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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 1

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1 THIS is the word of the LORD which came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, when Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah.

2I SHALL utterly destroy everything from the face of the earth, says the LORD. 3I shall destroy human beings and animals, the birds of the air and the fish in the sea. I shall bring the wicked to their knees a 1:3 I shall bring … knees: prob. rdg; Heb. the ruins with the wicked. and wipe out all people from the earth. This is the word of the LORD.

4I shall stretch my hand over Judah, over all who live in Jerusalem. I shall wipe out from that place the last remnant of Baal, every memory of the heathen priests b 1:4 heathen priests: so Gk; Heb. adds together with the (legitimate) priests. , 5those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven c 1:5 those … heaven: prob. rdg, cp. Gk; Heb. adds those who worship, who swear by the LORD. , those who swear by Milcom, 6who have turned their backs on the LORD, who have neither sought the LORD nor consulted him. 7Keep silent in the presence of the Lord GOD, for the day of the LORD is near. The LORD has prepared a sacrifice and set apart those he has invited.

8On the day of the LORD's sacrifice I shall punish the royal house and its chief officers and all who appear in foreign apparel. 9On that day I shall punish all who dance on the temple terrace d 1:9 who dance … terrace: or who leap over the threshold. , who fill their Lord's e Lord's: or master's. house with crimes of violence and fraud. 10On that day, says the LORD, a sound of crying will be heard from the Fish Gate, wailing from the Second Quarter of the city; there will be a loud crash from the hills. 11Those who live in the Lower Town f 1:11 Lower Town: lit. Quarry. will wail, for all the merchants are destroyed, and the dealers in silver are all wiped out.

12At that time I shall search Jerusalem by lantern-light and punish all who are ruined by complacency like wine left on its lees, who say to themselves, ‘The LORD will do nothing, neither good nor bad.’ 13Their wealth will be plundered, their houses laid in ruins; they will build houses but not live in them, they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine.

14The great day of the LORD is near, near and coming fast; no runner is so swift as that day, no warrior so fleet g 1:14 no runner … fleet: prob. rdg; Heb. hark, the day of the LORD is bitter; there the warrior cries aloud. . 15That day is a day of wrath, a day of anguish and torment, a day of destruction and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of cloud and dense fog, 16a day of trumpet-blasts and battle cries against the fortified cities and lofty bastions. 17I shall bring dire distress on the people; they will walk like the blind because of their sin against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their bowels like dung; 18neither their silver nor their gold will avail to save them. On the day of the LORD's wrath by the fire of his jealousy the whole land will be consumed; for he will make a sudden and terrible end of all who live in the land.

Notes:

a 1:3 I shall bring … knees: prob. rdg; Heb. the ruins with the wicked.

b 1:4 heathen priests: so Gk; Heb. adds together with the (legitimate) priests.

c 1:5 those … heaven: prob. rdg, cp. Gk; Heb. adds those who worship, who swear by the LORD.

d 1:9 who dance … terrace: or who leap over the threshold.

e Lord's: or master's.

f 1:11 Lower Town: lit. Quarry.

g 1:14 no runner … fleet: prob. rdg; Heb. hark, the day of the LORD is bitter; there the warrior cries aloud.

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