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ZEPHANIAH

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 973 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ZEPHANIAH, the ninth of the minor prophets in the Bible. The name (Yah[weh] " hides " or " treasures "; there is a similar Phoenician compound of Baal) is borne by various individuals, in Jer. xxix. 25 (cf. 24); Zech. vi. 10, 14; I Chron. vi. 36, and among the Jews of Elephantine in Egypt (5th century B.c.). The prophet's ancestry is traced through Cushi (cf. Jer. xxxvi. 14) to his great-grandfather Hezekiah, who may, in spite of 2 Kings xx. 18, xxi. 1, be the well-known king of Judah (c. 720–690). This would agree fairly with the title (i. 1) which makes the prophet a contemporary of King Josiah (c. 637), and this in turn appears to agree (a) with the internal conditions (i. 4–6, cf. 2 Kings xxiii. 4, 5, 12) which, it is held, are evidently earlier than Josiah's reforms (62o); (b) with the denunciation of the royal household, but not of the (young) king himself (i. 8, iii. 3); (c) with the apparent allusion in ch. i. to the invasion of the Scythians (perhaps c. 626), and (d) with the anticipated downfall of Assyria and Nineveh (ii. 13, 607 B.C.). Zephaniah's prophecies are characterized by the denunciation of Judah and Jerusalem and the promise of a peaceful future, and these are interwoven with the idea of a world-wide judgment resulting in the sovereignty of a universally recognized Yahweh. The theme in its main outlines is a popular one in biblical prophecy, but when these 53 verses are carefully examined and compared with prophetical thought elsewhere, several difficult problems arise, an adequate solution of which cannot as yet be offered. After the title (i. I) and the announcement of the entire destruction of every living thing (2–3), the fate of Judah and Jerusalem is heralded (4-6). The name of Baal (so LXX.; remnant implies a date after Josiah's reforms) and of the idolatrous priests will be cut off, together with them that worship the " host of heaven " (condemned later than 62o in Jer. xix. 13, of. xliv. 15–19) and swear by the Ammonite god Milcom (or perhaps by their Moloch; for the persistence of his grim cult, see MoLocH). Silence is enjoined at the presence of Yahweh (v. 7, of. Zech. ii. 13) and there follows a fine description of " the Day of Yahweh " (vv. 7-18).1 The inveterate popular belief in the manifestation of the warring deity on behalf of his people (e.g. Isa. xxxiv. 8, lxiii. 4; Jer. xlvi. to; Obad. 15 ; Ezek. xxx. 3) is treated (a) ethically, as a day of judgment upon sin and pride (Amos v. 18 ; Isa. ii. 12–21) and (b) apocalyptically, is bound up with ideas of a universal doom. Punishment will fall upon an oppressive court, upon those who wear foreign apparel, and who " leap over the threshold " (v. 9, cf. I Sam. v. 5, a Philistine custom)—a protest against heathen intercourse, for which cf. Isa. ii. 6, and COSTUME, Oriental. The blow falls upon the north side of Jerusalem (v. to seq., the merchant quarter (?), cf. Zech. xiv. 21) ; the city will be ransacked and the indifferent or apathetic, who thought that Yahweh could do neither good nor evil (so, of the idols, Isa. xli. 23; Jer. x. 5) will be ruined. With V. 13 contrast the promises Isa. lxv. 21. " That day is a day of wrath " (v. 15) 2 with celestial signs (cf. Amos v. 18, 20, viii. Isa. xiii. lo; Joel ii. 2, iii. 15), war and distress, when wealth shall not avail (v. 18, of. Isa. xiii. 17, of the Medes against Babylon, and more generally Ezek. vii. 19). Thus Yahweh s jealousy fired by the dishonour shown towards him in Judah will make an end of all them that dwell in the earth (v. 18, cf. v. 2 seq., and see Isa. x. 23, where a remnant is promised). i For " day " (i.e. of battle) of. the Arab usage, W. R. Smith, Pro ph. of Israel, p. 398. The victorious and divine kings of Egypt in the XIXth and XXth Dynasties are likened to Baal in his " hour " (J. H. Breasted, Hist. Doc. Eg., iii. §§ 312, 326, iv. § Io6). 2 The Vulgate Dies irae dies illa, whence the striking hymn by Thomas of Celano (c. 1250). Chabazite Group. Heulandite {Heulandite Brewsterite Group. Epistilbite Wellsite Stilbite Phillipsite Group. Harmotome . Stilbite . . Gismondite . Laumontite Chabazite Gmelinite Levynite Analcite . Natrolite. Natrolite JMesolite . Group. Scolecite . Edingtonite Thomsonite H 4CaAl2(SiOa)6+3H20.
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