ZEPHANIAH (Jewish Encyclopedia)

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The contents of the book of this prophet fall into two parts: i. 1-iii. 8, the coming judgment on the world, including Israel and the nations; and iii. 9-20, a promise of universal salvation. Zephaniah's special denunciations are directed against false worship and irreligion. The calamity will find every one, even in the hiding-places of Jerusalem; Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Cush, and Assyria shall be overwhelmed by punishment and disaster; Jerusalem in particular, being rebellious, corrupt, and disobedient to the word of Yhwh, shall fall under the divine wrath. Yet, on the other hand, God's promise is made known to the nations, that He will so purify them that they may call on Him, and all shall bring Him offerings. After the storm of judgment Israel shall be humble, and shall trust in Yhwh alone. New social conditions shall arise, and justice and righteousness shall prevail, so that the redeemed shall rejoice in the Lord.

Zephaniah is a forceful book. Its language is vigorous and picturesque, and betrays an acquaintance with the Earlier Prophets. The ideas most emphasized are the providential control of the nations of the world, the necessity of purity and justice as opposed to the prevalent corruption and injustice of the day, and the refining value of judgment and suffering.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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