Zephaniah – Chapter 3

There's No Need to Fear!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Zephaniah says woe to Jerusalem, polluted by her sins. She is like a dove – a pretty bird, but perhaps not the smartest in the coop. She refused to obey G-d’s Torah and did not heed the prophets who tried to steer her back onto the proper path. The leaders of the city are predators, the false prophets are treacherous, and the kohanim (priests) have undermined the Torah by perverting its teachings. But G-d’s presence rests in the city and He has a “front-row seat.” He won’t tolerate this. He has punished nations for such things, emptying them out. If they would but listen to Him, Jerusalem could be spared this fate, but they continue in their evil ways. Since they will not relent, G-d says they should expect the day He is sending.

G-d is gathering nations against them and the land will feel the effects of His anger. Subsequent to this, the nations of the world will all recognize the One G-d, worshiping Him alone. The Jews will no longer be ashamed of their misdeeds, which will be forgiven and forgotten. The unrepentant will be removed, leaving those who submit to G-d. Those who remain will not commit acts of injustice or falsehood; they will get along peacefully. Everyone will sing and rejoice because G-d has removed the things that afflict the people. G-d Himself is King of Israel and He will allow no harm to come to His people.

The people of Jerusalem will have no fear. G-d is among them and He will rejoice over them. His love for them will cause Him to overlook their faults. He will remove those who desecrated His Sabbaths and holidays; such people were a shame on the nation. G-d will punish Israel’s oppressors, rescue the helpless and gather the scattered ones. They will have praise in the land where they once had shame. The exiles of both Jewish nations, Judah and the “lost” ten Tribes of Israel, will all be gathered together in plain sight of all mankind.

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