1tn The Hebrew text combines a Hitpolel imperative of קָשַׁשׁ (qashash) with a Qal imperative of the same root. Elsewhere this root appears in the polel stem with the meaning “gather stubble.” Zephaniah’s command is ironic, implying the people are like stubble or straw. As such, they are vulnerable to the Lord’s fiery judgment that will quickly consume them (see 1:18). See Adele Berlin, Zephaniah (AB 25A), 96.

2tn Some relate this word to an Aramaic cognate meaning “to be ashamed.” With the negative particle it would then mean “unashamed” (cf. NIV “shameful”; NRSV “shameless”). However, elsewhere in biblical Hebrew the verb means “to desire,” or with the negative particle “undesirable.” Cf. also NEB “unruly.”

3tn Heb “before the giving birth of a decree.” For various alternative readings, see J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 187-88.

4tn The second half of the line reads literally, “like chaff it passes by a day.” The translation above assumes the “day” is the brief time God is giving the nation to repent. The comparison of this quickly passing opportunity to chaff is consistent with the straw imagery of v. 1.

5tn Heb “the fury of the anger of the Lord.” The synonyms are combined to emphasize the extreme degree of the Lord’s anger.

6tn Heb “comes upon.” This phrase occurs twice in this verse.

7tn Heb “seek the Lord,” but “favor” seems to be implied from the final line of the verse.

8tn Or “poor.” The precise referent of this Hebrew term is unclear. The word may refer to the economically poor or to the spiritually humble.

9tn The present translation assumes the Hebrew term מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) here refers to God’s covenantal requirements and is a synonym for the Law. The word can mean “justice” and could refer more specifically to the principles of justice contained in the Law. In this case the phrase could be translated, “who have promoted the justice God demands.”

10tn Heb “Seek what is right.”

11tn Heb “Seek humility.”

12tn Heb “hidden.” Cf. NEB “it may be that you will find shelter”; NRSV “perhaps you may be hidden.”

13tn Or “for” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).

14tn There is a sound play here in the Hebrew text: the name Gaza (עַזָּה, ’azzah) sounds like the word translated “deserted” (עֲזוּבָה, ’azuvah).

15tn Or “a desolate place.”

16tn Heb “[As for] Ashdod, at noon they will drive her away.”

sn The reference to noon may suggest a sudden, quick defeat (see Jer 6:4; 15:8).

17tn Heb “uprooted.” There is a sound play here in the Hebrew text: the name “Ekron” (עֶקְרוֹן, ’eqron) sounds like the word translated “uprooted” (תֵּעָקֵר, teaqer).

18tn Heb “Kerethites,” a people settled alongside the Philistines in the coastal areas of southern Palestine (cf. 1 Sam 30:14; Ezek 25:16). They originally came from the island of Crete.

19tn Heb “Woe, inhabitants of the coast of the sea, nation of Kerethites.” The Hebrew term הוֹי (hoy, “ah, woe”), is used to mourn the dead and express outwardly one’s sorrow (see 1 Kgs 13:30; Jer 22:18; 34:5). By using it here the prophet mourns in advance the downfall of the Philistines, thereby emphasizing the certainty of their demise (“as good as dead”). Some argue the word does not have its earlier connotation here and is simply an attention-getting interjection, equivalent to “Hey!”

20tn Heb “the word of the Lord is against you.”

21tn Heb “I will destroy you so there is no inhabitant [remaining].”

22tn The NIV here supplies the phrase “where the Kerethites dwell” (“Kerethites” is translated in v. 5 as “the people who came from Crete”) as an interpretive gloss, but this phrase is not in the MT. The NAB likewise reads “the coastland of the Cretans,” supplying “Cretans” here.

23tn The Hebrew phrase here is נְוֹת כְּרֹת (n˙vot k˙rot). The first word is probably a plural form of נָוָה (navah, “pasture”). The meaning of the second word is unclear. It may be a synonym of the preceding word (cf. NRSV “pastures, meadows for shepherds”); there is a word כַּר (kar, “pasture”) in biblical Hebrew, but elsewhere it forms its plural with a masculine ending. Some have suggested the meaning “wells” or “caves” used as shelters (cf. NEB “shepherds’ huts”); in this case, one might translate, “The seacoast will be used for pasturelands; for shepherds’ wells/caves.”

24tn Heb “the remnant of the house of Judah.”

25tn Or “the coast will belong to the remnant of the house of Judah.”

26tc Heb “on them,” but the antecedent of the masculine pronoun is unclear. It may refer back to the “pasture lands,” though that noun is feminine. It is preferable to emend the text from עֲלֵיהֶם (’alehem) to עַל־הַיָּם (’al-hayyam, “by the sea”) an emendation that assumes a misdivision and transposition of letters in the MT (cf. NEB “They shall pasture their flocks by the sea”). See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 192.

