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Zephaniah 3 Good News Translation (GNT)

Jerusalem's Sin and Redemption

Jerusalem is doomed, that corrupt, rebellious city that oppresses its own people. 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. Its officials are like roaring lions; its judges are like hungry wolves, too greedy to leave a bone until morning. The prophets are irresponsible and treacherous; the priests defile what is sacred, and twist the law of God to their own advantage. 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.

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. I thought that then my people would have reverence for me and accept my discipline, that they would never forget[a] the lesson I taught them. But soon they were behaving as badly as ever.

“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.

“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[b] 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.[c] 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.[d]
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.[e]
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.

Footnotes:

  1. Zephaniah 3:7 Some ancient translations they would never forget; Hebrew their dwelling would not be cut off.
  2. Zephaniah 3:10 Hebrew Cush: Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).
  3. Zephaniah 3:11 Mount Zion (see Zion in Word List).
  4. Zephaniah 3:17 Some ancient translations give you new life; Hebrew be silent.
  5. Zephaniah 3:18 Verse 18 in Hebrew is unclear.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Zephaniah 3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Wickedness of Jerusalem

Ah, soiled, defiled,
    oppressing city!
It has listened to no voice;
    it has accepted no correction.
It has not trusted in the Lord;
    it has not drawn near to its God.

The officials within it
    are roaring lions;
its judges are evening wolves
    that leave nothing until the morning.
Its prophets are reckless,
    faithless persons;
its priests have profaned what is sacred,
    they have done violence to the law.
The Lord within it is righteous;
    he does no wrong.
Every morning he renders his judgment,
    each dawn without fail;
    but the unjust knows no shame.

I have cut off nations;
    their battlements are in ruins;
I have laid waste their streets
    so that no one walks in them;
their cities have been made desolate,
    without people, without inhabitants.
I said, “Surely the city[a] will fear me,
    it will accept correction;
it will not lose sight[b]
    of all that I have brought upon it.”
But they were the more eager
    to make all their deeds corrupt.

Punishment and Conversion of the Nations

Therefore wait for me, says the Lord,
    for the day when I arise as a witness.
For my decision is to gather nations,
    to assemble kingdoms,
to pour out upon them my indignation,
    all the heat of my anger;
for in the fire of my passion
    all the earth shall be consumed.

At that time I will change the speech of the peoples
    to a pure speech,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
    and serve him with one accord.
10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia[c]
    my suppliants, my scattered ones,
    shall bring my offering.

11 On that day you shall not be put to shame
    because of all the deeds by which you have rebelled against me;
for then I will remove from your midst
    your proudly exultant ones,
and you shall no longer be haughty
    in my holy mountain.
12 For I will leave in the midst of you
    a people humble and lowly.
They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord
13     the remnant of Israel;
they shall do no wrong
    and utter no lies,
nor shall a deceitful tongue
    be found in their mouths.
Then they will pasture and lie down,
    and no one shall make them afraid.

A Song of Joy

14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
    shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
    O daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
    he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
    you shall fear disaster no more.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
    do not let your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
    a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
    he will renew you[d] in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
18     as on a day of festival.[e]
I will remove disaster from you,[f]
    so that you will not bear reproach for it.
19 I will deal with all your oppressors
    at that time.
And I will save the lame
    and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
    and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you home,
    at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
    among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
    before your eyes, says the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Zephaniah 3:7 Heb it
  2. Zephaniah 3:7 Gk Syr: Heb its dwelling will not be cut off
  3. Zephaniah 3:10 Or Nubia; Heb Cush
  4. Zephaniah 3:17 Gk Syr: Heb he will be silent
  5. Zephaniah 3:18 Gk Syr: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. Zephaniah 3:18 Cn: Heb I will remove from you; they were
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Zephaniah 3 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Woe to her who is filthy, defiled;
woe to the tyrant city!
She wouldn’t listen to the voice,
wouldn’t receive correction;
she didn’t trust in Adonai,
didn’t draw close to her God.
Her leaders there with her are roaring lions,
her judges desert wolves,
who don’t leave even a bone for tomorrow.
Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men;
her cohanim profane the holy
and do violence to Torah.
Adonai, who is righteous, is there among them;
he never does anything wrong.
Every morning he renders his judgment,
every morning, without fail;
yet the wrongdoer knows no shame.

“I have cut off nations,
their battlements are ruined;
I have made their streets ruins,
no one walks in them.
Their cities are destroyed,
abandoned, unpeopled.
I said, ‘Surely now you will fear me,
you will receive correction’;
so that her place will not be cut off
by all the punishments I brought on her.
But no, they only grew all the more eager
to be corrupt in all that they do.
Therefore, wait for me,” says Adonai,
“for the day when I rise to witness against you,
when I decide to assemble nations,
to gather kingdoms together,
to pour on them my indignation,
all my furious anger;
for all the earth will be consumed
in the fire of my passion.
For then I will change the peoples,
so that they will have pure lips,
to call on the name of Adonai, all of them,
and serve him with one accord.
10 Even from beyond Ethiopia’s rivers
they will bring those who petition me,
the daughter of my dispersed as my offering.
11 When that day comes, you will not be ashamed
of everything you have done,
committing wrongs against me;
for then I will remove from among you
those of you who take joy in arrogance;
you will no longer be full of pride
on my holy mountain.
12 I will leave among you
a poor and afflicted people,
who will find their refuge
in the name of Adonai.”

