This book contains the prophecies that came to Zephaniah during a time of renewed devotion to Yahweh. The king was purging Judah of idols and improper worship practices, but the people’s hearts also needed correcting. Zephaniah’s message is that that anyone who combines worship of Yahweh with other gods—and who exercises deceit, violence, and complacency—will be destroyed on the coming Day of Yahweh. However, people who are righteous and humble will be gathered together in peace. When evil is all around us, how do we guard our hearts so that we can live a holy life? Zephaniah’s message assures us that in His time, Yahweh will make all things right.
—Faithlife Study Bible, Lexham Press
Best Commentaries on Zephaniah
O. Palmer Robertson, New International Commentary on the Old Testament (NICOT), Eerdmans, 1990, 384 pp.
In this commentary, Robertson combines the insights of biblical theology with a keen awareness of the age in which we live. After first dealing with the relevant background issues of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah—redemptive-historical setting, theological perspective, date and authorship, and so on—Robertson applies the care and precision of an exegete and the concern of a pastor to his verse-by-verse exposition of each book. The result is a relevant confrontation with the ancient call to repentance and faith—a confrontation greatly needed in today’s world.
- Level: Intermediate
- Type: Expository
Kenneth L. Barker and Waylon Bailey, New American Commentary (NAC), B&H, 1999, 320 pp.
There are all kinds of evil that permeate this world. During Old Testament times, God sent his prophets to speak against this evil. These books also show us how God deals with wickedness but also makes glad the hearts who trust in him. The goal of this commentary is for the reader to see the parts (each verse) as well as the whole (the passage).
- Level: Intermediate
- Type: Expository
David W. Baker, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (TOTC), InterVarsity Press, 1988, 98 pp.
Nahum’s prophecy of Nineveh’s coming destruction. Habakkuk’s probing dialogue with the Lord of Israel. Zephaniah’s warning to Jerusalem’s last great king. The texts of these minor but important prophets receive a fresh and penetrating analysis in this introduction and commentary. David W. Baker considers each book’s historical setting, composition, structure, and authorship, as well as important themes and issues. Each book is then expounded passage by passage in the concise and informative style that has become the hallmark of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries.
- Level: Basic
- Type: Devotional
Adele Berlin, Anchor Yale Bible (AYB), Yale University Press, 1994, 165 pp.
In staccato exclamations, elevated rhetoric, and a rich tapestry of metaphors and similes, Zephaniah painted a world beset by corruption, idolatry, and apathy. As his passionate verse unfolds, we learn of the doomed destiny of nations that are indifferent to the Lord’s power and of humans who have become too enthralled with worldly riches. As scathing as any modern social critic, Zephaniah proclaimed salvation only to those who lead a life of simplicity, faith, and humility. Adele Berlin’s splendid translation captures the vivid imagery and sheer potency of Zephaniah, causing the prophet’s words to spring to life and sweep the reader into the politically and socially dynamic world of ancient Israel. With keen insight and lucid analysis, Berlin also draws vital links between Zephaniah’s historical references and other relevant parts of the Bible.
- Level: Advanced
- Type: Technical
J. J. M. Roberts, Old Testament Library (OTL), Westminster John Knox Press, 1991, 224 pp.
This commentary builds on the work of previous scholarship and addresses contemporary issues. It gives serious attention to questions of textual criticism, philology, history, and Near Eastern backgrounds and is sensitive to the literary conventions characteristic of the prophetic literature of the Old Testament. The book is an earnest attempt to hear the message of the ancient prophets, a message that remains relevant today.
