Zephaniah Research Paper

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Prophet Research Form: Zephaniah A. Settings
1. Political Situation – Evidence exists placing Zephaniah during the time of King Josiah who remained subservient to his Assyrian masters. The constant threat from the Scythians probably caused Josiah to remain attached to the Assyrians. Zephaniah believed these invaders to be the inflictors of YHWH’s punishment. Zephaniah proclaims the idolatry rampant in the temple, therefore, he must be in Jerusalem prior to Josiah’s “discovery” of the scroll. The people were at peace because the Assyrian’s protected Jerusalem for a heavy tax. Zephaniah saw Jerusalem as a city of corruption that refused the rule of YHWH, the rulers useless, and the prophets faithless, the priests serving idols. There was no shame, while the peace prevailed.
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1. Condition of Hebrew Text – The scrolls of the Hebrew text of Zephaniah are found in synagogues, some as old as 850 years. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the Cave of Horror at Nahal Hever contain a portion from Zephaniah, which agree with the scrolls of today.
2. Understanding of text – The book threatens total-destruction of the world in reverse order from the making of the world, but, of course, there will be a few saved from this ordeal. Finally, the doom facing mankind is lifted and indicating YHWH might have noticed a rainbow and remembered His oath never to destroy the world again. With the knowledge of Torah Zephaniah possessed his words had no meaning because he knew YHWH was bound by his oath. It is a short book of doom and reconciliation.
3. Indications of the history of composition and redaction – Because of the words “meek of the earth” and “meekness” this book was probably written after the exile. Other indicators in the style of writing indicate the exegetes added or replaced the original.
4. Kinds of material present – Three chapters of poetry, proclamations, and reconciliation which all depend upon other portions from Genesis through Deuteronomy.
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