What is the message of the book of Zephaniah?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The book of Zephaniah in the bible consists of three chapters.  The main message of the first chapter in the book of Zephaniah is the Day of the Lord. Zephaniah prophesied about the wrath of the Lord that would come to Judah, Jerusalem, surrounding areas, and all nations that are disobedient to the Lord (Belkum).

 Zephaniah 1:14-16 says:

''The great day of the Lord is near—
near and coming quickly.
The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter;
the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
That day will be a day of wrath—
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of trouble and ruin,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and blackness—
a day of trumpet and battle cry
against the fortified cities
and against the corner towers'' (biblegateway)

The second chapter of the book of Zephaniah continues to warn of the upcoming judgment, and angry wrath of the Lord, as shown in Zephaniah 2:1-2.

''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'' (biblegateway)

Another important part of the second chapter of the book of Zephaniah is the commanding of Judah to repent of their evil ways.  Those who repent, Zephaniah explains in Zephaniah 2:3, may be spared and saved from the anger of the Lord.

''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'' (biblegateway)

Zephaniah is letting the people know that those who follow the Lord's commands, those who remain humble and seek to be righteous, may be protected on the day of judgment (Belkum).

The third and final chapter in the book of Zephaniah talks about the deliverance of the Lord, and how His people will be restored.  It is told in Zephaniah 3:9 that the Lord will ''Purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder'' (biblegateway).  The Lord will give the people a new, pure language, chapter 3 says.  And it is also promised, in Zephaniah 3:14-15, that the Lord will dwell with his people. 

''Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
Daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm'' (biblegateway)

Those who are pure and follow the Lord are promised the destruction of their enemies, safety from the wrath of the Lord, and peace in His presence (Belkum).

While a very small book, the book of Zephaniah covers a lot of information about the Day of the Lord, the punishment and wrath from the Lord that the world will face, and the importance of obeying and following the Lord if His protection from destruction is to be obtained.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team