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The Lord’s Rebuke to Jerusalem

Woe to this filthy, polluted, and oppressive city!
It won’t obey anyone.[a]
It won’t accept discipline.
    It does not trust in the Lord.
        It does not approach God.
Its national officials[b] are roaring lions;
    its judges are like wolves of the night
        that don’t leave the bones for the morning.
Its prophets are arrogant and treacherous.
    Its priests have contaminated the sanctuary.
        They give perverse interpretations of the Law.[c]

The righteous Lord who lives[d] within her will do no wrong;
    he will bring justice to light morning by morning.
He never fails,
    but the unjust are shameless.

The Integrity of God’s Justice

“I have destroyed[e] nations—
    their fortifications are deserted.
I have turned their main thoroughfares into wastelands
    where no one will travel.
Their cities are desolate;
    as a result, not one man remains—
        no, not even a single resident.
I have said, ‘If only you would fear me,
    if only you would take my instructions to heart.’
        Then their houses would not have been torn down.
I have chastened them,
    but they were eager to corrupt everything they were doing.”

The Future Deliverance of Israel

“Just you wait!” declares the Lord.
    “The day will come when I stand up as a prosecutor,[f]
for I am determined to assemble the nations
    and to gather the kingdoms,
in order to pour out my indignation upon them—
    all of my fierce anger.
All the earth will be consumed by the fire of my jealousy.
Indeed, then I will return my people to a pure language[g]
    so that they all may call upon the name of the Lord,
        serving him with a united will.[h]

10 “From beyond the rivers of Sudan[i] my worshipers[j]
    including my dispersed people—
        will present offerings to me.
11 When this happens,[k] you will not be ashamed of your actions
    by which you sinned against me,
because I will remove from among you those who revel in pride.
    Arrogance will have no place in my holy mountain.
12 I will keep a humble and gentle people among you,
    and they will trust in the name of the Lord.
13 The survivors of Israel will not practice lawlessness
    nor tell lies,
nor will a deceitful message be found in their mouths,
    because they will eat and rest,
        with no one to cause fear.”

Israel’s Future Joys

14 “Sing aloud, daughter of Zion!
    Shout out, Israel!
        Rejoice with all of your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has acquitted you;[l]
    turning back your adversaries.
Israel’s king, the Lord, is among you;
    you will not fear disaster anymore.

16 “When all of this happens,[m] it will be told Jerusalem,
    ‘Don’t be afraid!”
and to Zion,
    ‘Don’t lose courage!”[n]
17 The Lord your God among you is powerful—
    he will save
and he will take joyful delight in you.
    In his love he will renew you[o] with his love;
        he will celebrate with singing because of you.
18 I will gather the afflicted from the solemn assembly;
    those who were with you,
        who were bearing a burden of disgrace.

19 “Watch how I deal with everyone who oppresses you!
    At that time I will rescue the one who is lame,
        and I will draw to me[p] the one who has been driven away.
I will honor[q] them with praise
    and with a good reputation in every land
        where they have been put to shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.[r]
Indeed, I will give you a good reputation,
    making you praiseworthy among all of the people of the world,
        when I restore your prosperity before your eyes,” says the Lord.


  1. Zephaniah 3:2 Lit. obey the voice
  2. Zephaniah 3:3 Lit. Her princes
  3. Zephaniah 3:4 Lit. They do violence to the Law
  4. Zephaniah 3:5 The Heb. lacks within her
  5. Zephaniah 3:6 Lit. have cut off
  6. Zephaniah 3:8 Or witness
  7. Zephaniah 3:9 Or to pure lips
  8. Zephaniah 3:9 Lit. shoulder
  9. Zephaniah 3:10 Or Ethiopia; Lit. Cush
  10. Zephaniah 3:10 Lit. incense burners
  11. Zephaniah 3:11 Lit. On that day
  12. Zephaniah 3:15 Lit. has withdrawn your judgments
  13. Zephaniah 3:16 Lit. In that day
  14. Zephaniah 3:16 Lit. Don’t let your hands drop
  15. Zephaniah 3:17 The Heb. lacks you
  16. Zephaniah 3:19 The Heb. lacks to me
  17. Zephaniah 3:19 Lit. give
  18. Zephaniah 3:20 The Heb. lacks home


Woe to the city of oppressors,(A)
    rebellious(B) and defiled!(C)
She obeys(D) no one,
    she accepts no correction.(E)
She does not trust(F) in the Lord,
    she does not draw near(G) to her God.
Her officials within her
    are roaring lions;(H)
her rulers are evening wolves,(I)
    who leave nothing for the morning.(J)
Her prophets are unprincipled;
    they are treacherous people.(K)
Her priests profane the sanctuary
    and do violence to the law.(L)
The Lord within her is righteous;(M)
    he does no wrong.(N)
Morning by morning(O) he dispenses his justice,
    and every new day he does not fail,(P)
    yet the unrighteous know no shame.(Q)

Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant

“I have destroyed nations;
    their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
    with no one passing through.
Their cities are laid waste;(R)
    they are deserted and empty.
Of Jerusalem I thought,
    ‘Surely you will fear me
    and accept correction!’(S)
Then her place of refuge[a] would not be destroyed,
    nor all my punishments come upon[b] her.
But they were still eager
    to act corruptly(T) in all they did.
Therefore wait(U) for me,”
    declares the Lord,
    “for the day I will stand up to testify.[c]
I have decided to assemble(V) the nations,(W)
    to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out my wrath(X) on them—
    all my fierce anger.(Y)
The whole world will be consumed(Z)
    by the fire of my jealous anger.

Restoration of Israel’s Remnant

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
    that all of them may call(AA) on the name of the Lord(AB)
    and serve(AC) him shoulder to shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush[d](AD)
    my worshipers, my scattered people,
    will bring me offerings.(AE)
11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame(AF)
    for all the wrongs you have done to me,(AG)
because I will remove from you
    your arrogant boasters.(AH)
Never again will you be haughty
    on my holy hill.(AI)
12 But I will leave within you
    the meek(AJ) and humble.
The remnant of Israel
    will trust(AK) in the name of the Lord.
13 They(AL) will do no wrong;(AM)
    they will tell no lies.(AN)
A deceitful tongue
    will not be found in their mouths.(AO)
They will eat and lie down(AP)
    and no one will make them afraid.(AQ)

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;(AR)
    shout aloud,(AS) Israel!
Be glad and rejoice(AT) with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;(AU)
    never again will you fear(AV) any harm.(AW)
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.(AX)
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.(AY)
He will take great delight(AZ) in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,(BA)
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”(BB)

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed(BC) you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.(BD)
I will give them praise(BE) and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring(BF) you home.
I will give you honor(BG) and praise(BH)
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[e](BI)
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.


  1. Zephaniah 3:7 Or her sanctuary
  2. Zephaniah 3:7 Or all those I appointed over
  3. Zephaniah 3:8 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew will rise up to plunder
  4. Zephaniah 3:10 That is, the upper Nile region
  5. Zephaniah 3:20 Or I bring back your captives

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