Zephaniah 3:1-8

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.

Nobody can warn them that they are doing wrong things.

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.

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.

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.

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, “Now people in the city will respect me!

Now they will agree when people warn them.”

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.