Zephaniah 3 – English Standard Version

Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled,
    the oppressing city!
She listens to no voice;
    she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord;
    she does not draw near to her God.

Her officials within her
    are roaring lions;
her judges are evening wolves
    that leave nothing till the morning.
Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men;
her priests profane what is holy;
    they do violence to the law.
The Lord within her is righteous;
    he does no injustice;
every morning he shows forth his justice;
    each dawn he does not fail;
    but the unjust knows no shame.

“I have cut off nations;
    their battlements are in ruins;
I have laid waste their streets
    so that no one walks in them;
their cities have been made desolate,
    without a man, without an inhabitant.
I said, ‘Surely you will fear me;
    you will accept correction.
Then your dwelling would not be cut off
    according to all that I have appointed against you.’
But all the more they were eager
    to make all their deeds corrupt.

“Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord,
    “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey.
For my decision is to gather nations,
    to assemble kingdoms,
to pour out upon them my indignation,
    all my burning anger;
for in the fire of my jealousy
    all the earth shall be consumed.

“For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples
    to a pure speech,
that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord
    and serve him with one accord.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush
    my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones,
    shall bring my offering.

11 “On that day you shall not be put to shame
    because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me;
for then I will remove from your midst
    your proudly exultant ones,
and you shall no longer be haughty
    in my holy mountain.
12 But I will leave in your midst
    a people humble and lowly.
They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord,
13     those who are left in Israel;
they shall do no injustice
    and speak no lies,
nor shall there be found in their mouth
    a deceitful tongue.
For they shall graze and lie down,
    and none shall make them afraid.”

14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion;
    shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
    O daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
    he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
    you shall never again fear evil.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
    let not your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
18 I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
    so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
19 Behold, at that time I will deal
    with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame
    and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
    and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you in,
    at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised
    among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
    before your eyes,” says the Lord.

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Zephaniah 2 – English Standard Version

Gather together, yes, gather,
    O shameless nation,
before the decree takes effect
    —before the day passes away like chaff—
before there comes upon you
    the burning anger of the Lord,
before there comes upon you
    the day of the anger of the Lord.
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
    who do his just commands;
seek righteousness; seek humility;
    perhaps you may be hidden
    on the day of the anger of the Lord.
For Gaza shall be deserted,
    and Ashkelon shall become a desolation;
Ashdod’s people shall be driven out at noon,
    and Ekron shall be uprooted.

Woe to you inhabitants of the seacoast,
    you nation of the Cherethites!
The word of the Lord is against you,
    O Canaan, land of the Philistines;
    and I will destroy you until no inhabitant is left.
And you, O seacoast, shall be pastures,
    with meadows for shepherds
    and folds for flocks.
The seacoast shall become the possession
    of the remnant of the house of Judah,
    on which they shall graze,
and in the houses of Ashkelon
    they shall lie down at evening.
For the Lord their God will be mindful of them
    and restore their fortunes.

“I have heard the taunts of Moab
    and the revilings of the Ammonites,
how they have taunted my people
    and made boasts against their territory.
Therefore, as I live,” declares the Lord of hosts,
    the God of Israel,
“Moab shall become like Sodom,
    and the Ammonites like Gomorrah,
a land possessed by nettles and salt pits,
    and a waste forever.
The remnant of my people shall plunder them,
    and the survivors of my nation shall possess them.”
10 This shall be their lot in return for their pride,
    because they taunted and boasted
    against the people of the Lord of hosts.
11 The Lord will be awesome against them;
    for he will famish all the gods of the earth,
and to him shall bow down,
    each in its place,
    all the lands of the nations.

12 You also, O Cushites,
    shall be slain by my sword.

13 And he will stretch out his hand against the north
    and destroy Assyria,
and he will make Nineveh a desolation,
    a dry waste like the desert.
14 Herds shall lie down in her midst,
    all kinds of beasts;
even the owl and the hedgehog
    shall lodge in her capitals;
a voice shall hoot in the window;
    devastation will be on the threshold;
    for her cedar work will be laid bare.
15 This is the exultant city
    that lived securely,
that said in her heart,
    “I am, and there is no one else.”
What a desolation she has become,
    a lair for wild beasts!
Everyone who passes by her
    hisses and shakes his fist.

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Zephaniah 1 – English Standard Version

The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

“I will utterly sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
“I will sweep away man and beast;
    I will sweep away the birds of the heavens
    and the fish of the sea,
and the rubble with the wicked.
    I will cut off mankind
    from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
    and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal
    and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests,
those who bow down on the roofs
    to the host of the heavens,
those who bow down and swear to the Lord
    and yet swear by Milcom,
those who have turned back from following the Lord,
    who do not seek the Lord or inquire of him.”

