Zephaniah 3

Zephaniah 3

Many theologians, ministers, Bible teachers, and educational institutions wish to identify April 1948 as the God-promised return of all Israelis to Israel. This is only partially correct. We will find out why such thinking in this chapter of Zephaniah it s functionally incorrect.


Zephaniah 3:1-3 WOE!!! We have discussed the word woe in previous narrative commentary. The woe used here is the “prolonged form of o’ee” in the Hebrew; hoh’ee. There is an emphasis on how it is said. The her identified in this chapter (“…woe to her…”) of Zephaniah is Jerusalem/Israel. It is not, as often assumed or desired by some, to be the woe of Nineveh. The filthy labels rebellion, bitterness, disobedience. The polluted are identified in conjunction with the word filthy. According to Strong’s H1351 it means to free. Free what? To free oneself from following the Law of Moses (O.T.). To make God to be what the people wish instead of the people being what God wants. Jerusalem and Judean leadership including citizens of the State had rejected and renounced God as their only God of Israel. They wanted gods they could see.

V2: She has not obeyed His voice,
She has not received correction;
She has not trusted in the Lord,
She has not drawn near to her God.

NOTE: The “she” is Jerusalem

Let’s look closer at highlighted line four (above) of Zephaniah 3:2. James (N.T.) explains this conditional dilemma expressed in verse 2 of Zephaniah; a factor in the cause for God’s judgement. James 4:8 defines the problem we see in Israel/Judah. Contrary to the ignorant Christian prayer of “asking God to be with so-in-so”, such is not scripture based. According to scripture, so-in-so must first draw closer to God (If you ___, then I ___). Don’t take our word for it. Re-read James 4:8 then read Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5. Every sin comes from not being in the will or drawing nearer to God. This is the free-will of mankind. There is a continual need for the true believer to be disciples continually drawing closer to God through Bible study and prayer. Those who decide that expectation is too demanding may need to question his or her salvation in the first place. Israel (722 B.C.), now Judah had compromised their relationship with God.  They had walked away from God…If one walks away, then God will not bless.

Zephaniah 3:3 The word prince(s) does not limit itself to mean only royalty. Princes (Sar) means anyone in a leadership position who comes from the rank and file. Roaring (shaw-ag’) means to mumble, grumble, or complain. The word judges can also be misleading if one compares it to the culture of what traditionally is meant by a judge. Shaw-fat’ (judge) in this verse is not a pronoun but a verb meaning to judge someone from his or her own perspective.”

AHAMOMENT: The last line in verse 3 says…[those] “that leave not a bone until morning.” We say it today as one who has a bone to pick with another

Zephaniah 3:4 does not bring accusations against the people of Judah. These are God’s charges for all Israel; guilty as charged. The qualifier of guilty as charged is found in verse 5. The Lord is righteous and will do no unrighteousness.” God righteously charged them through the prophet Zephaniah. What a person thinks in his or her mind as okay does not always line up with what God says is okay. This literally means a continual scenario of personal evaluation. It is a moment-by-moment scenario. What is in the heart IS.

What is in Your heart?

Zephaniah 3:6 The people and leadership of the Kingdom of Judah, much like as had the Kingdom of Israel, forgot that God’s judgement of others around them and in the past has already occurred. They were not immune. Zephaniah is saying, God has done it before to you and others. Unless you (Judah) draw closer to God, he will judge once again. They didn’t so God did. Just a couple years later Nebuchadnezzar brought that judgement.

Zephaniah 3:7 is Israel’s balance beam. If one who is not coached falls off a balance beam, much to her demise or injurious consequences, s/he will then have a deeper respect for a coach. In this verse God is saying we should fear God’s position as our creator; receive, then follow his coaching instructions (before getting back on the balance beam). Zephaniah is the final minor prophetic book before Judah goes into Babylonian captivity.  One can guess they heard but rejected God’s instructions given to them by “coach” Zephaniah. Now for the consequence of falling from the balance beam once again.

Zephaniah 3:8 is a serious consideration. Verse 7 states that the warning and instructions were not heeded by Judah. Now the consequence (if you do or don’t, then I will…). Zephaniah is also prophesying End Time. A time when the earth, mankind, and beast will suffer for humankind rejection God. God is not a religion divided into compartments by denominations. God is GOD! The created cannot command the creator to do this or that. Denominations damage the unity of the true church body of believers.


