I. Time of Zephaniah's Ministry
Since Assyria and Nineveh are mentioned in 2:13, Zephaniah's ministry must have begun before 612 b.c. The condemnation of idolatrous religious customs practiced by the royal household (1:4-9) indicates that either Josiah was not on the throne or that he was still too young to exert any influence. Thus Zephaniah's ministry probably began during Josiah's early reign and before he began the reforms. If the reference in 3:6 alludes to the destruction of Nineveh (612 b.c.), this would indicate that 3:1-17 comes from the end of Josiah's reign and that Zephaniah's career would have spanned the entire reign of Josiah.