Lectionary Calendar
Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Zephaniah 1

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-18


Sins of Jerusalem (1:1-18)

The prophet opens with a general statement about judgment that probably comes as no surprise to the people of Jerusalem. He announces that God will destroy sin from the earth (1:1-3). What surprises the hearers is Zephaniah’s assertion that God will destroy them, for they too are sinners (4a). Anti-God practices established by Manasseh still exist, such as the worship of Baal, the worship of the stars and the worship of Milcom (Molech). These practices will be dramatically removed, together with those who engage in them (4b-6; cf. 2 Kings 21:3-6).

As an offerer kills his sacrificial animal and invites his guests to eat it, so God will slaughter the people of Judah and allow them to be swallowed up by the Babylonian armies (7). During the reigns of Manasseh and Amon, foreign religious customs, violence and cheating were widespread. Particularly blameworthy were members of the royal family, along with government officials and others who through corruption had won favour with the royal household. All will be punished (8-9).
When God searches through Jerusalem he will catch and punish the dishonest merchants. Cries will be heard from various parts of the city - the Fish Gate, the Second Quarter (the newer part of the city), the hills, and the Mortar (the market area in the lower part of the city). God will deal with the merchants who have made themselves rich by ignoring him and cheating others (10-13).
It will seem that the day of the world’s final great judgment has come. People in places of power will suddenly find themselves powerless against God’s judgments. Walled cities and other defence installations will give no protection (14-16). The former leaders and other influential persons will find that they are as helpless and defenceless as the blind and the poor whom they have exploited (17-18).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Zephaniah 1". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/zephaniah-1.html. 2005.
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