13 The remnant of Isra’el will not do wrong,
nor will they speak lies,
nor will there be found in their mouths
a tongue given over to deceit;
for they will be able to graze and lie down,
with no one to disturb them.
14 Sing, daughter of Tziyon!
Shout, Isra’el!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
daughter of Yerushalayim!
15 Adonai has removed the judgments against you,
he has expelled your enemy;
the king of Isra’el, Adonai,
is right there with you.
You no longer need to fear
that anything bad will happen.
16 On that day, it will be said
to Yerushalayim,
“Do not fear, Tziyon!
don’t let your hands droop down.
17 Adonai your God is right there with you,
as a mighty savior.
He will rejoice over you and be glad,
he will be silent in his love,
he will shout over you with joy.”

18 “I will gather those of yours
who grieve over the appointed feasts
and bear the burden of reproach
[because they cannot keep them].
19 When that time comes, I will deal
with all those who oppress you.
I will save her who is lame,
gather her who was driven away,
and make them whose shame spread over the earth
the object of praise and renown.
20 When that time comes, I will bring you in;
when that time comes, I will gather you
and make you the object of fame and praise
among all the peoples of the earth —
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,” says Adonai.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Zephaniah 3 The Message (MSG)

Sewer City

1-5 Doom to the rebellious city,
    the home of oppressors—Sewer City!
The city that wouldn’t take advice,
    wouldn’t accept correction,
Wouldn’t trust God,
    wouldn’t even get close to her own god!
Her very own leaders
    are rapacious lions,
Her judges are rapacious timber wolves
    out every morning prowling for a fresh kill.
Her prophets are out for what they can get.
    They’re opportunists—you can’t trust them.
Her priests desecrate the Sanctuary.
    They use God’s law as a weapon to maim and kill souls.
Yet God remains righteous in her midst,
    untouched by the evil.
He stays at it, day after day, meting out justice.
    At evening he’s still at it, strong as ever.
But evil men and women, without conscience
    and without shame, persist in evil.

“So I cut off the godless nations.
    I knocked down their defense posts,
Filled her roads with rubble
    so no one could get through.
Her cities were bombed-out ruins,
    unlivable and unlived in.

“I thought, ‘Surely she’ll honor me now,
    accept my discipline and correction,
Find a way of escape from the trouble she’s in,
    find relief from the punishment I’m bringing.’
But it didn’t faze her. Bright and early
    she was up at it again, doing the same old things.

“Well, if that’s what you want, stick around.”
    God’s Decree.
“Your day in court is coming,
    but remember I’ll be there to bring evidence.
I’ll bring all the nations to the courtroom,
    round up all the kingdoms,
And let them feel the brunt of my anger,
    my raging wrath.
My zeal is a fire
    that will purge and purify the earth.

God Is in Charge at the Center

9-13 “In the end I will turn things around for the people.
    I’ll give them a language undistorted, unpolluted,
Words to address God in worship
    and, united, to serve me with their shoulders to the wheel.
They’ll come from beyond the Ethiopian rivers,
    they’ll come praying—
All my scattered, exiled people
    will come home with offerings for worship.
You’ll no longer have to be ashamed
    of all those acts of rebellion.
I’ll have gotten rid of your arrogant leaders.
    No more pious strutting on my holy hill!
I’ll leave a core of people among you
    who are poor in spirit—
What’s left of Israel that’s really Israel.
    They’ll make their home in God.
This core holy people
    will not do wrong.
They won’t lie,
    won’t use words to flatter or seduce.
Content with who they are and where they are,
    unanxious, they’ll live at peace.”

14-15 So sing, Daughter Zion!
    Raise the rafters, Israel!
Daughter Jerusalem,
    be happy! celebrate!
God has reversed his judgments against you
    and sent your enemies off chasing their tails.
From now on, God is Israel’s king,
    in charge at the center.
There’s nothing to fear from evil
    ever again!

God Is Present Among You

16-17 Jerusalem will be told:
    “Don’t be afraid.
Dear Zion,
    don’t despair.
Your God is present among you,
    a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love
    and delight you with his songs.

18-20 “The accumulated sorrows of your exile
    will dissipate.
I, your God, will get rid of them for you.
    You’ve carried those burdens long enough.
At the same time, I’ll get rid of all those
    who’ve made your life miserable.
I’ll heal the maimed;
    I’ll bring home the homeless.
In the very countries where they were hated
    they will be venerated.
On Judgment Day
    I’ll bring you back home—a great family gathering!
You’ll be famous and honored
    all over the world.
You’ll see it with your own eyes—
    all those painful partings turned into reunions!”
        God’s Promise.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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