Zephaniah was a prophet of God during the reign
of King Josiah over Judah, about 630BC. He prophesied that
God would punish the nations surrounding Israel because of
their idolatry, false religion, violence and fraud.
The Scythians swept down in to the Middle East.
The Philistines, Moabites, Ethiopians (Cush in Upper Egypt)
and the Assyrians were all due to be punished by means of
Nineveh, capital of Assyria, would also be overthrown
and become a desolate ruin. Assyria was attacked by the Scythians
in 605BC. Then, in 612BC, Nineveh was overthrown, this time
by the Babylonians. Later on it was destroyed by the Persians.
These events involving surrounding nations were
to be a warning to Judah. Jerusalem, capital of Judah, would
eventually be overthrown too. This happened when the Babylonians
destroyed the city in 586BC. Many times since, Jerusalem had
been attacked by enemies, fulfilling the Word of God about
Nevertheless, even in such troubled times, God
promised ultimate salvation for the faithful. The name Zephaniah
means "hidden by YAH (God)". Among the people then
(as now) there were a few who were faithful to God. Of these
God said they would be 'hidden' in the day of His great anger
(2:3). He promises to spare those who are humble and who 'seek
refuge' in Him (3:12).
Chapter 3 (vv 8-20) foretells a better future
for Israel when they become changed in their attitude towards
God, when the King of Israel (v15) is back among them.
In that day all nations will benefit
when they begin to "serve God with one accord" (v.9).