DATE: ca. 625 B.C.
We know from Zeph 1:1 that Zephaniah was of noble birth. He was the great, great grandson of King Hezekiah, one of Judah’s godly kings. Zephaniah’s name means, “whom the Lord hides or protects.” He helped prepare Judah for revival after a long period of being ruled by bad kings, Manasseh and Amon, with evil and idolatry reigning.
Zephaniah’s message was one of God’s coming judgment with the purpose of calling His people to repentance. In 621 BC under King Josiah, reform did come to Judah (2 Chron 34:3), however, the leaders and many of the people later reverted to their old ways and judgment came at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, in 606/605 BC. The ultimate fulfillment of Zephaniah’s prophecies will yet occur in the Day of the Lord, a reference to a yet future time of tribulation (Matt 24) also known as the seventieth week of Daniel (Daniel 9). Zephaniah also prophesied of the doom of heathen nations, both in the near future (the fall of Ninevah in 612; Zeph 2:13) and in the far future (Zeph 3:8). The book closes with a glorious description of the future Millennium Kingdom.
OUTLINE OF ZEPHANIAH
I. The Author and Time of the Prophecy, 1:1
II. The Prophecies of Judgment, 1:2-3:8
A. Judgment on Judah, 1:2-18
B. An Exhortation to Repent, 2:1-3
C. Judgments on Gentile Nations, 2:4-15
1. Philistia (to the west), 2:4-7
2. Moab and Ammon (to the east), 2:8-11
3. Ethiopia (to the south), 2:12
4. Assyria (to the north), 2:13-15
D. Judgment on Jerusalem, 3:1-7
E. Judgment on the Nations, 3:8
III. The Prophecies of Blessing, 3:9-20
A. Future Blessings for Gentiles, 3:9-10
B. Future Blessings for Jews, 3:11-20
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