The Tetragrammaton = hwhy = YaHuWaH
TsephanYahuw (YaHuWaH has hidden away / Secret of Yahuw) [639-609 BCE]
Ts’fanyah’s name means “YaHuWaH has hidden away” or “YaHuWaH has treasured up”. Dr. C.F. Pfeiffer of Gordon Divinity School theorized that his name was a result of having been born during the 55-year reign of Menashe (Manasseh), who would have been his great-great uncle, and was known for his atrocities (2 Chron. 33) leading Israel into sins worse than the Kana'anites whom YaHuWaH had Ysra'al drive out; he “shed much innocent blood” (2 Kings 21:16) might well have attempted to kill any other potential heir to the throne of HizqiYahuw (Hezekiah), apparently Ts’fanyah’s great-great grandfather by a different line. (1:1) Ts'fanyah thus prophesied in the days of his uncle, King YoshiYahuw (Josiah) of the Southern Kingdom, Yahuwdah, who came to the throne at age 8 and reigned from 639 through 609 B.C.E. This was already approximately a century after the exile of the Northern Kingdom. He had peace in his time in which to carry out his reforms which began ten years into his reign, because the Skythians attacked the still-powerful Ashur (Assyria) in 632 B.C.E., keeping them occupied so that they did not interfere in Yahuwdah at this time. After YoshiYahuw’s death, however, things worsened rapidly, and the destruction of Yarushalom came a scant 23 years later. Ts’fanyah was probably also a contemporary of Nakhum, and may have lived to see the destruction of Yarushalom, a foreshadowing of the dark and wrathful “Day of YaHuWaH” about which he prophesied. However, he presents this as a purging of the Land, which would prepare the way for Ysra'al to again be a light to all nations and allow the exiles of all Ysra'al to return in peace, and worshippers of YaHuWaH to come from the world over as pilgrims to a city cleansed of all its sins. (Chapter 3)
1:1 The word of YaHuWaH which came to TsephanYahuw, the son of Kuwshiy, the son of GedalYahuw, the son of AmarYahuw, the son of ChizqiyYahuw, in the days of YosiYahuw, the son of Amown, king of Yahuwdah.
1:2 YaHuWaH says "I will gather away everything off of the face of the ground. 1:3 I will gather away man and animal. I will gather away the birds of the sky, the fish of the sea, and whatever causes anyone to stumble along with the wicked, when I will cut off man from the face of the ground.
Gather away: Aramaic, consume (here; destroy in v. 2). Whatever causes to stumble: or, whatever is overthrown; Aramaic, because the snares of the wicked have multiplied. This list is of those things that people tended to make into idols. For example, the name of the Filistine god Dagon means “the great fish”.
1:4 YaHuWaH says, I will stretch out My hand against Yahuwdah, and against all the inhabitants of Yarushalom. I will cut off the remnant of Ba'al from this place: the name of the idolatrous and pagan priests, 1:5 those who worship the army of the sky on the housetops, those who worship and swear by YaHuWaH and also swear by Malkam, 1:6 those who have turned back from following YaHuWaH, and those who haven’t diligently searched for YaHuWaH nor consulted after Him.
Consulted Him: or, asked where He was. Diligently searched: compare YirmeYahuw 29:13. [You shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart.] They stopped searching once they heard He was not nearby, because that way they could go on doing what they wanted to do.
1:7 Be silent at the presence of the Master YaHuWaH, for the Day of YaHuWaH is at hand. [Amows 5:18-20; Mal. 3:2-3] For YaHuWaH has prepared a slaughter. He has selected those who will be invited by Him.
Selected: literally, set apart, dedicated, separated out. Keep quiet: Those who are not invited are being told it is too late, because they should have repented long ago. Day of YaHuWaH: Amos 5:18-20 tells what it will be like and asks whether we are still looking forward to it. (Compare Mal. 3:2.) Amos 5:18-20 “Woe to you who desire the Day of YaHuWaH! Why do you long for the Day of YaHuWaH ?It is darkness, and not light. As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; Or he went into the house (Temple) and leaned his hand on the wall, and a snake bit him. Won’t the Day of YaHuWaH be darkness, and not light?Even very dark, and no brightness in it?
(Compare Mal. 3:2-3.)“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like launderer’s soap; and He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Lewi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer to YaHuWaH offerings in righteousness.
