Zephaniah 2


הִתְקוֹשְׁשׁוּ וָקוֹשּׁוּ הַגּוֹי לֹא נִכְסָף׃   2:1

Zeph. 2:1   “Gather yourselves together and assemble,

                              the nation not prized,

בְּטֶרֶם לֶדֶת חֹק כְּמֹץ עָבַר יוֹם בְּטֶרֶם לֹא־יָבוֹא עֲלֵיכֶם חֲרוֹן אַף־יְהוָה בְּטֶרֶם לֹא־יָבוֹא עֲלֵיכֶם יוֹם   2:2   אַף־יְהוָה׃

Zeph. 2:2   before the delivery of the decree,

                              as chaff passing the day driven by the wind!

                    The ferocity of the ‘anger’ of the Lord

                              has not yet come upon you;

                     the day of the ‘anger’ of the Lord

                              has not yet come upon you.”

We do not learn that Zepheniah is quoting the Lord until v. 2:5, but I have assumed that for continuity, the Lord is being quoted from v. 2:1 on (until v. 2:12).  Thus the quotation marks.

בַּקְּשׁוּ אֶת־יְהוָה כָּל־עַנְוֵי הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר מִשְׁפָּטוֹ פָּעָלוּ בַּקְּשׁוּ־צֶדֶק בַּקְּשׁוּ עֲנָוָה אוּלַי תִּסָּתְרוּ בְּיוֹם   2:3     אַף־יְהוָה׃

Zeph. 2:3   “Seek the Lord, all the humble ones of the earth

                              who do His justice, seek righteousness, seek humility!

                    Perhaps you will be hidden in the day of the ‘anger’ of the Lord.”

כִּי עַזָּה עֲזוּבָה תִהְיֶה וְאַשְׁקְלוֹן לִשְׁמָמָה אַשְׁדּוֹד בַּצָּהֳרַיִם יְגָרְשׁוּהָ וְעֶקְרוֹן תֵּעָקֵר׃   2:4

Zeph. 2:4   “For Gaza will be forsaken,

                              and Ashkelon for a desolation.

                     Ashdod, they shall drive it out at noontime,

                              and Ekron shall be plucked up.”

הוֹי יֹשְׁבֵי חֶבֶל הַיָּם גּוֹי כְּרֵתִים דְּבַר־יְהוָה עֲלֵיכֶם כְּנַעַן אֶרֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּים וְהַאֲבַדְתִּיךְ מֵאֵין יוֹשֵׁב׃   2:5

Zeph. 2:5   “Woe, inhabitants of the sea coast,

                              nation of Cherethites!

                    The word of the Lord is against you, Canaan,

                               land of the philistines:

                    And I shall destroy you, leaving no inhabitant.”

The Cherethites have been mentioned before in 2Sam. 8:18 and in Ezek. 25:16.

וְהָיְתָה חֶבֶל הַיָּם נְוֺת כְּרֹת רֹעִים וְגִדְרוֹת צֹאן׃   2:6

Zeph. 2:6   “And the sea shall be coast,

                               pastures, shepherd cottages,

                     and folds of flock,

וְהָיָה חֶבֶל לִשְׁאֵרִית בֵּית יְהוּדָה עֲלֵיהֶם יִרְעוּן בְּבָתֵּי אַשְׁקְלֹון בָּעֶרֶב יִרְבָּצוּן כִּי יִפְקְדֵם יְהוָה   2:7       אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וְשָׁב (שְׁבוּתָם) [שְׁבִיתָם]׃

Zeph. 2:7   and it shall be a portion for the remnant of the house of Judah;

                               they shall feed upon them.

                    They shall lie down in the houses of Ashkelon

                               in the evening.

                     For the Lord, their God, shall look to them

                               and turn back their captivity.”

The alleged error in the parentheses may not be incorrectly spelled, as I see it.  The error contains a vav when it is thought to be more correct with a yad.  I, being loath to call an error, can see that it can be spelled both ways.  I concede, however, that the word in the parentheses has a more common meaning that implies return as well as captivity, while the word in the brackets has only one meaning revolving around captivity.  However, I also realize that Zephaniah might have been involved in a word play here:  The word preceding the alleged error, which can be spelled with or without a vav, also has the meaning of return (translated as turn back), so Zephaniah may have intended the “questionable” spelling.

