We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

A Day of Judgment for Judah

A Day of Judgment for Judah

The first oracle on the Day of the Lord is directed against Judah. The main offenses, which he denounces, are idolatry and lack of faith in the Lord ( 1, 12 ). In the context of Josiah's time, rejection of the Lord was rejection of the Deuteronomic law. The emphasis of Zephaniah is not on the sins of Judah but on the destructiveness of the Day of the Lord. It is portrayed in cosmic terms: God will make an end of all who live on earth. The day of judgment is seen as the vindication of the majesty of God against the unworthiness of the people. Compare the destructive effect of the holiness of God in Isaiah 6 .

A Day of Judgment on the Nations

The wrath of the Lord is not only directed against Judah. Chapter 2 catalogues the surrounding peoples, most of whom have been guilty of offending Judah in some way. The list extends to Assyria, the most arrogant of all. The boast of Nineveh (“There is no other than I”) is the same as that of Babylon in Isaiah 47, 10 . The most fundamental human sin is self‐divinization. This was already the temptation of Adam and Eve, and it is a charge often made by the prophets (see, for example, Is 14 and Dn 4 ). Zephaniah's prophecies of the Day of the Lord dramatize the gulf between God and humanity and are basically a put‐down of all human pride.

Reproach and Promise for Jerusalem

The final chapter does not use the catchword “Day of the Lord” but deals with related themes. The phrase “on that day” ( 3, 11 ) refers to the Day of the Lord and is often used to introduce additions to the prophetic books in the postexilic period.

In the opening oracle of the chapter ( 3, 1–8 ), Jerusalem is denounced as the tyrannical city that accepts no correction. The reference may be to the failure of the Deuteronomic reform or simply to the rejection of the prophet himself. The concluding oracle, however ( 3, 11–20 ), prophesies restoration for Jerusalem, when God “will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly.” The motif of the remnant is familiar from the preaching of Isaiah, a century before Zephaniah, and there is no doubt that Isaiah had considerable influence on the later prophet. It is possible, then, that Zephaniah uttered this oracle, but it is more likely that here we have another example of an optimistic oracle added on to the end of a prophetic book by an editor.

While the concluding oracle may not have come from Zephaniah, it has its own validity. The judgments of the Assyrian and Babylonian eras were not God's last word to Israel. Even after the destructive Day of the Lord, hope was still possible.

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2018. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice