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Jerusalem Will Be Punished

How terrible it will be for Jerusalem that hurts its own people.
    It’s a wicked, stubborn city.
Her people don’t listen.
    They can’t be taught to do right.
They don’t trust the Lord.
    They don’t worship their God.
Their officers are like roaring lions.
    Their rulers are like hungry wolves that attack in the evening.
    In the morning nothing is left of those they attacked.
Their prophets are proud.
    They cannot be trusted.
Their priests don’t respect holy things.
    They break God’s teachings.
But the Lord is good, and he is there in that city.
    He does no wrong.
Every morning he governs the people fairly.
    Every day he can be trusted by his people.
    But evil people are not ashamed of the bad things they do.

“I have destroyed other nations.
    Their towers have fallen.
I made their streets empty.
    No one goes there anymore.
Their cities are ruined.
    No one lives there anymore.
I said, ‘Maybe now Jerusalem will respect me.
    Maybe now my people will let me teach them to do right.’
Then the place where they lived would not be destroyed.
    Then I would not have punished them.
They got up early in order to do evil.
    Everything they did was bad.
Just wait,” says the Lord.
    “Some day I will hold court and be the judge.
I will gather nations.
    I will assemble kingdoms.
I will pour out my anger on them.
    My anger will be very strong.
My anger will be like fire.
    And the whole world will be burned up.

A New Day for God’s People

“Then I will make the people of all nations speak a pure language.
    All of them will speak the name of the Lord.
    And they will worship me together.
10 People will come from where the Nile River begins.
    My scattered people will come with gifts for me.
11 Then Jerusalem will not be ashamed
    of the wrongs done against me.
I will remove from this city
    those who like to brag.
There will never be any more proud people
    on my holy mountain in Jerusalem.
12 Only the meek and humble will
    stay in my city.
    And they will trust in the Lord.
13 Those who are left alive of Israel won’t do wrong.
    They won’t tell lies.
    They won’t trick people with their words.
They will be like sheep that eat and lie down.
    No one will bother them.”

A Happy Song

14 Sing, Jerusalem.
    Israel, shout for joy!
Jerusalem, be happy.
    Rejoice with all your heart.
15 The Lord has stopped punishing you.
    He has sent your enemies away.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is with you.
    You will never again be afraid of being harmed.
16 On that day Jerusalem will be told,
    “Don’t be afraid, city of Jerusalem.
    Don’t be so discouraged that you can’t do anything.
17 The Lord your God is with you.
    The mighty One will save you.
The Lord will be happy with you.
    You will rest in his love.
    He will sing and be joyful about you.”

18 “I will take away the sadness planned for you.
    It would have made you very ashamed.
19 At that time I will punish
    all those who harmed you.
I will save my people who are hurt.
    I will gather my people who are scattered.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every place where they were disgraced.
20 At that time I will gather you.
    At that time I will bring you back home.
I will give you honor and praise
    from people everywhere.
That will happen when I give you back your riches.
    You will see this with your own eyes,” says the Lord.


Woe to the city of oppressors,(A)
    rebellious(B) and defiled!(C)
She obeys(D) no one,
    she accepts no correction.(E)
She does not trust(F) in the Lord,
    she does not draw near(G) to her God.
Her officials within her
    are roaring lions;(H)
her rulers are evening wolves,(I)
    who leave nothing for the morning.(J)
Her prophets are unprincipled;
    they are treacherous people.(K)
Her priests profane the sanctuary
    and do violence to the law.(L)
The Lord within her is righteous;(M)
    he does no wrong.(N)
Morning by morning(O) he dispenses his justice,
    and every new day he does not fail,(P)
    yet the unrighteous know no shame.(Q)

Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant

“I have destroyed nations;
    their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
    with no one passing through.
Their cities are laid waste;(R)
    they are deserted and empty.
Of Jerusalem I thought,
    ‘Surely you will fear me
    and accept correction!’(S)
Then her place of refuge[a] would not be destroyed,
    nor all my punishments come upon[b] her.
But they were still eager
    to act corruptly(T) in all they did.
Therefore wait(U) for me,”
    declares the Lord,
    “for the day I will stand up to testify.[c]
I have decided to assemble(V) the nations,(W)
    to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out my wrath(X) on them—
    all my fierce anger.(Y)
The whole world will be consumed(Z)
    by the fire of my jealous anger.

Restoration of Israel’s Remnant

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
    that all of them may call(AA) on the name of the Lord(AB)
    and serve(AC) him shoulder to shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush[d](AD)
    my worshipers, my scattered people,
    will bring me offerings.(AE)
11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame(AF)
    for all the wrongs you have done to me,(AG)
because I will remove from you
    your arrogant boasters.(AH)
Never again will you be haughty
    on my holy hill.(AI)
12 But I will leave within you
    the meek(AJ) and humble.
The remnant of Israel
    will trust(AK) in the name of the Lord.
13 They(AL) will do no wrong;(AM)
    they will tell no lies.(AN)
A deceitful tongue
    will not be found in their mouths.(AO)
They will eat and lie down(AP)
    and no one will make them afraid.(AQ)

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;(AR)
    shout aloud,(AS) Israel!
Be glad and rejoice(AT) with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;(AU)
    never again will you fear(AV) any harm.(AW)
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.(AX)
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.(AY)
He will take great delight(AZ) in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,(BA)
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”(BB)

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed(BC) you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.(BD)
I will give them praise(BE) and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring(BF) you home.
I will give you honor(BG) and praise(BH)
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[e](BI)
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.


  1. Zephaniah 3:7 Or her sanctuary
  2. Zephaniah 3:7 Or all those I appointed over
  3. Zephaniah 3:8 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew will rise up to plunder
  4. Zephaniah 3:10 That is, the upper Nile region
  5. Zephaniah 3:20 Or I bring back your captives

Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!

She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.

Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.

Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.

The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.

I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant.

I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings.

Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.

10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.

11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain.

12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord.

13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

15 The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.

17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.

19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.

20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.