שָׁמַעְתִּי חֶרְפַּת מוֹאָב וְגִדּוּפֵי בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן אֲשֶׁר חֵרְפוּ אֶת־עַמִּי וַיַּגְדִּילוּ עַל־גְּבוּלָם׃   2:8

Zeph. 2:8   “I hear the scorn of Moab,

                               and the reviling words of the children of Ammon,

                     by which they taunt My people

                               and boast about their territory.”

לָכֵן חַי־אָנִי נְאֻם יְהוָה צְבָאֹות אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי־מֹואָב כִּסְדֹם תִּהְיֶה וּבְנֵי עַמֹּון כַּעֲמֹרָה מִמְשַׁק   2:9          חָרוּל וּמִכְרֵה־מֶלַח וּשְׁמָמָה עַד־עֹולָם שְׁאֵרִית עַמִּי יְבָזּוּם וְיֶתֶר (גֹּוי) [גֹּויִי] יִנְחָלוּם׃

Zeph. 2:9   “Therefore as I live,” declares the Lord of hosts, God of Israel,

                               “surely Moab shall be like Sodom,

                    and the children of Ammon like Gomorrah,

                                the possession of weed and salt pit, a desolation for ever.

                    The remnant of My people shall plunder them

                               and the remainder of My nation shall inherit them.”

The word in parentheses is missing a yad suffix.  The correction is in the brackets.

זֹאת לָהֶם תַּחַת גְּאוֹנָם כִּי חֵרְפוּ וַיַּגְדִּלוּ עַל־עַם יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת׃   2:10

Zeph. 2:10   “This shall be theirs instead of their pride,

                                because they taunt and make themselves great

                       above the people of the Lord of hosts.”

נוֹרָא יְהוָה עֲלֵיהֶם כִּי רָזָה אֵת כָּל־אֱלֹהֵי הָאָרֶץ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ־לוֹ אִישׁ מִמְּקוֹמוֹ כֹּל אִיֵּי הַגּוֹיִם׃   2:11

Zeph. 2:11   “The Lord shall be dreadful against them

                                when He shrivels all the gods of the earth.

                       Then all the islands of the nations

                                 shall bow down to Him, each from its place.”

גַּם־אַתֶּם כּוּשִׁים חַלְלֵי חַרְבִּי הֵמָּה׃   2:12

Zeph. 2:12   “You also, Ethiopians!

                                They shall be of the slain of My sword.”

וְיֵט יָדוֹ עַל־צָפוֹן וִיאַבֵּד אֶת־אַשּׁוּר וְיָשֵׂם אֶת־נִינְוֵה לִשְׁמָמָה צִיָּה כַּמִּדְבָּר׃   2:13

Zeph. 2:13   And He will extend His hand against the north

                                and exterminate Assyria

                       and set Nineveh to be a desolation,

                                dry like a wilderness.

וְרָבְצוּ בְתוֹכָהּ עֲדָרִים כָּל־חַיְתוֹ־גוֹי גַּם־קָאַת גַּם־קִפֹּד בְּכַפְתֹּרֶיהָ יָלִינוּ קוֹל יְשׁוֹרֵר בַּחַלּוֹן חֹרֶב   2:14      בַּסַּף כִּי אַרְזָה עֵרָה׃

Zeph. 2:14   And herds of all its animals of a nation

                                shall lie down in its midst.

                       Both the pelican and the raven

                                shall lodge within its capitals;

                        sound shall reverberate through window;

                                desolation shall be on threshold;

                        for cedar-work lays bare.

זֹאת הָעִיר הָעַלִּיזָה הַיֹּושֶׁבֶת לָבֶטַח הָאֹמְרָה בִּלְבָבָהּ אֲנִי וְאַפְסִי עֹוד אֵיךְ הָיְתָה לְשַׁמָּה מַרְבֵּץ   2:15       לַחַיָּה כֹּל עֹובֵר עָלֶיהָ יִשְׁרֹק יָנִיעַ יָדֹו׃

Zeph. 2:15   This is the jubilant city, dwelling securely, saying in its heart,

                                 “There is none like me.”

                       How it is for a waste!

                                 A place of rest for any animal!

                       Every one passing by it shall whistle,

                                 shake his hand.

Such will be the fate of Ninevah:  A desolate land where only animals reside.


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