("Jehovah hath hidden") (Psalm 27:5; Psalm 83:3).
1. Ninth of the minor prophets; "in the days of Josiah," between 642 and 611 B.C. "Son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah." The specification of his father, grandfather, and great grandfather, implies he was sprung from men of note. The omission of the designation "king," or "king of Judah," is against the notion that the "Hizkiah" means king Hezekiah (compare Proverbs 25:1; Isaiah 38:9). He prophesied in the former part of Josiah's reign. In Zephaniah 2:13-15 he foretells Nineveh's fall (625 B.C.), therefore his prophesying was before 625 B.C.; and in Zephaniah 1:4-6 threatens "cutting off" to "the remnant of Baal" and "the name of the frontCHEMARIMS with the priests "; see Hosea 10:5 margin, "and them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops, and them that worship and that swear by the Lord, and that swear by Malcham."
Fulfilled by Josiah (2 Kings 23:4-5). Josiah's reformation was begun in the 12th year of his reign, and was completed in the 18th. Zephaniah in denouncing the different forms of idolatry paved the way for Josiah's work, and probably cooperated with the king from the 12th to the 18th year. Jewish tradition says that Zephaniah had as his colleagues Jeremiah, labouring in the thoroughfares and market places, and Huldah the prophetess in the college in Jerusalem. His position among the prophets, and his quotations from Joel, Amos, and Isaiah, indicate the correctness of the date assigned to him in Zephaniah 1:1.
In Zephaniah 1:8, "I will punish the king's children" must refer to coming judgments on the foreseen idolatries of the younger members of the royal family (Jeremiah 22:19; Jeremiah 39:6; 2 Kings 23:31-32-36-37; 2 Chronicles 36:5-6; 2 Kings 20:18). Not only the masses, but even princes, should not escape the penalty of idolatry. "The remnant of Baal" (Zephaniah 1:4) implies that Josiah's reformation was already begun but not completed.
2. "The second priest" or sagan, next to the high priest. Son of Maaseiah. Sent by Zedekiah to consult Jeremiah (Jeremiah 21:1). Succeeded to Jehoiada who was in exile. Appealed to by Shemaiah in a letter from Babylon to punish Jeremiah with imprisonment and the stocks for declaring the captivity would be long (Jeremiah 29:25-26; Jeremiah 29:29). Zephaniah read the letter to Jeremiah. This fact and Shemaiah's upbraiding Zephaniah for want of zeal against Jeremiah imply that Zephaniah was less prejudiced against Jeremiah than the others. This was the reason for the king's choosing him as messenger to the prophet (Jeremiah 37:3). Slain by Nebuchadnezzar as an accomplice in Zedekiah's rebellion (Jeremiah 52:24; Jeremiah 52:27). Jeremiah 52:3. Father of Hen or Josiah (Zechariah 6:14). Zechariah 6:4. Ancestor of Samuel and Heman; a Kohathite Levite (1 Chronicles 6:36), called Uriel 1 Chronicles 6:24.
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