E1  A1  1:1-3:8. Minatory.
    A2  3:9-20. Promissory.

  The last of the Prophets immediately preceding the Captivity.

  Unlike all the other Prophets, Zephaniah's genealogy is traced back for 4 generations; and, as Hezekiah of Prov. 25:1 and Hizkiah of Zeph. 1:1 are the same word in Hebrew as Hezekiah King of Judah, he was not improbably his great-great-grandson.

  Zephaniah's prophecy is dated in 1:1, as being given "in the days of Josiah". In ch. 2:13 he says that Assyria shall be destroyed, and Nineveh made a desolation. Therefore it was before the fall of Nineveh, 515 B.C.

  Zephaniah was the contemporary of Jeremiah. By a comparison with 1 Kings 23, which records the desruction of "the remnant of Baal" [Zeph. 1:4], Josiah's reformation had not been completed. The prophecy may therefore be dated as coming between the 12th and the 18th year of Josiah - say 518 B.C., or about 3 years before the fall of Nineveh.


1:1-3:8. MINATORY.
A1  A  C  1:1-3. Judgments. General. The Land.
        D  1:4-6. Judah and Jerusalem.
         B  E  1:7-18. The Day of Yahaveh.
             F  2:1-3. Call to Repentance.
    A  C  2:4-15. Judgments. General. Nations.
        D  3:1-5. Jerusalem.
         B   F  3:6,7. Charge of Impenitence.
            E  3:8. The Day of Yahaveh.

518 B.C.
Zephaniah 1)

1 The word of the LORD (Yahaveh) which came to Zephaniah (= hidden of Yahaveh, he whom Yahaveh has hidden [Pss. 27:5; 31:19,20; 83:3. For the connection see 2:3) the son of 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.
2 "I will utterly take away (or make an end of) all from off face of the soil (or ground), says the LORD.
3 I will take away humanity and beast; I will take away the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the ruin (brought about by idolatry) together with the lawless ones: and I will cut off man from off the land, says the LORD.

4 I will also stretch out My hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Kemarim (= black-robed, or cassocked. From Heb. Kamar, to be black. Used of Idolatrous priests because so clothed; not Kohen, as appointed by Yahaveh) with the priests;
5 And them that worship the host of heaven (ref. Deut. 4:19; 17:3. Cp. 2 Kings 23:11,12. Jer. 19:13) upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD Himself, and that swear by Malcham (= king-god, or king-idol);
6 And them that are turned back from after the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor inquired for Him. (Ref. Deut. 4:29.)

E  G  7. Its nearness.
    H  8-13. Judgments.
   G  14-16. Its nearness.
    H  17,18. Judgments.

7 Hold your peace at the presence (see Amos 6:10. Heb. 2:20. Zech. 3:13) of the Lord GOD (Yahaveh Adonai): for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has separated His guests.

1:8-13. JUDGMENTS.
H  J  8. Princes.
    K  9. People.
   J  10,11. Merchants.
    K  12,13. People.

8 And it shall come to pass in the day (put for the judgments executed in it) of the LORD'S sacrifice (see Isa. 2:12; 13;6), that I will visit upon the princes (cp. Jer. 9:25; 11:22; 13:31,&c.), and the king's sons (i.e. the royal house. Cp. 1 Kings 22:26. 2 Kings 11:2. Jer. 36:26:38:6,&c.), and all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.

9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap over the threshold (the servants and rulers sent out to enter the houses of others and steal), which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit. (Put for the booty procured.)

10 And it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the new city (see 2 Kings 22:14), and a great crashing from the hills.
11 Howl, you inhabitants of Maktesh (= the mortar. Probably the local name of the merchants' quarter in the Tyropaeon valley, west of Zion. So called from its basin-like shape), for all the merchant people are laid low; all they that bear silver are cut off.

12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, 'The LORD will not do good, neither will he do harm.'
13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them (ref. Deut. 28:30,39. Cp. Amos 5:11. Mic. 6:15; and contrast Isa. 65:21. Amos 9:14); and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.

14 The great day of the LORD (cp. Isa. 22:5. Joel 2:1,&c.) is near, it is near (i.e. is very near), and hastes greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16 A day of the an alarming trumpet (= a trumpet, yes, a trumpet call to arms. Cp. 2:2) against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.

17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men (ref. 28:29), because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

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