Zephaniah 3 Good News Translation (GNT)
Jerusalem's Sin and Redemption
3 Jerusalem is doomed, that corrupt, rebellious city that oppresses its own people. 2 It has not listened to the Lord or accepted his discipline. It has not put its trust in the Lord or asked for his help. 3 Its officials are like roaring lions; its judges are like hungry wolves, too greedy to leave a bone until morning. 4 The prophets are irresponsible and treacherous; the priests defile what is sacred, and twist the law of God to their own advantage. 5 But the Lord is still in the city; he does what is right and never what is wrong. Every morning without fail, he brings justice to his people. And yet the unrighteous people there keep on doing wrong and are not ashamed.
6 The Lord says, “I have wiped out whole nations; I have destroyed their cities and left their walls and towers in ruins. The cities are deserted; the streets are empty—no one is left. 7 I thought that then my people would have reverence for me and accept my discipline, that they would never forget the lesson I taught them. But soon they were behaving as badly as ever.
8 “Just wait,” the Lord says. “Wait for the day when I rise to accuse the nations. I have made up my mind to gather nations and kingdoms in order to let them feel the force of my anger. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of my fury.
9 “Then I will change the people of the nations, and they will pray to me alone and not to other gods. They will all obey me. 10 Even from distant Ethiopia my scattered people will bring offerings to me. 11 At that time you, my people, will no longer need to be ashamed that you rebelled against me. I will remove everyone who is proud and arrogant, and you will never again rebel against me on my sacred hill. 12 I will leave there a humble and lowly people, who will come to me for help. 13 The people of Israel who survive will do no wrong to anyone, tell no lies, nor try to deceive. They will be prosperous and secure, afraid of no one.”
A Song of Joy
14 Sing and shout for joy, people of Israel!
Rejoice with all your heart, Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has stopped your punishment;
he has removed all your enemies.
The Lord, the king of Israel, is with you;
there is no reason now to be afraid.
16 The time is coming when they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not be afraid, city of Zion!
Do not let your hands hang limp!
17 The Lord your God is with you;
his power gives you victory.
The Lord will take delight in you,
and in his love he will give you new life.
He will sing and be joyful over you,
18 as joyful as people at a festival.”
The Lord says,
“I have ended the threat of doom
and taken away your disgrace.
19 The time is coming!
I will punish your oppressors;
I will rescue all the lame
and bring the exiles home.
I will turn their shame to honor,
and all the world will praise them.
20 The time is coming!
I will bring your scattered people home;
I will make you famous throughout the world
and make you prosperous once again.”
The Lord has spoken.
Zephaniah 3 New International Version (NIV)
3 Woe to the city of oppressors,
rebellious and defiled!
2 She obeys no one,
she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
she does not draw near to her God.
3 Her officials within her
are roaring lions;
her rulers are evening wolves,
who leave nothing for the morning.
4 Her prophets are unprincipled;
they are treacherous people.
Her priests profane the sanctuary
and do violence to the law.
5 The Lord within her is righteous;
he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
and every new day he does not fail,
yet the unrighteous know no shame.
Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant
6 “I have destroyed nations;
their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
with no one passing through.
Their cities are laid waste;
they are deserted and empty.
7 Of Jerusalem I thought,
‘Surely you will fear me
and accept correction!’
Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed,
nor all my punishments come upon her.
But they were still eager
to act corruptly in all they did.
8 Therefore wait for me,”
declares the Lord,
“for the day I will stand up to testify.
I have decided to assemble the nations,
to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out my wrath on them—
all my fierce anger.
The whole world will be consumed
by the fire of my jealous anger.
Restoration of Israel’s Remnant
9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
and serve him shoulder to shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush
my worshipers, my scattered people,
will bring me offerings.
11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame
for all the wrongs you have done to me,
because I will remove from you
your arrogant boasters.
Never again will you be haughty
on my holy hill.
12 But I will leave within you
the meek and humble.
The remnant of Israel
will trust in the name of the Lord.
13 They will do no wrong;
they will tell no lies.
A deceitful tongue
will not be found in their mouths.
They will eat and lie down
and no one will make them afraid.”
14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
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 you.
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.