her - In the very midst of the flock, whom they should in God‘s stead “feed with a true heart,” destroy her as they will, having no protection against them. “Her judges are evening wolves” (see Habakkuk 1:8); these who should in the Name of God redress all grievances and wrongs, are themselves like wild beasts, when most driven by famine. “They gnaw not the bones until the morrow or on the morrow” (literally, in the morning). They reserve nothing until the morning light, but do in darkness the works of darkness, shrinking from the light, and, in extreme rapacity, devouring at once the whole substance of the poor. As Isaiah says, “Thy princes are rebellious and companions of thieves” Isaiah 1:23, and “The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of His people and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard: the spoil of the poor is in your houses” Isaiah 3:14. And Ezekiel, “Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves, ravening the prey to shed blood, to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain” Ezekiel 22:27.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The holy God hates sin most in those nearest to him. A sinful state is, and will be, a woful state. Yet they had the tokens of God's presence, and all the advantages of knowing his will, with the strongest reasons to do it; still they persisted in disobedience. Alas, that men often are more active in doing wickedness than believers are in doing good.