Zephaniah 3

The LORD will punish Jerusalem

1 It will be very bad for the city!

It is like something that is dirty.

Its people will not obey me. They like to fight weak people. They also like to do bad things.

2 They do not listen to anyone's voice.

They accept no correction.

They do not trust in the LORD.

They do not come near to their God.

3 The rulers of the city make a very loud noise with their voices like big wild animals.

Its judges are like hungry wolves.

They are like wolves that have even eaten all an animal's bones before morning.

4 Its prophets do not know what to think.

People cannot trust them.

Its priests have done wrong things,

even in God's holy house.

They have also made changes to God's rules.

They have made changes that they want.

5 But the LORD is among all the people in the city.

He will do what is right.

He is always the honest judge.

He never fails.

But the bad people do not know how to be ashamed.

3:5Verse 5
3:5‘But the LORD is among all the people in the city’: He is always present. He sees everything. He knows everything. He is with his people. He will do what is right for them.

6 ‘I have destroyed nations’, the LORD says.

‘There is nobody in their strong towers now.

I have made their streets empty, so no people are there.

I have destroyed their cities.

So, nobody lives in them now.

7 I said, “I hope that the people in the city will obey me.

Accept correction.”

The people would have been safe if they had accepted it.

Then I would not have to destroy them.

But it did not happen. I had to punish them.

Still, the people got up early to do bad things.’

8 ‘So wait for me’, says the LORD.

‘I will stand up and I will punish the nations.

I have decided to bring together the nations and the people that kings rule over.

Then I will punish them very, very much.

They will see how angry I am.

They will see it because, on that day, I will burn all the earth.

The LORD will make the people pure

9 Then I will give to people lips that I have made pure.

With those lips, they will call me LORD.

And then, all the people will agree to work together for me.’

3:9Verse 9
3:9God will cause people to use words that are honest. And he will cause them to worship him in the right way. See Ezekiel 11:17-20; 36:24-28.

10 ‘Some people live a long way beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.

Yes, my people who pray went away to many other countries.

They will return and they will carry their gifts to me.

11 At that time, you will not have to be ashamed

of the wrong things that you have done against me.

But I will take away those who do not see anything wrong in themselves.

Those people will not call each other

“the people who live on God's holy mountain”.

12 But I will let the poor people remain there.

These are the people who have had bad times.

These are the people who will trust me. And they will call me LORD.

13 I will let those people stay there.

They will not do any bad things.

They will only say things that are true.

They will say honest things.

They will eat well and they will sleep well.

Nobody will make them afraid.’

The LORD will be with his people

14 Sing, you people in Zion. You are my own people, like my own daughter.

Shout, you people in Israel!

Be very, very happy, my people in Jerusalem!

15 The LORD has not punished you as he would have done.

He has sent your enemy away.

I, the King of Israel, am with you!

The bad times have gone.

They will not happen again!

16 On that special day, this will be my message for Jerusalem.

‘Do not be afraid now! Do not be weak now!

17 The LORD, your God, is with you.

He is strong. He will save you.

He will be very happy about you!

He will quietly love you.

He will sing, because he is so happy about you!

18 I will bring together those people among you who want to meet together again.

You want to meet again to pray. And you want to meet again to praise God.

You have had enough cruel words from your enemies.

19 Look! At that time, I will punish

all those people who hurt you.

I will save those who cannot walk well.

I will bring back the people that the enemy has sent away.

I will cause people in every country to know about you. I will cause them to praise you.

20 At that time, I will bring you back to your home.

I will bring you back together.

I will give you a good name among all the people on the earth.

That is what I will do. I will stop your troubles. And you will see it happen.’

That is what the LORD says.