Is not ample warning of consequences spelled out for us in Deut. 27-28?
Judah had been given its ultimatum which sadly will go unheeded and Babylon will be chosen as God’s scourge upon Israel.
Now Judah’s enemies are given their ultimatum.
1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD's anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.
Stones Tanak comments on the words, “not or without desire,” It says, “You lack the desire to come closer to God.”
The Full Life Study Bible, “Zephaniah had declared the coming day of God’s wrath upon Judah, a date that would not be cancelled.”
Regarding verse 3:
Matt. 5:5-8, 6:33 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God… But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The time and certainty of judgment had been set, and the nation had to be punished for its apostasy and sin. Nevertheless, God offered hope for those who repented before that day. The righteous would be protected by the LORD’s on that Day of His wrath. He encourages those repented to deepen their commitment to God and His Torah; perhaps God would protect them when He comes to chastise His people.
The Key Word Study Bible offers this comment, “Those who already had an inclination to serve God are challenged here to seek the Lord even more earnestly. The Judgment would still come upon the land but they would be hidden. This might refer to some special protection under God’s providence. (cf. Jer. 15:11; 39:17; 45:5), or to the fact that they are hidden in Him unto eternal life.” Again the correlation between the name of the prophet of God whose name means hidden symbolizing the righteous followers of God would be hidden.
These verse is addressing the nations not desired of the LORD, meaning because they are His Creation, He cares for them (enough to send a Jewish with warning), but they do not have the chosen status of Israel.
Sheep and goats (Matt. 25), wheat from tares (Matt. 13), wheat from chaff (Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17), will the people be divided and winnowed. Battle lines will be drawn for the last round, the over time.
HE says before this Day, THE Day of Judgment falls upon them, one last plea to stay the judgment upon themselves through repentance, so that they can have a protected hidden status of His righteous remnant which still remains in Judah. Again, a protective shelter is proclaimed amidst God’s wrath. Likewise when God’s wrath falls upon those of the Beast, God’s people will be exempt, like Israel was protected in Goshen from the 10 plagues. However, satan too makes war and dishes out his own wrath and this we have not been promised exemption from. While the wicked suffers during the Great Tribulation, someone will be the scapegoat, the whipping boy and this will be God’s people. Some of us will be called to martyrdom.
Rev. 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Psa. 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD [is] the death of his saints.
4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.
Radak tells us, “This verse mentions the four main Philistine cities. God’s wrath will be poured out against them, as well, on the Day of Judgment.”
5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.
Joshua 13:3 From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted to the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines; the Gazathites, and the Ashdothites, the Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:
6 And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks. 7 And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.
Radak says that, “The Jewish people, portrayed here as sheep of a flock. V.8-9 (Ezk 45:1-25; 47:13-48:35).
Taking v.4-7 as a whole we see that Philistia is the first pagan nation to be addressed; Goliath’s people who are now extinct. Yet a conglomeration of Arabs have adopted the name, “Palestinians,” and just as Judah will be judged first, I believe Judah’s closest neighbors and enemies will be next as it was then, even so today.
1 Peter 4:17 For the time [is come] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if [it] first [begin] at us, what shall the end [be] of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Notice Gaza then and now has been in dispute and contention. A day is coming when it will be Israel’s forever more. Actually, this Philistine/Palestinian occupied territory will be that ark of safety.