Zephaniah 3

1Ah, sullied, polluted, Overbearing city!

אהוֹי מֹרְאָה וְנִגְאָלָה הָעִיר הַיּוֹנָה׃

2She has been disobedient, Has learned no lesson; She has not trusted in Hashem, Has not drawn near to her God.

בלֹא שָׁמְעָה בְּקוֹל לֹא לָקְחָה מוּסָר בַּיהֹוָה לֹא בָטָחָה אֶל־אֱלֹהֶיהָ לֹא קָרֵבָה׃

3The officials within her Are roaring lions; Her judges are wolves of the steppe, They leave no bone until morning.

גשָׂרֶיהָ בְקִרְבָּהּ אֲרָיוֹת שֹׁאֲגִים שֹׁפְטֶיהָ זְאֵבֵי עֶרֶב לֹא גָרְמוּ לַבֹּקֶר׃

4Her Neviim are reckless, Faithless fellows; Her Kohanim profane what is holy, They give perverse rulings.

דנְבִיאֶיהָ פֹּחֲזִים אַנְשֵׁי בֹּגְדוֹת כֹּהֲנֶיהָ חִלְּלוּ־קֹדֶשׁ חָמְסוּ תּוֹרָה׃

5But Hashem in her midst is righteous, He does no wrong; He issues judgment every morning, As unfailing as the light. The wrongdoer knows no shame!

היְהֹוָה צַדִּיק בְּקִרְבָּהּ לֹא יַעֲשֶׂה עַוְלָה בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר מִשְׁפָּטוֹ יִתֵּן לָאוֹר לֹא נֶעְדָּר וְלֹא־יוֹדֵעַ עַוָּל בֹּשֶׁת׃

6I wiped out nations: Their corner towers are desolate; I turned their thoroughfares into ruins, With none passing by; Their towns lie waste without people, Without inhabitants.

והִכְרַתִּי גוֹיִם נָשַׁמּוּ פִּנּוֹתָם הֶחֱרַבְתִּי חוּצוֹתָם מִבְּלִי עוֹבֵר נִצְדּוּ עָרֵיהֶם מִבְּלִי־אִישׁ מֵאֵין יוֹשֵׁב׃

7And I thought that she would fear Me, Would learn a lesson, And that the punishment I brought on them Would not be lost on her. Instead, all the more eagerly They have practiced corruption in all their deeds.

זאָמַרְתִּי אַךְ־תִּירְאִי אוֹתִי תִּקְחִי מוּסָר וְלֹא־יִכָּרֵת מְעוֹנָהּ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר־פָּקַדְתִּי עָלֶיהָ אָכֵן הִשְׁכִּימוּ הִשְׁחִיתוּ כֹּל עֲלִילוֹתָם׃

8But wait for Me—says Hashem— For the day when I arise as an accuser; When I decide to gather nations, To bring kingdoms together, To pour out My indignation on them, All My blazing anger. Indeed, by the fire of My passion All the earth shall be consumed.

חלָכֵן חַכּוּ־לִי נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה לְיוֹם קוּמִי לְעַד כִּי מִשְׁפָּטִי לֶאֱסֹף גּוֹיִם לְקָבְצִי מַמְלָכוֹת לִשְׁפֹּךְ עֲלֵיהֶם זַעְמִי כֹּל חֲרוֹן אַפִּי כִּי בְּאֵשׁ קִנְאָתִי תֵּאָכֵל כָּל־הָאָרֶץ׃

9For then I will make the peoples pure of speech, So that they all invoke Hashem by name And serve Him with one accord.

kee AZ eh-POKH el a-MEEM sa-FAH v'-ru-RAH lik-RO khu-LAM b-SHAYM a-do-NAI l'-ov-DO sh'-KHEM e-KHAD

טכִּי־אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל־עַמִּים שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם יְהֹוָה לְעָבְדוֹ שְׁכֶם אֶחָד׃

 3:9  Pure of speech

The prophet describes how in the future, all the nations of the world will have ‘pure speech,’ safa b’rurah (שפה ברורה). Ibn Ezra, among other commentators, maintains that the pure speech that Tzefanya promises is the language of Hebrew, and that in future times the whole world will begin to learn Hebrew, the language of Creation. Biblical Hebrew is known as lashon hakodesh (לשון הקודש), ‘the holy language’. The Maharal (Deuteronomy 1:23) writes that each language reflects the essence of the nation who speaks it. Since the Jewish people are a holy people, they speak the holy language, and since it is holy and pure, it contains no vulgar or shameful words. The Ramban (Exodus 30:13) adds that what makes this language holy is that “it is the language with which God speaks with His prophets and His nation.” This verse is another incredible example of an obscure prophecy that has come to prominent fruition in our generation, as millions of people all over the world, both Jews and gentiles, are learning Hebrew in order to speak lashon hakodesh.

10From beyond the rivers of Cush, My suppliants Shall bring offerings to Me in Fair Puzai.

ימֵעֵבֶר לְנַהֲרֵי־כוּשׁ עֲתָרַי בַּת־פוּצַי יוֹבִלוּן מִנְחָתִי׃

11In that day, You will no longer be shamed for all the deeds By which you have defied Me. For then I will remove The proud and exultant within you, And you will be haughty no more On My sacred mount.

יאבַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֹא תֵבוֹשִׁי מִכֹּל עֲלִילֹתַיִךְ אֲשֶׁר פָּשַׁעַתְּ בִּי כִּי־אָז אָסִיר מִקִּרְבֵּךְ עַלִּיזֵי גַּאֲוָתֵךְ וְלֹא־תוֹסִפִי לְגָבְהָה עוֹד בְּהַר קָדְשִׁי׃

12But I will leave within you A poor, humble folk, And they shall find refuge In the name of Hashem.

יבוְהִשְׁאַרְתִּי בְקִרְבֵּךְ עַם עָנִי וָדָל וְחָסוּ בְּשֵׁם יְהֹוָה׃

13The remnant of Yisrael Shall do no wrong And speak no falsehood; A deceitful tongue Shall not be in their mouths. Only such as these shall graze and lie down, With none to trouble them.

יגשְׁאֵרִית יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא־יַעֲשׂוּ עַוְלָה וְלֹא־יְדַבְּרוּ כָזָב וְלֹא־יִמָּצֵא בְּפִיהֶם לְשׁוֹן תַּרְמִית כִּי־הֵמָּה יִרְעוּ וְרָבְצוּ וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד׃

14Shout for joy, Fair Tzion, Cry aloud, O Yisrael! Rejoice and be glad with all your heart, Fair Yerushalayim!

ידרָנִּי בַּת־צִיּוֹן הָרִיעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל שִׂמְחִי וְעָלְזִי בְּכָל־לֵב בַּת יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

15Hashem has annulled the judgment against you, He has swept away your foes. Yisrael's Sovereign Hashem is within you; You need fear misfortune no more.

טוהֵסִיר יְהֹוָה מִשְׁפָּטַיִךְ פִּנָּה אֹיְבֵךְ מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהֹוָה בְּקִרְבֵּךְ לֹא־תִירְאִי רָע עוֹד׃

16In that day, This shall be said to Yerushalayim: Have no fear, O Tzion; Let not your hands droop!

טזבַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יֵאָמֵר לִירוּשָׁלַ ִם אַל־תִּירָאִי צִיּוֹן אַל־יִרְפּוּ יָדָיִךְ׃

17Your God Hashem is in your midst, A warrior who brings triumph. He will rejoice over you and be glad, He will shout over you with jubilation. He will soothe with His love

a-do-NAI e-lo-HA-yikh b'-kir-BAYKH gi-BOR yo-SHEE-a ya-SEES a-LA-yikh b'-sim-KHAH ya-kha-REESH b'-A-ha-va-TO ya-GIL a-LA-yikh b'-ri-NAH

יזיְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַיִךְ בְּקִרְבֵּך גִּבּוֹר יוֹשִׁיעַ יָשִׂישׂ עָלַיִךְ בְּשִׂמְחָה יַחֲרִישׁ בְּאַהֲבָתוֹ יָגִיל עָלַיִךְ בְּרִנָּה׃

 3:17  He will shout over you with jubilation. He will soothe with His love

Tzefanya describes the result of Hashem’s judgement in triumphant terms. Having removed evil from the world, He will allow the remnant of Israel to live safely in its land, knowing that God dwells among the People of Israel in the Land of Israel. Hashem himself will rejoice and sing when He sees His people dwelling in the land without fear of evil. The phrase yacharish b’ahavato (יחריש באהבתו), translated here as ‘He will soothe with His love,’ literally means that God ‘will be silent in His love.’ This wording intrigues many. Rashi suggest that the message behind these words is that in His love, Hashem will be silent even should Israel sin again. Sometimes, the greatest demonstration of love in a relationship is when one side can ignore the shortcomings of the other.

18Those long disconsolate. I will take away from you the woe Over which you endured mockery.

יחנוּגֵי מִמּוֹעֵד אָסַפְתִּי מִמֵּךְ הָיוּ מַשְׂאֵת עָלֶיהָ חֶרְפָּה׃

19At that time I will make [an end] Of all who afflicted you. And I will rescue the lame [sheep] And gather the strayed; And I will exchange their disgrace For fame and renown in all the earth.

יטהִנְנִי עֹשֶׂה אֶת־כָּל־מְעַנַּיִךְ בָּעֵת הַהִיא וְהוֹשַׁעְתִּי אֶת־הַצֹּלֵעָה וְהַנִּדָּחָה אֲקַבֵּץ וְשַׂמְתִּים לִתְהִלָּה וּלְשֵׁם בְּכָל־הָאָרֶץ בָּשְׁתָּם׃

20At that time I will gather you, And at [that] time I will bring you [home]; For I will make you renowned and famous Among all the peoples on earth, When I restore you fortunes Before their very eyes —said Hashem

כבָּעֵת הַהִיא אָבִיא אֶתְכֶם וּבָעֵת קַבְּצִי אֶתְכֶם כִּי־אֶתֵּן אֶתְכֶם לְשֵׁם וְלִתְהִלָּה בְּכֹל עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ בְּשׁוּבִי אֶת־שְׁבוּתֵיכֶם לְעֵינֵיכֶם אָמַר יְהֹוָה׃