Be silent before the Lord God!
    For the day of the Lord is near;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice
    and consecrated his guests.
And on the day of the Lord’s sacrifice—
“I will punish the officials and the king’s sons
    and all who array themselves in foreign attire.
On that day I will punish
    everyone who leaps over the threshold,
and those who fill their master’s house
    with violence and fraud.

10 “On that day,” declares the Lord,
    “a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate,
a wail from the Second Quarter,
    a loud crash from the hills.
11 Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar!
    For all the traders are no more;
    all who weigh out silver are cut off.
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
    and I will punish the men
who are complacent,
    those who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good,
    nor will he do ill.’
13 Their goods shall be plundered,
    and their houses laid waste.
Though they build houses,
    they shall not inhabit them;
though they plant vineyards,
    they shall not drink wine from them.”

14 The great day of the Lord is near,
    near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the mighty man cries aloud there.
15 A day of wrath is that day,
    a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
16     a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
    and against the lofty battlements.

17 I will bring distress on mankind,
    so that they shall walk like the blind,
    because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
    and their flesh like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
    shall be able to deliver them
    on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
    all the earth shall be consumed;
for a full and sudden end
    he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

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Zephaniah 3 – The Voice

Disaster is coming to the city of rebels,
    to Jerusalem, the now defiled city of oppression.
That city refused to listen to anyone.
    She would not take advice.
She didn’t believe in the Eternal One anymore.
    She didn’t want a close relationship with her God.
Her rulers remind me of roaring lions,
    out for the kill instead of protecting her people.
Her judges are a pack of wolves on the prowl at night,
Consuming what they are after
    until not one bone is left to chew on the next morning.
Her prophets, whom the people should look to for the truth,
    are irresponsible and double-crossing, deceitful men.
Her priests make vile holy places and do violence to God’s teaching.

God entrusts prophets and priests to care for His people. Instead of teaching the people God’s truth, they ignore the law and prey on the ignorant and the defenseless.

Despite all this, the Eternal One is right there in her midst;
    nothing He does is wrong.
Every morning He delivers His judgment;
    He illuminates the right way to live.
Though, like the sun, He never fails to appear,
    it’s amazing that the lawbreakers aren’t ashamed of their actions.

Eternal One: I have totally destroyed the other nations.
        I crumbled their high towers to the ground.
    I emptied their streets, leaving no one to travel them.
        There is not one person, not one animal, no one in their decimated cities.
    I said to Myself, “Surely My people will honor Me.
        Surely they will listen to Me
    So they can save themselves and their city
        from all I warned them about and appointed for their benefit.”
    But no, they were even more eager to keep doing all the wrong things.

    To My remaining faithful, I say wait and watch for Me
        because on that day, the nations will be called into court.
    I will rise up against them as My plunder and declare My decision:
        I will call the nations and their rulers together
    And pour out My hot anger and frustration on them.
        All of it will be spent, for the whole earth will be burned up in My fiery jealousy.
    And then I will transform the words spoken by the nations to pure words,
        and the people will finally hear My truth.
    Then all the people will be able to pray to and serve the Eternal One,
        standing together as part of the same people.
    My followers, who had been scattered to faraway places as distant as Ethiopia’s rivers,
        will come back to worship Me with pure offerings.

    When that day comes, you won’t feel embarrassed and ashamed anymore
        over all the rebellious things you did in the past.
    As I said I would, I will remove the proud and arrogant among you.
        Arrogance and pride will never again be tolerated in My holy mountain.
    But I will leave afflicted and poor people among you
        who will trust the reputation of the Eternal One for strength and protection.
    The faithful of Israel who remain will not continue to sin.
        They won’t tell lies or try to trick each other ever again.
    They’ll eat well each day and sleep peacefully each night like protected sheep,
        because nothing will make them afraid.

Hurray! It’s time to sing, faithful daughter of Zion!
    It’s time to shout out loud, Israel!
Be happy and celebrate with all your being,
    faithful children of Jerusalem!
The Eternal has cancelled His judgments against you.
    He changed the course of your enemies.
The True King of Israel, the Eternal One, is standing right here among you;
    you have no reason to be afraid ever again.
On that day people will say to the faithful in Jerusalem,
    “Do not be afraid, Zion;
Hold your head and hands high,
    and take courage.”
The Eternal your God is standing right here among you,
    and He is the champion who will rescue you.
He will joyfully celebrate over you;
    He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.

This celebrated passage reflects the reconciliation between God and His wife, Jerusalem. The daughter Zion is reunited with her King and Husband, the Eternal!

Eternal One: Don’t be sad anymore
        about all the time you were away in exile,
    Unable to keep the appointed feasts or worship Me in the appointed place.
        I will gather those who’ve shamed you, Zion.
    Keep watching! At the right time,
        I will deal with those who assaulted you.
    I will steady those who are lame and about to fall;
        I will gather those who are outcasts and oppressed.
    Instead of being filled with shame as they always have been,
        I will fill them with praise and make them famous over all the world.
    On that day, I will gather all of you together for one big homecoming.
        I will make you famous, and all the world will sing your praises.
    Right before your eyes, I will restore to you all that you have lost,
        and your lives will be full again.

