New English Translation
1 This is the Lord’s message that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah during the time of[a] Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah:
The Lord’s Day of Judgment is Approaching
2 “I will destroy[b] everything from the face of the earth,” says the Lord.
3 “I will destroy people and animals;
I will destroy the birds in the sky
and the fish in the sea.
(The idolatrous images of these creatures will be destroyed along with evil people.)[c]
I will remove[d] humanity from the face of the earth,” says the Lord.
4 “I will attack[e] Judah
and all who live in Jerusalem.
I will remove[f] from this place every trace of Baal worship,[g]
as well as the very memory[h] of the pagan priests.[i]
5 I will remove[j] those who worship the stars in the sky from their rooftops,[k]
those who swear allegiance to the Lord[l] while taking oaths in the name of[m] their ‘king,’[n]
6 and those who turn their backs on[o] the Lord
and do not want the Lord’s help or guidance.”[p]
7 Be silent before the Sovereign Lord,[q]
for the Lord’s day of judgment[r] is almost here.[s]
The Lord has prepared a sacrificial meal;[t]
he has ritually purified[u] his guests.
8 “On the day of the Lord’s sacrificial meal,
I will punish the princes[v] and the king’s sons,
and all who wear foreign styles of clothing.[w]
9 On that day I will punish all who leap over the threshold,[x]
who fill the house of their master[y] with wealth taken by violence and deceit.[z]
10 On that day,” says the Lord,
“a loud cry will go up[aa] from the Fish Gate,[ab]
wailing from the city’s newer district,[ac]
and a loud crash[ad] from the hills.
11 Wail, you who live in the market district,[ae]
for all the merchants[af] will disappear[ag]
and those who count money[ah] will be removed.[ai]
12 At that time I will search through Jerusalem with lamps.
I will punish the people who are entrenched in their sin,[aj]
those who think to themselves,[ak]
‘The Lord neither rewards nor punishes.’[al]
13 Their wealth will be stolen
and their houses ruined!
They will not live in the houses they have built,
nor will they drink the wine from the vineyards they have planted.
14 The Lord’s great day of judgment[am] is almost here;
it is approaching very rapidly!
There will be a bitter sound on the Lord’s day of judgment;
at that time warriors will cry out in battle.[an]
15 That day will be a day of God’s anger,[ao]
a day of distress and hardship,
a day of devastation and ruin,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and dark skies,
16 a day of trumpet blasts[ap] and battle cries.[aq]
Judgment will fall on[ar] the fortified cities and the high corner towers.
17 I will bring distress on the people[as]
and they will stumble[at] like blind men,
for they have sinned against the Lord.
Their blood will be poured out like dirt;
their flesh[au] will be scattered[av] like manure.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them
in the day of the Lord’s angry judgment.
The whole earth[aw] will be consumed by his fiery wrath.[ax]
Indeed,[ay] he will bring terrifying destruction[az] on all who live on the earth.”[ba]
The Prophet Warns the People
2 Bunch yourselves together like straw,[bb] you undesirable[bc] nation,
2 before God’s decree becomes reality[bd] and the day of opportunity disappears like windblown chaff,[be]
before the Lord’s raging anger[bf] overtakes[bg] you—
before the day of the Lord’s angry judgment overtakes you!
3 Seek the Lord’s favor,[bh] all you humble people[bi] of the land who have obeyed his commands![bj]
Strive to do what is right![bk] Strive to be humble![bl]
Maybe you will be protected[bm] on the day of the Lord’s angry judgment.
Judgment on Surrounding Nations
4 Indeed,[bn] Gaza will be deserted[bo]
and Ashkelon will become a heap of ruins.[bp]
Invaders will drive away the people of Ashdod by noon,[bq]
and Ekron will be overthrown.[br]
5 Beware, you who live by the sea, the people who came from Crete.[bs]
The Lord’s message is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines:
“I will destroy everyone who lives there!”[bt]
6 The seacoast[bu] will be used as pasture lands[bv] by the shepherds
and as pens for their flocks.
