9 For 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
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.