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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Zephaniah

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1.1 : Superscription.

For similar introductions, see Hos 1.1; Joel 1.1; Mic 1.1; Hag 1.1; Zech 1.1 . Cushi means “Cushite”; “Cush” may refer to Ethiopia (2 Kings 19.9 ), to Midian (Hab 3.7 ), or to a region in Mesopotamia (Gen 2.13; 10.8–12 ). Days of King Josiah, ca. 640–609 BCE (2 Kings 22.1–23.30 ).

1.2–6 : The threat of universal destruction.

2–3 :

The scope of the destruction and the echoes of Genesis (cf. 1.2 with Gen 7.23 ; the sequence humans, animals, birds, fish reverses the order of Gen 1.20–26 ) suggest the undoing of creation (cf. Jer 4.23–26 ).

4 :

Baal, a Canaanite deity.

5 :

Bow down on the roofs, 2 Kings 23.12; Jer 19.13; 32.29 . Host of the heavens, astral deities; Deut 4.19; 2 Kings 21.3; Jer 8.2 . Milcom, chief deity of Ammon.

1.7–13 : The Day of the LORD as a sacrifice.

7 :

Be silent, cf. Hab 2.20 . A sacrifice, i.e., a slaughter of evildoers.

9 :

Leap over the threshold, a Philistine rite (1 Sam 5.5 ).

10 :

Fish Gate (Neh 3.1–6; 12.39 ), Second Quarter (2 Kings 22.14 ), and “the Mortar” are locales in Jerusalem.

11 :

Traders, lit. “people of Canaan.”

12 :

Who rest complacently on their dregs, the Hebrew may mean “who become dull from (drinking) the wine that they have stored” (cf. Isa 25.6 ).

13 :

A futility curse, i.e., one in which the connection between actions and their ordinary results is broken (cf. Deut 28.30–31 ).

1.14–23 : The Day of the LORD as divine warfare.

Zephaniah elaborates the preaching of Amos (Am 5.18–20; 8.9–14 ) that the day of the LORD will be dreadful for Israel as well as the nations. For similar descriptions, see Isa 13.9–13 and Joel 2.1–2 .

18 :

End, cf. Ezek 7.2–7 .

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