Via Emmaus Bible Reading Plan: A Few Resources on Zephaniah

IMG_1772This month our Bible reading plan takes us to the Minor Prophets. To help us assemble these books and understand their message, here are a number of resources to Zephaniah, the first book of The Twelve. You can find more information about the Minor Prophets here.

Historical Context

Zephaniah begins with an historical superscription (1:1):

The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

This historical marker places Zephaniah as prophet speaking to the Southern kingdom during the reign of Israel’s final righteous king. The The ESV Study Bible marks the date around 620 B.C. and says,

Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of Josiah, when Egypt, Judah, and Babylonia (with the help of the Medes) were regaining their autonomy and eroding the power of Assyria. Shortly after this time the Babylonians would replace the Assyrians as the dominant power in the Near East.

An Outline of Nahum

The Bible Project

The Bible Project has the simplest outline, where judgment upon Jerusalem and the nations is followed by a unified hope of salvation for the nations and Jerusalem.

  1. Judgment on Jerusalem (1:1–2:3)
  2. Judgment on the Nations and Jerusalem . . . Again (2:4–3:8)
  3. Hope for the Nations and Jerusalem (3:9–20)
    1. God transforms the nations into a unified family (3:9–10)
    2. God restores Jerusalem (3:11–20)

The ESV Study Bible

The Day of the LORD is the key theme in the book, as it takes up the majority of three chapters (1:7–3:20). The ESV Study Bible provides a detailed outline of the Day of the LORD. What follows abbreviates some of the details.

  1. Heading (1:1)
  2. Judgment Coming Against Judah (1:2–6)
  3. The Day of the Lord (1:7–3:20)
    1. Day of sacrifice and punishment (1:7–9)
    2. The coming wrath (1:10–18)
    3. Repentance is still possible (2:1–3)
    4. Nations warned (2:4–3:8)
    5. Anticipation of hope (3:9–20)

The Message of the Twelve

In their exposition of Zephaniah, Fuhr and Yates provide the most thorough outline (238–49). Beginning with two oracles of judgment (1:2–18 and 2:4–3:7), the book is closed by an oracle of salvation (3:9–20). In between these three main sections, we find a call to repentance (2:1–3) and a call to wait (3:8).

  1. Introduction
  2. An Oracle of Judgment—The Great Day of the Lord (1:2–18)
    1. Judgment against mankind (pictured as a reversal of creation) (1:2–3)
    2. Judgment against the priests and officials of Judah (pictured as a sacrifice) (1:4–9)
    3. Judgment against the merchants of Jerusalem (pictured by a lament) (1:10–13)
    4. Judgment against the fortified cities (pictured by the bitter cry) (1:14–16)
    5. Judgment against mankind (pictured as complete consumption) (1:17–18)
  3. A Call to Repentance (2:1–3)
  4. An Oracle of Judgment against the Nations (2:4–3:7)
    1. Philistia (2:4–7) — against the West
    2. Moab and Ammon (2:8–11) — against the East
    3. Cush (2:12) — against the South
    4. Assyria (2:13–15) — against the North
    5. Jerusalem (3:1–7) — against the Center
  5. A Call to Wait (3:8)
  6. An Oracle of Salvation (3:9–20)
    1. The Reverse of Babel (3:9–13)
    2. A Celebration Song (3:14–17)
    3. The Reversal of Exile (3:18–20)

Video Overview

Overview Sermons on Zephaniah

Sermon Series on Zephaniah

Iain Duguid

Via Emmaus Articles on The Twelve

Books on Zephaniah

Books on the Minor Prophets

Books on the Prophets in General

Soli Deo Gloria, ds