1 This is the word that the Lord spoke to Zephaniah, who was the son of Cushi, the grandson of Gedaliah, and the great-grandson of Amariah, son of Hezekiah. The Lord spoke his word in the days of Judah’s King Josiah, son of Amon.
The Lord Will Judge the Earth
2 “I will gather everything on the face of the earth
and put an end to it,” declares the Lord.
3 “I will put an end to humans and animals.
I will put an end to
the birds in the sky,
the fish in the sea,
and the sins that make people fall, together with the sinners.
I will remove all people from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord.
The Lord Will Judge Judah
4 “I will use my power against Judah
and against those who live in Jerusalem.
I will remove the faithful few of Baal from this place
and the names of the pagan priests along with my priests.
5 I will remove those who worship all the stars in the sky on their rooftops
and those who worship by swearing loyalty to the Lord
while also swearing loyalty to the god Milcom.[a]
6 I will remove those who have turned away from following the Lord
and those who no longer seek the Lord or ask him for help.”
7 Be silent in the presence of the Almighty Lord,
because the day of the Lord is near.
The Lord has prepared a sacrifice.
He has invited his special guests.
8 “On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice I will punish the officials,
the king’s sons, and all who dress in foreign clothing.[b]
9 On that day I will punish all who jump over the doorway
and all who fill their master’s house with violence and deception.
10 On that day a loud cry will come from Fish Gate,
a howling from the Second Part of the city,
and a loud crashing sound from the hills,” declares the Lord.
11 “Howl, inhabitants of the Mortar,[c]
because all the merchants will be destroyed
and all who handle money will be killed.
12 “At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those
who are satisfied with their hardened lifestyle,
who think that the Lord won’t do anything—good or bad.
13 Their wealth will be looted.
Their homes will be demolished.
They will build houses, but they won’t live in them.
They will plant vineyards, but they won’t drink their wine.”
The Day of the Lord
14 The frightening day of the Lord is near.
It is near and coming very quickly.
Listen! Warriors will cry out bitterly on the day of the Lord.
15 That day will be a day of overflowing fury,
a day of trouble and distress,
a day of devastation and desolation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and overcast skies,
16 a day of rams’ horns and battle cries
against the fortified cities
and against the high corner towers.
17 “I will bring such distress on humans that they will walk like they are blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord.”
Their blood will be poured out like dust
and their intestines like manure.
18 Their silver and their gold will not be able to rescue them
on the day of the Lord’s overflowing fury.
The whole earth will be consumed by his fiery anger,
because he will put an end, a frightening end,
to those who live on earth.
A Call for Judah to Turn Away from Sin
Gather yourselves together!
Yes, gather together, you shameless nation,
2 before the decree is carried out
and the day passes like windblown husks,
before the Lord’s burning anger comes to you,
before the day of the Lord’s anger comes to you.
3 Search for the Lord, all you humble people in the land
who carry out his justice.
Search for what is right.
Search for humility.
Maybe you will find shelter on the day of the Lord’s anger.
The Lord Will Judge His People’s Enemies
4 Gaza will be deserted,
and Ashkelon will be destroyed.
Ashdod will be driven out at noon,
and Ekron will be torn out by the roots.
5 How horrible it will be for those who live on the seacoast,
for the nation from Crete.
The Lord’s word is against you, Canaan, the land of the Philistines:
“I will destroy you so that no one will be living there.”
6 The seacoast will become pastureland
with meadows for shepherds
and fenced-off places for sheep.
7 The coast will belong to the faithful few from the nation of Judah.
There they will graze their sheep.
In the evening they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon.
The Lord their God will take care of them
and will restore their fortunes.
8 “I have heard the insults from Moab and the mockery from Ammon.
They insulted my people and bragged about their territory.
9 Therefore, I solemnly swear, as I live,”
declares the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel,
“Moab will become like Sodom, and Ammon will become like Gomorrah:
a place of weeds, salt pits, and ruins forever.
The faithful few of my people will loot them,
and those who are left in my nation will take possession of them.”
10 This is what they will get for their sinful pride,
because they insulted the people who belong to the Lord of Armies
and made themselves greater than them.
11 The Lord will terrify them,
because he will make all the gods of the earth waste away.
So every person from every coast and nation will bow to him.
12 “Even you, the people from Sudan,
you will also die by my sword.”
13 The Lord will use his power against the north and destroy Assyria.
He will turn Nineveh into a deserted ruin,
a dried up wasteland like the desert.
14 Flocks will lie down in it along with animals of every kind.
Even pelicans and herons will nest on top of its columns.
Listen! A bird will sing in a window.
The doorway will be in ruins,
because the Lord will expose the cedar beams.
15 Is this the arrogant city?
Is this the city that used to live securely,
the city that used to think to itself,
“I’m the only one, and no one else exists but me”?
What a wasteland it is now, a resting place for wild animals!
All who pass by it will hiss and make an obscene gesture.
Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed
How horrible it will be for that rebellious
and corrupt place, the city of violence.
2 It obeys no one.
It does not accept correction.
It does not trust the Lord.
It does not draw close to its God.
3 Its officials are like roaring lions.
Its judges are like wolves in the evening.
They leave nothing to gnaw on for the morning.
4 Its prophets are reckless and unfaithful.
Its priests contaminate what is holy.
They violate the teachings.
5 The righteous Lord is in that city.
He does no wrong.
He brings his judgment to light every morning.
He does not fail.
But those who are perverted are shameless.
6 “I will cut off the nations.
Their towers will be destroyed.
I will demolish their streets.
No one will walk through them.
Their cities will be completely destroyed.
Not a single person will be left.
No one will be living there.
7 I said to my people,
‘You will fear me.
You will accept correction!’
Then their homeland would not be wiped out
even though I have punished them.
Still, they continued to be corrupt in everything they did.”
8 The Lord declares, “Just wait!
One day I will stand up as a witness.
I have decided to gather nations,
to bring kingdoms together,
and to pour my rage, my burning anger, on them.
The whole land will be consumed by my fiery fury.
Israel Will Turn Away from Sin
9 “Then I will give all people pure lips
to worship the Lord
and to serve him with one purpose.
10 From beyond the rivers of Sudan
my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring my offering.
11 On that day you will no longer be ashamed
of all your rebellious acts against me.
Then I will remove your arrogance
and never again will you act proud on my holy mountain.
12 So with you I will leave a faithful few, a humble and poor people.
They will seek refuge in the name of the Lord.
13 The faithful few in Israel will not do wrong, tell lies,
or use their tongues to deceive others.
They will graze their sheep and lie down,
and there will be no one to terrify them.”
Israel’s Joyful Song
14 Sing happily, people of Zion!
Shout loudly, Israel!
Celebrate and rejoice with all your heart, people of Jerusalem.
15 The Lord has reversed the judgments against you.
He has forced out your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is with you.
You will never fear disaster again.
16 On that day Jerusalem will be told,
“Do not be afraid, Zion!
Do not lose courage!”
17 The Lord your God is with you.
He is a hero who saves you.
He happily rejoices over you,
renews you with his love,
and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.
Israel Will Return Home
18 “I will gather those among you who are troubled because of the festivals.
They bear a burden of disgrace.
19 At that time
I will deal with all who have overpowered you.
I will rescue those who are lame.
I will gather those who have been scattered.
I will make them praised and famous in all the world,
though they had been ashamed.
20 At that time I will bring you home.
Yes, at that time I will gather you together.
I will make you famous and praised among all the people of the earth
when I restore your fortunes right before your eyes,” says the Lord.
John Eats a Small Scroll
10 I saw another powerful angel come down from heaven. He was dressed in a cloud, and there was a rainbow over his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet were like columns of fire. 2 He held a small, opened scroll in his hand. He set his right foot on the sea and his left on the land. 3 Then he shouted in a loud voice as a lion roars. When he shouted, the seven thunders spoke with voices of their own. 4 When the seven thunders spoke, I was going to write it down. I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and don’t write it down.”
5 The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 He swore an oath by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and everything in it, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, “There will be no more delay. 7 In the days when the seventh angel is ready to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God will be completed, as he had made this Good News known to his servants, the prophets.” 8 The voice which I had heard from heaven spoke to me again. It said, “Take the opened scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 I went to the angel and asked him to give me the small scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will be bitter in your stomach, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”
10 I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, it was bitter in my stomach. 11 The seven thunders told me, “Again you must speak what God has revealed in front of many people, nations, languages, and kings.”
1 I will give thanks to you with all my heart.
I will make music to praise you in front of the false gods.
2 I will bow toward your holy temple.
I will give thanks to your name because of your mercy and truth.
You have made your name and your promise greater than everything.
3 When I called, you answered me.
You made me bold by strengthening my soul.[a]
4 All the kings of the earth will give thanks to you, O Lord,
because they have heard the promises you spoke.
5 They will sing this about the ways of the Lord:
“The Lord’s honor is great!”
6 Even though the Lord is high above, he sees humble people close up,
and he recognizes arrogant people from a distance.
7 Even though I walk into the middle of trouble,
you guard my life against the anger of my enemies.
You stretch out your hand,
and your right hand saves me.
8 The Lord will do everything for me.
O Lord, your mercy endures forever.
Do not let go of what your hands have made.
For the choir director; a psalm by David.
- Psalm 138:3 Hebrew meaning of this line uncertain.
Four Kinds of People
11 A certain kind of person curses his father
and does not bless his mother.
12 A certain kind of person thinks he is pure
but is not washed from his own feces.[a]
13 A certain kind of person looks around arrogantly
and is conceited.
14 A certain kind of person,
whose teeth are like swords
and whose jaws are like knives,
devours oppressed people from the earth
and people from among humanity.
- Proverbs 30:12 Blunt Hebrew term but not considered vulgar.