Verse 8b reads: “All My fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.” The word “all” used twice in this passage is kole in the Hebrew. It is emphatic. It means “without exception”. 

Zephaniah 3:9 For then…” means, after this 70-year Babylonian judgment. Zephaniah shifts gears in verse 9. This passage defines the Millennial Reign of Christ. He will bring absolute justice to ALL mankind. This verse uses the word pure (Baw-rar’) as in a pure language. Some translations substitute clear language (Baw-rar’ also means pure). It is less of a language change of God’s people than identifying and removing what is no longer to be on his or her lips. This must include the mind and the heart. “…to call upon the name of the Lord with the desire to serve in one accord.” The significance and point of this verse goes back to why God originally created Adam. 

Zephaniah 3:10 A prophet of God again references Ethiopia. Once more at the exclusion of other African nations. Here is a clue that refers to the DISPERSED ones of God’s chosen. My worshipers, the daughters (offspring) of my dispersed ones.” God is identifying location, location, location. Of those dispersed from Israel by Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks (Alexandria), Romans, and many others, many are located even beyond the borders of Ethiopia in Africa and north into Scandinavia including Ukraine and Russia. It appears or hints that the confusion of language at the Tower of Babel may then be reversed by God. 

To identify all Israelites as Jews is incorrect. The term JEW was never used by Moses in the first five books he wrote for the Old Testament. The first use of this word was derogatory. II Kings distinguished between those of the Tribe of Judah and scatterings of other tribes in the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Jews) versus the ten Northern Tribes in the Kingdom of Israel (Israelis). The king of the northern ten tribes was planning an offensive against the Kingdom of Judah. He called them Jews. The first use of the word Jew as regards an individual is in the book of Esther; a reference to Mordecai. Mordecai was actually a Benjamite but descended from the territory of the Kingdom of Judah. This made him a Jew-dean.

Zephaniah 3:12,13 contrasts the personalities of the Israelis then, with those God will give a millennial “pure language.” Included in this transformation is a clean heart. Those who are offensive will be removed. Israel will tend to their business(es) and fear no outside interference.

*Shem was the spiritual one of Noah’s three sons. He lived 500 years after the flood. It is possible if not probable that he is the Melchizedek of “…Salem”. Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness,” was an early king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:18–20; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6–11; 6:20—7:28). In the book of Genesis Melchizedek’s sudden appearance then disappearance to Abraham is somewhat mysterious. Some theologians claim that in pre-New Testament (Old Testament), Jesus is the embodiment of Melchizedek.

Zephaniah 3:14 instructs the remnant of Israel, in that Day, to shout and sing praises. Peace at last. True joy in the heart. A pure language. No enemies from within or without. The daughter of Jerusalem refers to the offspring of long past and future generations of Israelis. The constant is Jerusalem itself i.e., the City of David and possibly *Shem (son of Noah), God’s holy city. Zephaniah defines this in the next verse.

*Shem was the spiritual one of Noah’s three sons. He lived 500 years after the flood. It is possible if not probable that he is the Melchizedek of “…Salem”. Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness,” was an early king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:18–20; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6–11; 6:20—7:28). In the book of Genesis Melchizedek’s sudden appearance then disappearance to Abraham is somewhat mysterious. Some theologians claim Jesus id the embodiment of

Zephaniah 3:15the LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more”. If this is difficult to understand, one has a severe case of denial. Israel is God’s chosen in the Old Testament and during the Millennial reign.

Zephaniah 3:16 Again we find that identifying phrase, “on that day.” Where we read “let not your hand be weak” means Israelis will no longer need to look over his or her shoulder or have a need to be aware of defensive posturing. Be strong in the confidence of the Lord Jesus who will then be on the throne in Jeru-Salem. (NOTE: This spelling helps us understand the connectivity of Melchizedek/Salem and what we now call JeruSalem)

Zephaniah 3:17-20 (THAT DAY). Note that nowhere in this passage does God ask mankind for their opinion. Neither does God ask man’s opinion of the method by which he plans to end the world as we know it, then begin a new world. We do know that Matthew 5:18 and 24:35 tell us the current heavens above and earth will be gone. So will Satan. After being bound for 1,000 years, he will have an address somewhere in the Lake of Fire.

