Zephaniah ( // , Hebrew : צְפַנְיָה, Modern: Tsfanya, Tiberian: Ṣəp̄anyāh, "Concealed of/is YHWH ") is the name of several people in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Tanakh; the most prominent one being the prophet who prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah (640–609 BCE) and is attributed a book bearing his name among the Twelve Minor Prophets. His name is commonly transliterated Sophonias in Bibles translated from the Vulgate or Septuagint. The name might mean "YHWH (YH), phonetically (IAH), has concealed", "[he whom] YH has hidden", or "YH lies in wait".
The best known Biblical figure bearing the name Zephaniah is the son of Cushi, and great-great grandson of KingHezekiah, ninth in the literary order of the Twelve Minor Prophets. He prophesied in the days of Josiah, ruler of the Kingdom of Judah (640–609 BCE), but before Josiah's reform in 621 BCE, and was contemporary with Jeremiah, with whom he had much in common. The unique source containing the minimal knowledge of his personality and rhetorical and literary qualities is the short, three chapter book of the Old Testament which bears his name. The scene of his activity was the city of Jerusalem, which he seems to know well. The existence of two Zephaniahs linked to the book is considered purely hypothetical.
Under the two preceding kings of Judah, Amon of Judah and Manasseh of Judah, the cult of other deities, especially Baal and Astarte, had developed in Jerusalem,bringing with it elements of alien culture and morals. Josiah, a dedicated reformer, wished to put an end to perceived misuse of the holy places. One of the most zealous champions and advisers of this reform was Zephaniah, and his writing remains one of the most important documents for the understanding of the era of Josiah.
Boldly predicting the destruction of Judah for the evil committed by its occupiers,the prophet spoke against the religious and moral corruption, when, in view of the idolatry which had penetrated even into the sanctuary, he warned that God would "destroy out of this place the remnant of Baal, and the names of the ... priests" (Zeph 1:4), and pleaded for a return to the simplicity of their fathers instead of the luxurious foreign clothing which was worn especially in aristocratic circles (1:8).
The age of Zephaniah was also a key historical period, because the lands of Western Asia were overrun by foreigners due to the migration of the Scythians in the last decades of the seventh century BC, and because Jerusalem was only a few decades before its downfall in 586 BC.In light of these events, a message of impending judgment is the primary burden of this figure's preaching (1:7).
The Book of Zephaniah contains the fundamental ideas of the preaching of Zephaniah. The scheme of the book in its present form is as follows:
(a) 1:2-2:3. Warnings about the "day of the Lord", a Dies irae, dies illaof the Old Testament. The judgment of the Lord will descend on Judah and Jerusalem as a punishment for the awful degeneracy in religious life (1:4-7a); it will extend to all classes of the people (1:7b-13), and will be attended with all the horrors of a frightful catastrophe (1:14-18); therefore, repent and seek the Lord (2:1-3).
(b) 2:4-15. Not only Jerusalem, but the entire world is subject to judgment, including the Philistines, (4-7) Moabites, Ammonites, (8-11) Ethiopians, (12) Assyrians and Ninevites (13-15).
(c) 3:1-8. The Prophet focuses once again on Jerusalem: "Woe to the provoking, and redeemed city ... She hath not hearkened to the voice, neither hath she received discipline." The severest reckoning will be required of the leading classes of the civil community, and of the Prophets and priests as the directors of public worship.
(d) 3:9-20. With a prophetic glance at the Kingdom of God of the future, in which all the world unites and turns to God, the prosperity of the Messianic Kingdom will be enjoyed.
(e) 3:9-20. The last message of Zephaniah also has a Messianic coloring, although not to an extent comparable with that which may be found in the Book of Isaiah.
He is commemorated with the other minor prophets in the calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31. On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar and in the Roman Martyrology, he is commemorated on December 3.
His book is an inspiration for the hymn, Dies irae .
Other individuals named Zephaniah include:
The Book of Jeremiah is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, and the second of the Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. The superscription at chapter Jeremiah 1:1–3 identifies the book as "the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah". Of all the prophets, Jeremiah comes through most clearly as a person, ruminating to his scribe Baruch about his role as a servant of God with little good news for his audience. His book is intended as a message to the Jews in exile in Babylon, explaining the disaster of exile as God's response to Israel's pagan worship: the people, says Jeremiah, are like an unfaithful wife and rebellious children, their infidelity and rebelliousness made judgement inevitable, although restoration and a new covenant are foreshadowed. Authentic oracles of Jeremiah are probably to be found in the poetic sections of chapters 1–25, but the book as a whole has been heavily edited and added to by the prophet's followers and later generations of Deuteronomists. It has come down in two distinct though related versions, one in Hebrew, the other known from a Greek translation. The date of the two can be suggested by the fact that the Greek shows concerns typical of the early Persian period, while the Masoretic shows perspectives which, although known in the Persian period, did not reach their realisation until the 2nd century BCE.
