Search Engine

Provide a keyword or phrase below to find blog entries relevant to your search:

Results For

No Results


< Return to List

©John Yerkes

Chapter 1:1 (ESV)

Posted on May 24, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 1:1 (ESV) - The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

Question to consider: How do you think Zephaniah knew this was “the word of the LORD”?

The name Zephaniah means “Yahweh has hidden”. He was a contemporary of Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Jeremiah. If you remember from our study of Habakkuk, Josiah the son of Amon became king of Israel when he was only eight years old. His father Amon only reigned for two years, and Amon continued the corruption of Manasseh. Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah. I believe this to be the very same Hezekiah listed in the lineage of Zephaniah, and that in giving these references, Zephaniah revealed his relation to the current king.

When I say that Zephaniah was a contemporary of Habakkuk, I merely mean that the two lived around the same time. I believe Habakkuk was younger than Zephaniah and grew up under the latter part of king Josiah’s reign after the reforms had been put into place and was then shocked by the iniquity that occurred under Jehoiakim. Because Josiah was so young when he became king, it wasn’t until later in his reign that he started undoing the harm that his forefathers had done and pointed the people of Judah back to the LORD.

It is quite possible that if Zephaniah was related to king Josiah, he became an influence to the young man and helped him make the necessary reforms after giving him this word of judgment from the LORD.

If I were given the opportunity to interview Zephaniah, I would definitely ask him the manner in which he received this oracle from God. Self-appointed prophets today believe that they receive a word from God through an inaudible voice in their head or a personal dream or sign. Daniel received prophetic visions and a visit from the angel Gabriel, but Zephaniah doesn’t say how he received this word.

It brings up the question though of how someone can know that they have received the word of the LORD. All of the prophetic texts and visions in scripture proclaim God’s judgment for sin, mercy for those who repent, and the ultimate freedom from sin in Christ. Jesus told the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39) If the reforms of Josiah were because he repented at the hearing of Zephaniah’s word from the LORD, it explains why the judgments would not come until after his reign.

Today, those who proclaim to receive a word from the LORD outside of the scriptures seem more like fortune tellers than prophets. Regardless of whether their prognostications come to pass, they always seem to deal with worldly treasures and events rather than the Spirit of God calling people to repentance. They focus more on the self than on Christ. The truth of the matter is that if someone preaches Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins, it doesn’t take a new word from God to do so. The revealed scriptures are still living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your word through the Old Testament prophets which proclaimed Christ to us hundreds of years before He came. Now that He has come, help us to proclaim the word that You have already revealed to us so that all people may understand what He has done for us. Amen.