Rev. Dr. Jstark

Zephaniah 2

Zephaniah 2


The promises or covenants given by God to man always follow this pattern: If you___, then I will ___ (will do such-and-such). This is even true of God’s final judgement. If one repents then God will withhold punishing judgement. If we don’t, consequential judgement is promised. What is the constant in God’s directions to man? The guarantee of one of two eternities. How does this apply to the person who has sat in a pew for years “waiting on the Lord”? Satan has no concerns about the religious or pew dwellers. He encourages such pointless religious practice as one day he will try to set himself up as a god to be worshiped by all mankind or suffer Satan’s wrath. 

Zephaniah 2:1 requires no explanation other than understanding the adamant calling to gather the people of this Old Testament nation of Judah. Gather you leaders TO THE HEARING to heed what prophet Zephaniah is going to say to them in chapter 2. 

Zephaniah 2:2 ‘Before the decree is issued” means before the order from God is given for Zephaniah to go. Troops always align themselves to attack at the command of their commander. They are on the ready. Zephaniah is saying the same thing to his fellow Judeans. Come. Let me [Zephaniah] tell you of God’s guarantee. Repent or be judged. The analogous of chaff, fierce anger repeated twice is like the New Testament stating Verily, verily I say unto you. The urgency is in the phrasing.

STUDY THE WORD! Get to Know our God Who knows you and He loves you.

Zephaniah 2:3 [2:3a] “Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth…” Meek does not mean the people who are at or near the low of the economic food-chain. It is a condition of the heart. One cannot justify his or her meekness without first forfeiting his or her conditional attitude. Not only must Judean attitudes and actions be challenged, but they must give up trying to make their worship being man made conditional. So must modern man.

2:3c “that you may be hidden?” This does not mean that one may as in a possibility. The correct wording in this case should be “will be”. It means permission granted. The last few words in this part of verse 3 state in the day of the Lord’s anger”. This is the *Day of the Lord. God will scorch the earth with fire, not flood it once again [Isaiah 24:6 who is a contemporary of Zephaniah] Also read or click on Revelation 16:8; II Peter 3:10]

*JIV: Zephaniah mentions this phrase more often than any other prophet in the Old Testament. This repeating of “in the Day of the Lord” is a constant reminder of End Time judgement. (JIV: Jim’s Introspective Vew)

This punishment is not limited to Judah/Israel. The next few verses identify either symbolically or as identified who will suffer the same curses as will Israel. This is Zephaniah’s way of identifying the world as we know it today [see our closing comment per chapter 2]. This description and prophecy of desolation is two-fold. Desolation was historically accomplished by Assyrians, Babylonians (Chaldean’s), Greeks, and the Romans. Secondly, it is a sign of end time making this portion of Zephaniah a two-fold prophecy. Add to this history already completed “in the Day of the Lord” one has now identified to whom Zephaniah is speaking. First to the Jew, then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

[cf. https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/to-the-jew-first-what-does-it-mean-and-why-does-it-matter/]

Skip to Zephaniah 2:9. [Verses 4 through 8 are self-evident]. Although symbolic in name, these verses are as stated…God’s judgement. Verse 9 can be a study challenge. Per time and the calendar, Zephaniah is now speaking of a time long after the Children of Jacob (Israel) possessed the Promised Land. The Tribes of Gad, Manasseh, and Reuben had once possessed the lands of Ammon and Moab east of the Jordan River (but they failed to rid the lands of all these descendants of Lot). They eventually left it to the Assyrians. Zephaniah 2:9 is a prophecy well beyond his own current era. According to verse 9 God’s chosen will once again possess these lands. How can they once again possess what they already possessed? This passage simply means it is a future that has not yet materialized. This is End Time geography.

To better grasp this event, we need to break down the Hebrew of two words in this verse: residual of my people and the remnant of my people. The residual, she’êrı̂yth, and the remnant, yeh’-ther may seem to be two words of the same meaning but not so in Hebrew. She’êrı̂yth means those who had escaped or survived. Escaped or survived what? Yeh’-ther means the excess of the remainder. These Israelis shall possess, in the future, the lands of Ammon and Moab. Today this is still south-west Jordan.