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and the first of the Major Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. It is identified by a superscription as the words of the 8th-century BCE prophet Isaiah ben Amoz, but there is extensive evidence that much of it was composed during the Babylonian captivity and later. After Johann Christoph Döderlein suggested in 1775 that the book contained the works of two prophets separated by more than a century, Bernhard Duhm originated the view, held as a consensus through most of the 20th century, that the book comprises three separate collections of oracles: Proto-Isaiah, containing the words of the 8th century prophet Isaiah; Deutero-Isaiah, the work of an anonymous 6th-century BCE author writing during the Exile; and Trito-Isaiah, composed after the return from Exile. While virtually no scholars today attribute the entire book, or even most of it, to one person, the book's essential unity has become a focus in more recent research. Isaiah 1–33 promises judgment and restoration for Judah, Jerusalem and the nations, and chapters 34–66 presume that judgment has been pronounced and restoration follows soon. It can thus be read as an extended meditation on the destiny of Jerusalem into and after the Exile.
The two Books of Kings, originally a single book, is the tenth of the Hebrew Bible or the eleventh and twelfth books of the Christian Old Testament. It concludes the Deuteronomistic history, a history of Israel also comprising the books of Joshua and Judges and the Book of Samuel, which biblical commentators believe was written to provide a theological explanation for the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah by Babylon in c. 586 BCE and a foundation for a return from exile. The two books of Kings present a history of ancient Israel and Judah from the death of King David to the release of Jehoiachin from imprisonment in Babylon, a period of some 400 years. Scholars tend to treat the books as made up of a first edition from the late 7th century BCE and a second and final edition from the mid 6th century BCE.
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Tanakh and one of the major prophetic books in the Old Testament, following Isaiah and Jeremiah. According to the book itself, it records six visions of the prophet Ezekiel, exiled in Babylon, during the 22 years from 593 to 571 BC, although it is the product of a long and complex history and does not necessarily preserve the very words of the prophet.
The Book of Zephaniah is the ninth of the Twelve Minor Prophets, preceded by the Book of Habakkuk and followed by the Book of Haggai. Zephaniah means "Yahweh has hidden/protected," or "Yahweh hides".
Hezekiah was, according to the Bible, the son of Ahaz and the 13th king of Judah. Edwin Thiele concluded that his reign was between c. 715 and 686 BC. He is considered a very righteous king In the Books of Kings. He is also one of the most prominent kings of Judah mentioned in the Bible and is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.
Isaiah was the 8th-century BC Israelite prophet after whom the Book of Isaiah is named.
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Kingdom of Israel was one of two successor states to the former United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. Historians often refer to the Kingdom of Israel as the "Northern Kingdom" or as the "Kingdom of Samaria" to differentiate it from the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Jeremiah, also called the "weeping prophet", was one of the major prophets of the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah authored the Book of Jeremiah, the Books of Kings and the Book of Lamentations, with the assistance and under the editorship of Baruch ben Neriah, his scribe and disciple.
Manasseh was the fourteenth king of the Kingdom of Judah. He was the oldest of the sons of Hezekiah and his wife Hephzibah. He became king at the age of 12 and reigned for 55 years. Edwin Thiele has concluded that he commenced his reign as co-regent with his father Hezekiah in 697/696 BC, with his sole reign beginning in 687/686 BC and continuing until his death in 643/642 BC.
Josiah or Yoshiyahu was the sixteenth king of Judah who, according to the Hebrew Bible, instituted major religious reforms. Josiah is credited by most biblical scholars with having established or compiled important Hebrew Scriptures during the "Deuteronomic reform" which probably occurred during his rule. Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after the assassination of his father, King Amon, and reigned for thirty-one years, from 641/640 to 610/609 BCE. Josiah is known only from biblical texts; no reference to him exists in other surviving texts of the period from Egypt or Babylon, and no clear archaeological evidence, such as inscriptions bearing his name, has ever been found. Nevertheless, most scholars believe that he existed historically and that the absence of documents is due to few documents of any sort surviving from this very early period, and to Jerusalem having been occupied, conquered, and rebuilt for thousands of years.
Matthew 1:10 is the tenth verse of the first chapter in the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible. The verse is part of the section where the genealogy of Joseph, the father of Jesus, is listed.
Richard Elliott Friedman is a biblical scholar and the Ann and Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia. Rochester, New York. He attended the University of Miami, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Harvard University. He was the Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization: Hebrew Bible; Near Eastern Languages and Literature at the University of California, San Diego, from 1994 until 2006, whereupon he joined the faculty of the University of Georgia's Religion Department, where he is currently the Ann and Jay Davis Professor of Jewish Studies. Friedman teaches courses in Hebrew, Bible, and Jewish Studies.
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, a book published in 2001, discusses the archaeology of Israel and its relationship to the origins and content of the Hebrew Bible. The authors are Israel Finkelstein, Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, and Neil Asher Silberman, an archaeologist, historian and contributing editor to Archaeology Magazine.
Zephaniah 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Zephaniah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zephaniah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This chapter contains a call to penitence and oracles against nations, the editorial superscription and the exposition about the day of Yahweh's judgment against the Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book, one of the Nevi'im or Books of the Prophets, contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah. This chapter serves as an introduction to the Book of Jeremiah and relates Jeremiah's calling as a prophet.
Zephaniah 2 is the second chapter of the Book of Zephaniah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zephaniah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This chapter contains a call to penitence and oracles against nations.
Zephaniah 3 is the third chapter of the Book of Zephaniah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zephaniah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. This chapter contains further indictments against the Jerusalem community, a prophecy of salvation for Judah and the Nations with Yahweh reigning victoriously as king in Jerusalem.
Micah 1 is the first chapter of the Book of Micah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Micah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.
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