New Defender's Study Bible Notes
2:4 Gaza. The nation of Philistia would also, along with Judah, be overrun by Nebuchadnezzar, and the inhabitants of its four chief cities (Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron) carried into exile. However, they remained viable cities under both Chaldea and Persia, until completely overthrown by Greece (Zechariah 9:5-13). The “land of the Philistines” (Zephaniah 2:5), extending along the sea coast, would, as Zephaniah prophesied, eventually “have no inhabitant.” The name is preserved in the modern name Palestine, but the Philistines themselves after the invasion soon vanished as a distinct people. Ashkelon has been an utter desolation for four hundred years, although it was a flourishing metropolis for two thousand years. The same is true for Ashdod, and the old city of Gaza (modern Gaza is at a different location). The structures of Ekron were literally rooted up, exactly as prophesied.
2:7 house of Judah. During the New Testament period, the land of the Philistines was a part of the province of Judaea, occupied by the Jews. In modern times, the Gaza Strip, as it is now called, although under dispute, was until recently officially a part of the modern state of Israel. The whole region is very volatile, with ownership and control wavering between Israel and Palestine.
2:9 Moab. The kingdoms of Moab and Ammon, long prosperous and strong, were also destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. As prophesied by Zephaniah, most of their lands have been essentially “a perpetual desolation” ever since.
2:13 destroy Assyria. Mighty Assyria and its magnificent capital of Nineveh, the greatest in the world for many years, were still powerful in the time of Zephaniah. God, however, soon used Babylon—allied with the Medes and Scythians—to destroy it, just as Zephaniah had prophesied. The region has been “dry like a wilderness” ever since. The entire book of Nahum was likewise directed against Assyria.
2:14 cormorant and the bittern. Respectively, a large bird and a small bird.