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Jerusalem’s Sin

It is bad for her who does not obey and is unclean, the city who makes it hard for the people! She does not listen to anyone and will not be taught. She did not trust in the Lord. She does not come near to her God. Her leaders are lions that make a loud noise. Her judges are wolves at evening. They leave nothing for the morning. Her men who tell what is going to happen in the future are proud and cannot be trusted. Her religious leaders have made the holy place unclean. They have turned in anger against the Law. The Lord within her is right and good. He will be fair and do nothing wrong. Every morning He brings to light what is fair. Every new day He is faithful. But the one who does wrong knows no shame. “I have cut off nations. Their towers are destroyed. I have laid waste their streets so that no one walks in them. Their cities are laid waste, and no one lives in them. I said, ‘For sure you will honor Me with fear and receive teaching.’ Then her place would not be destroyed and she would not be punished as I had planned. But they were quick to make all their works sinful.

“So wait for Me,” says the Lord, “for the day when I stand up to speak. I have decided to gather nations together to pour My burning anger upon them. All the earth will be destroyed by the fire of My jealous anger. Then I will make the lips of the people pure. And all of them will call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder. 10 Those who worship Me and have been driven away will bring My gifts in worship from the other side of the rivers of Ethiopia. 11 On that day you will not be put to shame because of all the works you have done against Me. For then I will take away all your people who find joy in their pride. And you will never be proud again on My holy mountain. 12 But I will leave among you people who are not proud, and they will be safe in the name of the Lord. 13 The people of Israel who are left will do no wrong and tell no lies. A lying tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down with no one to make them afraid.”

A Song of Joy

14 Sing, O people of Zion! Call out, O Israel! Have joy and be happy with all your heart, O people of Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away your punishment. He has taken away those who hate you. The King of Israel, the Lord, is with you. You will not be afraid of trouble any more. 16 On that day it will be said to Jerusalem: “Do not be afraid, O Zion. Do not let your hands lose their strength. 17 The Lord your God is with you, a Powerful One Who wins the battle. He will have much joy over you. With His love He will give you new life. He will have joy over you with loud singing. 18 I will gather those who have sorrow for the special days, and take away their shame. 19 At that time I will punish all those who made it hard for you. I will save those who cannot walk and gather those who have been driven away. And I will turn their shame into praise. They will be known all over the earth. 20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you together. I will make you known all over the earth, and all the nations will praise you, when I return your riches before your 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