Zephaniah 1:3

3 "Men and women and animals, including birds and fish - Anything and everything that causes sin - will go, but especially people.

Zephaniah 1:3 Meaning and Commentary

Zephaniah 1:3

I will consume man and beast
Wicked men for their sins, and beasts for the sins of men; and, as a punishment for them, the creatures whom they have abused to the gratifying of their lusts: I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea;
so that there shall be none for the use of man, which are both delicate food; the latter were not consumed at the general deluge. Kimchi thinks this is said by way of hyperbole; but it is possible for these to be consumed, as men by famine, pestilence, and captivity, and beasts by murrain; so the fowls of the air by the noisomeness of it; and the fishes of the sea, that is, such as were in the sea of Tiberias, and other lakes in Judea, by the stagnation of the waters, or by some disease sent among them; unless wicked men, comparable to them, are intended; though they are expressly mentioned, both before and after: and the stumblingblocks with the wicked:
that is, idols, which are stumblingblocks to men, and cause them to offend and fall; these, together with those that made them, and the priests that sacrificed unto them, and the people that worshipped them, should be consumed from off the land: or, "the stumblingblocks of the wicked"; for (ta) is sometimes used as a sign of the genitive case, as Noldius F9 observes; and so the Vulgate Latin version and the Targum render it: and I will cut off men from off the land, saith the Lord:
this is repeated for the certainty of it; or else this designs another sort of men from the former; and that, as before wicked men are designed, here such as are not perfectly wicked, as Kimchi observes; yea, the righteous should be carried captive, so that the land should be left desolate, without men, good or bad; for even good men may fall in a general calamity, and be cut off from the land, though not from the Lord. The Septuagint indeed here render it wicked men. The phrase, "saith the Lord", is twice expressed, for the certain confirmation of it; for it may be concluded it will be, since God has said it again and again that it shall be.


F9 Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 122.

Zephaniah 1:3 In-Context

1 God's Message to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah. It came during the reign of Josiah son of Amon, who was king of Judah:
2 "I'm going to make a clean sweep of the earth, a thorough housecleaning." God's Decree.
3 "Men and women and animals, including birds and fish - Anything and everything that causes sin - will go, but especially people.
4 "I'll start with Judah and everybody who lives in Jerusalem. I'll sweep the place clean of every trace of the sex-and-religion Baal shrines and their priests.
5 I'll get rid of the people who sneak up to their rooftops at night to worship the star gods and goddesses; Also those who continue to worship God but cover their bases by worshiping other king-gods as well;
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.