Zephaniah was of royal blood, his ancestry given as tracing back to King Hezekiah. He prophesied during the reign of King
Josiah of Judah, contemporary with the early years of Jeremiah’s ministry.
Judgement is near
Through Zephaniah, God declares the utter consumption of sinful Judah. Sins particularly mentioned are idolatry, violence
and fraud. There will be a great noise of crying and howling, especially in Jerusalem, where there are men content with
their lifestyle and indifferent to God’s providence and judgement. This coming judgement is not far off, and is inevitable
Judgement on the nations
The Jews are exhorted to repentance before judgement is pronounced on the surrounding nations: to the west, Philistia; to
the east, Moab and Ammon; to the south, Cush (Ethiopia); to the north, Assyria.
Jerusalem is reproved for her persistence in sinning, despite all the warnings and corrections from God. Judgement will
follow, but then so will redemption. All nations will be purified, the scattered remnant of Israel restored and God’s people
will be held in high esteem.