Zephaniah

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Zephaniah A. Judgment upon all nations, especially upon Judah: 1. The word of the Lord came to the prophet 2. The whole world to be punished for ignoring the moral law of the universe. 3. The judgement will fall especially upon Jerusalem and Judah 4. The judgment is described 5. The day of judgment is near and its devastation will be great B. A plea for repentance: 1. All the people of earth are to consider their ways 2. Punishment on many nations, beginning with the Philistines 3. Moab and Ammon also to be punished 4. Jehovah will demonstrate once again his power over idols 5. Ethiopians and Assyrians to be destroyed 6. If God punishes heathens for their immorality, his covenant people will surely not escape 7. God's righteous judgments on heathen nations should cause Judah to reconsider and repent C. Promise of future blessings for Israel and the whole world 1. Israel to be restored 2. Israel to be purified 3. Israel to be comforted and blessed Zephaniah the prophet, the opening verse of the book Zephaniah is given a genealogy stretching back four generations. Starting with the son of Cushi. Cushi could be a personal name, but also means Ethiopian . This raises the question as to whether an editor thought that someone who may have come from foreign, perhaps immigrant stock needed a longer pedigree to justify his true Jewishness. Zephaniah is also the great-grandson of Hezekiah; giving rise to speculation as to whether this was King Hezekiah. So Zephaniah and Josiah, king of Judah could have been contemporaries. Zephaniah prophesized during the time of Josiah, sometime between 640-609 B.C.E.. Zephaniah has received minimal critical attention. Even those who write about Zephaniah have little regard for its uniqueness. Note the words of Frank Eakin, who says 'Thus we recognize that there was little that was new in the message of Zephaniah. Primarily he built upon the prophetic mentality developed before his time' . Zephaniah opens his prophecy with an announcement of doom. It begins with broad panorama ( all living beings ) then moves to a much narrow focus ( Judah and Jerusalem ) to those who engage in idolatry and syncretistic religious practices Zephaniah speaks specifically of three types of idolatrous worship which have three loci: Baal worship, conducted in the temple; astral worship, practiced on the rooftops; and the ritual dedicated to the Molekh, performed in the valley of Ben Hinnom.
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