1 I am Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the grandson of Gedaliah, the great-grandson of Amariah, and the great-great-grandson of Hezekiah.[a]
When Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah,[b] the Lord gave me this message.
Judgment on Judah
2 I, the Lord, now promise to destroy everything on this earth— 3 people and animals, birds and fish. Everyone who is evil will crash to the ground,[c] and I will wipe out the entire human race. 4 I will reach out to punish Judah and Jerusalem— nothing will remain of the god Baal;[d] nothing will be remembered of his pagan priests. 5 Not a trace will be found of those who worship stars from their rooftops, or bow down to the god Milcom,[e] while claiming loyalty to me, the Lord. 6 Nothing will remain of anyone who has turned away and rejected me.
7 Be silent! I am the Lord God, and the time is near. I am preparing to sacrifice my people and to invite my guests. 8 On that day I will punish national leaders and sons of the king, along with all who follow foreign customs.[f] 9 I will punish worshipers of pagan gods[g] and cruel palace officials who abuse their power.
10 I, the Lord, promise that on that day noisy crying will be heard from Fish Gate, New Town, and Upper Hills. 11 Everyone in Lower Hollow[h] will mourn loudly, because merchants and money changers will be wiped out. 12 I’ll search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those people who sit there unworried while thinking, “The Lord won’t do anything, good or bad.” 13 Their possessions will be taken, their homes left in ruins. They won’t get to live in the houses they build, or drink wine from the grapes in their own vineyards.
A Terrible Day
14 The great day of the Lord is coming soon, very soon. On that terrible day, fearsome shouts of warriors will be heard everywhere. 15 It will be a time of anger— of trouble and torment, of disaster and destruction, of darkness and despair, of storm clouds and shadows, 16 of trumpet calls and battle cries against fortified cities and mighty fortresses.
17 The Lord warns everyone who has sinned against him, “I’ll strike you blind! Then your blood and your insides will gush out like vomit. 18 Not even your silver or gold can save you on that day when I, the Lord, am angry. My anger will flare up like a furious fire scorching the earth and everyone on it.”
1.9worshipers. . . gods: The Hebrew text has “all who jump over the threshold,” which was a Philistine religious practice (see 1 Samuel 5.5).
1.10,11Fish Gate, New Town, and Upper Hills. . . Lower Hollow: Names for different sections of Jerusalem: Fish Gate was probably the main gate on the north side of the city; New Town was a newer section; Upper Hills may have been a suburb north of the city; Lower Hollow was probably on the southern edge of town.
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