1#This oracle is a classic description of the day of the Lord as an overwhelming disaster, concluding with a call for repentance and reform. Nation without shame: Judah. Gather, gather yourselves together,
O nation without shame!
2Before you are driven away,
like chaff that disappears;
Before there comes upon you
the blazing anger of the Lord;
Before there comes upon you
the day of the Lord’s anger.
3Seek the Lord,
all you humble of the land,
who have observed his law;
Perhaps you will be sheltered
on the day of the Lord’s anger.#a. [2:3] Am 5:14–15.
Judgment on the Nations
4For Gaza shall be forsaken,
and Ashkelon shall be a waste,
Ashdod they shall drive out at midday,
and Ekron#Gaza…Ashkelon…Ashdod…Ekron: cities of the Philistine confederation. shall be uprooted.#b. [2:4] Jer 47:5; Am 1:6–8.
5Ah! You who dwell by the seacoast,
the nation of Cherethites,#Cherethites: a synonym for, or subgroup of, the Philistines, which may be associated with Crete, a part of the larger Aegean area from which the Philistines came.
the word of the Lord is against you!
O Canaan, land of the Philistines,
I will leave you to perish without an inhabitant!
6You shall become fields for shepherds,
and folds for flocks.
7The seacoast shall belong
to the remnant of the house of Judah;
by the sea they shall pasture.
In the houses of Ashkelon
they shall lie down in the evening.
For the Lord their God will take care of them,
and bring about their restoration.
8I have heard the taunts uttered by Moab,
and the insults of the Ammonites,#Moab…Ammonites: Judah’s neighbors to the East across the Jordan.
When they taunted my people
and made boasts against their territory.#c. [2:8] Jer 48:1; 49:1.
9Therefore, as I live—
oracle of the Lord of hosts—
the God of Israel,
Moab shall become like Sodom,
the Ammonites like Gomorrah:
A field of weeds,
a salt pit,
a waste forever.
The remnant of my people shall plunder them,
the survivors of my nation dispossess them.
10This will be the recompense for their pride,
because they taunted and boasted against
the people of the Lord of hosts.
11The Lord shall inspire them with terror
when he makes all the gods of earth waste away;
Then the distant shores of the nations,
each from its own place,
shall bow down to him.
12You too, O Cushites,#Cushites: the Ethiopians, who had ruled Egypt a generation before Zephaniah’s career.
shall be slain by the sword of the Lord.#d. [2:12] 2 Chr 14:7–14.
13He will stretch out his hand against the north,
to destroy Assyria;
He will make Nineveh a waste,
dry as the desert.#e. [2:13] Na 3:7.
14In her midst flocks shall lie down,
all the wild life of the hollows;
The screech owl and the desert owl
shall roost in her columns;
The owl shall hoot from the window,
the raven croak from the doorway.#f. [2:14] Is 34:11.
15Is this the exultant city#The exultant city: Nineveh. Hiss, and shake their fists: gestures of derision.
that dwelt secure,
That told itself,
“I and there is no one else”?
How it has become a waste,
a lair for wild animals!
Those who pass by it
hiss, and shake their fists!