7 Those who are left from the kingdom of Judah[bw] will take possession of it.[bx]
By the sea[by] they[bz] will graze,
in the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down in the evening,
for the Lord their God will intervene for them[ca] and restore their prosperity.[cb]
8 “I have heard Moab’s taunts
and the Ammonites’ insults.
They[cc] taunted my people
and verbally harassed those living in Judah.[cd]
9 Therefore, as surely as I live,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,
“be certain that Moab will become like Sodom
and the Ammonites like Gomorrah.
They will be overrun by weeds,[ce]
filled with salt pits,[cf]
and permanently desolate.
Those of my people who are left[cg] will plunder their belongings;[ch]
those who are left in Judah[ci] will take possession of their land.”
10 This is how they will be repaid for their arrogance,[cj]
for they taunted and verbally harassed[ck] the people of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
11 The Lord will terrify them,[cl]
for[cm] he will weaken[cn] all the gods of the earth.
All the distant nations will worship the Lord in their own lands.[co]
12 “You[cp] Ethiopians[cq] will also die by my sword!”[cr]
13 The Lord[cs] will attack the north[ct]
and destroy Assyria.
He will make Nineveh a heap of ruins;
it will be as barren[cu] as the desert.
14 Flocks and herds[cv] will lie down in the middle of it,
as well as every kind of wild animal.[cw]
Owls[cx] will sleep in the tops of its support pillars;
they will hoot through the windows.[cy]
Rubble will cover the thresholds;[cz]
even the cedar work[da] will be exposed to the elements.[db]
15 This is how the once-proud city will end up—
the city that was so secure.[dc]
She thought to herself,[dd] “I am unique! No one can compare to me!”[de]
What a heap of ruins she has become, a place where wild animals live!
Everyone who passes by her taunts her[df] and shakes his fist.[dg]
- Zephaniah 1:1 tn Heb “in the days of.”
- Zephaniah 1:2 tc The consonantal text repeats אסף אסף with the vowels for the Qal infinitive absolute of אָסַף (ʾasaf, “gather up, retract”) followed by a Hiphil first person jussive form of סוּף (suf, “come to an end”). A similar combination appears in Jer 8:13, but it is textually disputed based on the LXX. Here a literal translation might be, “Withdrawing, I will bring to an end.” While this English rendering may sound reasonable, this is very unusual Hebrew grammar and the small number of similar cases are textually disputed. Some prefer to emend the text so that the infinitive and finite form of the verb are from the same root and same stem. Some render as “I will certainly sweep away” (NIV, ESV, Holman), probably assuming a Hiphil of אָסַף, though this root does not otherwise occur in the Hiphil, and if it did, it should mean “I will remove” (NASB). HALOT includes a Qal stem gloss “to destroy” (HALOT 74 qal 4), but this meaning is applied only to this example and one other textually disputed reference, that is, the dictionary’s gloss is merely accommodating this problem and is not evidence. Read as Hiphil forms of סוּף, the text would mean “I will certainly bring to an end,” which is conceptually similar to destroying. For a discussion of proposals see J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 167, 169.
- Zephaniah 1:3 tn Heb “And the stumbling blocks [or, “ruins”] with the evil”; or “the things that make the evil stumble.” The line does not appear in the original form of the LXX; it may be a later scribal addition. The present translation assumes the “stumbling blocks” are idolatrous images of the aforementioned animals, birds, and fish. See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 167, and Adele Berlin, Zephaniah (AB), 73-74.
- Zephaniah 1:3 tn Heb “cut off.”
- Zephaniah 1:4 tn Heb “I will stretch out my hand against,” is an idiom for hostile action.
- Zephaniah 1:4 tn Heb “cut off.”
- Zephaniah 1:4 tn Heb “the remnant of Baal.”
- Zephaniah 1:4 tn Heb “name.” Here the “name” is figurative for the memory of those who bear it.
