New International Reader's Version

Zephaniah 3

A Message About Jerusalem

1How terrible it will be for Jerusalem!
    Its people crush others.
They refuse to obey the Lord.
    They are “unclean.”
They don’t obey anyone.
    They don’t accept the Lord’s warnings.
They don’t trust in him.
    They don’t ask their God for his help.
Jerusalem’s officials are like roaring lions.
    Their rulers are like wolves that hunt in the evening.
    They don’t leave anything to eat in the morning.
Their prophets care about nothing.
    They can’t be trusted.
Their priests make the temple “unclean.”
    They break the law they teach others to obey.
In spite of that, the Lord is good to Jerusalem.
    He never does anything that is wrong.
Every morning he does what is fair.
    Each new day he does the right thing.
But those who do what is wrong
    aren’t even ashamed of it.

Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant

The Lord says to his people,

“I have destroyed other nations.
    I have wiped out their forts.
I have left their streets deserted.
    No one walks along them.
Their cities are destroyed.
    They are deserted and empty.
Here is what I thought about Jerusalem.
‘Surely you will have respect for me.
    Surely you will accept my warning.’
    Then the city you think is safe would not be destroyed.
And I would not have to punish you so much.
    But they still wanted to go on sinning
    in every way they could.
So wait for me to come as judge,”
    announces the Lord.
“Wait for the day I will stand up
    to witness against all sinners.
I have decided to gather the nations.
    I will bring the kingdoms together.
And I will pour out all my burning anger on them.
    The fire of my jealous anger
    will burn the whole world up.

Israel Will Trust in the Lord

“But then I will purify what all the nations say.
    And they will use their words to worship me.
    They will serve me together.
10 My scattered people will come to me
    from beyond the rivers of Cush.
They will worship me.
    They will bring me offerings.
11 Jerusalem, you have done many wrong things to me.
    But at that time you will not be put to shame anymore.
That’s because I will remove from this city
    those who think so highly of themselves.
You will never be proud again
    on my holy mountain of Zion.
12 But inside your city I will leave
    those who are not proud at all.
    Those who are still left alive will trust in the Lord.
13 They will not do anything wrong.
They will not tell any lies.
    They will not say anything to fool other people.
They will eat and lie down in peace.
    And no one will make them afraid.”

14 People of Zion, sing!
    Israel, shout loudly!
People of Jerusalem, be glad!
    Let your hearts be full of joy.
15 The Lord has stopped punishing you.
    He has made your enemies turn away from you.
The Lord is the King of Israel.
    He is with you.
You will never again be afraid
    that others will harm you.
16 The time is coming when people will say to Jerusalem,
    “Zion, don’t be afraid.
    Don’t give up.
17 The Lord your God is with you.
    He is the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you.
    In his love he will no longer punish you.
    Instead, he will sing for joy because of you.”

18 The Lord says to his people,

“You used to celebrate my appointed feasts in Jerusalem.
    You are sad because you can’t do that anymore.
    Other people make fun of you because of that.
That sadness was a heavy load for you to carry.
    But I will remove that load from you.
19 At that time I will punish
    all those who crushed you.
I will save those among you who are disabled.
    I will gather those who have been taken away.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have been put to shame.
20 At that time I will gather you together.
    And I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the nations on earth.
I will bless you with great success again,”
    says the Lord.