Message of destruction given to wicked in Judah

The prophet Zephaniah lived at the time of King Josiah (640-610 B.C.). Little is known of his ancestry, except that he described himself as the son of Cushi and the great-great-grandson of Hezekiah (Hizikiah) who is believed to be the same as King Hezekiah. His name means "the Lord hides." It is believed he began prophesying at about age 27. (Zeph. 1:1.)

Most likely, his prophecy falls between that of Micah and Nahum. Zephaniah's prophecy describes specifically the effect of judgment on Judah, Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia and Assyria.Like other prophets of this period, he saw little change in the hearts of the people to reward his efforts. Nor did his prophecies of the future lend any personal encouragement for improvement during the prophet's lifetime.

His dour outlook for the destruction of Judah was laced in biting words that left little doubt about the message he delivered.

"That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness," he wrote. (Zeph. 1:15.)

"That day," according to the Bible Dictionary of the LDS edition of the King James Bible, has reference to the Second Coming as well as to Zephaniah's time, when the Lord's wrath will fall on "all created things. "It falls on Judah for her idolatries, on the royal house, on the merchant classes, and on all the ungodly and indifferent. It falls also on the nations round about."


Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.

Information compiled by Gerry Avant and John Hart

Sources: Charles Scribner's Sons Dictionary of the Bible, Bible Dictionary, and April 1983 general conference report.

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