1 The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah king of Judah and son of Amon.
2 By taking away I will make an end and I will utterly consume and sweep away all things from the face of the earth, says the Lord.
3 I will consume and sweep away man and beast; I will consume and sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. I will overthrow the stumbling blocks (the idols) with the wicked [worshipers], and I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth, says the Lord.
4 I will also stretch out My hand over Judah and over all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place and the name of the idol priests with the [false] priests,
5 And those who worship the starry host of the heavens upon their housetops and those who [pretend to] worship the Lord and swear by and to Him and yet swear by and to [the heathen god Molech or] Malcam [their idol king],
6 And those who have drawn back from following the Lord and those who have not sought the Lord nor inquired for, inquired of, and required the Lord [as their first necessity].
7 [Hush!] Be silent before the Lord God, for the day [of the vengeance] of the Lord is near; for the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, and He has set apart [for His use] those who have accepted His invitation.(A)
8 And on the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all who are clothed in [lavish] foreign apparel [instead of the Jewish dress, with its reminders to obey God’s commandments].(B)
9 In the same day also will I punish all those who leap swiftly on or over the threshold [upon entering houses to steal], who fill their master’s house with violence and deceit and fraud.
10 And in that day, says the Lord, there shall be heard the voice of crying from the Fish Gate [in the wall of Jerusalem] and a wailing from the Second Quarter or Lower City and a great crashing and sound of destruction from the hills.
11 Wail, you inhabitants of the Mortar [those located in the hollow part of the city]! For all the merchant people, like the people of Canaan, will be silent [entirely destroyed]; all those who weighed out silver and were loaded with it will be cut off.
12 And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish the men who [like old wine] are thickening and settling on their lees, who say in their hearts, The Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil.
13 And their wealth shall become plunder and their houses a desolation. Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink the wine from them.(C)
14 The great day of the Lord is near—near and hastening fast. Hark! the voice of the day of the Lord! The mighty man [unable to fight or to flee] will cry then bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness,(D)
16 A day of the blast of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the high towers and battlements.
17 And I will bring distress upon men, so that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s indignation and wrath. But the whole earth shall be consumed in the fire of His jealous [a]wrath, for a full, yes, a sudden, end will He make of all the inhabitants of the earth.(E)
- Zephaniah 1:18 God’s judgment, God’s mercy—the twin themes of the prophets. In this dramatic passage, the Lord describes the destruction that will sweep the earth in the day of God’s wrath. Yet the Lord is true to His promises—the remnant will be restored (Zeph. 3:18-20); the last day is also “the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). See also Matt. 24:31; John 14:3; I Thess. 4:15-17.