Zephaniah 3 – “Punishment for Jerusalem; Salvation Song”

AM.0072-28Hebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Jerusalem will be punished for its sins on the day of Yahweh’s judgment. The people should rejoice because Yahweh will bring salvation to the city.

II. Photo

Jerusalem has become corrupt: “Her judges are wolves of the steppe, They leave no bone until morning.” (v. 3)

III. Select Verses

3-4: The officials within her Are roaring lions; Her judges are wolves of the steppe, They leave no bone until morning. Her prophets are reckless, Faithless fellows; Her priests profane what is holy, They give perverse rulings.

6-7: I wiped out nations: Their corner towers are desolate; I turned their thoroughfares into ruins, With none passing by; Their towns lie waste without people, Without inhabitants.  And I thought that she would fear Me, Would learn a lesson, And that the punishment I brought on them Would not be lost on her. Instead, all the more eagerly They have practiced corruption in all their deeds.

13: But I will leave within you A poor, humble folk, And they shall find refuge In the name of the LORD.

14-15: Shout for joy, Fair Zion, Cry aloud, O Israel! Rejoice and be glad with all your heart, Fair Jerusalem!  The LORD has annulled the judgment against you, He has swept away your foes. Israel’s Sovereign the LORD is within you; You need fear misfortune no more.

IV. Outline

1-13. Punishment for Jerusalem

    1-4. Jerusalem (see vv. 11, 14) has been disobedient

    5. YHWH is righteous

    6-7. YHWH has destroyed nations but Jerusalem still rebels

    8-10. All people will worship YHWH on his day of doom

    11-13. Only the humble will survive

14-20. Salvation song

    14. Call to praise

    15. Rationale: future salvation

    16-17a. Future quote

    17b-18. Rationale: future salvation

    19a. Punishment for enemies

    19b-20. The disgraced ones will be renowned


V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http://www.arcticphoto.co.uk/Pix/AM/01/AM.0072-28_P.JPG

Zephaniah 2 – “Impending Doom for Israel’s Neighbors”

dead sea saltHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Yahweh urges the Israelites to seek righteousness before the Day of Yahweh arrives. Yahweh warns Philistia, Ammon, Moab, Ethiopia, and Assyria about their impending doom.

II. Photo

Moab and Ammon will be destroyed: “Moab shall become like Sodom and the Ammonites like Gomorrah: Clumps of weeds and patches of salt, and desolation evermore.” (v. 9)

III. Select Verses

3: Seek the LORD, All you humble of the land Who have fulfilled His law; Seek righteousness, Seek humility. Perhaps you will find shelter On the day of the LORD’s anger.

4: Indeed, Gaza shall be deserted And Ashkelon desolate; Ashdod’s people shall be expelled in broad daylight, And Ekron shall be uprooted.

8-9:  I have heard the insults of Moab And the jeers of the Ammonites, Who have insulted My people And gloated over their country.  Assuredly, as I live — declares the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel — Moab shall become like Sodom And the Ammonites like Gomorrah: Clumps of weeds and patches of salt, And desolation evermore. The remnant of My people shall plunder them, The remainder of My nation shall possess them.

15: Is this the gay city [Nineveh] That dwelt secure, That thought in her heart, “I am, and there is none but me”? Alas, she is become a waste, A lair of wild beasts! Everyone who passes by her Hisses and gestures with his hand.

IV. Outline

1-3. Seek righteousness before the day of YHWH comes

4-7. Impending doom for Philistia

8-10. Impending doom for Moab and Ammon

11. All peoples will worship YHWH

12. Impending doom for Ethiopia

13-15. Impending doom for Assyria and its capital Nineveh

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http://www.8thingstodo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Dead-Sea-Jordan-Lowest-point-on-Earth.jpg

Zephaniah 1 – “The Day of Yahweh: Impending Doom”

gloomy dark clouds stormHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Zephaniah is introduced. Yahweh promises to wipe out the entire world in general and to punish Judah in specific.

II. Photo

The day of Yahweh approaches: “That day shall be… A day of darkness and deep gloom, A day of densest clouds.” (v. 15)

III. Select Verses

1: The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi son of Gedaliah son of Amariah son of Hezekiah, during the reign of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah.

3: I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea. I will make the wicked stumble, And I will destroy mankind From the face of the earth — declares the LORD.

5-6: And those who bow down on the roofs To the host of heaven; And those who bow down and swear to the LORD But also swear by Malcam; And those who have forsaken the LORD, And those who have not sought the LORD And have not turned to Him.

12: At that time, I will search Jerusalem with lamps; And I will punish the men Who rest untroubled on their lees, Who say to themselves, “The LORD will do nothing, good or bad.”

18: Moreover, their silver and gold Shall not avail to save them. On the day of the LORD’s wrath, In the fire of His passion, The whole land shall be consumed; For He will make a terrible end Of all who dwell in the land.

IV. Outline

1. Genealogical introduction

2-3. Yahweh will destroy all life

4-6. Yahweh will wipe out the idolaters in Judah

7-9. The day of Yahweh: a feast and punishment

10-11. The sounds of pain

12-13. The skeptics will be punished

14-16. The great and awesome day approaches

17. Punishment for sin

18. The wealthy will not be saved


V. Comment

According to the text, Zephaniah was active during the time of Josiah (640-609 B.C.E.). John M. Berridge writes in the ABD VI 1075 (“Zephaniah (Person)”) that “A bulla which dates from the early 6th century and which is inscribed lyrmyhw bn ṣpnyhw bn nby[ʾ?] has been found at Lachish. Although certain identification is impossible, the inscription may refer to the prophet Zephaniah. If this is the case, Zephaniah was the father of Jeremiah (the owner of the seal), who appears to have been a member of a prophetic guild.”

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

Photo copied from http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2011/10/11/1318335738216/car-drives-under-dark-clo-005.jpg