supply Zenas . . . and Apollos for their trip.” (Titus 3:13) At the time Zenas was evidently on the island of Crete, but where he and Apollos were going, whether to Nicopolis, where Paul hoped to meet Titus (vs. 12), or to some other place, is not stated. Paul says that Zenas was “versed in the [Mosaic] Law,” which may mean that he was either a Jew or a Jewish proselyte who had been converted to Christianity. His Greek name might favor the latter conclusion, but this is by no means decisive, since in the first century C.E., it was not uncommon for Jews to have Greek names. Other such examples include Justus, Dorcas and Mark.—Acts 1:23; 9:36; 12:25.
(Zeph·a·niʹah) [Jehovah has concealed or treasured].
1. A Levite in the genealogical line from Kohath to Samuel and Heman.—1 Chron. 6:33-38.
2. A prophet of Jehovah in Judah during the early part of Josiah’s reign, and writer of the book bearing his name. Zephaniah was apparently a great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah.—Zeph. 1:1; see ZEPHANIAH, BOOK OF.
3. A leading priest during the last decade of the kingdom of Judah; son of Maaseiah. Zephaniah was twice sent by Zedekiah to Jeremiah, first to inquire of Jehovah about Judah’s future and later to request him to pray on their behalf. (Jer. 21:1-3; 37:3) From a false prophet in Babylon, Zephaniah received a letter urging him to rebuke Jeremiah, but, instead of complying, Zephaniah read the letter to Jeremiah, who then wrote Jehovah’s reply. (Jer. 29:24-32) Following the fall of Jerusalem, Zephaniah, then second priest under Seraiah, was taken to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah and killed.—Jer. 52:24, 26, 27; 2 Ki. 25:18, 20, 21.
ZEPHANIAH, BOOK OF
This book of the Hebrew Scriptures contains the word of Jehovah by means of his prophet Zephaniah. It was in the days of Judean King Josiah (659-629 B.C.E.) that Zephaniah carried on his prophetic work. (Zeph. 1:1) In the twelfth year of Josiah’s reign, he being about twenty year of age, the king began an extensive campaign against idolatry and, from the eighteenth year of his rule until its conclusion, his subjects “did not turn aside from following Jehovah.” (2 Chron. 34:3-8, 33) Therefore, since the book of Zephaniah mentions the presence of foreign-god priests and the worship of Baal and heavenly bodies in Judah, the time for its composition may reasonably be placed before the start of Josiah’s reforms about 648 B.C.E.—Zeph. 1:4, 5.
When Zephaniah began prophesying, idolatry, violence and deception abounded in Judah. Many were saying in their heart: “Jehovah will not do good, and he will not do bad.” (Zeph. 1:12) But Zephaniah’s prophesying made it clear that Jehovah would execute vengeance upon unrepentant wrongdoers. (Zeph. 1:3–2:3; 3:1-5) His adverse judgments would be visited, not only upon Judah and Jerusalem, but also upon other peoples, the Philistines, Ammonites, Moabites, Ethiopians and Assyrians.—Zeph. 2:4-15.
The prophecy of Zephaniah would have been especially comforting to those who were endeavoring to serve Jehovah and who must have been greatly distressed about the detestable practices of Jerusalem’s inhabitants, including her corrupt princes, judges and priests. (Zeph. 3:1-7) As rightly disposed persons would have looked forward to the execution of divine judgment upon the wicked, they are evidently addressed with the words: “‘Keep yourselves in expectation of me,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘till the day of my rising up to the booty, for my judicial decision is to gather nations, for me to collect together kingdoms, in order to pour out upon them my denunciation, all my burning anger.’” (Zeph. 3:8) Eventually, after the outpouring of his anger on the “earth,” Jehovah would turn favorable attention to the remnant of his people Israel, restoring them from captivity and making them a name and a praise among all other peoples.—Zeph. 3:10-20.
The authenticity of the book of Zephaniah is well established. Often the thoughts expressed in this book find a parallel in other parts of the Bible. (Compare Zephaniah 1:3 with Hosea 4:3; Zephaniah 1:7 with Habakkuk 2:20 and Zechariah 2:13; Zephaniah 1:13 with Deuteronomy 28:30, 39 and Amos 5:11; Zephaniah 1:14 with Joel 1:15, and Zephaniah 3:19 with Micah 4:6, 7.) It harmonizes completely with the rest of the Scriptures in emphasizing vital truths. For example: Jehovah is a God of righteousness. (Zeph. 3:5; Deut. 32:4) Although providing opportunity for repentance, he does not indefinitely allow transgression to go unpunished. (Zeph. 2:1-3; Jer. 18:7-11; 2 Pet. 3:9, 10) Neither silver nor gold can deliver wicked persons in the day of Jehovah’s fury. (Zeph. 1:18; Prov. 11:4; Ezek. 7:19) To be favored with divine protection, one must conduct himself in harmony with God’s righteous judgments.—Zeph. 2:3; Amos 5:15.
Another outstanding evidence of the book’s canonicity is the fulfillment of prophecy. The foretold destruction came upon the Assyrian capital Nineveh at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar in 632 B.C.E. (Zeph. 2:13-15) and upon Judah and Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. (Zeph. 1:4-18; compare 2 Kings 25:1-10.) As allies of the Egyptians, the Ethiopians evidently experienced calamity at the time Nebuchadnezzar conquered Egypt. (Zeph. 2:12; compare Ezekiel 30:4, 5.) And the Ammonites, Moabites and Philistines eventually ceased to exist as a people.—Zeph. 2:4-11.
OUTLINE OF CONTENTS
I. Announcement of Jehovah’s judgment against Judah and Jerusalem (1:1-18)
A. Both animal and human creation to be affected; all practicers of idolatry to be destroyed (1:1-11)
B. Jerusalem to be searched carefully; no escape for those saying, “Jehovah will not do good, and he will not do bad” (1:12, 13)
C. Description of Jehovah’s day for executing vengeance (1:14-18)
II. Admonition to seek Jehovah before the coming of his day to execute vengeance (2:1-3)
III. Jehovah’s judgment against various nations surrounding Judah (2:4-15)
A. Philistia to become a land without inhabitant (2:4-7)
B. Moab to become like Sodom, and Ammon like Gomorrah (2:8-11)
C. Ethiopians to be slain by the sword (2:12)
D. Assyria to be destroyed, with capital city Nineveh becoming desolate waste (2:13-15)
IV. Corruption of Jerusalem’s inhabitants and their failure to heed discipline (3:1-7)
V. Restoration to follow pouring out of God’s anger upon nations (3:8-20)
A. Execution of God’s vengeance precedes giving peoples change to pure language (3:8, 9)
B. Remnant of Israel to be regathered from captivity and “set . . . as a praise and as a name in all the land” (3:10-20)