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Zephaniah 3:6-8

The Lord’s Judgment will Purify

3:6 “I destroyed 1  nations;

their walled cities 2  are in ruins.

I turned their streets into ruins;

no one passes through them.

Their cities are desolate; 3 

no one lives there. 4 

3:7 I thought, 5  ‘Certainly you will respect 6  me!

Now you will accept correction!’

If she had done so, her home 7  would not be destroyed 8 

by all the punishments I have threatened. 9 

But they eagerly sinned

in everything they did. 10 

3:8 Therefore you must wait patiently 11  for me,” says the Lord,

“for the day when I attack and take plunder. 12 

I have decided 13  to gather nations together

and assemble kingdoms,

so I can pour out my fury on them –

all my raging anger.

For 14  the whole earth will be consumed

by my fiery anger.

1 tn Heb “cut off.”

2 tn Heb “corner towers”; NEB, NRSV “battlements.”

3 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.

4 tn Heb “so that there is no man, without inhabitant.”

5 tn Heb “said.”

6 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.

7 tn Or “dwelling place.”

8 tn Heb “cut off.”

9 tn Heb “all which I have punished her.” The precise meaning of this statement and its relationship to what precedes are unclear.

10 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.

11 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.

12 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 (lÿad) in a temporal sense (“forever”) and translates “once and for all” (Zephaniah [AB 25A], 133).

13 tn Heb “for my decision is.”

14 tn Or “certainly.”

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