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 American Standard Bible

Zephaniah 1

Day of Judgment on Judah

1The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah:

“I will completely remove all things
From the face of the [a]earth,” declares the Lord.
“I will remove man and beast;
I will remove the birds of the sky
And the fish of the sea,
And the [b]ruins along with the wicked;
And I will cut off man from the face of the [c]earth,” declares the Lord.
“So I will stretch out My hand against Judah
And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place,
And the names of the idolatrous priests along with the priests.
“And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven,
And those who bow down and swear to the Lord and yet swear by [d]Milcom,
And those who have turned back from following the Lord,
And those who have not sought the Lord or inquired of Him.”

[e]Be silent before the Lord [f]God!
For the day of the Lord is near,
For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,
He has consecrated His guests.
“Then it will come about on the day of the Lord’s sacrifice
That I will punish the princes, the king’s sons
And all who clothe themselves with foreign garments.
“And I will punish on that day all who leap on the temple threshold,
Who fill the house of their [g]lord with violence and deceit.
10 “On that day,” declares the Lord,
“There will be the sound of a cry from the Fish Gate,
A wail from the [h]Second Quarter,
And a loud crash from the hills.
11 “Wail, O inhabitants of the [i]Mortar,
For all the [j]people of Canaan will be silenced;
All who weigh out silver will be cut off.
12 “It will come about at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
And I will punish the men
Who are [k]stagnant in spirit,
Who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good or evil!’
13 “Moreover, their wealth will become plunder
And their houses desolate;
Yes, they will build houses but not inhabit them,
And plant vineyards but not drink their wine.”

14 Near is the great day of the Lord,
Near and coming very quickly;
Listen, the day of the Lord!
[l]In it the warrior cries out bitterly.
15 A day of wrath is that day,
A day of trouble and distress,
A day of destruction and desolation,
A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 A day of trumpet and battle cry
Against the fortified cities
And the high corner towers.
17 I will bring distress on men
So that they will walk like the blind,
Because they have sinned against the Lord;
And their blood will be poured out like dust
And their flesh like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
Will be able to deliver them
On the day of the Lord’s wrath;
And all the earth will be devoured
In the fire of His jealousy,
For He will make a complete end,
Indeed a terrifying one,
Of all the inhabitants of the earth.

Footnotes

  1. Zephaniah 1:2 Lit ground
  2. Zephaniah 1:3 Or stumbling blocks
  3. Zephaniah 1:3 Lit ground
  4. Zephaniah 1:5 Or their king; M.T. Malcam, probably a variant spelling of Milcom
  5. Zephaniah 1:7 Lit Hush
  6. Zephaniah 1:7 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  7. Zephaniah 1:9 Or Lord
  8. Zephaniah 1:10 I.e. a district of Jerusalem
  9. Zephaniah 1:11 I.e. a district of Jerusalem
  10. Zephaniah 1:11 Or merchant people will
  11. Zephaniah 1:12 Lit thickening on their lees
  12. Zephaniah 1:14 Lit There