- Zephaniah 1:4 tc Heb “of the pagan priests with the priests.” The first word (כְּמָרִים, kemarim) refers to idolatrous priests in its two other appearances in the OT (2 Kgs 23:5, Hos 10:5), while the second word (כֹּהֲנִים, kohanim) is the normal term for “priest” and is used of both legitimate and illegitimate priests in the OT. It is likely that the second term, which is omitted in the LXX, is a later scribal addition to the Hebrew text, defining the extremely rare word that precedes (see J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah [OTL], 167-68; cf. also NEB, NRSV). Some argue that both words are original; among the modern English versions that include both are NASB and NIV. Possibly the first word refers to outright pagan priests, while the second has in view once-legitimate priests of the Lord who had drifted into idolatrous practices. Another option is found in Adele Berlin, who translates, “the idolatrous priests among the priests,” understanding the second word as giving the general category of which the idolatrous priests are a part (Zephaniah [AB 25A], 75).
- Zephaniah 1:5 tn The words “I will remove” are repeated from v. 4b for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text vv. 4b-6 contain a long list of objects for the verb “I will remove” in v. 4b. In the present translation a new sentence was begun at the beginning of v. 5 in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences.
- Zephaniah 1:5 tn Heb “those who worship on their roofs the host of heaven.” The “host of heaven” included the sun, moon, planets, and stars, all of which were deified in the ancient Near East.
- Zephaniah 1:5 tc The MT reads, “those who worship, those who swear allegiance to the Lord.” The original form of the LXX omits the phrase “those who worship”; it may have been accidentally repeated from the preceding line. J. J. M. Roberts prefers to delete as secondary the phrase “those who swear allegiance” (J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah [OTL], 168).
- Zephaniah 1:5 tn Heb “those who swear by.”
- Zephaniah 1:5 tn The referent of “their king” is unclear. It may refer sarcastically to a pagan god (perhaps Baal) worshiped by the people. Some English versions (cf. NEB, NASB, NRSV) prefer to emend the text to “Milcom,” the name of an Ammonite god (following some LXX mss, Syriac, and Vulgate) or “Molech,” a god to whom the Israelites offered their children (cf. NIV, NLT). For a discussion of the options, see Adele Berlin, Zephaniah (AB 25A), 75-77.
- Zephaniah 1:6 tn Heb “turn back from [following] after.”
- Zephaniah 1:6 tn Heb “who do not seek the Lord and do not inquire of him.” The present translation assumes the first verb refers to praying for divine help and the second to seeking his revealed will through an oracle. Note the usage of the two verbs in 2 Chr 20:3-4.
- Zephaniah 1:7 tn Heb “Lord Yahweh.”
- Zephaniah 1:7 tn Heb “the day of the Lord.”sn The origin of the concept of “the day of the Lord” is uncertain. It may have originated in the ancient Near Eastern idea of the sovereign’s day of conquest, where a king would boast that he had concluded an entire military campaign in a single day (see D. Stuart, “The Sovereign’s Day of Conquest,” BASOR 221 : 159-64). In the OT the expression is applied to several acts of divine judgment, some historical and others still future (see A. J. Everson, “The Days of Yahweh,” JBL 93 : 329-37). In the OT the phrase first appears in Amos (assuming that Amos predates Joel and Obadiah), where it seems to refer to a belief on the part of the northern kingdom that God would intervene on Israel’s behalf and judge the nation’s enemies. Amos affirms that the Lord’s day of judgment is indeed approaching, but he declares that it will be a day of disaster, not deliverance, for Israel. Here in Zephaniah, the “day of the Lord” includes God’s coming judgment of Judah, as well as a more universal outpouring of divine anger.
- Zephaniah 1:7 tn Or “near.”
- Zephaniah 1:7 tn Heb “a sacrifice.” This same word also occurs in the following verse.sn Because a sacrificial meal presupposes the slaughter of animals, it is used here as a metaphor of the bloody judgment to come.
- Zephaniah 1:7 tn Or “consecrated” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- Zephaniah 1:8 tn Or “officials” (NRSV, TEV); NLT “leaders.”
- Zephaniah 1:8 sn The very dress of the royal court, foreign styles of clothing, revealed the degree to which Judah had assimilated foreign customs.