JIV: Moab and Ammon fall within the boundaries of the New Jerusalem [1400 miles by 1400 miles – 12,000 strada/furlongs; Revelation 21:15-21).

We can be assured this is End Time and the Millennial Reign of God/Jesus by reading Zephaniah 2:11. When has all mankind ever worshiped God from his and her place up to verse 10? It hasn’t! This is a time yet to come. How else can this total man-kind worship be universal unless those who reject God be gone. Up to this time on earth, most mankind has and still does reject God.

Zephaniah 2:12 Why is it that the Ethiopians are directly mentioned but the Egyptians, Libya, and so many other nations are seemingly overlooked? In verse 12 the Assyrians to the north are mentioned. These places represent directions as to the north, south, east, and west. The world will be in judgement. All will see the new Jerusalem and recognize God for who he is. Earlier in this chapter Zephaniah has already identified a sense of direction to the west of Israel when he included the Philistines and those of Gaza. 

Zephaniah 2:13 corroborates this idea of geography rather than actual fixed locations. The first line in verse 13 states: I will stretch out my hand (judgement) to the north.

We close this portion of Zephaniah with a quote from Dr. David Guzik:

Zephaniah never mentions why the nations are ripe for judgment. Perhaps he assumes we’ve already read Amos, Isaiah, and Nahum, which do detail the sins of these neighboring nations. HINT: “as in the time of Noah” (Matthew 24:37)

JIV: As we discussed earlier in this chapter, it probably isn’t the nations being judged as much as it is the people who have rejected God and his son Jesus. David Guzik is right-on per Amos, Isaiah, and Nahum. We have already written commentary on Amos and Nahum. They discuss the common sins of this world that is without God.

Rev. Dr. Jstark

Zephaniah 1

Zephaniah 1 [All verse quotes use the NKJV unless otherwise stated]

Contrary to his predecessor Habakkuk, Zephaniah can be time-stamped.

Zepanian had a define place in time.

Zephaniah 1:1 reads: The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah the son of [K]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. He was the son of an evil king. King Amon was so disliked that his own administrators killed him. He ruled from 642 B.C. to 640 B.C…a meager 2 years (probably only 18 months). If Zephaniah is in the lineage of King Hezekiah, he traces his lifeline through those other than through the kingship of Judah. Explanation: It was a practice of tracing king-to-king of royalty. Other sons of a king may trace through other descendants of the ruling king. The practice may have been to trace them through those who did not sit on the throne of Judah to make it difficult for aggressors who try killing off royal blood. It is also highly probable that King Amon was so evil, his blood connection was avoided.

How stark is verse #2? God will utterly consume all things from the face of this Judean land. The list of things to be consumed by God in Judah extends through verse 6.

Zephaniah is the last of the pre-exile (Babylon) Minor Prophets. The last three, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi are post exile Minor Prophets. These three come after our narrative commentary of Zephaniah.

Zephaniah 1:2I will utterly consume everything from the face of the land,” Says the LORD

When the remnant returned from Babylon, the land was found dry and barren.

Zephaniah 1:3I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, The fish of the sea, And the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land,” Says the LORD.

This is probably the plague of End Time on the unbelievers and nations during the Tribulation.

Zephaniah 1:4 “I will stretch out My hand against Judah, And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place, The names of the idolatrous priests with the pagan priests

God’s curse was not on only Jerusalem but the Promised Land.

Zephaniah 1:5 Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops; Those who worship and swear oaths by the LORD, but who also swear by Milcom; also known as Molech.

Verse 5 means Jehovah God had been reduce in the minds and hearts of Judeans to a god comparable in the eyes of many in Judah to Milcom. Two groupings of people are those who worship the true God of Israel and those who worship him AND the Ammonite god Milcom.

Zephaniah 1:6 Those who have turned back from following the LORD, And have not sought the LORD, nor inquired of Him.”

JIV NOTE: Jeremiah as was Isaiah were contemporary to Zephaniah. Zephaniah prophesied for a few years, beginning some say in the same year as Jeremiah [627 or 626 B.C]. Others place Zephaniah a few years later. Because there is no hint of Josiah’s reformations even mentioned in Zephaniah’s book, some believe Zephaniah prophesied before the reforms began. There are some who believe King Josiah’s reformation was already underway and encouraged Zephaniah to “step out” and make known his word from God. Josiah is considered a good King of Judah. His father and grandfather were evil.

