Graphics of Zephaniah

Zephaniah's Time

Zephaniah becomes a prophet; Josiah becomes king of Judah  Jeremiah becomes a prophet Book of the Law found in the TempleZephaniah's ministry ends Habakkuk becomes a prophet Josiah dies in battle First captives taken to Babylon   Babylon's second attack on Judah Judah (the southern kingdom) falls
640 B.C.  627622  621 612609  605597  586

Vital statistics

 Purpose: To shake the people of Judah out to their complacency and urge them to return to God
 Author: Zephaniah
 Original audience: The people of Judah (the southern kingdom)
 Date written: Probably near the end of Zephaniah's ministry (640-621 B.C), when King Josiah's great reforms began.
 Setting: King Josiah of Judah was attempting to reverse the evil trends set by the two previous kings of Judah - Manasseh and Amon. Josiah was able to extend his influence because no strong superpower was dominating the world at that time (Assyria was declining rapidly). Zephaniah's prophecy may have been the motivating factor in Josiah's reform. Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah.  
 Key verse: "Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you - protect you from his anger on that day of destruction" (2:3) 
 Key place:  Jerusalem

The Rulers and Prophets of Zephaniah's Time



Kings of Assyria


669     Ashurbanipal       633

Ashuretililani 633-629   

   Sinsharishkun      629           612


Kings of Babylon



 Fall of Nineveh

 Nabopolassar   626       605        

605 Nebuchadnezzar  562 


Kings of Judah (Southern Kingdom)

          Jehoiachin 3 months
      Amon 642-640 Jehoahaz 3 months 

697               Manasseh              642

640 Josiah  609

Jehoiakin 609-597Judah taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar
 Zedekiah 597-586

Zephaniah and His Contemporary Prophets     (Southern Kingdom)



636              623


605              Daniel              536



620       609


593                          559>


650       Nahum       620


627                     Jeremiah                       574


Personality Profile: Zephaniah

1:1 Name means: “The Lord has hidden,” perhaps reflecting the likelihood that Zephaniah was born during the evil days of King Manasseh (c. 697–642 a.d.).
Home: Probably Jerusalem.
Family: Was a descendant of Hezekiah, probably the king of Judah (c. 715–686 a.d.); was the son of Cushi; probably a cousin and contemporary of King Josiah (c. 640–609 a.d.).
Occupation: Prophet in Judah during the early reign of King Josiah, probably before the spiritual reforms of 621 a.d. (2 Kin. 23:4–20).
Best known today as: A prophet from the royal family in Judah who warned that the nation’s immorality and idolatry made judgment inevitable (1:4–13; 3:1–7). However, he also predicted that a penitent remnant would survive the coming judgment and enjoy blessings (2:1–3; 3:8–20).
Word in life study Bible . 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.) (Sof 1.7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Titles of the Coming King

Lord of hosts (Isa. 24:23, nasb)
The Lord (Micah 4:7)
Your God (Isa. 53:7)
The most High (Dan. 7:22–24)
The Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6)
Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)
Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13)
the King (Isa. 33:17)
Messiah the Prince (Dan. 9:25–26, kjv)
The Judge (Isa. 11:3–4)
The Redeemer (Isa. 59:20)
The Lawgiver (Isa. 33:22)
Prince of princes (Dan. 8:25)
Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher's commentary. Includes index. (494). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.


Served as a prophet to Judah from 640-621 B.C.

  Josiah was the last good king in Judah. His bold attempts to reform the nation and turn it back to God were probably influenced by Zephaniah. 

 A day will come when God, as judge, will severely punish all nations. But after judgment, he will show mercy to all who have been faithful to him.

 We will all be judged for our disobedience to God; but if we remain faithful to him, he will show us mercy.


 Jeremiah (627-586 B.C.)

The Blueprint

   1) THE DAY OF JUDGMENT (11:1-3:8)

   2) THE DAY OF HOPE (3:9-20)

   Zephaniah warned the people of Judah that if they refused to repent, the entire nation, including the beloved city of Jerusalem, would be lost. The people knew that God would eventually bless them, but Zephaniah made it clear that there would be judgment first, then blessing. This judgment would not be merely punishment for sin, but it would also be a means of purifying the people. Though we live in a fallen world surrounded by evil, we can hope in the perfect Kingdom of God to come; and we can allow any punishment that touches us now to purify us from sin.

Herman Puchi,
Oct 25, 2011, 4:50 AM