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Preaching on Zephaniah

An overview of the historical background and theology of Zephaniah to help you develop your sermon series and apply it to your hearers.

Preaching on Zephaniah
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Historical Background

Zephaniah was a prophet of God who lived during the final years of the Southern Kingdom of Judah (640-609 BC). Unlike Habakkuk and other prophets who hid their identities, Zephaniah opens his writings by not only naming himself as the writer, but also traces his lineage back to the former king of Judah, Hezekiah (1:1). Being a descendent of royalty would have given him direct access to the Judah’s king, Josiah (1:1).

Like most prophetic books, in order to understand it correctly, it is imperative to grasp the context of the prophet. Zephaniah was a contemporary with Jeremiah, however, Zephaniah’s mission field was Judah, not Israel. For decades, Judah had failed spiritually under the reigns of Hezekiah’s son Manasseh (695–642 BC) and grandson Amon (642–640 BC). They had allowed false gods, idolatry, and debauchery to infiltrate Judah. In addition, there was a complete neglect for the Book of the Law.

In God’s providence, Hilkiah the ...

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