Zephaniah 3:3

3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning.

Zephaniah 3:3 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
English Standard Version (ESV)
3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning.
New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims. Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey.
The Message Bible (MSG)
3 Her very own leaders are rapacious lions, Her judges are rapacious timber wolves out every morning prowling for a fresh kill.
American Standard Version (ASV)
3 Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they leave nothing till the morrow.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
3 Its officials are [like] roaring lions. Its judges are [like] wolves in the evening. They leave nothing to gnaw on for the morning.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
3 The princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are wolves of the night, which leave nothing for the morning.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
3 Their officials are like roaring lions. Their rulers are like wolves that hunt in the evening. They don't leave anything to eat in the morning.

Zephaniah 3:3 Meaning and Commentary

Zephaniah 3:3

Her princes within her [are] roaring lions
Or, "as roaring lions"; there being a defect of the note of similitude; which is supplied by the Targum, Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions. This is to be understood, not of the princes of the blood; but of civil magistrates in common; the members of the grand sanhedrim; the princes of the Jewish world, that crucified the Lord of glory; and who gaped upon him with their mouths like ravening and roaring lions, as is foretold they should, ( Psalms 22:12 Psalms 22:13 ) and who breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Christ; and by their menaces endeavoured to frighten and deter them from preaching in his name, and from a profession of him; see ( 1 Corinthians 2:8 ) ( Acts 4:5 Acts 4:6 Acts 4:18 ) ( Acts 5:27 Acts 5:28 ) : her judges [are] evening wolves;
or, like them, cruel, voracious, never satisfied; especially are very ravenous in the evening, having had no food all day; not daring to go abroad in the daytime to seek their prey; see ( Jeremiah 5:6 ) . The Septuagint and Arabic versions read "wolves of Arabia"; but wrongly; (See Gill on Habakkuk 1:8) such rapacious covetous judges were there in Christ's time; who gives us an instance in one, by which we may judge of the rest, who feared not God, nor regarded men, ( Luke 18:2 ) such as these were hungry and greedy after gifts and bribes to pervert judgment, and to devour the poor, the widow, and the fatherless, on whom they had no mercy: they gnaw not the bones till the morrow;
or rather, "in the morning" {z}; that is, either they leave not the bones till the morning, as Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; they are so hungry, that they eat up bones and all at once, and reserve nothing for the next day; which expresses both the greediness of these judges, and the total consumption of the estates of men made by them: or else the sense is, that not having gnawn any bones in the morning, or eaten anything that day, hence they are so greedy in the evening; and so this last clause gives a reason why evening wolves are so voracious; for which such cruel judges are compared to them.


F26 (rqbl) "in mane", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; "matutino", Cocceius.

Zephaniah 3:3 In-Context

1 Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled!
2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD, she does not draw near to her God.
3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning.
4 Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.
5 The LORD within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.

Cross References 3

  • 1. S Psalms 22:13
  • 2. S Genesis 49:27; Ezekiel 22:27
  • 3. S Micah 3:3
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