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Zephaniah: Chapter 3

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1

Ah, soiled, defiled, oppressing city! 2 It has listened to no voice; it has accepted no correction. It has not trusted in the LORD; it has not drawn near to its God.

3

The officials within it are roaring lions; its judges are evening wolves that leave nothing until the morning. 4 Its prophets are reckless, faithless persons; its priests have profaned what is sacred, they have done violence to the law. 5 The LORD within it is righteous; he does no wrong. Every morning he renders his judgment, each dawn without fail; but the unjust knows no shame.

6

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 people, without inhabitants. 7 I said, “Surely the city a Cn Compare Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain will fear me, it will accept correction; it will not lose sight b Heb my heights of all that I have brought upon it.” But they were the more eager to make all their deeds corrupt.

8

Therefore wait for me, says the LORD, for the day when I arise as a witness. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all the heat of my anger; for in the fire of my passion all the earth shall be consumed. 9 At that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia c Heb my stringed my suppliants, my scattered ones, shall bring my offering.

11

On that day you shall not be put to shame because of all 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 For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD— 13 the remnant of Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths. Then they will pasture and lie down, and no one shall make them afraid.

14

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. 17 The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you a Cn: Heb sea, and those who cause the wicked to stumble in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing 18 as on a day of festival. b Compare Gk: Heb the idolatrous priests with the priests I will remove disaster from you, c Gk Mss Syr Vg: Heb Malcam (or, their king) so that you will not bear reproach for it. 19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. 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 home, at the time when I gather you; 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.

Notes:

k Cn Compare Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain

a Heb my heights

b Heb my stringed

a Cn: Heb sea, and those who cause the wicked to stumble

a Compare Gk: Heb the idolatrous priests with the priests

b Gk Mss Syr Vg: Heb Malcam (or, their king)

Text Commentary view alone

3.1–8 : Against Jerusalem.

As in Am 1–2 , a sequence of judgment speeches against the nations ends at home.

1–2 :

Cf. Isa 1.21–23 .

3–5 :

Cf. Ezek 22.25–28; Mic 3.1–12 .

5 :

Every morning, Hos 6.3; Lam 3.22–23 .

6 :

For other descriptions of ghost towns, see Isa 5.9; 6.11; Jer 9.11; 33.10; 46.19 .

3.9–20 : Oracles of salvation.

9–10 :

The pure speech removes the curse of Babel (Gen 11.9 ). For the theme of a universal pilgrimage, see, e.g., Ps 68.31 (with Ethiopia); Isa 2.2–4; 60.5–6,11; Mic 4.1–4 .

11 :

You shall not be put to shame, Isa 45.17 . My holy mountain, Mt. Zion, site of the Temple.

14–18 :

A song celebrating God's vindication of Israel (cf. Ps 47; 95; 97 ).

14 :

Zech 9.9 .

15 :

The LORD has taken away the judgments against you, Isa 40.1–2 . In your midst, Isa 12.6 .

16 :

Isa 41.10,13; 43.1,5 .

17–18 :

Isa 9.3–4 .

17 :

A warrior, Ex 15.3 . He will rejoice, Isa 62.5 .

18 :

I will remove disaster from you, contrast with the beginning of the book, 1.2–3 .

19–20 :

Perhaps a late addition to the words of Zechariah. The major elements of postexilic eschatology are found here: destruction of the enemy (Ob 15–16; Mic 5.9; Zech 12.9 ), ingathering of the exiles (Isa 56.8; Mic 4.6–7; Zech 10.8–12 ), and return to Judah (Isa 62.10; Zech 8.7–8 ).

20 :

Make you renowned, Isa 62.7 .

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