zephaniah Summary and Overview
zephaniah in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Jehovah has concealed, or Jehovah of darkness. (1.) The son of Cushi, and great-grandson of Hezekiah, and the ninth in the order of the minor prophets. He prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah (B.C. 641-610), and was contemporary with Jeremiah, with whom he had much in common. The book of his prophecies consists of: (a) An introduction (1:1-6), announcing the judgment of the world, and the judgment upon Israel, because of their transgressions. (b) The description of the judgment (1:7-18). (c) An exhortation to seek God while there is still time (2:1-3). (d) The announcement of judgment on the heathen (2:4-15). (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 reign of Zedekiah, often mentioned in Jeremiah as having been sent from the king to inquire (Jer. 21:1) regarding the coming woes which he had denounced, and to entreat the prophet's intercession that 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 of Hamath" (2 Kings 25:21). (3.) A Kohathite ancestor of the prophet Samuel (1 Chr. 6:36). (4.) The father of Josiah, the priest who dwelt in Jerusalem when Darius issued the decree that the temple should be rebuilt (Zech. 6:10).
zephaniah in Smith's 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; 2Ki 25:18,21| 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 Schaff's Bible Dictionary
ZEPHANI'AH (Jehovah hides). 1. The ninth of the minor prophets, was the son of Cushi, and lived in the days of Josiah. His prophecy was uttered in the early part of the ministry of Jeremiah, between b.c. 020 and 609. It is mainly designed to excite the Jewish nation to repentance, in view of threatened judgments, and to comfort the people of God with promises of the final triumph of righteousness. The description of the judgment in Zeph 1:14-15, "The great day of Jehovah is near" (in the Latin version Dies irae, dies illa), has furnished the keynote to the sublimest hymn of the Middle Ages, the Dies Irae of Thomas a Celano (1250) - so often translated, but never equalled - which brings before us, with most thrilling effect, the final judgment as an awful impending reality. 2. A priest in the reign of Zedekiah. 2 Kgs 25:18-21; Jer 21:1; Jer 29:25-29; Job 37:3; Jer 52:24-27. 3. A Kohathite Levite. 1 Chr 6:36. 4. The father of Josiah. Zech 6:10.
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.