- Zephaniah 1:9 sn The point of the statement all who hop over the threshold is unclear. A ritual or superstition associated with the Philistine god Dagon may be in view (see 1 Sam 5:5).
- Zephaniah 1:9 tn The referent of “their master” is unclear. The king or a pagan god may be in view.
- Zephaniah 1:9 tn Heb “who fill…with violence and deceit.” The expression “violence and deceit” refers metonymically to the wealth taken by oppressive measures.
- Zephaniah 1:10 tn The words “will go up” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Zephaniah 1:10 sn The Fish Gate was located on Jerusalem’s north side (cf. 2 Chr 33:14; Neh 3:3; 12:39).
- Zephaniah 1:10 tn Heb “from the second area.” This may refer to an area northwest of the temple where the rich lived (see Adele Berlin, Zephaniah [AB 25A], 86; cf. NASB, NRSV “the Second Quarter”; NIV “the New Quarter”).
- Zephaniah 1:10 tn Heb “great breaking.”
- Zephaniah 1:11 tn Heb “in the Mortar.” The Hebrew term מַכְתֵּשׁ (makhtesh, “mortar”) is apparently here the name of a low-lying area where economic activity took place.
- Zephaniah 1:11 tn Or perhaps “Canaanites.” Cf. BDB 489 s.v. I and II כְּנַעֲנִי. Translators have rendered the term either as “the merchant people” (KJV, NKJV), “the traders” (NRSV), “merchants” (NEB, NIV), or, alternatively, “the people of Canaan” (NASB).
- Zephaniah 1:11 tn Or “be destroyed.”
- Zephaniah 1:11 tn Heb “weigh out silver.”
- Zephaniah 1:11 tn Heb “be cut off.” In the Hebrew text of v. 11b the perfect verbal forms emphasize the certainty of the judgment, speaking of it as if it were already accomplished.
- Zephaniah 1:12 tn Heb “who thicken on their sediment.” The imagery comes from wine making, where the wine, if allowed to remain on the sediment too long, will thicken into syrup. The image suggests that the people described here were complacent in their sinful behavior and interpreted the delay in judgment as divine apathy.
- Zephaniah 1:12 tn Heb “who say in their hearts.”
- Zephaniah 1:12 tn Heb “The Lord does not do good nor does he do evil.”
- Zephaniah 1:14 tn Heb “The great day of the Lord.” The words “of judgment” are supplied in the translation here and later in this verse for clarity. See the note on the expression “day of judgment” in v. 7.
- Zephaniah 1:14 tn Heb “the sound of the day of the Lord, bitter [is] one crying out there, a warrior.” The present translation does four things: (1) It takes מַר (mar, “bitter”) with what precedes (contrary to the accentuation of the MT). (2) It understands the participle צָרַח (tsarakh, “cry out in battle”) as verbal with “warrior” as its subject. (3) It takes שָׁם (sham, “there”) in a temporal sense, meaning “then, at that time.” (4) It understands “warrior” as collective.
- Zephaniah 1:15 tn Heb “a day of wrath.” The word “God’s” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Zephaniah 1:16 tn Heb “a ram’s horn.” By metonymy the Hebrew text mentions the trumpet (“ram’s horn”) in place of the sound it produces (“trumpet blasts”).
- Zephaniah 1:16 sn This description of the day of the Lord consists of an initial reference to anger, followed by four pairs of synonyms. The joining of synonyms in this way emphasizes the degree of the characteristic being described. The first two pairs focus on the distress and ruin that judgment will bring; the second two pairs picture this day of judgment as being very dark (darkness) and exceedingly overcast (gloom). The description concludes with the pairing of two familiar battle sounds, the blast on the ram’s horn (trumpet blasts) and the war cries of the warriors (battle cries).
- Zephaniah 1:16 tn Heb “against.” The words “judgment will fall” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- Zephaniah 1:17 tn “The people” refers to mankind in general (see vv. 2-3) or more specifically to the residents of Judah (see vv. 4-13).
