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Book of the Twelve Prophets of the Tanakh Old Testament
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"Little" ( Book of the Twelve Prophets )

Zefaniah or Zephania is a prophet and the scripture named after him in the Tanach . There it belongs to the Book of the Twelve Prophets (Dodecapropheton). She is called Sophonias in the Septuagint and Sofonias in the Vulgate .


The Hebrew personal name Zefanja is mainly used in MT צְפַנְיָה ṣəfanjāh written. The spelling also exists (not for the prophet, but for a priest of the same name) in 2 Kings 25:18  BHSצְפַנְיָהוּ ṣəfanjāhû . In both cases it is a question of record names. The subject (the theophoric elementיָה jāh orיָהוּ jāhû ) is YHWH , the predicate belongs to the root of the verbצפן ṣfn , German ' to hide / bergen / keep ' . The name is a thank you name and means "YHWH has (protective) hid / hidden".

The Septuagint gives the name as Σοφονιας Sophonias , the Vulgate as Sofonias .


Apart from his name Zefanja and his ancestors over four generations nothing certain is known of the author. The great-great-grandfather Hezekiah could be the Israeli King Hezekiah - this is temporally possible, but not provable. But it would explain why, contrary to the usual practice, not only the father was mentioned. Since he is called the “son of the Ethiopian”, it can be assumed that he was a stranger and came from another country.

According to Zef 1.4  EU (“at this place”) and the detailed descriptions of the place, he is likely to have been a resident of Jerusalem or at least worked there.


According to Zef 1,1  EU , Zefaniah received his messages at the time of the Jewish king Joschiah ( 639 BC - 609 BC ). According to the content, the prophecies were made before Joschiah's cult reform in 622 BC. BC and before the destruction of Nineveh in 612 BC. Chr.

This means that Zefanja is located between Nahum and Habakkuk .


  • Heading ( Zef 1.1  EU )
  • Impending judgment on Judah (1.2-2.3 EU )
    • Judgment on the sins of Judah (1.2-13 EU )
    • Judgment Day of the Lord (1.14–18 EU )
    • Call to repentance (2.1-3 EU )
  • Court of Nations (2.4–15 EU )
    • About the Philistines (2.4–7 EU )
    • About Moab and Ammon (2.8-10 EU )
    • About the peoples in the west and south (2.11f EU )
    • About Assyria (2.13–15 EU )
  • Reputation over the hardened Jerusalem (3.1–20 EU )
    • Wrath of God in the final judgment and coming salvation (3.1–7 EU )
    • Only a remnant of Gentiles and Jews survived the judgment (3.8–13 EU )
    • Salvation for Jerusalem (3.14–20 EU )

Important places

Other bearers of the name Zefaniah in the Bible

Other biblical persons are called Zefaniah :

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Rechenmacher : Old Hebrew personal names , Münster 2012, p. 158.