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Zephaniah 1:5-6

Context

1:5 I will remove 1  those who worship the stars in the sky from their rooftops, 2 

those who swear allegiance to the Lord 3  while taking oaths in the name of 4  their ‘king,’ 5 

1:6 and those who turn their backs on 6  the Lord

and do not want the Lord’s help or guidance.” 7 

1 tn The words “I will remove” are repeated from v. 4b for stylistic reasons. In the Hebrew text vv. 4b-6 contain a long list of objects for the verb “I will remove” in v. 4b. In the present translation a new sentence was begun at the beginning of v. 5 in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English to use shorter sentences.

2 tn Heb “those who worship on their roofs the host of heaven.” The “host of heaven” included the sun, moon, planets, and stars, all of which were deified in the ancient Near East.

3 tc The MT reads, “those who worship, those who swear allegiance to the Lord.” The original form of the LXX omits the phrase “those who worship”; it may have been accidentally repeated from the preceding line. J. J. M. Roberts prefers to delete as secondary the phrase “those who swear allegiance” (J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah [OTL], 168).

4 tn Heb “those who swear by.”

5 tn The referent of “their king” is unclear. It may refer sarcastically to a pagan god (perhaps Baal) worshiped by the people. Some English versions (cf. NEB, NASB, NRSV) prefer to emend the text to “Milcom,” the name of an Ammonite god (following some LXX mss, Syriac, and Vulgate) or “Molech,” a god to whom the Israelites offered their children (cf. NIV, NLT). For a discussion of the options, see Adele Berlin, Zephaniah (AB 25A), 75-77.

6 tn Heb “turn back from [following] after.”

7 tn Heb “who do not seek the Lord and do not inquire of him.” The present translation assumes the first verb refers to praying for divine help and the second to seeking his revealed will through an oracle. Note the usage of the two verbs in 2 Chr 20:3-4.



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