JIV (cont.) The words of the prophet in 1:2-6 appear to indicate that he prophesied prior to any significant repentance by the nation of Judah or introduced by King Josiah. The wording in Zephaniah could mean the prophecy indicated End Time tribulation judgements: the Day of the Lord.

Zephaniah 1:7 should remind one of Revelation 8:1silence in the presence of the Lord God Jehovah. Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. In Revelation “the lamb” (Jesus) opens the seventh and last scroll seal. Heaven goes silent for half an hour. This is a moment that exceeds awesome. One might say, all creation holds its breath; heaven included. Zephaniah 1:7 is similar: Be silent in the presence of the Lord God; For the day of the Lord is at hand. Zephaniah 1:8 explains verse 7 to the chagrin of some who are religious. Too many religious people fail to recognize the holiness of God. Friends, neighbors, and those we consider over or under privileged will be judged. They will have nothing to say in their defense. No political correctness. Just HOLY justice.

Zephaniah 1:8 The question most often raised when this passage is explained, “how can a loving God do such a thing?” God is love, right? Asking such a question or even thinking explains why most do not understand the meaning of HOLINESS. Be silent in the presence of the Lord. God is not one to take advice from what he created. If a goblet or cup is designed to hold a liquid, then its job is not to request to be something else. God created Adam and Eve, humans, to worship and have fellowship with him. Anything else put first or alongside is an idol. This violates the 2nd commandment of “no other priorities [idols] shall come before one’s dedication to me.” [paraphrased].

Something that could be totally confusing to one who is a casual Bible reader is v8b… I will punish the princes and the king’s children, And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel. One’s initial confusion is the wording. Why would God punish those who wear foreign clothing? What makes it foreign? As we may see on the surface, wearing foreign apparel is not what it means. It means, anyone who has adorned him or herself in the ways of the world. Bluntly put, anyone who has adopted or adapted to the ways of the world just to FIT IN is wearing foreign apparel to God…men dressed as women?

Zephaniah 1:9    This passage (v9) is like the saying: no stone left unturned. God through Zephaniah is defining his inclusive punishment of his creation and all that have drifted away from God’s purpose for creating man. The person guilty of “leaping over the threshold” is one who has not honored another’s possessions. Taking without personal guilt what another has worked to get. In other words, God is just.

F.B. Meyer: Notice the successive classes of those who were to suffer. They constitute a series of concentric circles, narrowing down to those who had turned back, and to those who had never sought the Lord.

Zephaniah 1:10 Note once again the often used three words by many prophets on that day. This means the Day of the Lord; the day of judgment; the day of End Time. It would take a volume to list, then discuss all the prophesied events that happen with the opening of the 7th seal per the scroll of Revelation. The most breath-taking event is Heaven going silent for half an hour Revelation 8:1. Even the Seraphim go silent (cf. Isaiah 6:2-7).

Zephaniah 1:11 could be interpreted as the time when the mark of the beast will be required to buy, sell, and trade. We know from other studies that the antichrist desires the Israelites, God’s chosen, be annihilated. This battle between God, Satan, and by proxy to God’s chosen, goes back the Garden of Eden. Eve is having a conversation with the serpent Satan. God condemns the serpent.. Genesis 3:15 “…I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between *your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”  [NKJV] Satan versus God’s chosen of Abraham.

JIV NOTE: *Some have asked of this verse “who might be Satan’s seed?” They are all who reject God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; one or all three. It is not as some teach, Satan’s minions of fallen angels. This is so true today. The most rejected State today is Israel. Their very existence is challenged on the floor of the United Nations year after year. Eve’s seed is Jesus [Luke 3].

Maktesh (v11) is probably a reference to the market street(s)

The idea of business as usual in Jerusalem will be null and void. Merchants are cut off from their sources and money men can no longer do business. This happens in the second 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Zephaniah 1:12 We will always find complacent people who try to ride the middle of the road to avoid taking one side or the other. Zephaniah identifies the complacent In That Day as the self-assuring, self-satisfied,and/or self-sanctioned. They will find themselves on the wrong side of the road In the Day.

