Introduction. Judgment on all the earth. Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem.
VERSE 1. The LORD’s word which came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah.
The LORD. When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, “LORD” or “GOD” is the translation of God’s Proper Name.
Zephaniah. This word means “YHWH hides,” or YHWH has hidden,” or “YHWH treasured.”
the son of Cushi. With most of the prophets, their lineage only goes back to their father. But with Zephaniah, his lineage goes back four generations.
Hezekiah. With king Hezekiah in his direct ancestry, Zephaniah may have been of the royal family.
in the days of Josiah. Zephaniah’s ministry was during the reign of king Josiah (640-609 BC).
Zephaniah does not waste time. He gets right to the main point.
I will utterly sweep away everything. This judgment reminds us of the flood. Everything was swept away.
VERSE 3. I will sweep away man and animal. I will sweep away the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, and the heaps of rubble with the wicked. I will cut off man from the surface of the earth, says the LORD.
VERSE 4. I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place—the name of the idolatrous and pagan priests,
against Judah and … Jerusalem. There will be global destruction. And there will be specific destruction. It will be directed against Judah and its capital of Jerusalem.
This will be fulfilled by the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem in 586 BC.
the remnant of Baal. There is a remnant of Baal-worshippers. Every last vestige of their worship will be obliterated.
VERSE 5. those who worship the army of the sky on the housetops, those who worship and swear by the LORD and also swear by Malcam,
VERSE 6. those who have turned back from following the LORD, and those who haven’t sought the LORD nor inquired after him.
VERSE 7. Be silent at the presence of the Lord GOD, for the day of the LORD is at hand. For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice. He has consecrated his guests.
Be silent at the presence of the Lord GOD. The NAB translation puts it this way: “Silence in the presence of the LORD GOD!”
When they pray, many people talk and talk and talk. They go on and on. They multiply their words.
But this phrase and many others in the Bible call us to be silent in prayer, listening for the LORD God.
the Lord GOD. The HEBREW word translated “Lord” (mixed case) is “Adonai.”
VERSE 8. It will happen in the day of the LORD’s sacrifice that I will punish the princes, the king’s sons, and all those who are clothed with foreign clothing.
VERSE 9. In that day, I will punish all those who leap over the threshold, who fill their master’s house with violence and deceit.
VERSE 10. In that day, says the LORD, there will be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, a wailing from the second quarter, and a great crashing from the hills.
VERSE 11. Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the people of Canaan are undone! All those who were loaded with silver are cut off.
VERSE 12. It will happen at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, “The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.”
NLT translation. I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. They think the Lord will do nothing to them, either good or bad.
those who sit complacent in their sins. These people have committed themselves to unjust behaviors, and they are unwilling to change.
In our day, many Christians have committed themselves to racial hatred. They are unwilling to change.
VERSE 13. Their wealth will become a plunder, and their houses a desolation. Yes, they will build houses, but won’t inhabit them. They will plant vineyards, but won’t drink their wine.
VERSE 14. The great day of the LORD is near. It is near and hurries greatly, the voice of the day of the LORD. The mighty man cries there bitterly.
The great day of the LORD is near. The Day is upon them.
VERSE 15. That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness,
VERSE 16. a day of the shofar and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high battlements.
VERSE 17. I will bring such distress on men that they will walk like blind men because they have sinned against the LORD Their blood will be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung.
VERSE 18. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’s wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he will make an end, yes, a terrible end, of all those who dwell in the land.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.