1The word of the LORD which came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah,* in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah.
I. The Day of the Lord: Judgment on Judah
2I will completely sweep away all things
from the face of the land—oracle of the LORD.
3I will sweep away human being and beast alike,
I will sweep away the birds of the sky,
and the fish of the sea.
I will make the wicked stumble;
I will eliminate the people
from the face of the land—oracle of the LORD.a
4I will stretch out my hand against Judah,
and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
I will eliminate from this place
the last vestige of Baal,
the name of the idolatrous priests.
5And those who bow down on the roofs
to the host of heaven,*
And those who bow down to the LORD
but swear by Milcom;b
6And those who have turned away from the LORD,
and those who have not sought the LORD,
who have not inquired of him.
7Silence in the presence of the Lord GOD!
for near is the day of the LORD,
Yes, the LORD has prepared a sacrifice,
he has consecrated his guests.* c
8On the day of the LORD’s sacrifice
I will punish the officials and the king’s sons,
and all who dress in foreign apparel.
9I will punish, on that day,
all who leap over the threshold,*
Who fill the house of their master
with violence and deceit.
10On that day—oracle of the LORD—
A cry will be heard from the Fish Gate,
a wail from the Second Quarter,*
loud crashing from the hills.
11Wail, O inhabitants of Maktesh!
for all the merchants are destroyed,
all who weigh out silver, done away with.
12At that time,
I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
I will punish the people
who settle like dregs in wine,*
Who say in their hearts,
“The Lord will not do good,
nor will he do harm.”
13Their wealth shall be given to plunder
and their houses to devastation;
They will build houses,
but not dwell in them;
They will plant vineyards,
but not drink their wine.d
14Near is the great day of the LORD,
near and very swiftly coming.
The sound of the day of the LORD! Piercing—
there a warrior shrieks!
15A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and desolation,
A day of darkness and gloom,
a day of thick black clouds,e
16A day of trumpet blasts and battle cries
against fortified cities,
against lofty battlements.f
17I will hem the people in
till they walk like the blind,
because they have sinned against the LORD;
And their blood shall be poured out like dust,
and their bowels like dung.
18Neither their silver nor their gold
will be able to save them.
On the day of the LORD’s wrath,
in the fire of his passion,
all the earth will be consumed.
For he will make an end, yes, a sudden end,
of all who live on the earth.g
* [1:1] Hezekiah: it is possible, but not certain, that Zephaniah’s ancestor was King Hezekiah who reigned in Judah from 715 to 687 B.C. (2 Kgs 18–20).
* [1:5] The host of heaven: the sun, moon, planets, and stars, the worship of which became widespread in Judah under Assyrian influence. Milcom: the god of the Ammonites; cf. 1 Kgs 11:5, 7, 33; 2 Kgs 23:13.
* [1:7] He has consecrated his guests: God has consecrated the troops, presumably foreign, who have been invited to share in the spoil on the day of slaughter.
* [1:9] Leap over the threshold: the reference may be to a religious ritual like that practiced by the priests of the Philistine deity Dagon (1 Sm 5:5).
* [1:10–11] The Second Quarter…Maktesh: sections of Jerusalem (cf. 2 Kgs 22:14).
* [1:12] Settle like dregs in wine: those who are overconfident because, like the sediment that settles to the bottom of a bottle of wine, they have remained at peace and undisturbed for a long time.
b. [1:5] Jer 8:2; 2 Kgs 23:13.