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Zephaniah 3 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

A Message About Jerusalem

How terrible it will be for Jerusalem!
    Its people crush others.
They refuse to obey the Lord.
    They are “unclean.”
They don’t obey anyone.
    They don’t accept the Lord’s warnings.
They don’t trust in him.
    They don’t ask their God for his help.
Jerusalem’s 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.
Their prophets care about nothing.
    They can’t be trusted.
Their priests make the temple “unclean.”
    They break the law they teach others to obey.
In spite of that, the Lord is good to Jerusalem.
    He never does anything that is wrong.
Every morning he does what is fair.
    Each new day he does the right thing.
But those who do what is wrong
    aren’t even ashamed of it.

Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant

The Lord says to his people,

“I have destroyed other nations.
    I have wiped out their forts.
I have left their streets deserted.
    No one walks along them.
Their cities are destroyed.
    They are deserted and empty.
Here is what I thought about Jerusalem.
‘Surely you will have respect for me.
    Surely you will accept my warning.’
    Then the city you think is safe would not be destroyed.
And I would not have to punish you so much.
    But they still wanted to go on sinning
    in every way they could.
So wait for me to come as judge,”
    announces the Lord.
“Wait for the day I will stand up
    to witness against all sinners.
I have decided to gather the nations.
    I will bring the kingdoms together.
And I will pour out all my burning anger on them.
    The fire of my jealous anger
    will burn the whole world up.

Israel Will Trust in the Lord

“But then I will purify what all the nations say.
    And they will use their words to worship me.
    They will serve me together.
10 My scattered people will come to me
    from beyond the rivers of Cush.
They will worship me.
    They will bring me offerings.
11 Jerusalem, you have done many wrong things to me.
    But at that time you will not be put to shame anymore.
That’s because I will remove from this city
    those who think so highly of themselves.
You will never be proud again
    on my holy mountain of Zion.
12 But inside your city I will leave
    those who are not proud at all.
    Those who are still left alive will trust in the Lord.
13 They will not do anything wrong.
They will not tell any lies.
    They will not say anything to fool other people.
They will eat and lie down in peace.
    And no one will make them afraid.”

14 People of Zion, sing!
    Israel, shout loudly!
People of Jerusalem, be glad!
    Let your hearts be full of joy.
15 The Lord has stopped punishing you.
    He has made your enemies turn away from you.
The Lord is the King of Israel.
    He is with you.
You will never again be afraid
    that others will harm you.
16 The time is coming when people will say to Jerusalem,
    “Zion, don’t be afraid.
    Don’t give up.
17 The Lord your God is with you.
    He is the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you.
    In his love he will no longer punish you.
    Instead, he will sing for joy because of you.”

18 The Lord says to his people,

“You used to celebrate my appointed feasts in Jerusalem.
    You are sad because you can’t do that anymore.
    Other people make fun of you because of that.
That sadness was a heavy load for you to carry.
    But I will remove that load from you.
19 At that time I will punish
    all those who crushed you.
I will save those among you who are disabled.
    I will gather those who have been taken away.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have been put to shame.
20 At that time I will gather you together.
    And I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the nations on earth.
I will bless you with great success again,”
    says the Lord.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Zephaniah 3 New International Version (NIV)


Woe to the city of oppressors,
    rebellious and defiled!
She obeys no one,
    she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
    she does not draw near to her God.
Her officials within her
    are roaring lions;
her rulers are evening wolves,
    who leave nothing for the morning.
Her prophets are unprincipled;
    they are treacherous people.
Her priests profane the sanctuary
    and do violence to the law.
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.

Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant

“I have destroyed nations;
    their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
    with no one passing through.
Their cities are laid waste;
    they are deserted and empty.
Of Jerusalem I thought,
    ‘Surely you will fear me
    and accept correction!’
Then her place of refuge[a] would not be destroyed,
    nor all my punishments come upon[b] her.
But they were still eager
    to act corruptly in all they did.
Therefore wait for me,”
    declares the Lord,
    “for the day I will stand up to testify.[c]
I have decided to assemble the nations,
    to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out my wrath on them—
    all my fierce anger.
The whole world will be consumed
    by the fire of my jealous anger.

Restoration of Israel’s Remnant

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
    that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
    and serve him shoulder to shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush[d]
    my worshipers, my scattered people,
    will bring me offerings.
11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame
    for all the wrongs you have done to me,
because I will remove from you
    your arrogant boasters.
Never again will you be haughty
    on my holy hill.
12 But I will leave within you
    the meek and humble.
The remnant of Israel
    will trust in the name of the Lord.
13 They will do no wrong;
    they will tell no lies.
A deceitful tongue
    will not be found in their mouths.
They will eat and lie down
    and no one will make them afraid.

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[e]
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.


  1. Zephaniah 3:7 Or her sanctuary
  2. Zephaniah 3:7 Or all those I appointed over
  3. Zephaniah 3:8 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew will rise up to plunder
  4. Zephaniah 3:10 That is, the upper Nile region
  5. Zephaniah 3:20 Or I bring back your captives
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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