“God will do neither good nor evil.” These people who take this stand basically nullify God as any type of actual influence over humans. Their theory is man makes his own heaven or hell while on earth. To search Jerusalem with lamp means to sweep every nook and cranny. No one will hide or avoid God’s discerning judgement [Hebrews 4:13-15]. Most who take this position toward God in the past, present, or future use it as a form of denial. This is the unpardonable sin. Denial of the Holy Spirit.

Zephaniah 1:13-17 refers to the merchant once again and one’s average way of life. For something to become booty it must be someone’s ill-gotten gain. At the rapture and in the Day of the Lord, many will go into hiding, be taken to be with God, flee the rage ongoing in the populated world, or try to be as scarce as possible. (cf. Deuteronomy 28:30). For a fuller understanding also read Deuteronomy 28.

  • A day of wrath
  • A day of trouble and distress
  • A day of devastation
  • A day of darkness and gloom
  • A day of clouds and darkness
  • A day of alarm

Mankind who rejects God will be vanquished and vanish. This is the Great White Throne judgement. Let us conclude the uncompromising actuality of Zephaniah 1:17 & 18. The meaning of 17 and 18: The Mercy seat is removed. It is no longer. THAT DAY has come for eternities: Heaven of Hell.

Rev. Dr. Jstark

Zephaniah introduction

Zephaniah introduction

Few summarize the life and circumstances around Zephaniah better than does Chuck Swindoll. Click on the below link to read Swindoll’s overview of Zephaniah


One significant point to be made per Zephaniah’s prophetic life is what he said about the population of Judah. He identified four specific groupings.

  1. Those who worshiped other gods
  2. Those who worshiped other gods AND God
  3. Those who in their own eyes stood neutral
  4. Those who still adhered to the God of Israel.

Once again, commentaries are all over the place regarding this book. Many identify the Book of Zephaniah as the sacrifice of God. Others identify this book as the great day of God. Even the lineage of Zephaniah casts some commentators into confusion. In verse one he traces his lineage back to Hezekiah. The confusion: is this the 4th generation tracing back to Hezekiah, the *13th king of Judah, or another by the same name? The math works out that he could be of royal blood, but then why trace one’s lineage for three generations through non-royalty? We conclude it is of royalty.

*Halley’s Bible Handbook identifies Zephaniah as the great-great grandson of King Hezekiah.

God’s 70-year judgement of the Kingdom of Judah is prophetic at this time, soon to occur. Like other minor prophets, Zephaniah points to the time the Kingdom of Judah will fall. Some see this as a close parallel prophecy of God’s End Time judgment of the world. This parallel is highly probable since Zephaniah mentions all living things will be judged. We also find evidence to support this distant prophetic parallel message. In Zephaniah 3:15 God himself is called the King of Israel. Israel to the north of Judah was destroyed and exiled by the Assyrians 90 years earlier. Only Judah remained.

An outline of Zephaniah by J Vernon McGee

Introduction (1:1)
               JIV NOTE: Unlike some of the minor prophets, we can time stamp Zephaniah by reading 1:1

“I. Judgment of Judah and Jerusalem, Chapter 1

v. 1 — Zephaniah completely identifies himself and his time period
v. 2 — Worldwide devastation is predicted. The Book of the Revelation and Matthew confirm placing the time as the Great Tribulation.
v. 3 — All living creatures are included in the judgment.
v. 4 — Judah and Jerusalem are singled out for judgment (NOTE: Not the church).
v. 5 — The reason for the judgment is idolatry — three types of idolatry are mentioned.
v. 6 — Also they have turned completely from God. Two classes are mentioned: backsliders and those who were never saved.
v. 7 — “The day of the LORD” is judgment (see TWO THOUGHTS, also notes on Joel 1:15). Here the coming of Nebuchadnezzar is treated as a picture of the day of the LORD.
“Hold thy peace” means to hush; to keep still.
v. 8 — The “sacrifice” is the judgment of Judah.
v. 10 — “That day” is the day of the LORD.
v. 12 — Evidently this is one of the first groups to say that God was dead. They were the self-sufficient of an affluent society.
v. 13 — This marks the end of prosperity and the beginning of a depression.
vv. 14, 15 — This is a doleful, dreary, and dreadful picture of the Great Tribulation.
v. 16 — It is a day of fear.
v. 17 — Sin of man brings the judgment.
v. 18 — There will be no deliverance. Silver and gold are their gods, and they are powerless to save any possession or self.

