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Zephaniah 1 Living Bible (TLB)

Subject: a message from the Lord.

To: Zephaniah (son of Cushi, grandson of Gedaliah, great-grandson of Amariah, and great-great-grandson of Hezekiah). When: During the reign of Josiah (son of Amon) king of Judah.[a]

“I will sweep away everything in all your land,” says the Lord. “I will destroy it to the ground. I will sweep away both men and animals alike. Mankind and all the idols that he worships—all will vanish. Even the birds of the air and the fish in the sea will perish. I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist and destroy every remnant of those who worship Baal; I will put an end to their idolatrous priests, so that even the memory of them will disappear. They go up on their roofs and bow to the sun, moon, and stars. They ‘follow the Lord,’ but worship Molech too! I will destroy them. And I will destroy those who formerly worshiped the Lord, but now no longer do, and those who never loved him and never wanted to.”

Stand in silence in the presence of the Lord. For the awesome Day of his Judgment has come; he has prepared a great slaughter of his people and has chosen their executioners.[b] “On that Day of Judgment I will punish the leaders and princes of Judah and all others wearing heathen clothing.[c] Yes, I will punish those who follow heathen customs and who rob and kill to fill their masters’ homes with evil gain of violence and fraud. 10 A cry of alarm will begin at the farthest gate of Jerusalem, coming closer and closer until the noise of the advancing army reaches the very top of the hill where the city is built.

11 “Wail in sorrow, you people of Jerusalem. All your greedy businessmen, all your loan sharks—all will die.

12 “I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners to find and punish those who sit contented in their sins, indifferent to God, thinking he will leave them alone. 13 They are the very ones whose property will be plundered by the enemy, whose homes will be ransacked; they will never have a chance to live in the new homes they have built. They will never drink wine from the vineyards they have planted.

14 “That terrible day is near. Swiftly it comes—a day when strong men will weep bitterly. 15 It is a day of the wrath of God poured out; it is a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, of clouds, blackness, 16 trumpet calls, and battle cries; down go the walled cities and strongest battlements!

17 “I will make you as helpless as a blind man searching for a path because you have sinned against the Lord; therefore, your blood will be poured out into the dust and your bodies will lie there rotting on the ground.”

18 Your silver and gold will be of no use to you in that day of the Lord’s wrath. You cannot ransom yourselves with it.[d] For the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy. He will make a speedy riddance of all the people of Judah.


  1. Zephaniah 1:1 The Great Revival under King Josiah followed about ten years after this prophecy, and then, a dozen years later, the deportation and exile. The prophet Jeremiah was active during this same period.
  2. Zephaniah 1:7 has chosen their executioners, literally, “has prepared a sacrifice and sanctified his guests.”
  3. Zephaniah 1:8 wearing heathen clothing, i.e., showing their desire for foreign gods and foreign ways and their contempt for the Lord.
  4. Zephaniah 1:18 You cannot ransom yourselves with it, implied.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Zephaniah 1 New International Version (NIV)

The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah:

Judgment on the Whole Earth in the Day of the Lord

“I will sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord.
“I will sweep away both man and beast;
    I will sweep away the birds in the sky
    and the fish in the sea—
    and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.”[a]

“When I destroy all mankind
    on the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord,
“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
    and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,
    the very names of the idolatrous priests
those who bow down on the roofs
    to worship the starry host,
those who bow down and swear by the Lord
    and who also swear by Molek,[b]
those who turn back from following the Lord
    and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord,
    for the day of the Lord is near.
The Lord has prepared a sacrifice;
    he has consecrated those he has invited.

“On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice
    I will punish the officials
    and the king’s sons
and all those clad
    in foreign clothes.
On that day I will punish
    all who avoid stepping on the threshold,[c]
who fill the temple of their gods
    with violence and deceit.

10 “On that day,
    declares the Lord,
“a cry will go up from the Fish Gate,
    wailing from the New Quarter,
    and a loud crash from the hills.
11 Wail, you who live in the market district[d];
    all your merchants will be wiped out,
    all who trade with[e] silver will be destroyed.
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps
    and punish those who are complacent,
    who are like wine left on its dregs,
who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing,
    either good or bad.’
13 Their wealth will be plundered,
    their houses demolished.
Though they build houses,
    they will not live in them;
though they plant vineyards,
    they will not drink the wine.”

14 The great day of the Lord is near
    near and coming quickly.
The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
15 That day will be a day of wrath—
    a day of distress and anguish,
        a day of trouble and ruin,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
        a day of clouds and blackness
16     a day of trumpet and battle cry
against the fortified cities
    and against the corner towers.

17 “I will bring such distress on all people
    that they will grope about like those who are blind,
    because they have sinned against the Lord.
Their blood will be poured out like dust
    and their entrails like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
    will be able to save them
    on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”

In the fire of his jealousy
    the whole earth will be consumed,
for he will make a sudden end
    of all who live on the earth.


  1. Zephaniah 1:3 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
  2. Zephaniah 1:5 Hebrew Malkam
  3. Zephaniah 1:9 See 1 Samuel 5:5.
  4. Zephaniah 1:11 Or the Mortar
  5. Zephaniah 1:11 Or in
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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