1. The Lord gave this message to Zephaniah when Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah.
Coming Judgment against Judah
2. “I will sweep away everything 2 from the face of the earth,” says the Lord.
3. “I will sweep away people and animals alike. 3 I will sweep away the birds of the sky and the fish in the sea. 3 I will reduce the wicked to heaps of rubble,[a] 3 and I will wipe humanity from the face of the earth,” says the Lord.
4. “I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist 4 and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship. 4 I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests, 4 so that even the memory of them will disappear.
5. For they go up to their roofs 5 and bow down to the sun, moon, and stars. 5 They claim to follow the Lord, 5 but then they worship Molech,[b] too.
6. And I will destroy those who used to worship me 6 but now no longer do. 6 They no longer ask for the Lord’s guidance 6 or seek my blessings.”
7. Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign Lord, 7 for the awesome day of the Lord’s judgment is near. 7 The Lord has prepared his people for a great slaughter 7 and has chosen their executioners.[c]
8. “On that day of judgment,” 8 says the Lord, 8 “I will punish the leaders and princes of Judah 8 and all those following pagan customs.
9. Yes, I will punish those who participate in pagan worship ceremonies, 9 and those who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.
10. “On that day,” says the Lord, 10 “a cry of alarm will come from the Fish Gate 10 and echo throughout the New Quarter of the city.[d] 10 And a great crash will sound from the hills.
11. Wail in sorrow, all you who live in the market area,[e] 11 for all the merchants and traders will be destroyed.
12. “I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners 12 to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. 12 They think the Lord will do nothing to them, 12 either good or bad.
13. So their property will be plundered, 13 their homes will be ransacked. 13 They will build new homes 13 but never live in them. 13 They will plant vineyards 13 but never drink wine from them.
14. “That terrible day of the Lord is near. 14 Swiftly it comes— 14 a day of bitter tears, 14 a day when even strong men will cry out.
15. It will be a day when the Lord’s anger is poured out— 15 a day of terrible distress and anguish, 15 a day of ruin and desolation, 15 a day of darkness and gloom, 15 a day of clouds and blackness,
16. a day of trumpet calls and battle cries. 16 Down go the walled cities 16 and the strongest battlements!
17. “Because you have sinned against the Lord, 17 I will make you grope around like the blind. 17 Your blood will be poured into the dust, 17 and your bodies will lie rotting on the ground.”
18. Your silver and gold will not save you 18 on that day of the Lord’s anger. 18 For the whole land will be devoured 18 by the fire of his jealousy. 18 He will make a terrifying end 18 of all the people on earth.[f]
a. 1:3: The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
b. 1:5: Hebrew Malcam, a variant spelling of Molech; or it could possibly mean their king.
c. 1:7: Hebrew has prepared a sacrifice and sanctified his guests.
d. 1:10: Or the Second Quarter, a newer section of Jerusalem. Hebrew reads the Mishneh.
e. 1:11: Or in the valley, a lower section of Jerusalem. Hebrew reads the Maktesh.
f. 1:18: Or the people living in the land.