II. Judgment of the earth and of all nations, Chapters 2:13:8

Chapter 2

v. 1 — A call to Israel to come together to plead for deliverance from the wrath of the day of the LORD.
“Not desired” means that they were by choice oblivious to the shame of their sinful condition.
v. 2 — This is a brief but vivid description of the day of the LORD.
v. 3 — The call is extended to the inhabitants of the earth who in meekness seek the Lord.
vv. 4-11 — This is judgment upon surrounding enemy nations and their idols.
v. 12 — Judgment on Ethiopia.
vv. 13-15 — Judgment on Assyria (literally fulfilled).

Chapter 3

vv. 1-5 — Judgment on Jerusalem. Judgment is in ratio to her privilege.
vv. 6-8 — Judgment on all nations — this is *Armageddon, which ends with the return of Christ to the earth. *Some consider Armageddon the final battle with Satan after the Millennial reign.

III. Judgments removed; kingdom established, Chapter 3:9-20

v. 9 — This does not mean there will be one language for the entire world, although there may be only one language — perhaps the language prior to the Tower of Babel. The thought here is “pure” in the sense of the removal of the filthy, profane, and nasty language.
vv. 10-12 — These are kingdom conditions.
vv. 13-16 — The remnant of Israel enters the kingdom. Their attitude and speech are changed. Fear is removed. The Lord Jesus Christ personally reigns over them. This refers to the second coming of Christ.
v. 17 — This verse is the key to the book. This is the white light in a black background. The purpose of judgment is not vindictive, but to cleanse and purify in order that blessing and goodness might ensue from the ordeal.
vv. 18-20 — This describes kingdom [of Judah] conditions.”

 Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of a Godly King Josiah in the mid to late 600’s B.C. If Zephaniah descended from *King Hezekiah, a Godly king, then he would have had access to the royal courts and King Josiah. Whether they worked in concert we do not know but they lived with a common goal of God in the lives of Israel (Kingdom of Judah). However, if Zephaniah descended from and was tutored along with or under Hezekiah, why did Hezekiah’s king son and king grandson fall so far from Jehovah God?

*Hezekiah’s son (king) Manasseh and grandson (king) Amon were very evil. They undid or reversed many of the reforms instituted by King Hezekiah. King Amon was so bad that after reigning for two years, he was killed by one of his own officials. Hezekiah himself found such favor with God he was given a 15-year reprieve in life following a deadly disease.

This means what we study in Zephaniah is akin to King Josiah’s reformations. What one reads about one in likelihood applies to the other. Even with the reforms instituted by King Josiah and ministered by Zephaniah, Judah would still fall to the Babylonians. Do not exclude Isaiah from this period. He too is contemporary to this historical scene [2 Kings 20:5-7].

Hezekiah recognized his people wanting to worship a tangible object. The bronze serpent Moses had made while all Israelis were still in the wilderness was one of those worship objects. Certainly, Zephaniah and Isaiah knew about this practice. Hezekiah made one major mistake, which is recorded in 2 Kings 20. Ambassadors on a secret mission from Babylon happened to “visit and overly proud King Hezekiah in Judah allowed Hezekiah to arrogantly show them all the gold in his treasury, armaments, and the riches of Jerusalem. Afterward, the prophet Isaiah criticized him for his pride. Isaiah foretold that everything would be taken away, including the *king’s descendants. This all lead up to the 70-year captivity in Babylon.

Zephaniah was still the era of the Assyrians. Within 90 years of this time the Assyrians would be no more. The Babylonians would rule the then known world. How it sequenced: Babylonians, along with the Medes, overran the Assyrians. Then they overran the Kingdom of Judah. Then began the 70 year captivity of the Jews (Judeans) and those who resided in Judah.

Now, let’s turn to Hezekiah’s contemporary, the Prophet Zephaniah.

PS; Archaeologists found Hezekiah’s royal seal in 2010 in an area at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Yes, in JERUSALEM. Israelis were dominant in this area over 2,500 years ago. Muhammad was born around 570, AD, 1,000 years later.

Rev. Dr. Jstark