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