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Zephaniah 3:3-4

Context

3:3 Her princes 1  are as fierce as roaring lions; 2 

her rulers 3  are as hungry as wolves in the desert, 4 

who completely devour their prey by morning. 5 

3:4 Her prophets are proud; 6 

they are deceitful men.

Her priests defile what is holy; 7 

they break God’s laws. 8 

1 tn Or “officials.”

2 tn Heb “her princes in her midst are roaring lions.” The metaphor has been translated as a simile (“as fierce as”) for clarity.

3 tn Traditionally “judges.”

4 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.

5 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.

6 sn Applied to prophets, the word פֹּחֲזִים (pokhazim, “proud”) probably refers to their audacity in passing off their own words as genuine prophecies from the Lord (see Jer 23:32).

7 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).

8 tn Heb “they treat violently [the] law.”



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