Anger Will Strike at the Four Corners of the World
1 Gather together, gather yourselves together,
O shameless nation,
2 before you are driven away
and disappear like chaff,
before you are forced to confront
the fierce anger of the Lord,
before you are overtaken
by the day of the Lord’s anger.
3 Seek the Lord,
all you humble of the land[a]
who obey his commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
then perhaps you may find shelter
on the day of the Lord’s anger.
4 [b]For Gaza will be deserted
and Ashkelon will be reduced to ruins.
The people of Ashdod will be driven out at midday,
and Ekron will be uprooted.[c]
5 Woe to you inhabitants of the seacoast,
you nation of the Cherethites.
This is the word of the Lord against you:
“I will destroy you, land of the Philistines,
until not a single inhabitant remains.”
6 The coastland of the Cretans
will be reduced to pastures,
to grazing grounds for shepherds
and folds for flocks.
7 And the coastland will become the possession
of the remnant of the house of Judah.
They will pasture their flocks there,
and when evening arrives
they will lie down in the houses at Ashkelon.
For the Lord, their God, will be mindful of them
and restore their fortunes.
8 [d]“I have heard the insults of Moab
and the taunts of the Ammonites
when they reviled my people
and threatened their frontiers.
9 Therefore, as I live,” says the Lord of hosts,
the God of Israel,
“Moab will become like Sodom
and the Ammonites like Gomorrah:
a land filled with nettles and salt pits,
a wasteland forevermore.
The remnant of my people will plunder them,
and the survivors of my nation will dispossess them.”
10 This will be the price they pay for their pride,
inasmuch as they insulted and mocked
the people of the Lord of hosts.
11 The Lord will fill them with fear
when he causes all the gods of the earth
to waste away.
Then all the coasts and the islands of the nations[e]
shall worship him,
each from its own territory.
12 You also, O Ethiopians,
will be killed by the sword of the Lord.
13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north
and destroy Assyria.
He will make Nineveh a wasteland,
as arid as the desert.
14 Flocks and herds will lie down there,
creatures of every kind.
The desert owl and the screech owl
will roost on her columns;
will hoot at the window
while the raven croaks at the doorway.
15 Is this the exultant city
that once took pride in its security,
that said to itself,
“I am supreme, without an equal”?
And what now has it come to?
It is nothing but a desolate waste,
a lair for wild animals,
at which every passer-by
will hiss and shake his fist.
- Zephaniah 2:3 Humble of the land: those called, in Hebrew, the anawim, who have such an important place in the Bible.
- Zephaniah 2:4 In the style of the time, all these harsh oracles are assertions of the greatness of God as compared with any human power; they are also an assurance that the chosen people still have a mission, despite all their moral degradation.
- Zephaniah 2:4 The cities named were Philistine cities, to the west of Judah. Along with Gath, which is not mentioned, they formed a confederation of coastal cities.
- Zephaniah 2:8 Moab and Ammon, east of Israel, were its enemies. According to Gen 19:30-38, these peoples were descendants of Lot, who survived the disastrous fate of Sodom.
- Zephaniah 2:11 The islands of the nations: the lands and people of the eastern Mediterranean, which the Palestinians never knew well. The idea is: “even the most distant lands.”