Josiah brought about the final spiritual revival for Judah when during the eighteenth year of his rule in 622 B. Chisholm, Jr., Interpreting the Minor Prophets, 215).
צְפַנְיָה), Judean prophet whose activity is dated to the reign of King Josiah (639–609). It has been suggested plausibly that "Cushi" refers to the prophet's ultimate African origin in the area conventionally rendered "Ethiopia," but actually corresponding to contemporary Sudan (Rice). The Book of Zephaniah is the ninth book of the Latter Prophets.
The book also contains the beautiful "Zion Hymn" (–17). The sin of the people, especially that of the leaders, is pictured in stark and graphic detail: they worship Baal and the host of heaven, they swear by their king (malkam; though a god rather than a human king may be referred to here), and turn away from following " (1:7). The warning and promise are supported by an oracle against the Philistines and other coastal people (2:4–7), whose destruction would mean salvation and pasturing for the remnant of Judah.
Chapter 1 begins with a prophecy of total destruction (asof, asef, cf. ) of all life and of the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem in particular. Chapter 2 begins as an oracle of woe against Jerusalem and Judah (2:1–3), which continues the motif of a judgment by fire and calls upon the faithful to actively strive for justice, righteousness, and humility. This oracle begins and ends with a double use of roots (הִתְקוֹשְׁשׁוּ וָקוֹשּׁוּ – whose meaning is unclear – verse 1, and וְשָׁב שְׁבוּתָם, verse 7; cf. It may be closely related to the material in chapter 1, providing at least a ray of hope for the faithful remnant.
However, Moab had long been known for its pride (cf. –30), an evil which was of special concern to Zephaniah (cf. The chapter concludes with a short statement against Cushites, perhaps referring to the Cushites in Egyptian military service, and a detailed and vivid description of judgment against Assyria and Nineveh, an oracle which appears to have been uttered around the time of the destruction of Nineveh in 612 ), reflecting doubts concerning the depth of the reform, a view also expressed by Jeremiah. Elliger, Das Buch der zwölf kleinen Propheten, 2 (1967); M.
There is a clear chiasm (a concentric literary structure in which the main point of a passage is placed in the centre and framed by parallel elements on either side in "ABBA" fashion) in the chapter arrangement of the Aramaic section.
The following is taken from Paul Redditt's "Introduction to the Prophets": Young Israelites of noble and royal family, "without physical defect, and handsome," versed in wisdom and competent to serve in the palace of the king, are taken to Babylon to be taught the literature and language of that nation.
The author places himself during the reign of Josiah, son of Amon, king of Judah (c. Manasseh was eclectic making altars to Ashtoreth (Canaanite), Chemosh (Moabite), Milcom (Ammonite), and Baal (Canaanite) 3. To describe the ultimate changes which Yahweh will bring about as the nations become worshippers of Him and He becomes Judah’s King/Defender Chisholm comments, When genealogical information is provided, usually only the prophet's father is identified (cf. Chisholm writes, The 'Day of the Lord is the focal point of Zephaniah's prophecy.
The superscription places the prophet during the time of king Josiah of Judah (c. 2 Ki 22--23) since there are implications of idolatry in Zephaniah’s Judah (cf. Conclusion: The book was written some time between 641 and 612 B. Manasseh rebuilt the high places that his father, Hezekiah, tore down 2. To proclaim judgment on the nations which surrounded Judah (Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Assyria, Ethiopians/Egyptians D. To expose Judah’s unwillingness to accept correction from Yahweh H. Chisholm, Jr., Interpreting the Minor Prophets, 201).