Zephaniah 1
Contemporary English Version

1 I am Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, the grandson of Gedaliah, the great-grandson of Amariah, and the great-great-grandson of Hezekiah.+

When Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah,+ the Lord gave me this message.

Judgment on Judah

2I, the Lord, now promise

to destroy everything

on this earth—

3people and animals,

birds and fish.

Everyone who is evil

will crash to the ground,+

and I will wipe out

the entire human race.

4I will reach out to punish

Judah and Jerusalem—

nothing will remain

of the god Baal;+

nothing will be remembered

of his pagan priests.

5Not a trace will be found

of those who worship stars

from their rooftops,

or bow down to the god Milcom,+

while claiming loyalty

to me, the Lord.

6Nothing will remain of anyone

who has turned away

and rejected me.

7Be silent! I am the Lord God,

and the time is near.

I am preparing

to sacrifice my people

and to invite my guests.

8On that day I will punish

national leaders

and sons of the king,

along with all who follow

foreign customs.+

9I will punish worshipers

of pagan gods+

and cruel palace officials

who abuse their power.

10I, the Lord, promise

that on that day

noisy crying will be heard

from Fish Gate, New Town,

and Upper Hills.

11Everyone in Lower Hollow+

will mourn loudly,

because merchants

and money changers

will be wiped out.

12I'll search Jerusalem with lamps

and punish those people

who sit there unworried

while thinking,

“The Lord won't do anything,

good or bad.”

13Their possessions will be taken,

their homes left in ruins.

They won't get to live

in the houses they build,

or drink wine from the grapes

in their own vineyards.

A Terrible Day

14The great day of the Lord

is coming soon, very soon.

On that terrible day,

fearsome shouts of warriors

will be heard everywhere.

15It will be a time of anger—

of trouble and torment,

of disaster and destruction,

of darkness and despair,

of storm clouds and shadows,

16of trumpet calls

and battle cries

against fortified cities

and mighty fortresses.

17The Lord warns everyone

who has sinned against him,

“I'll strike you blind!

Then your blood and your insides

will gush out like vomit.

18Not even your silver or gold

can save you on that day

when I, the Lord, am angry.

My anger will flare up

like a furious fire

scorching the earth

and everyone on it.”


1.1 Hezekiah: Ruled 716–687 b.c.
1.1 Josiah … king of Judah: Ruled 640–609 b.c.
1.3 Everyone … ground: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
1.4 Baal: A Canaanite fertility god.
1.5 Milcom: An Ammonite fertility god.
1.8 follow foreign customs: Hebrew “wear foreign clothes.”
1.9 worshipers … gods: The Hebrew text has “all who jump over the threshold,” which was a Philistine religious practice (see 1 Samuel 5.5).
1.10,11 Fish Gate, New Town, and Upper Hills … Lower Hollow: Names for different sections of Jerusalem: Fish Gate was probably the main gate on the north side of the city; New Town was a newer section; Upper Hills may have been a suburb north of the city; Lower Hollow was probably on the southern edge of town.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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