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Zephaniah 1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Lord gave this message to Zephaniah when Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah.

Coming Judgment against Judah

“I will sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth,” says the Lord.
“I will sweep away people and animals alike.
    I will sweep away the birds of the sky and the fish in the sea.
I will reduce the wicked to heaps of rubble,[a]
    and I will wipe humanity from the face of the earth,” says the Lord.
“I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist
    and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship.
I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests,
    so that even the memory of them will disappear.
For they go up to their roofs
    and bow down to the sun, moon, and stars.
They claim to follow the Lord,
    but then they worship Molech,[b] too.
And I will destroy those who used to worship me
    but now no longer do.
They no longer ask for the Lord’s guidance
    or seek my blessings.”

Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign Lord,
    for the awesome day of the Lord’s judgment is near.
The Lord has prepared his people for a great slaughter
    and has chosen their executioners.[c]
“On that day of judgment,”
    says the Lord,
“I will punish the leaders and princes of Judah
    and all those following pagan customs.
Yes, I will punish those who participate in pagan worship ceremonies,
    and those who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.

10 “On that day,” says the Lord,
    “a cry of alarm will come from the Fish Gate
and echo throughout the New Quarter of the city.[d]
    And a great crash will sound from the hills.
11 Wail in sorrow, all you who live in the market area,[e]
    for all the merchants and traders will be destroyed.

12 “I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners
    to punish those who sit complacent in their sins.
They think the Lord will do nothing to them,
    either good or bad.
13 So their property will be plundered,
    their homes will be ransacked.
They will build new homes
    but never live in them.
They will plant vineyards
    but never drink wine from them.

14 “That terrible day of the Lord is near.
    Swiftly it comes—
a day of bitter tears,
    a day when even strong men will cry out.
15 It will be a day when the Lord’s anger is poured out—
    a day of terrible distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and desolation,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness,
16     a day of trumpet calls and battle cries.
Down go the walled cities
    and the strongest battlements!

17 “Because you have sinned against the Lord,
    I will make you grope around like the blind.
Your blood will be poured into the dust,
    and your bodies will lie rotting on the ground.”

18 Your silver and gold will not save you
    on that day of the Lord’s anger.
For the whole land will be devoured
    by the fire of his jealousy.
He will make a terrifying end
    of all the people on earth.[f]

A Call to Repentance

Gather together—yes, gather together,
    you shameless nation.
Gather before judgment begins,
    before your time to repent is blown away like chaff.
Act now, before the fierce fury of the Lord falls
    and the terrible day of the Lord’s anger begins.
Seek the Lord, all who are humble,
    and follow his commands.
Seek to do what is right
    and to live humbly.
Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you—
    protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.

Judgment against Philistia

Gaza and Ashkelon will be abandoned,
    Ashdod and Ekron torn down.
And what sorrow awaits you Philistines[g]
    who live along the coast and in the land of Canaan,
    for this judgment is against you, too!
The Lord will destroy you
    until not one of you is left.
The Philistine coast will become a wilderness pasture,
    a place of shepherd camps
    and enclosures for sheep and goats.
The remnant of the tribe of Judah will pasture there.
    They will rest at night in the abandoned houses in Ashkelon.
For the Lord their God will visit his people in kindness
    and restore their prosperity again.

Judgment against Moab and Ammon

“I have heard the taunts of the Moabites
    and the insults of the Ammonites,
mocking my people
    and invading their borders.
Now, as surely as I live,”
    says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,
“Moab and Ammon will be destroyed—
    destroyed as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah.
Their land will become a place of stinging nettles,
    salt pits, and eternal desolation.
The remnant of my people will plunder them
    and take their land.”

10 They will receive the wages of their pride,
    for they have scoffed at the people of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
11 The Lord will terrify them
    as he destroys all the gods in the land.
Then nations around the world will worship the Lord,
    each in their own land.

Judgment against Ethiopia and Assyria

12 “You Ethiopians[h] will also be slaughtered
    by my sword,” says the Lord.

13 And the Lord will strike the lands of the north with his fist,
    destroying the land of Assyria.
He will make its great capital, Nineveh, a desolate wasteland,
    parched like a desert.
14 The proud city will become a pasture for flocks and herds,
    and all sorts of wild animals will settle there.
The desert owl and screech owl will roost on its ruined columns,
    their calls echoing through the gaping windows.
Rubble will block all the doorways,
    and the cedar paneling will be exposed to the weather.
15 This is the boisterous city,
    once so secure.
“I am the greatest!” it boasted.
    “No other city can compare with me!”
But now, look how it has become an utter ruin,
    a haven for wild animals.
Everyone passing by will laugh in derision
    and shake a defiant fist.

Jerusalem’s Rebellion and Redemption

What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem,
    the city of violence and crime!
No one can tell it anything;
    it refuses all correction.
It does not trust in the Lord
    or draw near to its God.
Its leaders are like roaring lions
    hunting for their victims.
Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time,
    who by dawn have left no trace of their prey.
Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain.
    Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God’s instructions.
But the Lord is still there in the city,
    and he does no wrong.
Day by day he hands down justice,
    and he does not fail.
    But the wicked know no shame.

“I have wiped out many nations,
    devastating their fortress walls and towers.
Their streets are now deserted;
    their cities lie in silent ruin.
There are no survivors—
    none at all.
I thought, ‘Surely they will have reverence for me now!
    Surely they will listen to my warnings.
Then I won’t need to strike again,
    destroying their homes.’
But no, they get up early
    to continue their evil deeds.
Therefore, be patient,” says the Lord.
    “Soon I will stand and accuse these evil nations.
For I have decided to gather the kingdoms of the earth
    and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them.
All the earth will be devoured
    by the fire of my jealousy.

