Book of Zephaniah in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
I. The Author.
The name "Zephaniah" (tsephanyah; Sophonias), which is borne
by three other men mentioned in the Old Testament, means
"Yah hides," or "Yah has hidden" or "treasured." "It
suggests," says G. A. Smith, "the prophet's birth in the
killing time of Manasseh" (2 Ki 21:16).
The ancestry of the prophet is carried back four generations
(Zeph 1:1), which is unusual in the Old Testament (compare
Isa 1:1; Hos 1:1); hence, it is thought, not without reason
(Eiselen, Minor Prophets, 505), that the last-mentioned
ancestor, Hezekiah, must have been a prominent man--indeed,
no other than King Hezekiah of Judah, the contemporary of
Isaiah and Micah. If Zephaniah was of royal blood, his
condemnation of the royal princes (1:8) becomes of great
interest. In a similar manner did Isaiah, who in all
probability was of royal blood, condemn without hesitation
the shortcomings and vices of the rulers and the court. An
ancient tradition declares that Zephaniah was of the tribe
of Simeon, which would make it impossible for him to be of
royal blood; but the origin and value of this tradition are
Zephaniah lived in Judah; that he lived in Jerusalem is made
probable by the statement in 1:4, "I will cut off .... from
this place," as well as by his intimate knowledge of the
topography of the city (1:10,11).
For how long he continued his prophetic activity we do not
know, but it is not improbable that, as in the case of Amos,
his public activity was short, and that, after delivering
his message of judgment in connection with a great political
crisis, he retired to private life, though his interest in
reforms may have continued (2 Ki 23:2)...
Book of Zephaniah in Wikipedia
The superscription of the Book of Zephaniah attributes its
authorship to "Zephaniah son of Cushi son of Gedaliah son of
Amariah son of Hezekiah, in the days of King Josiah son of
Amon of Judah" (1:1, NRSV). All that is known of Zephaniah
comes from the text. The superscription of the book is
lengthier than most and contains two features. The name Cushi,
Zephaniah’s father, means ‘Ethiopian’. In a society where
genealogy was considered extremely important because of God's
covenant with Abraham and his descendants, the author may have
felt compelled to establish his Hebrew lineage. In fact, this
lineage is traced back to Hezekiah, who was king of Judah. The
author of Zephaniah does not shrink from condemning the
Cushites or Ethiopians. Chapter 2:12 contains a succinct but
unequivocal message: "You also, O Ethiopians, / Shall be
killed by my sword." Zephaniah’s family connection with King
Hezekiah may have also legitimized his harsh indictment of the
royal city in 3:1-7...
Chart of the Prophets of Israel and Judah
God raised up certain "prophets" who were His mouthpieces.
They would speak out against their sin and idolatry and would
continually warn of God's judgment. Some of the prophets spoke
out in the North and some in the South, but God was faithfully
warning them of certain catastrophe if they would not turn to
The Book of Zephaniah in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
The bulk of the book forms the introduction to the grand
closing consummation under Messiah (Zephaniah 1:2 to 3:8;
I. Threat of judgments (Zephaniah 1:2-7). On whom
they shall fall (Zephaniah 1:8-11). Nearness and awfulness
of the day of the Lord, and impossibility of escape
(Zephaniah 1:12-18). Call to the apostate nation to
repentance, and to the meek and righteous to exercise those
graces which may avert the day of wrath (Zephaniah 2:1-3).
Motive to it: God's coming judgments on Israel's foes, the
Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites (the land of which three
nations the remnant of Jehovah's people shall possess),
Ethiopians, and Nineveh, which shall be a desolation;
"He will famish all the gods of the earth (by
destroying the nations worshipping them), and men shall
worship Him" each in his own house (Zephaniah 2:4-15). The
call being slighted and even Jerusalem being unreformed of
her filthiness by the judgments on surrounding nations, the
just God is constrained to chastise her (Zephaniah 3:1-7).