27tn The referent of the pronominal subject (“they”) is unclear. It may refer (1) to the shepherds (in which case the first verb should be translated, “pasture their sheep,” cf. NEB), or (2) to the Judahites occupying the area, who are being compared to sheep (cf. NIV, “there they will find pasture”).

28tn Or “will care for them.”

29tn Traditionally, “restore their captivity,” i.e., bring back their captives, but it is more likely the expression means “restore their fortunes” in a more general sense (cf. NEB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

30tn Heb “who.” A new sentence was begun here in the translation for stylistic reasons.

31tn Heb “and they made great [their mouth?] against their territory.” Other possible translation options include (1) “they enlarged their own territory” (cf. NEB) and (2) “they bragged about [the size] of their own territory.”

32tn The Hebrew text reads מִמְשַׁק חָרוּל (mimshaq kharul, “[?] of weeds”). The meaning of the first word is unknown. The present translation (“They will be overrun by weeds”) is speculative, based on the general sense of the context. For a defense of “overrun” on linguistic grounds, see R. D. Patterson, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (WEC), 347. Cf. NEB “a pile of weeds”; NIV “a place of weeds”; NRSV “a land possessed by nettles.”

33tn The Hebrew text reads וּמִכְרֵה־מֶלַח (umikhreh-melakh, “and a [?] of salt”). The meaning of the first word is unclear, though “pit” (NASB, NIV, NRSV; NKJV “saltpit”), “mine,” and “heap” (cf. NEB “a rotting heap of saltwort”) are all options. The words “filled with” are supplied for clarification.

34tn Or “The remnant of my people.”

35tn Heb “them.” The actual object of the plundering, “their belongings,” has been specified in the translation for clarity.

36tn Heb “[the] nation.” For clarity the “nation” has been specified as “Judah” in the translation.

37tn Heb “this is for them in place of their arrogance.”

38tn Heb “made great [their mouth?] against” (cf. the last phrase of v. 8).

39tn Heb “will be awesome over [or, “against”] them.”

40tn Or “certainly.”

41tn The meaning of this rare Hebrew word is unclear. If the meaning is indeed “weaken,” then this line may be referring to the reduction of these gods’ territory through conquest (see Adele Berlin, Zephaniah [AB 25A], 110-11). Cf. NEB “reduce to beggary”; NASB “starve”; NIV “when he destroys”; NRSV “shrivel.”

42tn Heb “and all the coastlands of the nations will worship [or, “bow down”] to him, each from his own place.”

43sn Though there is no formal introduction, these words are apparently spoken by the Lord (note my sword).

44tn Heb “Cushites.” This is traditionally assumed to refer to people from the region south of Egypt, i.e., Nubia or northern Sudan, referred to as “Ethiopia” by classical authors (not the more recent Abyssinia).

45tn Heb “Also you Cushites, who lie dead by my sword.”

46tn Heb “He”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

47tn Heb “he will stretch out his hand against the north.”

48tn Or “dry.”

49tn Heb “flocks.” The Hebrew word can refer to both flocks of sheep and herds of cattle.

50tn Heb “[and] all the wild animals of a nation.” How גוֹי (goy, “nation”) relates to what precedes is unclear. It may be a corruption of another word. See J. J. M. Roberts, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (OTL), 193.

51tn The Hebrew text reads here גַּם־קָאַת גַּם־קִפֹּד (gam-qaat gam-qippod). The term קָאַת refers to some type of bird (see Lev 11:18; Deut 14:17) that was typically found near ruins (Isa 34:11); one of the most common translations is “owl” (cf. NEB “horned owl”; NIV, NRSV “desert owl”; contra NASB “pelican”). The term קִפֹּד may also refer to a type of bird (cf. NEB “ruffed bustard”; NIV, NRSV “screech owl”). Some suggest a rodent may be in view (cf. NASB “hedgehog”); this is not unreasonable, for a rodent or some other small animal would be able to sleep in the tops of pillars which would be lying in the ruins of the fallen buildings.

52tn Heb “a sound will sing in the window.” If some type of owl is in view, “hoot” is a more appropriate translation (cf. NEB, NRSV).

53tn Heb “rubble [will be] on the threshold.” “Rubble” translates the Hebrew word חֹרֶב (khorev, “desolation”). Some emend to עֹרֵב (’orev, “raven”) following the LXX and Vulgate; Adele Berlin translates, “A voice shall shriek from the window – a raven at the sill” (Zephaniah [AB 25A], 104).

54tn The meaning of the Hebrew word translated “cedar work” (so NASB, NRSV) is unclear; NIV has “the beams of cedar.”

55tn Heb “one will expose.” The subject is probably indefinite, though one could translate, “for he [i.e., God] will lay bare.”

56tn Heb “this is the proud city.”

57tn Heb “the one that lived securely.”

58tn Heb “the one who says in her heart.”

59tn Heb “I [am], and besides me there is no other.”

60tn Heb “hisses”; or “whistles.”

61sn Hissing (or whistling) and shaking the fist were apparently ways of taunting a defeated foe or an object of derision in the culture of the time.