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A Plea for Repentance to the People

“Gather together!
Yes, indeed, gather together,
        you shameless nation!
Before the decree is carried out,
    before the day flies away like chaff,
before the fierce anger of the Lord visits you,
    before the Day of the Lord’s wrath surprises[a] you,
seek the Lord, all you humble people of the land,
    who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness!
    Seek humility!
        Maybe you will be protected in the Day of the Lord’s anger.”

The Coming Destruction of Philistine Cities

“For Gaza will be forsaken,[b]
    and Ashkelon deserted—
Ashdod will be emptied at high noon;
    even Ekron will be uprooted.[c]
Woe to those who live along the coast,
    the people of Philistia![d]
This message from the Lord is being spoken against you,
    Canaan, land of the Philistines:
        ‘I’ll destroy you until no one lives there!’
The Philistine[e] coast will become meadows
    for shepherds and sheep pens.
The survivors of Judah will find pasture on it;
    at twilight they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon,
for the Lord their God will visit them,
    restoring their prosperity.”[f]

The Lord’s Rebuke to Moab and Ammon

“I’ve heard Moab’s insults
    and the curses from those Ammonites[g]
by which they defame my people
    and boast about their territory.
Therefore as I’m alive and living,” declares the Lord of the Heavenly Armies, the God of Israel,
    “Moab will surely become like Sodom,
        and the Ammonites[h] like Gomorrah,
a place overrun by weeds and salty marshes,
    unpopulated forever.
The survivors of my people will confiscate their property,
    and those who remain of my nation will inherit what was theirs.[i]
10 This they[j] will have in lieu of their pride,
    because they have insulted and mocked the people of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies.
11 The Lord will incite them to terror,
    because he will cause all the gods of the earth to waste away.
They will worship him,
    every person in his own home,
        including even the coastlands of the nations.”

The Lord’s Rebuke to Cush and Nineveh

12 “Now as for you, Cush,[k]
    you[l] will surely be slain by my sword!

13 “And the Lord[m] will attack[n] the north, destroying Assyria.
    He will turn Nineveh into a desolate ruin,
        as dry as a desert wilderness.
14 Flocks will lie down in her midst,
    along with animals of every kind.
Desert owls and screeching owls will nest at the top of the pillars,
    hooting through the vacant[o] windows,
        ‘Ruin sits at these doorsills,’
for he will expose even the cedar framework.
15 This is that carefree city that lived irresponsibly,
    that told herself, ‘Me first!’[p]
        and, ‘There will be no one else!’
How ruined she has become—
    a habitat for wild animals!
Everyone who passes by her will sneer at her
    and make obscene gestures!”[q]


  1. Zephaniah 2:2 Lit. wrath comes upon
  2. Zephaniah 2:4 The Heb. word forsaken sounds like the Heb. name Gaza
  3. Zephaniah 2:4 The Heb. word uprooted sounds like the Heb. name Ekron
  4. Zephaniah 2:5 Lit. of the Cherethites
  5. Zephaniah 2:6 Lit. Cherethite
  6. Zephaniah 2:7 Or them, turning away their captivity
  7. Zephaniah 2:8 Lit. the descendants of Ammon; so also in v. 9.
  8. Zephaniah 2:9 Lit. the descendants of Ammon; so also in v. 9.
  9. Zephaniah 2:9 Cf. Obad 19-21
  10. Zephaniah 2:10 I.e. the people of Edom and Moab
  11. Zephaniah 2:12 I.e. Sudan, Ethiopia, or southern Iraq
  12. Zephaniah 2:12 Lit. they
  13. Zephaniah 2:13 Lit. And he
  14. Zephaniah 2:13 Lit. stretch out his hand toward
  15. Zephaniah 2:14 The Heb. lacks vacant
  16. Zephaniah 2:15 Lit. said in her heart, ‘I’
  17. Zephaniah 2:15 Lit. and wag his hand