1 This is the word of the Lord that came through Zephaniah while Josiah [C ruled 640–609 bc] son of Amon was king of Judah. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, who was the son of Gedaliah. Gedaliah was the son of Amariah, who was the son of Hezekiah.
The Lord’s Judgment
2 “I will sweep away everything
from the [L face of the] earth,” says the Lord.
3 “I will sweep away the people and animals;
I will ·destroy [sweep away] the birds in the air
and the fish of the sea.
I will ·ruin the evil people [reduce the wicked to rubble; L destroy the stumbling blocks with the wicked],
and I will remove human beings from the [L face of the] earth,” says the Lord.
The Future of Judah
4 “I will ·punish [L stretch out my hand against] Judah
and all the people living in Jerusalem.
I will remove from this place
·all signs [every trace; the remnant] of Baal, ·the [every memory of; L the names of] ·false [idolatrous] priests, and the other priests.
5 I will destroy those who ·worship [bow down to]
the ·stars [starry host; host of heaven] from the roofs [C roofs were flat and used for living space],
and those who ·worship [bow down] and ·make promises [swear oaths]
by both the Lord and the god ·Molech [or Malkam; or the king],
6 and those who turned away from the Lord,
and those who quit following the Lord and ·praying to him for direction [L seeking or inquiring of him].
7 Be silent before the Lord God,
because the ·Lord’s day for judging people [L day of the Lord; Is. 13:6, 9; Jer. 46:10; Joel 2:1, 11, 31; Amos 5:18–20; Zech. 14:1] is ·coming soon [near].
The Lord has prepared a sacrifice;
he has ·made holy [consecrated] his invited guests.
8 On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
I, the Lord, will punish the ·princes [officials] and the king’s sons
and all those who wear foreign clothes [C indicating adoption of pagan culture and religion].
9 On that day I will punish those who ·worship Dagon [L leap over the threshold; C thought to be part of worship of the Philistine god Dagon; 1 Sam. 5:5],
those who fill the ·temple [L house] of their ·gods [or king; L master] with violence and deceit.
10 “On that day,” says the Lord,
“a cry will be heard at the Fish Gate.
A wail will come from the ·new area of the city [L Second Quarter],
and a loud crash will echo from the hills.
11 ·Cry [Wail], you people living in ·the market area [or the lower town; or Mortar; C possibly a place name],
because all the merchants will ·be dead [be destroyed; or disappear];
all the silver traders will be ·gone [L cut off].
12 At that time I, the Lord, will search Jerusalem with lamps.
I will punish those who are ·satisfied with themselves [complacent; or entrenched in sin; L thickened in their dregs/sediment],
who think, ‘The Lord won’t ·help us or punish us [L do good or evil].’
13 Their wealth will be ·stolen [plundered]
and their houses ·destroyed [ruined; laid waste].
They may build houses,
but they will not live in them.
They may plant vineyards,
but they will not drink any wine from them.
The Lord’s Day of Judging
14 “The ·Lord’s day of judging [great day of the Lord; 1:7] is ·coming soon [near];
it is near and coming fast.
The cry will be ·very sad [bitter] on the day of the Lord;
·even soldiers will cry [or soldiers will shout a battle cry].
15 That day will be a day of ·anger [wrath],
a day of ·terror [distress] and ·trouble [anguish],
a day of ·destruction [devastation] and ruin,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness,
16 a day of ·alarms [trumpet blasts; L a ram’s horn] and battle cries.
·‘Attack [or …against] the ·strong, walled [fortified] cities!
·Attack [or …against] the corner towers!’
17 I will ·make life hard [bring distress] on ·the people [or humanity];
they will ·walk [grope] around like the blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord.
Their blood will be poured out like dust,
and their ·insides [flesh] will be dumped like ·trash [refuse; dung].
18 On the day ·that God will show his anger [L of the Lord’s wrath],
neither their silver nor gold will save them.
·The Lord’s anger will be like a fire [L In the fire of his jealousy; Nah. 1:2]
that will ·burn up [consume; devour] the whole world;
suddenly he will bring an end, yes, an end
to ·everyone on [all who live on] earth.”