Zephaniah 2

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Editor's Note

We’re also going to take a brief pause from our summer books (1 & 2 Chronicles) to read from some of the minor prophets that are either directly mentioned in 1 & 2 Chronicles or that lived and prophesied within the time frames of those books. 

These short prophetical books help us understand what God’s people would have been hearing (and feeling) as they lived through some tumultuous times and help add color to the historical books we’re reading over the next couple of months! 

Read Zephaniah 2

Judah and Jerusalem Judged Along With the Nations

Judah Summoned to Repent

Gather together, gather yourselves together,
    you shameful nation,
before the decree takes effect
    and that day passes like windblown chaff,
before the Lord’s fierce anger
    comes upon you,
before the day of the Lord’s wrath
    comes upon you.
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
    you who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
    perhaps you will be sheltered
    on the day of the Lord’s anger.


Gaza will be abandoned
    and Ashkelon left in ruins.
At midday Ashdod will be emptied
    and Ekron uprooted.
Woe to you who live by the sea,
    you Kerethite people;
the word of the Lord is against you,
    Canaan, land of the Philistines.
He says, “I will destroy you,
    and none will be left.”
The land by the sea will become pastures
    having wells for shepherds
    and pens for flocks.
That land will belong
    to the remnant of the people of Judah;
    there they will find pasture.
In the evening they will lie down
    in the houses of Ashkelon.
The Lord their God will care for them;
    he will restore their fortunes.

Moab and Ammon

“I have heard the insults of Moab
    and the taunts of the Ammonites,
who insulted my people
    and made threats against their land.
Therefore, as surely as I live,”
    declares the Lord Almighty,
    the God of Israel,
“surely Moab will become like Sodom,
    the Ammonites like Gomorrah—
a place of weeds and salt pits,
    a wasteland forever.
The remnant of my people will plunder them;
    the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.”

10 This is what they will get in return for their pride,
    for insulting and mocking
    the people of the Lord Almighty.
11 The Lord will be awesome to them
    when he destroys all the gods of the earth.
Distant nations will bow down to him,
    all of them in their own lands.


12 “You Cushites, too,
    will be slain by my sword.”


13 He will stretch out his hand against the north
    and destroy Assyria,
leaving Nineveh utterly desolate
    and dry as the desert.
14 Flocks and herds will lie down there,
    creatures of every kind.
The desert owl and the screech owl
    will roost on her columns.
Their hooting will echo through the windows,
    rubble will fill the doorways,
    the beams of cedar will be exposed.
15 This is the city of revelry
    that lived in safety.
She said to herself,
    “I am the one! And there is none besides me.”
What a ruin she has become,
    a lair for wild beasts!
All who pass by her scoff
    and shake their fists.

Go Deeper

In this chapter, we see Zephaniah calling the whole world to repentance! The previous chapter had a message of judgment specifically on Judah and proclaimed that the Lord will sweep away everything from the face of the earth. He will sweep away people and animals, He will sweep away the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, and the ruins along with the wicked (1:2-3). There will be a sudden end to all who live on the earth (1:18). This message is intense! This chapter continues with the same theme as we see a call of the people to urgent repentance, and the coming judgment against the nations on the day of the Lord. This is the day where the Lord will ultimately judge the earth and the people who inhabit it. 

Zephaniah lists out nations that will be destroyed, all which are surrounding enemies of Judah. These nations include: the Philistines (v. 4-7), the Moabites and Ammonites (v. 8-11), the Ethiopians (v. 12), and the Assyrians (v. 13-15). The prophet proclaimed that “Moab will be like Sodom, and the Ammonites like Gomorrah” (v. 9). This is a sobering and humbling comparison. The destruction of Sodom of Gomorrah takes place in Genesis 19. These cities were consumed by sulfur and fire from Heaven as a result of their grievous sin.

Romans tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Every single person on earth has missed the mark on God’s standards. We know that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Death is the consequence of our sin, and judgment and destruction are certain unless we repent. No one can escape judgment apart from God’s mercy. He is gracious and compassionate, but He will judge and destroy the wicked. He is a merciful and righteous God, but we should tremble at His awesome power. The Lord is a mighty warrior that sweeps the wicked away in judgment but saves those who repent and turn back to Him. 

There is a call in this passage to seek the Lord, seek righteousness, and seek humility. A call to carry out all that He commands us to do. This is also a wakeup call to share the gospel! There are nations who don’t know that the day of the Lord is coming. There are nations that don’t know there is eternal punishment apart from Christ. There are nations just waiting to hear the good news of Jesus! It is God’s desire that the ends of the earth would fear Him and praise Him (Psalm 67). Let’s share the gospel with a sense of urgency, but look forward to the day where every nation, tribe, people, and tongue will be worshiping the Lord for all of eternity (Revelation 7:9).  


  1. Do you tend to see God more as merciful or just? What does this passage show you about the character of God?
  2. What would it look like for you to live in light of this coming day of judgment?
  3. What distracts you or prevents you from sharing the gospel? Spend time today praying for the spread of the gospel, both here locally and among all nations! 

Keep Digging

Verse 11 tells us that Moab and Ammon will eventually worship the Lord. To learn more about this prophecy and what Zephaniah was saying, read this article from GotQuestions.org.

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2 thoughts on “Zephaniah 2”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    The opening comments of Zephaniah 2 issue a strong call to repentance that give steps to follow:
    •gather together
    •act now
    •beg the Lord to save you
    •humble yourselves
    •uphold justice
    •do what is right
    I wonder what would happen if corporately in worship we followed Zephaniah’s directives. God would surely hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land.

  2. These books/chapters feel like hellfire and brimstone preaching, which is what I grew up with. God does judge His people who deliberately disobey His laws. His people (me) are to be different, Be not conformed to this world but be transformed… Romans 12:2. God’s word is truth and it will be fulfilled in its time. We as God’s people can claim His promises and know that our God is faithful. We have work to do and it is not all rainbows and sunshine. Our (my) flesh wants idols, all the things Mr. Zephaniah is saying all these people are getting annihilated over. Their (my) stubbornness which is (my) unintelligent barrier refusing enlighten and blocking my right will, which is God’s will, which is what we ought to be doing. Philippians 2:12-13 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
    I see the place for the AWE of God because He is so much MORE than we causal think He is. God could only dwell with His people (Moses) in a manner they could endure. We have Holy Spirit, if we allow Him to be a part of our lives. We need to revere God no matter how powerfully or softly He manifest His presence within us. (from the Awe of God book).
    I see that we water down that God is mighty and much more than what I even was imagining. Listening to the Holy Spirit on what I need to say about anything is the way I want to go. Not causally or irreverently like a buddy but as my Heavenly Father whom I respect and want to do right things for with all my thoughts, desires, words and actions.

    God thank You for understanding better and more fully of who You are and what You desire from me so that I can do my part for You. Thank You that I comprehend how to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is You God who works in me, both to will and to work for Your good pleasure as Phil 2 states. Thank You that I filter all my thoughts, desires, words and actions through Your Holy Spirt. Thank You for teaching me. God I just lift up the guys( JP and Pastors conference) as they are working together to become more glorifying to You as speakers and leaders of Your Church. God give them wisdom to share together and understanding on how to be more impactful to the body of Christ. Protect them here and their families also in Jesus name amen.

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