Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 132

Zephaniah 1–3, Psalms 9 & 11, Proverbs 11

Bible text(s)

1This is the message that the LORD gave to Zephaniah during the time that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. (Zephaniah was descended from King Hezekiah through Amariah, Gedaliah, and Cushi.)

The Day of the LORD's Judgement

2The LORD said, “I am going to destroy everything on earth, 3all human beings and animals, birds and fish. I will bring about the downfall of the wicked. I will destroy the whole human race, and no survivors will be left. I, the LORD, have spoken.

4“I will punish the people of Jerusalem and of all Judah. I will destroy the last trace of the worship of Baal there, and no one will even remember the pagan priests who serve him. 5I will destroy anyone who goes up on the roof and worships the sun, the moon, and the stars. I will also destroy those who worship me and swear loyalty to me, but then take oaths in the name of the god Molech. 6I will destroy those who have turned back and no longer follow me, those who do not come to me or ask me to guide them.”

7The day is near when the LORD will sit in judgement; so be silent in his presence. The LORD is preparing to sacrifice his people and has invited enemies to plunder Judah. 8“On that day of slaughter,” says the LORD, “I will punish the officials, the king's sons, and all who practise foreign customs. 9I will punish all who worship like pagans and who steal and kill in order to fill their master's house with loot.

10“On that day,” says the LORD, “you will hear the sound of crying at the Fish Gate in Jerusalem. You will hear wailing in the newer part of the city and a great crashing sound in the hills. 11Wail and cry when you hear this, you that live in the lower part of the city, because all the merchants will be dead!

12“At that time I will take a lamp and search Jerusalem. I will punish the people who are self-satisfied and confident, who say to themselves, ‘The LORD never does anything, one way or the other.’ 13Their wealth will be looted and their houses destroyed. They will never live in the houses they are building or drink wine from the vineyards they are planting.”

14The great day of the LORD is near — very near and coming fast! That will be a bitter day, for even the bravest soldiers will cry out in despair! 15It will be a day of fury, a day of trouble and distress, a day of ruin and destruction, a day of darkness and gloom, a black and cloudy day, 16a day filled with the sound of war trumpets and the battle cry of soldiers attacking fortified cities and high towers.

17The LORD says, “I will bring such disasters on mankind that everyone will grope about like someone blind. They have sinned against me, and now their blood will be poured out like water, and their dead bodies will lie rotting on the ground.”

18On the day when the LORD shows his fury, not even all their silver and gold will save them. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of his anger. He will put an end — a sudden end — to everyone who lives on earth.

Zephaniah 1GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Plea for Repentance

1Shameless nation, come to your senses 2before you are driven away like chaff blown by the wind, before the burning anger of the LORD comes upon you, before the day when he shows his fury. 3Turn to the LORD, all you humble people of the land, who obey his commands. Do what is right, and humble yourselves before the LORD. Perhaps you will escape punishment on the day when the LORD shows his anger.

The Doom of the Nations round Israel

4No one will be left in the city of Gaza. Ashkelon will be deserted. The people of Ashdod will be driven out in half a day, and the people of Ekron will be driven from their city. 5You Philistines are doomed, you people who live along the coast. The LORD has passed sentence on you. He will destroy you, and not one of you will be left. 6Your land by the sea will become open fields with shepherds' huts and sheep pens. 7The people of Judah who survive will occupy your land. They will pasture their flocks there and sleep in the houses of Ashkelon. The LORD their God will be with them and make them prosper again.

8The LORD Almighty says, “I have heard the people of Moab and Ammon insulting and taunting my people, and boasting that they would seize their land. 9As surely as I am the living LORD, the God of Israel, I swear that Moab and Ammon are going to be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. They will become a place of salt pits and everlasting ruin, overgrown with weeds. Those of my people who survive will plunder them and take their land.”

10That is how the people of Moab and Ammon will be punished for their pride and arrogance and for insulting the people of the LORD Almighty. 11The LORD will terrify them. He will reduce the gods of the earth to nothing, and then every nation will worship him, each in its own land.