- Zephaniah 1:17 tn Heb “walk.”
- Zephaniah 1:17 tn Some take the referent of “flesh” to be more specific here; cf. NEB (“bowels”), NAB (“brains”), NIV (“entrails”).
- Zephaniah 1:17 tn The words “will be scattered” are supplied in the translation for clarity based on the parallelism with “will be poured out” in the previous line.
- Zephaniah 1:18 tn Or “land” (cf. NEB). This same word also occurs at the end of the present verse.
- Zephaniah 1:18 tn Or “passion”; traditionally, “jealousy.”
- Zephaniah 1:18 tn Or “for.”
- Zephaniah 1:18 tn Heb “complete destruction, even terror, he will make.”
- Zephaniah 1:18 tn It is not certain where the Lord’s words end and the prophet’s words begin. It is possible that Zephaniah begins speaking in the middle of v. 17 or at the beginning of v. 18 (note the third person pronouns referring to the Lord).
- Zephaniah 2:1 tn The Hebrew text combines a Hitpolel imperative of קָשַׁשׁ (qashash) with a Qal imperative of the same root. Elsewhere this root appears in the polel stem with the meaning “gather stubble.” Zephaniah’s command is ironic, implying the people are like stubble or straw. As such, they are vulnerable to the Lord’s fiery judgment that will quickly consume them (see 1:18). See Adele Berlin, Zephaniah (AB 25A), 96.
- Zephaniah 2:1 tn Some relate this word to an Aramaic cognate meaning “to be ashamed.” With the negative particle it would then mean “unashamed” (cf. NIV “shameful”; NRSV “shameless”). However, elsewhere in biblical Hebrew the verb means “to desire,” or with the negative particle “undesirable.” Cf. also NEB “unruly.”
- Zephaniah 2:2 tn Heb “before the giving birth of a decree.” For various alternative readings, see J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 187-88.
- Zephaniah 2:2 tn The second half of the line reads literally, “like chaff it passes by a day.” The translation above assumes the “day” is the brief time God is giving the nation to repent. The comparison of this quickly passing opportunity to chaff is consistent with the straw imagery of v. 1.
- Zephaniah 2:2 tn Heb “the fury of the anger of the Lord.” The synonyms are combined to emphasize the extreme degree of the Lord’s anger.
- Zephaniah 2:2 tn Heb “comes upon.” This phrase occurs twice in this verse.
- Zephaniah 2:3 tn Heb “seek the Lord,” but “favor” seems to be implied from the final line of the verse.
- Zephaniah 2:3 tn Or “poor.” The precise referent of this Hebrew term is unclear. The word may refer to the economically poor or to the spiritually humble.
- Zephaniah 2:3 tn The present translation assumes the Hebrew term מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) here refers to God’s covenantal requirements and is a synonym for the Law. The word can mean “justice” and could refer more specifically to the principles of justice contained in the Law. In this case the phrase could be translated, “who have promoted the justice God demands.”
- Zephaniah 2:3 tn Heb “Seek what is right.”
- Zephaniah 2:3 tn Heb “Seek humility.”
- Zephaniah 2:3 tn Heb “hidden.” Cf. NEB “it may be that you will find shelter”; NRSV “perhaps you may be hidden.”
- Zephaniah 2:4 tn Or “for” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).
- Zephaniah 2:4 tn There is a sound play here in the Hebrew text: the name Gaza (עַזָּה, ’azzah) sounds like the word translated “deserted” (עֲזוּבָה, ’azuvah).
- Zephaniah 2:4 tn Or “a desolate place.”
- Zephaniah 2:4 tn Heb “[As for] Ashdod, at noon they will drive her away.”sn The reference to noon may suggest a sudden, quick defeat (see Jer 6:4; 15:8).
- Zephaniah 2:4 tn Heb “uprooted.” There is a sound play here in the Hebrew text: the name “Ekron” (עֶקְרוֹן, ’eqron) sounds like the word translated “uprooted” (תֵּעָקֵר, te’aqer).
