the city filled with oppressors is finished! 2
she refuses correction. 4
She does not trust the Lord;
she does not seek the advice of 5 her God.
who completely devour their prey by morning. 10
they are deceitful men.
Her priests defile what is holy; 12
they break God’s laws. 13
he commits no unjust acts. 15
Every morning he reveals 16 his justice.
At dawn he appears without fail. 17
Yet the unjust know no shame.
their walled cities 19 are in ruins.
I turned their streets into ruins;
no one passes through them.
Their cities are desolate; 20
no one lives there. 21
Now you will accept correction!’
by all the punishments I have threatened. 26
But they eagerly sinned
in everything they did. 27
“for the day when I attack and take plunder. 29
I have decided 30 to gather nations together
and assemble kingdoms,
so I can pour out my fury on them –
all my raging anger.
For 31 the whole earth will be consumed
by my fiery anger.
1 tn The present translation assumes מֹרְאָה (mor’ah) is derived from רֹאִי (ro’i,“excrement”; see Jastrow 1436 s.v. רֳאִי). The following participle, “stained,” supports this interpretation (cf. NEB “filthy and foul”; NRSV “soiled, defiled”). Another option is to derive the form from מָרָה (marah, “to rebel”); in this case the term should be translated “rebellious” (cf. NASB, NIV “rebellious and defiled”). This idea is supported by v. 2. For discussion of the two options, see HALOT 630 s.v. I מרא and J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 206.
sn The following verses show that Jerusalem, personified as a woman (“she”), is the referent.
3 tn Heb “she does not hear a voice” Refusing to listen is equated with disobedience.
4 tn Heb “she does not receive correction.” The Hebrew phrase, when negated, refers elsewhere to rejecting verbal advice (Jer 17:23; 32:33; 35:13) and refusing to learn from experience (Jer 2:30; 5:3).
6 tn Or “officials.”
7 tn Heb “her princes in her midst are roaring lions.” The metaphor has been translated as a simile (“as fierce as”) for clarity.
8 tn Traditionally “judges.”
9 tn Heb “her judges [are] wolves of the evening,” that is, wolves that prowl at night. The translation assumes an emendation to עֲרָבָה (’aravah, “desert”). For a discussion of this and other options, see Adele Berlin, Zephaniah (AB 25A), 128. The metaphor has been translated as a simile (“as hungry as”) for clarity.
10 tn Heb “they do not gnaw [a bone] at morning.” The precise meaning of the line is unclear. The statement may mean these wolves devour their prey so completely that not even a bone is left to gnaw by the time morning arrives. For a discussion of this and other options, see Adele Berlin, Zephaniah (AB 25A), 129.
12 tn Or “defile the temple.”
sn These priests defile what is holy by not observing the proper distinctions between what is ritually clean and unclean (see Ezek 22:26).
13 tn Heb “they treat violently [the] law.”
14 tn The word “resides” is supplied for clarification.
15 tn Or “he does no injustice.”
16 tn Heb “gives”; or “dispenses.”
17 tn Heb “at the light he is not missing.” Note that NASB (which capitalizes pronouns referring to Deity) has divided the lines differently: “Every morning He brings His justice to light; // He does not fail.”
18 tn Heb “cut off.”
19 tn Heb “corner towers”; NEB, NRSV “battlements.”
20 tn This Hebrew verb (צָדָה, tsadah) occurs only here in the OT, but its meaning is established from the context and from an Aramaic cognate.
21 tn Heb “so that there is no man, without inhabitant.”
22 tn Heb “said.”
23 tn Or “fear.” The second person verb form (“you will respect”) is feminine singular, indicating that personified Jerusalem is addressed.
sn God’s judgment of the nations (v. 6) was an object lesson for Israel’s benefit.
24 tn Or “dwelling place.”
25 tn Heb “cut off.”
26 tn Heb “all which I have punished her.” The precise meaning of this statement and its relationship to what precedes are unclear.
27 tn Heb “But they got up early, they made corrupt all their actions.” The phrase “they got up early” probably refers to their eagerness to engage in sinful activities.
28 tn The second person verb form (“you must wait patiently”) is masculine plural, indicating that a group is being addressed. Perhaps the humble individuals addressed earlier (see 2:3) are in view. Because of Jerusalem’s sin, they must patiently wait for judgment to pass before their vindication arrives.
29 tn Heb “when I arise for plunder.” The present translation takes עַד (’ad) as “plunder.” Some, following the LXX, repoint the term עֵד (’ed) and translate, “as a witness” (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV). In this case the Lord uses a legal metaphor to picture himself as testifying against his enemies. Adele Berlin takes לְעַד (lÿ’ad) in a temporal sense (“forever”) and translates “once and for all” (Zephaniah [AB 25A], 133).
30 tn Heb “for my decision is.”
31 tn Or “certainly.”