Book summary

Zephaniah was the great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah of the Kingdom of Judah. He preached in Judah in the 7th century BC, during the reign of King Josiah. It’s likely he ministered before Josiah’s spiritual reforms, as his message is a stern warning of the coming judgment on “the day of the Lord” for their sins and wickedness. Most of the book talks about judgment, but it finishes with a few verses on salvation.

Chapters 1-3:8 — Judgment

Ch 1:2-3 — Warning of coming destruction

“I will sweep away everything
from the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord. (Zeph. 1:2)

Ch 1:4 to 2:3 — Judgment against Judah

Ch 1:4-13 — Against Judah
“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,
the very names of the idolatrous priests…” (Zeph. 1:4)
Ch 1:14-18 — The great day of the Lord
I will bring such distress on all people
that they will grope about like those who are blind,
because they have sinned against the Lord.
Their blood will be poured out like dust
and their entrails like dung. (Zeph. 1:17)
Ch 2:1-3 — Call for repentance
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
perhaps you will be sheltered
on the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zeph. 2:3)

Ch 2:4-15 — Judgment against other nations

  • Ch 2:4-7 — Philistia

  • Ch 2:8-11 — Moab and Ammon

  • Ch 2:12 — Cush

  • Ch 2:13-15 — Assyria

Ch 3:1-8 — Judgment against Jerusalem

Woe to the city of oppressors,
rebellious and defiled!
She obeys no one,
she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
she does not draw near to her God. (Zeph. 3:1-2)

Chapters 3:9-20 — Salvation

v9-13 — Jerusalem purified
“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
and serve him shoulder to shoulder.” (Zeph. 3:9)
v14-17 — Song of joy
Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
Daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy. (Zeph. 3:14-15)
v18-20 — Restoration
“At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,”
says the Lord. (Zeph. 3:20)