Books of Bible
The Written Prophecy of Zephaniah
By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
A. The man.
1. The only information we have about Zephaniah is in the
beginning of his book.
2. He was probably not the son of Hezekiah who reigned as
king of Judah at about this time.
a. The prophet was from a respected family, as is indicated by
the genealogy given in the opening verse of the book.
b. If Zephaniah's family had not been distinguished, the list of
ancestors would probably not have been given.
3. The name Zephaniah means either "The Lord hath hid," or
"The Lord's watchtower."
B. The Background.
1. Zephaniah prophesied during the days of Josiah, king of
2. The prophet must have delivered his message early in the
reign of Josiah and may have been part of the influence that
caused the king to institute reforms.
3. Zephaniah came just before Jeremiah and just after Isaiah.
II. The book.
A. Judgment upon all nations, especially upon Judah (1:1-18).
1. The word of the Lord came to the prophet (1:1).
2. The whole world to be punished for ignoring the moral law
of the universe (1:2-3).
3. The judgment will fall especially upon Jerusalem and Judah
a. The greater the privilege, the heavier the judgment (1:4).
b. Jerusalem and Judah guilty of Idolatry (1:4).
c. The Jews had also become star-gazers (1:5).
4. The judgment is described (1:7-13).
a. Princes, traders, and the immoral to be objects of God's
b. The destruction to be total (1:10-13).
5. The day of judgment is near and its devastation will be great
a. The time of accounting is at hand (1:14).
b. It will be a bitter day of wrath, distress , anguish,
darkness, and doom (1:15-17).
c. Wealth and power will not protect against an angry God
B. A plea for repentance (2:1 to 3:8).
1. All the people of earth are to consider their ways (2:1-3).
a. Seek Jehovah while there is time -- the hour comes
when it will be too late to seek him (2:2).
b. The meek and the righteous are urged to repair their way
before the Lord (2:3).
2. Punishment on many nations, beginning with the Philistines
3. Moab and Ammon also to be punished (2:8-10).
4. Jehovah will demonstrate once again his power over idols
5. Ethiopians and Assyrians to be destroyed (2:12-15).
6. If God punishes heathens for their immorality (idolatry), his
covenant people will surely not escape (3:1-5).
7. God's righteous judgments on heathen nations should cause
Judah to reconsider and repent (3:6-8).
C. Promise of future blessings for Israel and the whole world
1. Israel to be restored (3:9-10).
a. God seeks people of "pure language" to serve him (3:9).
b. The redeemed shall bring gifts to Jehovah (3:10).
2. Israel to be purified (3:11-13).
a. The proud shall be cast down (3:11); The meek and
humble shall remain (3:12).
b. The remnant of Israel will do no wrong and speak no
lies, but will have peace (3:13).
3. Israel to be comforted and blessed (3:14-20).
a. The joy of Jerusalem will be great for there is no joy like
the joy of salvation (3:14).
b. When God is in the midst of a people, fear and distress
c. If God is for us, who can be against us (3:17).
d. Israel and Judah to be restored and worship Jehovah in
purity and with joy (3:18-20).