- Zephaniah 2:5 tn Heb “Kerethites,” a people settled alongside the Philistines in the coastal areas of southern Palestine (cf. 1 Sam 30:14; Ezek 25:16). They originally came from the island of Crete.
- Zephaniah 2:5 tn Heb “I will destroy you so there is no inhabitant [remaining].”
- Zephaniah 2:6 tn The NIV here supplies the phrase “where the Kerethites dwell” (“Kerethites” is translated in v. 5 as “the people who came from Crete”) as an interpretive gloss, but this phrase is not in the MT. The NAB likewise reads “the coastland of the Cretans,” supplying “Cretans” here.
- Zephaniah 2:6 tn The Hebrew phrase here is נְוֹת כְּרֹת (nevot kerot). The first word is probably a plural form of נָוָה (navah, “pasture”). The meaning of the second word is unclear. It may be a synonym of the preceding word (cf. NRSV “pastures, meadows for shepherds”); there is a word כַּר (kar, “pasture”) in biblical Hebrew, but elsewhere it forms its plural with a masculine ending. Some have suggested the meaning “wells” or “caves” used as shelters (cf. NEB “shepherds’ huts”); in this case, one might translate, “The seacoast will be used for pasturelands; for shepherds’ wells/caves.”
- Zephaniah 2:7 tn Heb “the remnant of the house of Judah.”
- Zephaniah 2:7 tn Or “the coast will belong to the remnant of the house of Judah.”
- Zephaniah 2:7 tc Heb “on them.” But there is no clear antecedent to match the masculine plural pronoun. It is preferable to emend the text from עֲלֵיהֶם (ʿalehem) to עַל־הַיָּם (ʿal hayyam, “by the sea”). This emendation assumes a transposition of letters and then an improper word division in the MT (cf. NEB “They shall pasture their flocks by the sea”). See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 192.
- Zephaniah 2:7 tn The referent of the pronominal subject (“they”) is unclear. It may refer (1) to the shepherds (in which case the first verb should be translated, “pasture their sheep,” cf. NEB), or (2) to the Judahites occupying the area, who are being compared to sheep (cf. NIV, “there they will find pasture”).
- Zephaniah 2:7 tn Or “will care for them.”
- Zephaniah 2:7 tn Traditionally, “restore their captivity,” i.e., bring back their captives. This followed the understanding of the LXX and other versions (cf. KJV “turn away their captivity”). The Hebrew tradition is mixed, the consonantal text implies the reading שְׁבוּת (shevut) but it is vocalized as if שְׁבִית (shevit). It is more likely the noun means “fortunes” (HALOT 1386 s.v. שְׁבִית, שְׁבוּת) as in the expression “restore their fortunes” (cf. NEB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- Zephaniah 2:8 tn Heb “who.” A new sentence was begun here in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Zephaniah 2:8 tn Heb “and they made great [their mouth?] against their territory.” Other possible translation options include (1) “they enlarged their own territory” (cf. NEB) and (2) “they bragged about [the size] of their own territory.”
- Zephaniah 2:9 tn The Hebrew text reads מִמְשַׁק חָרוּל (mimshaq kharul, “[?] of weeds”). The meaning of the first word is unknown. The present translation (“They will be overrun by weeds”) is speculative, based on the general sense of the context. For a defense of “overrun” on linguistic grounds, see R. D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (WEC), 347. Cf. NEB “a pile of weeds”; NIV “a place of weeds”; NRSV “a land possessed by nettles.”
- Zephaniah 2:9 tn The Hebrew text reads וּמִכְרֵה־מֶלַח (umikhreh melakh, “and a [?] of salt”). The meaning of the first word is unclear, though “pit” (NASB, NIV, NRSV; NKJV “saltpit”), “mine,” and “heap” (cf. NEB “a rotting heap of saltwort”) are all options. The words “filled with” are supplied for clarification.
- Zephaniah 2:9 tn Or “The remnant of my people.”
- Zephaniah 2:9 tn Heb “them.” The actual object of the plundering, “their belongings,” has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Zephaniah 2:9 tn Heb “[the] nation.” For clarity the “nation” has been specified as “Judah” in the translation.
