The Message

Zephaniah 1

No Longer Giving God a Thought or a Prayer

1God’s Message to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah. It came during the reign of Josiah son of Amon, who was king of Judah:

“I’m going to make a clean sweep of the earth,
    a thorough housecleaning.” God’s Decree.

“Men and women and animals,
    including birds and fish—
Anything and everything that causes sin—will go,
    but especially people.

4-6 “I’ll start with Judah
    and everybody who lives in Jerusalem.
I’ll sweep the place clean of every trace
    of the sex-and-religion Baal shrines and their priests.
I’ll get rid of the people who sneak up to their rooftops at night
    to worship the star gods and goddesses;
Also those who continue to worship God
    but cover their bases by worshiping other king-gods as well;
Not to mention those who’ve dumped God altogether,
    no longer giving him a thought or offering a prayer.

7-13 “Quiet now!
    Reverent silence before me, God, the Master!
Time’s up. My Judgment Day is near:
    The Holy Day is all set, the invited guests made holy.
On the Holy Day, God’s Judgment Day,
    I will punish the leaders and the royal sons;
I will punish those who dress up like foreign priests and priestesses,
    Who introduce pagan prayers and practices;
And I’ll punish all who import pagan superstitions
    that turn holy places into hellholes.
Judgment Day!” God’s Decree!
    “Cries of panic from the city’s Fish Gate,
Cries of terror from the city’s Second Quarter,
    sounds of great crashing from the hills!
Wail, you shopkeepers on Market Street!
    Moneymaking has had its day. The god Money is dead.
On Judgment Day,
    I’ll search through every closet and alley in Jerusalem.
I’ll find and punish those who are sitting it out, fat and lazy,
    amusing themselves and taking it easy,
Who think, ‘God doesn’t do anything, good or bad.
    He isn’t involved, so neither are we.’
But just wait. They’ll lose everything they have,
    money and house and land.
They’ll build a house and never move in.
    They’ll plant vineyards and never taste the wine.

A Day of Darkness at Noon

14-18 “The Great Judgment Day of God is almost here.
    It’s countdown time: . . . seven, six, five, four . . .
Bitter and noisy cries on my Judgment Day,
    even strong men screaming for help.
Judgment Day is payday—my anger paid out:
    a day of distress and anguish,
    a day of catastrophic doom,
    a day of darkness at noon,
    a day of black storm clouds,
    a day of bloodcurdling war cries,
    as forts are assaulted,
    as defenses are smashed.
I’ll make things so bad they won’t know what hit them.
    They’ll walk around groping like the blind.
    They’ve sinned against God!
Their blood will be poured out like old dishwater,
    their guts shoveled into slop buckets.
Don’t plan on buying your way out.
    Your money is worthless for this.
This is the Day of God’s Judgment—my wrath!
    I care about sin with fiery passion—
A fire to burn up the corrupted world,
    a wildfire finish to the corrupting people.”

New International Reader's Version

Zephaniah 1

1A message from the Lord came to Zephaniah, the son of Cushi. Cushi was the son of Gedaliah. Gedaliah was the son of Amariah. Amariah was the son of King Hezekiah. The Lord spoke to Zephaniah during the rule of Josiah. He was king of Judah and the son of Amon.

The Lord Will Judge the Whole World

“I will sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth,”
    announces the Lord.
“I will destroy people and animals alike.
    I will wipe out the birds in the sky
    and the fish in the waters.
I will destroy the statues of gods that cause evil people to sin.
    That will happen when I destroy all human beings on the face of the earth,”
    announces the Lord.
“I will reach out my powerful hand against Judah.
    I will punish all those who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy from this place
    what is left of Baal worship.
The priests who serve other gods
    will be removed.
I will destroy those who bow down on their roofs
    to worship all the stars.
I will destroy those who make promises
    not only in my name but also in the name of Molek.
I will destroy those who stop following the Lord.
    They no longer look to him or ask him for advice.
Be silent in front of him.
    He is the Lord and King.
    The day of the Lord is near.
The Lord has prepared a sacrifice.
    He has set apart for himself
    the people he has invited.
When the Lord’s sacrifice is ready to be offered,
    I will punish the officials and the king’s sons.
I will also judge all those who follow
    the practices of other nations.
At that time I will punish
    all those who worship other gods.
They fill the temples of their gods
    with lies and other harmful things.

10 “At that time people at the Fish Gate in Jerusalem
    will cry out,” announces the Lord.
“So will those at the New Quarter.
    The buildings on the hills will come crashing down
    with a loud noise.
11 Cry out, you who live in the market places.
    All your merchants will be wiped out.
    Those who trade in silver will be destroyed.
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps.
    I will punish those who are so contented.
    They are like wine that has not been shaken up.
They think, ‘The Lord won’t do anything.
    He won’t do anything good or bad.’
13 Their wealth will be stolen.
    Their houses will be destroyed.
They will build houses.
    But they will not live in them.
They will plant vineyards.
    But they will not drink the wine they produce.
14 The great day of the Lord is near.
    In fact, it is coming quickly.
The cries on that day are bitter.
    The Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
15 At that time I will pour out my anger.
    There will be great suffering and pain.
It will be a day of horrible trouble.
    It will be a time of darkness and gloom.
    It will be filled with the blackest clouds.
16 Trumpet blasts and battle cries will be heard.
    Soldiers will attack cities
    that have forts and corner towers.
17 I will bring great trouble on all people.
    So they will feel their way around like blind people.
    They have sinned against the Lord.
Their blood will be poured out like dust.
    Their bodies will lie rotting on the ground.
18 Their silver and gold
    won’t save them
    on the day the Lord pours out his anger.
The whole earth will be burned up
    when his jealous anger blazes out.
Everyone who lives on earth
    will come to a sudden end.”