Survey of the Bible - Zephaniah
Text: Zephaniah 2:1-3
I. About the Book
A. Unlike many of the other minor prophets, Zephaniah is not hard to place in history.
B. He is a great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah, living and prophesying during the days of Josiah - Zephaniah 1:1
1. The destruction of Nineveh is still a future event - Zephaniah 2:13
2. That took place in the last few years of Josiah’s life.
3. Josiah worked hard to reform Judah, so the list of sins taking place in Israel seems to indicate a date early in Josiah’s reign, before the reforms were started.
C. His name means “Yahweh has hidden” - Zephaniah 2:3
D. He probably lived in Jerusalem because he refers to the city as “this place” - Zephaniah 1:4
E. He was a contemporary of Jeremiah, probably coming just before him, and taught in the same city - Jeremiah 1:1-2
A. For 55 years Josiah’s grandfather, Manasseh, had harshly ruled over Judah – a reign of evil and terror - II Kings 21:1-2, 6
1. So terrible were his murderous ways that it was said that the streets of the capital were awash with blood from one end to the other – II Kings 21:16
2. It took being conquered by an enemy nation to shake Manasseh and he returned to God at a late age - II Chronicles 33:10-13
B. When his grandfather died and his father rose to rule at the age of 22, the evil returned in even greater proportions - II Chronicles 33:21-23
1. In just two short years Amon was so hated and despised that his own servants plotted to murder him in the palace - II Chronicles 33:24
C. After over 50 years of wickedness conducted by cruel and evil kings, Josiah was crowned king at the age of 8 – II Chronicles 34:1
D. It was at the age of 20 that Josiah began his first reforms - II Chronicles 34:3-7
E. At the age of 26 he set about to restore the temple and teachings of God - II Chronicles 34:8
F. It is likely that Zephaniah’s prophesy was a contributing factor to the change.
A. Judgment - Zephaniah 1:1-3:7
1. God will eventually destroy the whole world - Zephaniah 1:2-3
a. We understand this - II Peter 3:3-12
b. Proof of God ability to bring judgment is then proven by some of the judgments He is going to bring about shortly
2. Judgment on Judah - Zephaniah 1:4-2:3
a. Who God will punish - Zephaniah 1:4-13
b. What the punishment will be like - Zephaniah 1:14-18
c. A call to repent - Zephaniah 2:1-3
3. Judgment on the nations around Judah - Zephaniah 2:4-15
a. Philistia - Zephaniah 2:4-7
b. Moab and Ammon - Zephaniah 2:8-11
c. Ethiopia - Zephaniah 2:12
d. Assyria - Zephaniah 2:13-15
4. Judgment on Jerusalem - Zephaniah 3:1-7
a. Jerusalem’s injustice - Zephaniah 3:1-4
b. God’s justice - Zephaniah 3:5
c. Seeing God’s judgment should have caused a change - Zephaniah 3:6-7
B. Salvation - Zephaniah 3:8-20
1. The nations will convert - Zephaniah 3:8-11
2. A remnant of Israel will convert - Zephaniah 3:12-13
3. A time of joy - Zephaniah 3:14-20
IV. Josiah tried to reform the people but his efforts weren’t enough
A. At best, he managed a delay - II Kings 23:25-27
B. He got people to do what was right - II Chronicles 34:33
C. But Jeremiah points out that it was only obedience on the surface - Jeremiah 3:10
D. God wanted to spare, but the people would not make a lasting change.
E. Punishment would take place, but it would cause change.