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Zephaniah 2:13-14

Context

2:13 The Lord 1  will attack the north 2 

and destroy Assyria.

He will make Nineveh a heap of ruins;

it will be as barren 3  as the desert.

2:14 Flocks and herds 4  will lie down in the middle of it,

as well as every kind of wild animal. 5 

Owls 6  will sleep in the tops of its support pillars;

they will hoot through the windows. 7 

Rubble will cover the thresholds; 8 

even the cedar work 9  will be exposed to the elements. 10 

1 tn Heb “He”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Heb “he will stretch out his hand against the north.”

3 tn Or “dry.”

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

5 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.

6 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.

7 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).

8 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).

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

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



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