Zephaniah 1
Judah and Jerusalem will be punished on the day of the Lord
1I am Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the grandson of Gedaliah, the great-grandson of Amariah, and the great-great-grandson of Hezekiah.#1.1 Hezekiah: Ruled 716-687 BC.#2 K 22.1—23.30; 2 Ch 34.1—35.27.
When Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah,#1.1 Josiah…king of Judah: Ruled 640-609 BC. the LORD gave me this message.
Judgment on Judah
2I, the LORD, now promise
to destroy everything
on this earth—
3people and animals,
birds and fish.
Everyone who is evil
will crash to the ground,#1.3 Everyone…ground: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
and I will wipe out
the entire human race.
4I will reach out to punish
Judah and Jerusalem—
nothing will remain
of the god Baal;#1.4 Baal: A Canaanite fertility god.
nothing will be remembered
of his pagan priests.
5Not a trace will be found
of those who worship stars
from their rooftops,
or bow down to the god Milcom,#1.5 Milcom: An Ammonite fertility god.
while claiming loyalty
to me, the LORD.
6Nothing will remain of anyone
who has turned away
and rejected me.
7Be silent! I am the LORD God,
and the time is near.
I am preparing
to sacrifice my people
and to invite my guests.
8On that day I will punish
national leaders
and sons of the king,
along with all who follow
foreign customs.#1.8 follow foreign customs: Hebrew “wear foreign clothes”.
9I will punish worshippers
of pagan gods#1.9 worshippers…gods: The Hebrew text has “all who jump over the threshold”, which was a Philistine religious practice (see 1 Samuel 5.5).
and cruel palace officials
who abuse their power.
10I, the LORD, promise
that on that day
noisy crying will be heard
from Fish Gate, New Town,
and Upper Hills.
11Everyone in Lower Hollow#1.10,11 Fish Gate, New Town, and Upper Hills…Lower Hollow: Names for different sections of Jerusalem: Fish Gate was probably the main gate on the north side of the city; New Town was a newer section; Upper Hills may have been a suburb north of the city; Lower Hollow was probably on the southern edge of town.
will mourn loudly,
because merchants
and money changers
will be wiped out.
12I'll search Jerusalem with lamps
and punish those people
who sit there unworried
while thinking,
“The LORD won't do anything,
good or bad.”
13Their possessions will be taken,
their homes left in ruins.
They won't get to live
in the houses they build,
or drink wine from the grapes
in their own vineyards.
A terrible day
14The great day of the LORD
is coming soon, very soon.
On that terrible day,
fearsome shouts of warriors
will be heard everywhere.
15It will be a time of anger—
of trouble and torment,
of disaster and destruction,
of darkness and despair,
of storm clouds and shadows,
16of trumpet calls
and battle cries
against fortified cities
and mighty fortresses.
17The LORD warns everyone
who has sinned against him,
“I'll strike you blind!
Then your blood and your insides
will gush out like vomit.
18Not even your silver or gold
can save you on that day
when I, the LORD, am angry.
My anger will flare up
like a furious fire
scorching the earth
and everyone on it.”