“Then I will purify the speech of all people,
    so that everyone can worship the Lord together.
10 My scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia[i]
    will come to present their offerings.
11 On that day you will no longer need to be ashamed,
    for you will no longer be rebels against me.
I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you.
    There will be no more haughtiness on my holy mountain.
12 Those who are left will be the lowly and humble,
    for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord.
13 The remnant of Israel will do no wrong;
    they will never tell lies or deceive one another.
They will eat and sleep in safety,
    and no one will make them afraid.”

14 Sing, O daughter of Zion;
    shout aloud, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 For the Lord will remove his hand of judgment
    and will disperse the armies of your enemy.
And the Lord himself, the King of Israel,
    will live among you!
At last your troubles will be over,
    and you will never again fear disaster.
16 On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be,
    “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid!
17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.[j]
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

18 “I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals;
    you will be disgraced no more.[k]
19 And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you.
    I will save the weak and helpless ones;
I will bring together
    those who were chased away.
I will give glory and fame to my former exiles,
    wherever they have been mocked and shamed.
20 On that day I will gather you together
    and bring you home again.
I will give you a good name, a name of distinction,
    among all the nations of the earth,
as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Footnotes:

  1. 1:3 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  2. 1:5 Hebrew Malcam, a variant spelling of Molech; or it could possibly mean their king.
  3. 1:7 Hebrew has prepared a sacrifice and sanctified his guests.
  4. 1:10 Or the Second Quarter, a newer section of Jerusalem. Hebrew reads the Mishneh.
  5. 1:11 Or in the valley, a lower section of Jerusalem. Hebrew reads the Maktesh.
  6. 1:18 Or the people living in the land.
  7. 2:5 Hebrew Kerethites.
  8. 2:12 Hebrew Cushites.
  9. 3:10 Hebrew Cush.
  10. 3:17 Or He will be silent in his love. Greek and Syriac versions read He will renew you with his love.
  11. 3:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


Zephaniah 1-3 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.

Judah and Jerusalem Judged Along With the Nations

Judah Summoned to Repent

Gather together, gather yourselves together,
    you shameful nation,
before the decree takes effect
    and that day passes like windblown chaff,
before the Lord’s fierce anger
    comes upon you,
before the day of the Lord’s wrath
    comes upon you.
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
    you who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
    perhaps you will be sheltered
    on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Philistia

Gaza will be abandoned
    and Ashkelon left in ruins.
At midday Ashdod will be emptied
    and Ekron uprooted.
Woe to you who live by the sea,
    you Kerethite people;
the word of the Lord is against you,
    Canaan, land of the Philistines.
He says, “I will destroy you,
    and none will be left.”
The land by the sea will become pastures
    having wells for shepherds
    and pens for flocks.
That land will belong
    to the remnant of the people of Judah;
    there they will find pasture.
In the evening they will lie down
    in the houses of Ashkelon.
The Lord their God will care for them;
    he will restore their fortunes.[f]

Moab and Ammon

“I have heard the insults of Moab
    and the taunts of the Ammonites,
who insulted my people
    and made threats against their land.
Therefore, as surely as I live,”
    declares the Lord Almighty,
    the God of Israel,
“surely Moab will become like Sodom,
    the Ammonites like Gomorrah—
a place of weeds and salt pits,
    a wasteland forever.
The remnant of my people will plunder them;
    the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.

10 This is what they will get in return for their pride,
    for insulting and mocking
    the people of the Lord Almighty.
11 The Lord will be awesome to them
    when he destroys all the gods of the earth.
Distant nations will bow down to him,
    all of them in their own lands.

Cush

12 “You Cushites,[g] too,
    will be slain by my sword.

Assyria

13 He will stretch out his hand against the north
    and destroy Assyria,
leaving Nineveh utterly desolate
    and dry as the desert.
14 Flocks and herds will lie down there,
    creatures of every kind.
The desert owl and the screech owl
    will roost on her columns.
Their hooting will echo through the windows,
    rubble will fill the doorways,
    the beams of cedar will be exposed.
15 This is the city of revelry
    that lived in safety.
She said to herself,
    “I am the one! And there is none besides me.”
What a ruin she has become,
    a lair for wild beasts!
All who pass by her scoff
    and shake their fists.

Jerusalem

Woe to the city of oppressors,
    rebellious and defiled!
She obeys no one,
    she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
    she does not draw near to her God.
Her officials within her
    are roaring lions;
her rulers are evening wolves,
    who leave nothing for the morning.
Her prophets are unprincipled;
    they are treacherous people.
Her priests profane the sanctuary
    and do violence to the law.
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

“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.
Of Jerusalem I thought,
    ‘Surely you will fear me
    and accept correction!’
Then her place of refuge[h] would not be destroyed,
    nor all my punishments come upon[i] her.
But they were still eager
    to act corruptly in all they did.
Therefore wait for me,”
    declares the Lord,
    “for the day I will stand up to testify.[j]
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

“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[k]
    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,
    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;
    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[l]
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

Footnotes:

  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
  6. Zephaniah 2:7 Or will bring back their captives
  7. Zephaniah 2:12 That is, people from the upper Nile region
  8. Zephaniah 3:7 Or her sanctuary
  9. Zephaniah 3:7 Or all those I appointed over
  10. Zephaniah 3:8 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew will rise up to plunder
  11. Zephaniah 3:10 That is, the upper Nile region
  12. Zephaniah 3:20 Or I bring back your captives
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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