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Zephaniah 2 (New International Reader's Version)

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1 Gather your people together, you shameful nation of Judah! Gather them together! 2 Come together before the appointed time arrives. The day of the LORD will sweep in like straw blown by the wind. Soon the LORD's anger will burn against you. The day of his anger will come on you. 3 So look to him, all of you people in the land who worship him faithfully. You always do what he commands you to do. Continue to do what is right. Don't be proud. Then perhaps the LORD will keep you safe on the day he pours out his anger on the world.

A Message About Philistia

4 Gaza will be deserted. Ashkelon will be destroyed. Ashdod will be emptied out at noon. Ekron will be pulled up by its roots. 5 How terrible it will be for you Kerethites who live by the Mediterranean Sea! Philistia, the LORD has spoken against you. What happened to Canaan will happen to you. The LORD says, "I will destroy you. No one will be left." 6 The Kerethites live in the land by the sea. It will become a place for shepherds and sheep pens. 7 It will belong to those who are still left alive among the people of Judah. They will find grasslands there. They will take over the houses in Ashkelon and live in them. The LORD their God will take care of them. He will bless them with great success again.

A Message About Moab and Ammon

8 The LORD says, "I have heard Moab make fun of my people. The Ammonites also laughed at them. They told them that bad things would happen to their land. 9 So Moab will become like Sodom," announces the LORD who rules over all. "Ammon will be like Gomorrah. Weeds and salt pits will cover those countries. They will be dry and empty deserts forever. Those who are still left alive among my people will take all of their valuable things. So they will receive those lands as their own. And that is just as sure as I am alive." The LORD is the God of Israel. 10 Moab and Ammon will be judged because they are so proud. They made fun of the LORD's people. They laughed at them. 11 The LORD who rules over all will terrify Moab and Ammon. He will destroy all of the gods on earth. Then the nations on every shore will worship him. All of them will serve him in their own lands.

A Message About Cush

12 The LORD says, "People of Cush, you too will be killed with my sword."

A Message About Assyria

13 The LORD will reach out his powerful hand against the north. He will destroy Assyria. He'll leave Nineveh totally empty. It will be as dry as a desert. 14 Flocks and herds will lie down there. So will creatures of every kind. Desert owls and screech owls will rest on its pillars. Their cries will echo through the windows. The doorways will be full of trash. The cedar beams will be showing. 15 Nineveh is a carefree city. It lived in safety. It said to itself, "I am like a god. No one is greater than I am." But it has been destroyed. Wild animals make their home there. All those who pass by laugh and shake their fists at it.
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