An outline of the Book of Zephaniah
Hebrew Name - Tsephaniyah
Greek Name - Sophonias (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Zephaniah (According to Tradition)
Date - 630 BC Approximately
Theme - The Day of the Lord is Approaching
Types and Shadows - In Zephaniah The Day of Jesus is Coming
Zephaniah lived during one of the worst times in the history of Judah, under the evil reign of King Manasseh. Fortunately for Judah it would not be long before Josiah would begin his glorious reign, and it was during the revival that took place during this period that Zephaniah began to prophesy. He was quick to to condemn the idolatrous worship of the Canaanite and Assyrian deities, and he predicted doom for the heathen nations that surrounded Judah: the Philistines, the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Ethiopians, and the Assyrians. Zephaniah also foretold of the destruction of Jerusalem, and also her glorious restoration.
The opening verses of the book of Zephaniah revealed the prophet Zephaniah's lineage that traced back to King Hezekiah, which made him of royal blood. Zephaniah probably lived in Judah, and possibly Jerusalem, since he clearly knew the city so well. According to Zephaniah 1:1 the prophecy took place during the early portion of the reign of Josiah (642-611 BC), and revival didn't come under the reign of Josiah until 18 years after he took the throne. Zephaniah brings up the lack of justice in the land, oppression of the poor, and wealth that was gained by violence and fraudulent practices (Zephaniah 1:8-9). The people had forsaken the Lord under the evil reign of King Manasseh, and they were still worshiping Baal (Zephaniah 1:4). Many were worshiping and swearing oaths by the name of heathen deities like Malcham, who was associated with the god Moloch, the god who required worship by human sacrifice (Zephaniah 1:5). Many had completely "turned back from the Lord" (Zephaniah 1:6). The Lord said that he will search out and punish those who have "settled on their lees" (Zephaniah 1:12), thinking in their heart that God will not do anything.
The prophet Zephaniah's main message was concerning the "Day of the Lord" which he mentions continually throughout the book. On that day the Lord will personally deal with those who had forsaken him and become corrupt. The day of the Lord is a day of destruction, a terrible day, a day in which very few will escape. Zephaniah 3 reveals the blessings of the day of the Lord, they will be a pure language "that everyone may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent" (Zephaniah 3:9). He gives a beautiful imagery of the fortunes of the "Daughter of Zion": God will do away with their sins, there lies, their deceitful tongues, and "they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid." (Zephaniah 3:13).
"The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you with His love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
1:1-1:13 The Coming Judgment on Judah 1:14-1:18 The Great Day of the Lord 2:1-2:15 Judgment on Israel's Enemies 3:1-3:7 The Wickedness of Jerusalem 3:8-3:13 Punishment and Conversion 3:14-3:20 A Song of Joy