12The LORD will also put the people of Ethiopia to death.

13The LORD will use his power to destroy Assyria. He will make the city of Nineveh a deserted ruin, a waterless desert. 14It will be a place where flocks, herds, and animals of every kind will lie down. Owls will live among its ruins and hoot from the windows. Crows will caw on the doorsteps. The cedar wood of her buildings will be stripped away. 15That is what will happen to the city that is so proud of its own power and thinks it is safe. Its people think that their city is the greatest in the world. What a desolate place it will become, a place where wild animals will rest! Everyone who passes by will shrink back in horror.

Zephaniah 2GNBOpen in Bible reader

Jerusalem's Sin and Redemption

1Jerusalem is doomed, that corrupt, rebellious city that oppresses its own people. 2It has not listened to the LORD or accepted his discipline. It has not put its trust in the LORD or asked for his help. 3Its officials are like roaring lions; its judges are like hungry wolves, too greedy to leave a bone until morning. 4The prophets are irresponsible and treacherous; the priests defile what is sacred, and twist the law of God to their own advantage. 5But the LORD is still in the city; he does what is right and never what is wrong. Every morning without fail, he brings justice to his people. And yet the unrighteous people there keep on doing wrong and are not ashamed.

6The LORD says, “I have wiped out whole nations; I have destroyed their cities and left their walls and towers in ruins. The cities are deserted; the streets are empty — no one is left. 7I thought that then my people would have reverence for me and accept my discipline, that they would never forget the lesson I taught them. But soon they were behaving as badly as ever.

8“Just wait,” the LORD says. “Wait for the day when I rise to accuse the nations. I have made up my mind to gather nations and kingdoms, in order to let them feel the force of my anger. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of my fury.

9“Then I will change the people of the nations, and they will pray to me alone and not to other gods. They will all obey me. 10Even from distant Ethiopia my scattered people will bring offerings to me. 11At that time you, my people, will no longer need to be ashamed that you rebelled against me. I will remove everyone who is proud and arrogant, and you will never again rebel against me on my sacred hill. 12I will leave there a humble and lowly people, who will come to me for help. 13The people of Israel who survive will do no wrong to anyone, tell no lies, nor try to deceive. They will be prosperous and secure, afraid of no one.”

A Song of Joy

14Sing and shout for joy, people of Israel!

Rejoice with all your heart, Jerusalem!

15The LORD has ended your punishment;

he has removed all your enemies.

The LORD, the king of Israel, is with you;

there is no reason now to be afraid.

16The time is coming when they will say to Jerusalem,

“Do not be afraid, city of Zion!

Do not let your hands hang limp!

17The LORD your God is with you;

his power gives you victory.

The LORD will take delight in you,

and in his love he will give you new life.

He will sing and be joyful over you,

18as joyful as people at a festival.”

The LORD says,

“I have ended the threat of doom

and taken away your disgrace.

19The time is coming!

I will punish your oppressors;

I will rescue all the lame

and bring the exiles home.

I will turn their shame to honour,

and all the world will praise them.

20The time is coming!

I will bring your scattered people home;

I will make you famous throughout the world

and make you prosperous once again.”

The LORD has spoken.

Zephaniah 3GNBOpen in Bible reader

Thanksgiving to God for his Justice

1I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;

I will tell of all the wonderful things you have done.

2I will sing with joy because of you.

I will sing praise to you, Almighty God.

3My enemies turn back when you appear;

they fall down and die.

4You are fair and honest in your judgements,

and you have judged in my favour.

5You have condemned the heathen

and destroyed the wicked;

they will be remembered no more.

6Our enemies are finished for ever;

you have destroyed their cities,

and they are completely forgotten.

7But the LORD is king for ever;

he has set up his throne for judgement.

8He rules the world with righteousness;

he judges the nations with justice.

9The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,

a place of safety in times of trouble.

10Those who know you, LORD, will trust you;

you do not abandon anyone who comes to you.

11Sing praise to the LORD, who rules in Zion!

