Zephaniah, like Joel, depicts the future Day of the Lord. At the same time, he adds new information to Joel’s description of end time events.
Author and Date
Zephaniah is the only prophet who comes from a royal line. His royal lineage is given in the introduction, linking him to King Hezekiah. He preaches during the reign of Josiah while Judah is enjoying a time of peace (640-621 B.C.).
- The Day of the Lord (1:1-3:8)
- The Restoration of the Lord (3:9-20)
The topic at hand is the day of the Lord. Like Joel, the phrase “day of the Lord” has both a general and specific application. Chapter 1, a general application of the phrase, stands alone describing the coming attack of Babylon. Unlike Joel, Zephaniah’s description is more ambiguous and more difficult to pinpoint. The chapter begins and ends with a universal statement about the entire earth. In the days of Noah, the Lord used the metaphor of washing a dish. Zephaniah uses a similar metaphor of sweeping a floor.
Zephaniah compares the coming destruction with the future Day of the Lord—a terrible time of judgment in an unknown future. A couple of events that Zephaniah adds to Joel’s timeline are 1) destruction of the nations, 2) gathering of Israel, 3) presentation of Israel, 4) re-unification of world languages, and 5) the nations will worship the Lord only (3:8, 9, 19-20).