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 this invasion.

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 its punishment.

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).





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