OT Encounters: Zephaniah 1:7-16: The Day of the Lord

By Jeff Pulse

The Old Testament text for this Sunday, November 19, 2017, comes from the prophet Zephaniah in the Book of the Twelve. The text is Zephaniah 1:7-16, and once again, the “Day of the LORD” is the subject of these verses. As discussed in our text last week from the prophet Amos, the “Day of the LORD” will not be what people are expecting. The “Day of the LORD” expectations varied greatly from group to group and age to age. We see these various ideas addressed in the New Testament as Jesus tells the disciples, “No man knows the hour or the day” of the Day of the LORD, nor do they know what it will look like or what it will mean. Yet, it is being misrepresented and misunderstood by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes, etc. Plus, the grassroots, common folk, have their own thoughts and traditions. So it is also at the time of Zephaniah. However, there is an additional complication—first coming or second coming? As we look through these verses, this remains the challenge—first coming or second coming—or is it both? The first verse (vs. 7) certainly begs the question: If the guests are made holy by a sacrifice, and the invitation is to the “marriage feast of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7), we can see both comings of Christ in these prophetic words.

1:7 Has—“be silent; keep silence; hush”

      Adonay Yahweh—Literally “The Lord of LORD”; frequently translated “The LORD God.”

    Hiqdish—root: qadash “to be holy”—hiphil: “to cause to be holy” “to make holy” (an action carried out by the LORD)

1:8 Wuphaqadthi—root: paqad “to visit; remember” The idea here is the visiting /bringing of punishment.

       Malbush nacriy—“foreign robe” “foreign attire”

1:9 Hadoleg—root: dalag “to leap”

       Miphtan—“lower sill; doorstep; threshold” (as in an uninvited, or unwanted guest)

       Mirmah—“deceit; treachery; trick”

1:10 Tseaqah—“cry (loud); yelling; screaming”

         Yelalah—“wailing”

         Mishneh—“second quarter” This refers to a portion of the City of Jerusalem.

         Shever—“crash (crashing)”

1:11 Heyliylu—root: yalal—hiphil “lament; howl; wail”

         Maktesh—“hollow; mortar; shallow place”

         Nidmah—root: damah—niphal “to be cut off; destroyed”

1:12 Achapes—root: chapas—piel “to search; search through (in a thorough manner)”

      Haqophim—root: qapa—qal participle “the ones who thicken” followed by “shemer” (dregs [of wine]) This phrase is often translated as “complacent ones” perhaps with the understanding of waiting around, not caring, not doing—as in the waiting for wine to age.

        Yarea—root: raa – hiphil “”to do evil (to another); to injure; cause injury”

1:13 Nata—“to plant”

1:14 Maher—piel “to make haste”

       Tsoreach—“to shout; scream out”

1:15 Tsarah—“distress; anxiety”

          Metsuqah—“distress”

          Shoah—“devastation; destruction”

          Meshiah—“desolation”

          Choshek—“darkness”

          Ephelah—“darkness”

          Araphel—“thick darkness”

Obviously, the “Day of the LORD” looks frightening according to the words of Zephaniah. The question is for whom.

1:16 shophar—“horn (ram’s horn)” Used for warning, but also as call to battle and a call to worship.

 

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