In all this the Chaldaeans' name, the executioners of God's
vengeance on Judah, is not mentioned as in Jeremiah, for the
latter being nearer the fulfillment prophesies more
II. After her chastisement Jehovah invites the pious
remnant of the Jews to wait upon Him, as He is about to
interpose for Judah and Jerusalem against the nations
gathered against her (Zechariah 12-14). "The remnant of
Israel shall no longer do iniquity. The Lord her God shall
rejoice over her with joy, and make her a praise among all
people," who in consequence shall "all call upon Him and
serve Him with one consent" (Zephaniah 3:8-20). The style is
graphic and vivid, and the language pure and free from
Zephaniah 2:14 corresponds to Isaiah 34:11;
Zephaniah 2:15 corresponds to Isaiah 47:8; Zephaniah 3:10
corresponds to Isaiah 18:1; Zephaniah 2:8 corresponds to
Isaiah 16:6; Zephaniah 1:5 corresponds to Jeremiah 8:2;
Zephaniah 1:12 corresponds to Jeremiah 48:11. Romans 15:6
apparently refers to Zephaniah 3:9.
Zephaniah in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Jehovah has concealed, or Jehovah of darkness. (1.) The son
Cushi, and great-grandson of Hezekiah, and the ninth
order of the minor prophets. He prophesied in the
Josiah, king of Judah (B.C. 641-610), and was
Jeremiah, with whom he had much in common. The book
prophecies consists of:
(a) An introduction (1:1-6), announcing the judgment
world, and the judgment upon Israel, because of
(b) The description of the judgment (1:7-18).
(c) An exhortation to seek God while there is still
(d) The announcement of judgment on the heathen
(e) The hopeless misery of Jerusalem (3:1-7).
(f) The promise of salvation (3:8-20).
(2.) The son of Maaseiah, the "second priest" in the
Zedekiah, often mentioned in Jeremiah as having been
the king to inquire (Jer. 21:1) regarding the coming
he had denounced, and to entreat the prophet's
the judgment threatened might be averted (Jer.
29:25, 26, 29;
37:3; 52:24). He, along with some other captive
Jews, was put to
death by the king of Babylon "at Riblah in the land
(2 Kings 25:21).
(3.) A Kohathite ancestor of the prophet Samuel (1
(4.) The father of Josiah, the priest who dwelt in
when Darius issued the decree that the temple should
Zephaniah in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
("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.
Zephaniah in Smiths Bible Dictionary
(hidden by Jehovah).
1. The ninth in order of the twelve minor prophets.
His pedigree is traced to his fourth ancestor, Hezekiah, Zep
1:1 supposed to be the celebrated king of that name. The
chief characteristics of this book are the unity and harmony
of the composition, the grace, energy and dignity of its
style, and the rapid and effective alternations of threats
and promises. The general tone of the last portion is
Messianic, but without any specific reference to the person
of our Lord. The date of the book is given in the
inscription--viz, the reign of Josiah, from 642 to 611 B.C.
It is most probable moreover, that the prophecy was
delivered before the eighteenth year of Josiah.
2. The son of Maaseiah, Jer 21:1 and sagan or second
priest in the reign of Zedekiah. (B.C. 588.) He succeeded
Jehoida, Jer 29:25,26 and was probably a ruler of the
temple, whose office it was, among others, to punish
pretenders to the gift of prophecy. Jer 29:29 On the capture
of Jerusalem he was taken and slain at Riblah. Jer 52:24,27;
3. Father of Josiah, 2, Zec 6:10 and of Hen,
according to the reading of the received text of Zec 6:14
Zephaniah in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
zef-a-ni'-a (tsephanyah, tsephanyahu, "Yah hath treasured"):
(1) The prophet.
See ZEPHANIAH, BOOK OF.
(2) A Levite or priest (1 Ch 6:36 (Hebrew 6:21)), called in
some genealogies "Uriel" (1 Ch 6:24; 15:5,11).
(3) Judean father or fathers of various contemporaries of
Zechariah, the prophet (Zec 6:10,14).
(4) A priest, the second in rank in the days of Jeremiah. He
was a leader of the "patriotic" party which opposed Jeremiah.
Nevertheless, he was sent to the prophet as a messenger of
King Zedekiah when Nebuchadnezzar was about to attack the city
(Jer 21:1) and at other crises (Jer 37:3; compare 29:25,29; 2
Ki 25:18). That he continued to adhere to the policy of
resistance against Babylonian authority is indicated by the
fact that he was among the leaders of Israel taken by
Nebuzaradan before the king of Babylon, and killed at Riblah
(2 Ki 25:18 parallel Jer 52:24).