Zephaniah ~ “Yahweh Hides/Protects”


Likely Zephaniah (see 1:1). From the short genealogical background of Zephaniah given in Zephaniah 1:1, we know that Zephaniah was a descendant of King Hezekiah. This likely means that he was born into a relatively high social class.

Date and Context

We know from Zephaniah 1:1 that Zephaniah's ministry took place during Josiah's reign (640 - 609 B.C.). Based on the reference to Nineveh as a city that "dwells securely" (Zephaniah 2:15), we can confidently say that Zephaniah's prophecy must have occurred before the fall of Nineveh 612 BC. In 627 B.C., the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal died, which severely weakened Assyria. It is possible that this prophecy occurred even before 627 while Assyria was still a very powerful nation.


  • The Purifying Nature of God's Judgement. In the book of Zephaniah, we see that God's judgements, past, present, and future, all play a purifying role in God's salvific plan. This is most clear in Zephaniah 3:8-13 where God implores his people to "wait" for the day when God will "pour out" His indignation on the nations while at the same time giving "to the peoples purified lips".


0. Introduction [1:1]

I. The Day of Yahweh [1:2-18]

II. A Plea for Repentance in Light of Extensive Judgement [2]

A. Plea for repentance [2:1-3]

B. The extent of judgement [2:4-15]

  1. Judgement on the Philistine cities (to the West of Judah) [2:4-7]

  2. Judgement on Moab and Ammon cities (to the East of Judah) [2:8-11]

  3. Judgement on Ethiopia and Assyria (to the South and North, respectively, of Judah) [2:12-15]

III. Woes on Jerusalem and the Hope for the Nations [3]

A. Woe to Jerusalem [3:1-7]

B. The extent of judgement [3:8-20]

  1. God's purifying judgement [3:8-13]

  2. The hope and joy of God's Reign [3:14-20]


  • God's warning about Nineveh in Zephaniah 2:13-15 would be carried out by the Babylonians and the Medes in 612 B.C., not too long after Zephaniah's ministry and possibly within Zephaniah's lifetime.
  • Both Zephaniah 2:3 and 3:12 play on Zephaniah's name as both verses refer to the idea of hiding or seeking refuge in God.
  • Zephaniah 3:8-20 is among the most wonderful of descriptions which detail God's salvation of His people. I especially love Zephaniah 3:17 which reads:

    "The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy."

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