Tell every nation what he has done!

12God remembers those who suffer;

he does not forget their cry,

and he punishes those who wrong them.

13Be merciful to me, O LORD!

See the sufferings my enemies cause me!

Rescue me from death, O LORD,

14that I may stand before the people of Jerusalem

and tell them all the things for which I praise you.

I will rejoice because you saved me.

15The heathen have dug a pit and fallen in;

they have been caught in their own trap.

16The LORD has revealed himself by his righteous judgements,

and the wicked are trapped by their own deeds.

17Death is the destiny of all the wicked,

of all those who reject God.

18The needy will not always be neglected;

the hope of the poor will not be crushed for ever.

19Come, LORD! Do not let human beings defy you!

Bring the heathen before you

and pronounce judgement on them.

20Make them afraid, O LORD;

make them know that they are only mortal beings.

Confidence in the LORD

1I trust in the LORD for safety.

How foolish of you to say to me,

“Fly away like a bird to the mountains,

2because the wicked have drawn their bows and aimed their arrows

to shoot from the shadows at good people.

3There is nothing a good person can do

when everything falls apart.”

4The LORD is in his holy temple;

he has his throne in heaven.

He watches people everywhere

and knows what they are doing.

5He examines the good and the wicked alike;

the lawless he hates with all his heart.

6He sends down flaming coals and burning sulphur on the wicked;

he punishes them with scorching winds.

7The LORD is righteous and loves good deeds;

those who do them will live in his presence.

1The LORD hates people who use dishonest scales. He is happy with honest weights.

2People who are proud will soon be disgraced. It is wiser to be modest.

3If you are good, you are guided by honesty. People who can't be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty.

4Riches will do you no good on the day you face death, but honesty can save your life.

5Honesty makes a good person's life easier, but the wicked will cause their own downfall.

6Righteousness rescues those who are honest, but those who can't be trusted are trapped by their own greed.

7When the wicked die, their hope dies with them. Confidence placed in riches comes to nothing.

8The righteous are protected from trouble; it comes to the wicked instead.

9You can be ruined by the talk of godless people, but the wisdom of the righteous can save you.

10A city is happy when honest people have good fortune, and there are joyful shouts when the wicked die.

11A city becomes great when the righteous give it their blessing; but a city is brought to ruin by the words of the wicked.

12It is foolish to speak scornfully of others. If you are sensible, you will keep quiet.

13No one who gossips can be trusted with a secret, but you can put confidence in someone who is trustworthy.

14A nation will fall if it has no guidance. Many advisers mean security.

15If you promise to pay a stranger's debt, you will regret it. You are better off if you don't get involved.

16A gracious woman is respected, but a woman without virtue is a disgrace.

Lazy people will never have money, but aggressive people will get rich.

17You do yourself a favour when you are kind. If you are cruel, you only hurt yourself.

18Wicked people do not really gain anything, but if you do what is right, you are certain to be rewarded.

19Anyone who is determined to do right will live, but anyone who insists on doing wrong will die.

20The LORD hates evil-minded people, but loves those who do right.

21You can be sure that evil people will be punished, but the righteous will escape.

22Beauty in a woman without good judgement is like a gold ring in a pig's snout.

23What good people want always results in good; when the wicked get what they want, everyone is angry.

24Some people spend their money freely and still grow richer. Others are cautious, and yet grow poorer.

25Be generous, and you will be prosperous. Help others, and you will be helped.

26People curse someone who hoards grain, waiting for a higher price, but they praise the one who puts it up for sale.

27If your goals are good, you will be respected, but if you are looking for trouble, that is what you will get.

28Those who depend on their wealth will fall like the leaves of autumn, but the righteous will prosper like the leaves of summer.

29Those who bring trouble on their families will have nothing at the end.

Foolish people will always be servants to the wise.

30Righteousness gives life, but violence takes it away.

31Those who are good are rewarded here on earth, so you can be sure that wicked and sinful people will be punished.

Proverbs 11GNBOpen in Bible reader
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