So says the Eternal One.

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Zephaniah 2 International Children’s Bible

Gather together,
    you unwanted people.
Do it before it’s too late.
    Do it before you are blown away like chaff.
Do it before the Lord’s terrible anger reaches you.
    Do it before the day of the Lord’s anger comes to you.
All you who are not proud, come to the Lord.
    You who obey his laws, come to him.
Do what is right. Learn to be humble.
    Maybe you will escape
    on the day the Lord shows his anger.

No one will be left in the city of Gaza.
    The city of Ashkelon will be destroyed.
Ashdod will be empty by noon.
    And the people of Ekron will be chased away.
How terrible it will be for you who live by the Mediterranean Sea,
    you Philistines!
This message from the Lord is for you,
    people of Canaan, land of the Philistines.

“I will destroy you.
    No one will be left.”
You live in the land by the Mediterranean Sea.
    It will be a place for shepherds and sheep.
Your land will belong to the descendants of Judah who are left alive.
    There they will let their sheep eat grass.
At night they will sleep
    in the houses of Ashkelon.
The Lord their God will come to be with them.
    He will give them back their riches.

“I heard the country of Moab insult my people.
    The country of Ammon threatened to take their land.”
So the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says,
    “As surely as I live,
Moab will be destroyed like Sodom.
    Ammon will be destroyed like Gomorrah.
Their land will be covered with weeds and salt.
    It will be destroyed forever.
Those of my people who are left alive will take whatever they want from them.
    Those who are left from my nation will take their land.”

This is what Moab and Ammon get for being proud.
    This will happen because they insulted and made fun of the people of the Lord of heaven’s armies.
Those people will be afraid of the Lord.
    He will destroy all the gods of the earth.
Then those people in faraway places
    will worship the Lord in their own countries.

“You Cushites also
    will be killed by my sword.”
Then the Lord will turn against the north
    and punish Assyria.
He will destroy Nineveh.
    It will be dry like a desert.
Sheep and goats will lie down there.
    Wild animals will live there.
The owls and crows will sit
    on the stone pillars that are left standing.
Their calls will be heard through the windows.
    Trash will be in the doorways.
    The wooden boards of the buildings will be gone.
This is the happy and safe city.
    It thinks there is no one else as strong as it is.
But that city will be destroyed.
    Only animals will stay there.
Those who pass by will make fun
    and shake their fists.

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Zephaniah 1 – New American Standard Bible

The word of the Lord which came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah:

“I will completely remove all things
From the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
“I will remove human and animal life;
I will remove the birds of the sky
And the fish of the sea,
And the ruins along with the wicked;
And I will eliminate mankind from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
“So I will stretch out My hand against Judah
And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
And I will eliminate the remnant of Baal from this place,
And the names of the idolatrous priests along with the other priests.
And those who bow down on the housetops to the heavenly lights,
And those who bow down and swear to the Lord, but also swear by Milcom,
And those who have turned back from following the Lord,
And those who have not sought the Lord nor inquired of Him.”

Be silent before the Lord God!
For the day of the Lord is near,
Because the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,
He has consecrated His guests.
“Then it will come about on the day of the Lord’s sacrifice
That I will punish the princes, the king’s sons,
And all who clothe themselves with foreign garments.
And on that day I will punish all who leap on the temple threshold,
Who fill the house of their lord with violence and deceit.
And on that day,” declares the Lord,
“There will be the sound of a cry from the Fish Gate,
Wailing from the Second Quarter,
And a loud crash from the hills.
Wail, you inhabitants of the Mortar,
Because all the people of Canaan will be destroyed;
All who weigh out silver will be eliminated.
And it will come about at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
And I will punish the people
Who are stagnant in spirit,
Who say in their hearts,
‘The Lord will not do good nor harm!’
Their wealth will become plunder,
And their houses desolate;
Yes, they will build houses but not inhabit them,
And plant vineyards but not drink their wine.”

The great day of the Lord is near,
Near and coming very quickly;
Listen, the day of the Lord!
In it the warrior cries out bitterly.
That day is a day of anger,
A day of trouble and distress,
A day of destruction and desolation,
A day of darkness and gloom,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
A day of trumpet and battle cry
Against the fortified cities
And the high corner towers.
I will bring distress on mankind
So that they will walk like those who are blind,
Because they have sinned against the Lord;
And their blood will be poured out like dust,
And their flesh like dung.
Neither their silver nor their gold
Will be able to save them
On the day of the Lord’s anger;
And all the earth will be devoured
By the fire of His jealousy,
For He will make a complete end,
Indeed a horrifying one,
Of all the inhabitants of the earth.

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