- Level: Basic
- Type: Devotional
Best Books on Zephaniah
This is an excellent overview to the book of Zephaniah. House includes an introduction of genre criticism and genre theor, then applies them both to the text of Zephaniah. He examines the structure, plot, point of view, and characterization of this Old Testament book. House concludes by pointing out the drama inherent within the text and translates and summarizes the plot points. Included are a detailed table of contents, a bibliography, and indexes to guide the reader through the text.Learn more
The author begins this guide with an introduction and explains that he presents these three prophetic books in what he believes to be their chronological sequence rather than canonical order. Part One examines the book of Zephaniah by describing the contents, portraying Zephaniah the person, explaining the historical background and criticisms, and illustrating the message of Zephaniah. Part Two is devoted to the book of Habakkuk, listing the contents, explaining the history of criticism of the book, illuminating the details of the prophet and his times, and analyzing the theology and function of the book. Part Three is a treatment of the book of Joel. Mason here presents the contents of the book of Joel, then discusses the various possible meanings of the plague of locusts which is such a prominent feature of Joel. He then looks at the questions of the unity and the dating of the book and its parallels with other Old Testament materials.Learn more
What if you were responsible for translating God's Word into a language that never had a Bible before? Can you imagine the burden you would feel to do a good job? God takes his Word pretty seriously, and you would certainly do everything in your power to make sure that you were not putting words into God's mouth but that you were providing a text that clearly communicated God's Word as closely to the original as possible. This challenge to understand the heart of the original Scriptures to put the original text into a new language was the impetus for the United Bible Societies to create handbooks for Bible translators working on this very thing. The United Bible Societies' Handbook Series is a comprehensive verse-by-verse guide to understanding exactly what is being communicated by the author in the original Scriptures.Learn more
By employing a combination of literary methodologies, such as reader response criticism, canonical criticism, and structural form criticism, Sweeney establishes the literary structure of the Book of the Twelve as a whole and of each book with their respective ideological or theological perspectives. An introductory chapter orients readers to questions posed by reading the Book of the Twelve as a coherent piece of literature and to a literary overview of the Twelve. Sweeney then treats each of the twelve individual prophetic books in the order of the Masoretic canon, providing a discussion of each one's structure, theme, and outlook. This is followed by a detailed literary discussion of the textual units that comprise the book.Learn more
In this volume, Floyd presents a complete form-critical analysis of the last six books in the Minor Prophets: Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. By looking carefully at the literary genre and internal structure of each book, Floyd uncovers the literary conventions that help shape the composition of these prophetic books in their final form. His approach yields fresh views of how the parts of each book fit together to make up the whole—particularly with respect to Nahum, Haggai, and Malachi—and provides a basis for reconsidering how each book is historically related to the time of the prophet for whom it is named. This work will be useful to scholars because it advances the discussion regarding the holistic reading of prophetic books and to pastors and students because it shows how analysis of literary form can lead to a more profound understanding of the messages of the Minor Prophets.Learn more
Best Courses on Zephaniah
In an age of international travel and migration, we’re familiar with people who look, sound, eat, and believe differently than we do. To become friends, it’s helpful to understand where they come from and how they do things differently, or the same, as we do. In the same way it is necessary to understand someone who comes from a different place than we do, how much more necessary is it to understand someone who is from not only a different geographical place but also a different time than we are? The Old Testament starts at the beginning of the world. This course will undertake the task of crossing the bridges of geography, climate, time, and a landscape unknown to us: ancient Israel. Throughout the course, David W. Baker will address aspects of life from our own culture and time, as well as family structure and societal systems from ancient Israelite life. As we Learn more about the social world of the Old Testament, we will be struck not only by our differences but also by our common humanity and that we share the same dreams, hopes, and fears as they did.Learn more
Mobile Ed: BI205 Old Testament Exegesis: Understanding and Applying the Old Testament (15 hour course)
Embark on a journey of OT Hebrew exegesis with Jason DeRouchie. The books of the OT were the only Scriptures Jesus had. It was books like Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and Psalms that shaped Jesus’ upbringing and that guided his life in ministry as the Jewish Messiah. It was these Scriptures that Jesus identified as God’s Word and he considered to be authoritative; it was these Scriptures he believed called people to know and believe in God and guarded them against doctrinal error and hell. This course will give you the tools you need to access meaning in the OT, then apply it to your life. It will help you to grow in reading God’s living Word for depth and not just distance.Learn more
Join David W. Baker on a whirlwind tour to explore the Old Testament from many different angles and how it relates to ancient Near Eastern literature. From creation accounts and stories of destruction to Wisdom Literature, discover different biblical literary genres that have parallels in ancient Near Eastern literature. Explore extrabiblical historical texts that mention key events and figures from the Old Testament. Understand how Israel fits into and is impacted by its ancient Near Eastern environment but also how it is separate and unique, mainly on a theological level but also by its distinct worldview.Learn more
This course provides a practical foundation for reading the poetry and prophecy of the Old Testament. Dr. David Baker begins by discussing poetic writing in general, then the elements specific to both Hebrew and English poetry. Applying these elements to the text, he examines the content, structure, and themes of the Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations, Job, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Dr. Baker then turns to the prophetic books, providing historical background, theological motifs, and the structure and content of specific books. He shows that these ancient messages remain relevant in modern life.Learn more