Who Is Zephaniah In The Bible

Zephaniah is a prophet in the Old Testament who prophesised around the time of Israel’s King Josiah. He was from the town of Cushi and wrote a series of prophecies that have been preserved for us to read today. In this article I will give you a concise introduction about Zephaniah and his role in the Bible so that you can have an overview of this important prophet.

Zephaniah is one of the minor prophets contained in what is known as the Minor Prophets in the Bible. He authored the Book of Zephaniah and some early scholars have suggested that he might have lived during the time of Hezekiah’s reign (IRef) or Josiah’s reign (NIV Study Bible).

The Book of Zephaniah is the seventh of the books of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. This book was written by a prophet named Zephaniah, who lived during the reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah (late eighth century B.C.). The setting for this book is given in chap.1:2.

Zephaniah is one of the prophets written in the Old Testament. The book of Zephaniah is made up of the words and prophecies of Zephaniah son of Cushi son of Gedaliah. Zephaniah was a prophet of the Old Testament. He was a contemporary of the prophets Jeremiah and Habakkuk and lived during the final years of the kingdom of Judah. The books written by Zephaniah come directly from The Bible in both the Old and New Testament.

Who Is Zephaniah In The Bible

Zephaniah, also spelled Sophonias, (flourished 7th century BC), Israelite prophet, said to be the author of one of the shorter Old Testament prophetical books, who proclaimed the approaching divine judgment. The first verse of the Book of Zephaniah makes him a contemporary of Josiah, king of Judah (reigned c. 640–609 BC). The prophet’s activity, however, probably occurred during the early part of Josiah’s reign, for his criticism of the worship of certain gods in Jerusalem (Baal, Milcom, and the host of the heavens) would have been meaningless after Josiah’s reform, which took place about 623/622 BC.

God is about to bring everything to an end (Zep 2:2). The day of the Lord is coming to Judah, and it’s a terrible day for those who have put God to the test all these years.

The judgment doesn’t stop at Judah—the whole world will be consumed. Zephaniah tells the people that the nations of the world cannot stand: Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia, and especially Assyria. All nations will know that He is God, and “He will make a complete end, indeed a terrifying one, of all the inhabitants of the earth” (Zep 1:18).

But Zephaniah doesn’t end the message there. God has bigger plans than the end of the world. God will remove all things, yes, but then He will restore all things.

And the restoration doesn’t stop at Judah. God will bring about a time when all the nations will call on the name of the Lord. Judah, Israel, the nations, and the Lord will dwell together in peace, justice, and joy.

Zephaniah is the ninth of the Minor Prophets, the last 12 books of the Old Testament. When God had a message for the people, He spoke through the prophets. His word came in visions, oracles, dreams, parables, and the like.

The man Zephaniah has an interesting pedigree: he traces his lineage back to a man named Hezekiah. We’re not sure whether or not this is the same person as King Hezekiah, who initiated reform, transcribed much of the Proverbs, and was remembered long afterward for following God (2 Ki 19:5). Zephaniah was probably a contemporary of Habakkuk, Nahum, and Jeremiah.

Zephaniah preached his message during the rule of King Josiah, who had initiated religious reform in all of Judah and some surrounding territories. At this time, the nation as a whole was obeying God’s laws and turning from idols (2 Chr 34:33). Since the land was obeying God, one might ask, “Whom was Zephaniah warning, then?”

His warnings seem to better resonate with the next generation of Judah. After Josiah dies in battle, his sons take the throne for 22 years. They disobey the Lord, they stir up trouble with Babylon, and they disregard the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 36:27–29; 37:1–2). Plus, the priests and citizens defile God’s temple (2 Chr 36:14).

In light of this, Zephaniah’s message makes sense. The punishment that he foretells plays out in the books of Kings, Chronicles and Jeremiah.

Who Is Zephaniah In The Bible

The name Zephaniah means “the Lord hides” or “the Lord has hidden.” It was rather common for parents to give their child a name that somehow became a prophetic piece of their life (yes, this is the fun part in reading the Biblical genealogies – there are always some meanings to the names and purpose for why they are included in Scripture.) Bible scholars believe perhaps that God hid Zephaniah during the bloodthirsty reign of Manasseh.

If Zephaniah’s name wasn’t a personal prophecy, it was certainly tied to the message the Lord would bring through his servant. Despite the sifting judgement that would come to the people of Israel, the righteous ones would be hidden and guarded from the destruction to come. 

“…we can ask the Lord to hide us from the darkness of sin…”

Some Bible scholars believe his name reflects the heart of faith-filled parents; entrusting their child to the Lord’s care during a time when the culture around them dishonored and despised the things of God. As a mom, I appreciate how Scripture is full of parents raising children who became Yahweh-loving and serving adults despite the culture around them.

Whether Zephaniah’s name reflected the heart of his parents, the plans of God for Zephaniah, or God’s plans for His people, it is encouraging that we can ask the Lord to hide us from the darkness of sin, or ask Him to hide those we care about in His loving protection.

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