15 Dec. Zephaniah 1:1-13

15 Dec. Zephaniah warns of the punishment of Judah

“This is the word of the LORD that came through Zephaniah while Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, who was the son of Gedaliah. Gedaliah was the son of Amariah, who was the son of Hezekiah.”

“’I will sweep away everything from the earth,’ says the LORD. ‘I will sweep away the people and animals; I will destroy the birds in the air and the fish of the sea. I will ruin the evil people, and I will remove human beings from the earth,’ says the LORD.”

“’I will punish Judah and all the people living in Jerusalem. I will remove from this place all signs of Baal, the false priests and the other priests. I will destroy those who worship the stars from the roofs, and those who worship and make promises by both the LORD and the god Molech, and those who turn away from the LORD, and those who stopped following the LORD and praying to him for direction.’”

“’Be silent before the Lord GOD, because the LORD’s day for judging people is coming soon. The LORD has prepared a sacrifice; he has made holy his invited guests. On the day of the LORD’s sacrifice, I, the LORD, will punish the princes and the king’s sons and all those who wear foreign clothes. On that day I will punish those who worship Dagon, those who hurt others and tell lies in the temples of their gods.’”

“’On that day,’ says the LORD, ‘a cry will be heard at the Fish Gate. A wail will come from the new area of the city, and a loud crash will echo from the hills. Cry, you people living in the market area, because all the merchants will be dead; and all the silver traders will be gone.’”

“’At that time, I, the LORD, will search Jerusalem with lamps. I will punish those who are satisfied with themselves, who think, “The LORD won’t help us or punish us.” Their wealth will be stolen and their houses destroyed. They may build houses, but they will not live in them. They may plant vineyards, but they will not drink any wine from them.’”

          (Zephaniah 1:1-13)

 

 

The Book of Zephaniah was written before the fall of Judah in 587 BC. It probably dates from just before King Josiah’s religious reforms of 621BC (see 2 Kings 23:1-28). Like Jeremiah, Zephaniah prophesied that Judah would be punished for following pagan gods: but in the longer term, God would bring new life to his people.

Zephaniah – a descendent of King Hezekiah (727-699BC) - prophesied during the reign of Josiah, King of Judah (642-610BC) (see 2 Kings 22). In the opening chapter, he declared that the LORD would judge the people for worshipping false gods: “I will punish Judah and all the people living in Jerusalem. I will remove from this place all signs of Baal … I will destroy those who worship the stars from the roofs, and those who worship and make promises by both the LORD and the god Molech.” (Zephaniah 1:4-5)

In Chapter 2, Zephaniah urged the people of Judah to repent before it was too late. He predicted the downfall of the nations surrounding Judah – Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Cush (Sudan) and Assyria.

In Chapter 3, Zephaniah decried the corruption found in Jerusalem: “Its prophets are proud; they are people who cannot be trusted. Its priests don't respect holy things; they break God's teachings.” (Zephaniah 3:3-4)

But the LORD also promised to change everything: “I will remove from this city those who like to boast; there will never be any more proud people on my holy mountain in Jerusalem [Mount Zion]. But I will leave in the city the humble and those who are not proud, and they will trust in the LORD.” (Zephaniah 3:11-12)

The book closes with a song of joy. “Sing, Jerusalem. Israel shout for joy! Jerusalem, be happy and rejoice with all your heart … The LORD your God is with you; the mighty One will save you. He will rejoice over you. You will rest in his love; he will sing and be joyful about you.” (Zephaniah 3:14-17)

The photo (by Daniel Ventura) shows the mountains of Judah from Beth Meir.

You can read more from the Book of Zephaniah @ The Bible Journey | Zephaniah warns of the punishment of Judah


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