1 The Eternal One had a message for the whole world, and He gave it to a man named Zephaniah when Josiah (Amon’s son) was the king of Judah. Zephaniah’s father was Cushi, the son of Gedaliah (Amariah’s son and a descendant of a commoner named Hezekiah).
2-3 Eternal One: I am going to wipe the face of the earth clean of every living thing. I will wipe away both people and animals; Even the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea will be swept away. Rubble and ruin will be all that is left with the wicked[a] When I cut off humanity from the face of the earth. 4 I will use My powerful hand to crush the people of Judah and those who make Jerusalem their home. I will remove from this place every reminder and remainder of false divine masters;[b] the names of those pagan priests will be forgotten along with My priests. 5 I will use My power against those who worship creation— those who bow down on their roofs before the multitude of stars in heaven— And against those who bow down and pledge allegiance to both the Eternal One and false gods such as Milcom, god of the Ammonites. 6 I will use My power against those who used to worship the Eternal One but turned their backs and no longer follow Me. They don’t look to Me anymore for help and guidance.
7 Keep quiet now! You are standing before the Eternal Lord because the day of the Eternal One is near; His judgment is coming. He has prepared the sacrifice, and He has chosen His guests with care. 8 On the day of the Eternal’s sacrifice, this will happen just as He describes:
Eternal One: I will punish the rulers of Judah and those born to royalty And those so enamored with foreign ways that they don’t act or dress like My people anymore. 9 On that day, I will punish those who jump temple thresholds fearing pagan demons, those who exchange true religion for silly superstition, And those who use violence and betrayal to steal from others in order to make themselves and their king rich.
10 On that day, you will hear cries from all over the city of Jerusalem— first a cry for help from the fish gate on the north side of the city, Then a wailing cry from the newly-built Second Quarter. Then crash! Stones are falling, breaking; Sounds of destruction are coming from the suburban hills. 11 Cry out, those of you living in the bottom of Jerusalem’s southern hollow, because I will stop all the traveling merchants. Everyone with pockets full of money will be cut off. 12 On that day, I will personally search and illumine every dark corner of Jerusalem. I will wipe out everyone who has numbed his senses with the dregs of his own wine And says, “The Eternal will do nothing in our lives, neither helping us nor hurting us.” 13 But they are wrong. Everything they value will be taken away. Their houses will be destroyed. They will build new houses and never have a chance to move in. They will plant vineyards and never enjoy a sip of their own wine.
14 I’m warning you, this day of judgment is right around the corner. The great and terrible day of the Eternal One is coming on you very quickly. Listen, here it comes, the day of the Eternal One, and it will be very bitter! Even your strongest and bravest will break down and cry out.[c]
15 On that day, you will see what happens when God is furious. You will be overwhelmed with all the trouble and pain—total destruction. You will watch the sky fill with the thick clouds and gloomy darkness. 16 You will hear the trumpet blast and battle cry as He moves against the city that day. You were so sure it was fortified against attack with its thick walls and high towers, yet they will surely fall.
17 Eternal One: I will bring distress on all humanity, and they will stumble around like the blind.
Why? Because they have sinned time and again against the Eternal. Their lifeblood will be poured out like ash of a burnt offering. Their bodies will be discarded like excrement.
18 Don’t think any amount of money can save them from the terrible anger of the Eternal when that day arrives. He will consume the whole earth in His fiery jealousy, for He is going to expedite the annihilation of every living thing on the earth.
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