Introduction of Zephaniah

By James M. Rochford

Zephaniah’s name means “Yahweh has hidden him.” This book is dated to the reign of Josiah (640-622 BC). He probably worked with the young Josiah during his ministry, and he is a possible descendent of the King Hezekiah.

He was writing specifically to Judah and Jerusalem before its destruction (1:4), urging them to repent. He is claiming that Judah has become God’s enemy! He urges them to repent, and also predicts a time of hope for the faithful remnant (3:9-20).

Zephaniah 1

God promises to judge the entire Earth (v.3). The “day of the Lord” will be a day of judgment. The “whole Earth” will be judged (v.18).

Zephaniah 2

Zephaniah urges people to repent before this happens (vv.2-3). God promises to judge the nations (v.5). They thought that they were divine—similar to God’s own claim (v.15).

Zephaniah 3

Only the people of faith will be spared (v.12). God will forgive them (v.15). God will rejoice over the people (v.17).