- Zephaniah 2:10 tn Heb “this is for them in place of their arrogance.”
- Zephaniah 2:10 tn Heb “made great [their mouth?] against” (cf. the last phrase of v. 8).
- Zephaniah 2:11 tn Heb “will be awesome over [or, “against”] them.”
- Zephaniah 2:11 tn Or “certainly.”
- Zephaniah 2:11 tn The meaning of this rare Hebrew word is unclear. If the meaning is indeed “weaken,” then this line may be referring to the reduction of these gods’ territory through conquest (see Adele Berlin, Zephaniah [AB 25A], 110-11). Cf. NEB “reduce to beggary”; NASB “starve”; NIV “when he destroys”; NRSV “shrivel.”
- Zephaniah 2:11 tn Heb “and all the coastlands of the nations will worship [or, “bow down”] to him, each from his own place.”
- Zephaniah 2:12 sn Though there is no formal introduction, these words are apparently spoken by the Lord (note my sword).
- Zephaniah 2:12 tn Heb “Cushites.” This is traditionally assumed to refer to people from the region south of Egypt, i.e., Nubia or northern Sudan, referred to as “Ethiopia” by classical authors (not the more recent Abyssinia).
- Zephaniah 2:12 tn Heb “Also you Cushites, who lie dead by my sword.”
- Zephaniah 2:13 tn Heb “He”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Zephaniah 2:13 tn Heb “he will stretch out his hand against the north.”
- Zephaniah 2:13 tn Or “dry.”
- Zephaniah 2:14 tn Heb “flocks.” The Hebrew word can refer to both flocks of sheep and herds of cattle.
- Zephaniah 2:14 tn Heb “[and] all the wild animals of a nation.” How גוֹי (goy, “nation”) relates to what precedes is unclear. It may be an unusual expression or need emendation to another word. See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 193.
- Zephaniah 2:14 tn The Hebrew text reads here גַּם־קָאַת גַּם־קִפֹּד (gam qaʾat gam qippod). The term קָאַת refers to some type of bird (see Lev 11:18; Deut 14:17) that was typically found near ruins (Isa 34:11); one of the most common translations is “owl” (cf. NEB “horned owl”; NIV, NRSV “desert owl”; contra NASB “pelican”). The term קִפֹּד may also refer to a type of bird (cf. NEB “ruffed bustard”; NIV, NRSV “screech owl”). Some suggest a rodent may be in view (cf. NASB “hedgehog”); this is not unreasonable, for a rodent or some other small animal would be able to sleep in the tops of pillars which would be lying in the ruins of the fallen buildings.
- Zephaniah 2:14 tn Heb “a sound will sing in the window.” If some type of owl is in view, “hoot” is a more appropriate translation (cf. NEB, NRSV).
- Zephaniah 2:14 tn Heb “rubble [will be] on the threshold.” “Rubble” translates the Hebrew word חֹרֶב (khorev, “desolation”). Some emend to עֹרֵב (ʿorev, “raven”) following the LXX and Vulgate; Adele Berlin translates, “A voice shall shriek from the window—a raven at the sill” (Zephaniah [AB 25A], 104).
- Zephaniah 2:14 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word translated “cedar work” (so NASB, NRSV) is unclear; NIV has “the beams of cedar.”
- Zephaniah 2:14 tn Heb “one will expose.” The subject is probably indefinite, though one could translate, “for he [i.e., God] will lay bare.”
- Zephaniah 2:15 tn Heb “This is the proud city, the one that lives securely.” “This” refers to the previous description of how the city will turn out.
- Zephaniah 2:15 tn Heb “the one who says in her heart [or mind].”
- Zephaniah 2:15 tn Heb “I [am], and besides me there is no other.”
- Zephaniah 2:15 tn Heb “hisses”; or “whistles.”
- Zephaniah 2:15 sn Hissing (or whistling) and shaking the fist were apparently ways of taunting a defeated foe or an object of derision in the culture of the time.