Zephaniah 3
Contemporary English Version

Sinful Jerusalem

1Too bad for that disgusting,

corrupt, and lawless city!

2Forever rebellious

and rejecting correction,

Jerusalem refuses to trust

or obey the Lord God.

3Its officials are roaring lions,

its judges are wolves;

in the evening they attack,

by morning nothing is left.

4Jerusalem's prophets are proud

and not to be trusted.

The priests have disgraced

the place of worship

and abused God's Law.

5All who do evil are shameless,

but the Lord does right

and is always fair.

With the dawn of each day,

God brings about justice.

6The Lord wiped out nations

and left fortresses

crumbling in the dirt.

Their streets and towns

were reduced to ruins

and emptied of people.

7God felt certain that Jerusalem

would learn to respect

and obey him.

Then he would hold back

from punishing the city

and not wipe it out.

But everyone there was eager

to start sinning again.

Nations Will Turn to the Lord

8The Lord said:

Just wait for the day

when I accuse you nations.

I have decided on a day,

when I will bring together

every nation and kingdom

and punish them all

in my fiery anger.

I will become furious

and destroy the earth.

9I will purify each language

and make those languages

acceptable for praising me.+

Then, with hearts united,

everyone will serve

only me, the Lord.

10From across the rivers

of Ethiopia,+

my scattered people,

my true worshipers,

will bring offerings to me.

11When that time comes,

you won't rebel against me

and be put to shame.

I'll do away with those

who are proud and arrogant.

Never will any of them

strut around

on my holy mountain.

12But I, the Lord, won't destroy

any of your people

who are truly humble

and turn to me for safety.

13 The people of Israel who survive

will live right

and refuse to tell lies.

They will eat and rest

with nothing to fear.

A Song of Celebration

14Everyone in Jerusalem and Judah,

celebrate and shout

with all your heart!

15Zion, your punishment is over.

The Lord has forced your enemies

to turn and retreat.

Your Lord is King of Israel

and stands at your side;

you don't have to worry

about any more troubles.

16Jerusalem, the time is coming,

when it will be said to you:

“Don't be discouraged

or grow weak from fear!

17The Lord your God

wins victory after victory

and is always with you.

He celebrates and sings

because of you,

and he will refresh your life

with his love.”+

The Lord's Promise to His People

18The Lord has promised:

Your sorrow has ended,

and you can celebrate.+

19I will punish those

who mistreat you.

I will bring together the lame

and the outcasts,

then they will be praised,

instead of despised,

in every country on earth.

20I will lead you home,

and with your own eyes

you will see me bless you

with all you once owned.

Then you will be famous

everywhere on this earth.

I, the Lord, have spoken!


3.9 I will … praising me: Or “I will change the hearts of all people and make them fit for praising me.”
3.10 Ethiopia: See the note at 2.12.
3.17 refresh … love: Two ancient translations; Hebrew “silently show you his love.”
3.18 celebrate: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 18.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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