Zephaniah 1-3

Introduction of Zephaniah | Evidence Unseen

Chapter 1 begins with a conclusion of Judgement on the entire Earth: man, animals, and nature!  We know from our past reads that this prophecy will include the Babylonian captivity with a second embedded prophecy of End Times.

We turn now to the Judgement on Israel.  The most fundamental sin is the first 2 commandments:  Exodus 20:

“You shall have no other gods before] me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

During the time of Manasseh, he had made Jerusalem a center of pagan worship.  The people were worshipping false gods such as Baal ‘lord’ and Moloch (they would sacrifice their babies in the fire to the god)

When the Assyrians took Israel in 722 they introduced new forms of worship: sun gods, moon gods, and worshiping the stars (like some people rely on superstitions or astronomy today).

Chapter 1 goes deep.  There are technically 3 oracles of judgement.  First judgement will come upon the nobles, the traders and the wealthy.  They have abused their power.  The second oracle (verse 10) is the businessmen:  The fish gate and the New Quarter were the “financial district” where the merchants would come in. (Nothing hits them harder than in the wallet)


The Fish Gate - Wednesday Evening Service 8/22/18 - Pastor Bob ...katapi Bible Atlas: GM API v3 Map.

By verse 13 we see judgement on those that relied on their wealth for security.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold
    will be able to save them
    on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”

intense huh!!

Chapter 2- God begs us to seek Him!  He calls Judah to repent and then speaks of the Judgement of the foreign nations.  Philistia is the first nation mentioning specifically the cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Ekron. (Gath isn’t mentioned because it has already been destroyed)

Map of the Territory of the Philistines (Bible History Online)

However, God uses the judgement of the evil nations to make a land for the Remnant people when they return.

That land will belong
    to the remnant of the people of Judah;
    there they will find pasture.

Moab and Ammon:  OK…let’s see who has a memory??  Where did these nations begin?  Who can remember without cheating?

Chapter 2 ends with Cush (Egypt) and Assyria.   We have mentioned several times the three world powers surrounding Israel.  He will destroy Cush and Assyria, leaving Babylon as the instrument to take Judah in captivity…THEN He will deal with Babylon.

Empires Attack the Promised Land — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY

Chapter 3

The charges against Judah:

  • Jerusalem is corrupt
  • They have forsaken the Lord
  • Their leaders are evil

BUT!!!   Why does God discipline His chosen people??  Why does a parent?  To correct them and bring them back.  Starting in verse 9 you see a Restoration of the nation brought our of captivity.

17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

He loves us

20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[l]
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

Many see this book as wrath.  I see Love.


Zephaniah Overview for tomorrow

It is hard sometimes to see the overall theme in the Prophecy books.  The key is to look at God’s character, not the people.  Amos, Obadiah, and Nahum were all about God’s judgment; Isaiah was about God’s Salvation, Jonah about God’s Love, and now Zephaniah is about God’s Restoration.  “The great day of the Lord is near” v 1:14 .

Zephaniah:  the first verse is:

The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah:

So what do we know? If he was the great-great-grandson of Hezekiah he has seen Jerusalem at its best, fall to its worst, and then again at its best with Josiah.

So Zephaniah speaks from experience and will bring a strong message to the people.  He prophesied in the days of King Josiah, born probably while Manasseh was king, I remember he was a BAD king because I use the middle 3 letters in his name as a reminder. 😂

So the little we do know about Zephaniah was that he was royalty, a prince most likely, in the line of Judah.  Fifty years have elapsed since the prophecy of Nahum, and three descendants have taken the throne since Hezekiah, all wicked and idol worshiping.  Social injustice is at an all-time high, the rich are wealthy and the poor are starving.  Idol worship is practiced by most.

Zephaniah will speak of a Loving God, yet a Strong God.  Zephaniah will also speak of the doom to come to Nineveh that Nahum prophesied.   Moreover,  Zephaniah will speak directly of denouncing idolatry.  Remember back when Josiah became king and smashed down the altars and idols.

This book will end very differently than the way it will begin.  It begins in sorrow but ends in Glory.  Zephaniah will tell:

  • That the faithful remnant will be delivered from captivity
  • That the Gentile nation will be converted (Yay!)
  • That one day everyone will worship the Lord, not just in Jerusalem.

Enjoy the read tomorrow…

ONLY 57 days away from the New Testament!!  You have been reading for 218 Days!!  YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!