Zephaniah 1:14

1:14 The Lord’s great day of judgment is almost here;

it is approaching very rapidly!

There will be a bitter sound on the Lord’s day of judgment;

at that time warriors will cry out in battle.

Zephaniah 2:14

2:14 Flocks and herds will lie down in the middle of it,

as well as every kind of wild animal.

Owls will sleep in the tops of its support pillars;

they will hoot through the windows.

Rubble will cover the thresholds;

even the cedar work will be exposed to the elements.


tn Heb “The great day of the Lord.” The words “of judgment” are supplied in the translation here and later in this verse for clarity. See the note on the expression “day of judgment” in v. 7.

tn Heb “the sound of the day of the Lord, bitter [is] one crying out there, a warrior.” The present translation does four things: (1) It takes מַר (mar, “bitter”) with what precedes (contrary to the accentuation of the MT). (2) It understands the participle צָרַח (tsarakh, “cry out in battle”) as verbal with “warrior” as its subject. (3) It takes שָׁם (sham, “there”) in a temporal sense, meaning “then, at that time.” (4) It understands “warrior” as collective.

tn Heb “flocks.” The Hebrew word can refer to both flocks of sheep and herds of cattle.

tn Heb “[and] all the wild animals of a nation.” How גוֹי (goy, “nation”) relates to what precedes is unclear. It may be a corruption of another word. See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 193.

tn The Hebrew text reads here גַּם־קָאַת גַּם־קִפֹּד (gam-qaat gam-qippod). The term קָאַת refers to some type of bird (see Lev 11:18; Deut 14:17) that was typically found near ruins (Isa 34:11); one of the most common translations is “owl” (cf. NEB “horned owl”; NIV, NRSV “desert owl”; contra NASB “pelican”). The term קִפֹּד may also refer to a type of bird (cf. NEB “ruffed bustard”; NIV, NRSV “screech owl”). Some suggest a rodent may be in view (cf. NASB “hedgehog”); this is not unreasonable, for a rodent or some other small animal would be able to sleep in the tops of pillars which would be lying in the ruins of the fallen buildings.

tn Heb “a sound will sing in the window.” If some type of owl is in view, “hoot” is a more appropriate translation (cf. NEB, NRSV).

tn Heb “rubble [will be] on the threshold.” “Rubble” translates the Hebrew word חֹרֶב (khorev, “desolation”). Some emend to עֹרֵב (’orev, “raven”) following the LXX and Vulgate; Adele Berlin translates, “A voice shall shriek from the window – a raven at the sill” (Zephaniah [AB 25A], 104).

tn The meaning of the Hebrew word translated “cedar work” (so NASB, NRSV) is unclear; NIV has “the beams of cedar.”

tn Heb “one will expose.” The subject is probably indefinite, though one could translate, “for he [i.e., God] will lay bare.”