1:8 It will happen in the Day of YaHuWaH’s slaughter, that I will punish the princes, the king’s sons, and all those who are clothed with foreign clothing.
Foreign clothing: Reflecting a different tradition and a different covering, and a sign of serving someone else. All the more reason to start dressing like an Ysra'alite now! Aramaic: "who go thronging to worship idols." (Apparently an allusion to 2 Kings 10:20-22 which refers to the vestments provided for the worshippers of Ba’al. YaHuWSHuWaH’s authority for the parable of the man at the wedding feast (Mat. 22) with no wedding garment comes from this passage. We see in the account of Shimshon that the bridegroom provided his guests with the proper apparel, so there was no excuse not to wear it. Wearing the right clothes also links us to Rev. 3:3ff, where YaHuWSHuWaH tells us those who do not defile their garments will be worthy to walk with Him in white (apparel). Remember that priests are the ones in Ysra'al who wore white. YaHuWSHuWaH is saying that if we overcome, we will be at that level. If we have already defiled our garments, He offers to let us buy from Him more white garments. He says those who are lukewarm, merely tipping their hat to YaHuWaH, thinking they are well-dressed, are really naked, for they have the wrong clothing. (3:18) But in this context, He is not so much condemning the clothing as those who wore it. The phrase would have had a similar connotation to “Parisian” today—expensive, and thus affordable only by the privileged class, who usually got to that point by serving something other than YaHuWaH. The salient example was these very “sons of the king”. Remember, too, that he was prophesying this message of judgment to those who would be his own cousins.
1:9 In that Day, I will punish all those who leap over the threshold [“who walk by the laws of the Filistines”], who fill their master’s house with violence and deceit.
Leap over the threshold: a practice begun in honor of Dagon, whose face landed on the threshold when it fell down before the captured Ark of the Covenant and broke. (1 Shmu’el 5:4-5) The Aramaic targum substitutes, “who walk by the laws of the Filistines”, suggesting that this is indeed what is alluded to. This may have later evolved to the custom of carrying a bride over the threshold, because it was believed that an evil spirit lay beneath it. In an ancient chant, Mars is beseeched to leap over the threshold. In pagan slaughters, the blood was drained into a basin built into the threshold, symbolizing a covenant with whatever elohim they were sacrificing to. But in Y’hezq’el we often see YaHuWaH’s Qabod standing at the threshold of the Temple. (9:3; 10:4) Qabod means weightiness or importance. Those who jump over a threshold, then, are refusing to recognize that they are entering a Set-apart place, and denying YaHuWaH’s authority and covenant. No one respects authority, since each is out for self.
1:10 In That Day, says YaHuWaH, there will be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, a wailing from the second quarter, and a great crashing from the hills. 1:11 Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh [place of pounding], for all the people of Kena'aniy [merchant nation] are undone! All those who were loaded with silver are cut off.
Place of pounding: or deep hollow. The imagery is that of a mortar and pestle, for in a place where foreign trade took place within Ysra'al, the gold and silver that had been shaped into idolatrous jewelry would have to be pounded into powder and reshaped into something acceptable. The whole merchant nation: literally, all the people of Kana'an. The targum interprets it this way. Again, royal families were nearly the only ones in pre-exilic times who would hire merchants and traders. The Aramaic targum has “Kidron Valley”
1:12 It will happen at That Time, that I will search Yarushalom with lamps, and I will punish the men who are settled on their dregs, who say in their heart, “ YaHuWaH will not do good, neither will He do evil.”
[ Aramaic, who lie at ease upon their wealth. Having not found YaHuWaH when they sought Him half-heartedly, they went lazily back to what they were doing, thinking there was no reason to repent.]
1:13 Their wealth will become a spoil, and their houses a desolation. Yes, they will build houses, but won’t inhabit them. They will plant vineyards, but won’t drink their wine. 1:14 The Great Day of YaHuWaH is near. It is near, and hurries greatly, the Voice of the Day of YaHuWaH. The brave man cries there bitterly. 1:15 That Day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and dire straights, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 1:16 a day of the shofar and battle-alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements. (shofar points to Yom Kippur; battle-alarm to Yom Teruah)
The Length of That Day: The Type: Bereshiyth 8:14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. (The "flood" of destruction was on the earth for 370 days while YaHuWaH's people (Noah and family) were safe in His ark.) [This was 370 days after the flood began up to the time they emerged from the ark ... or one year and ten days, at that time—the same length as the interval between one Feast of Trumpets until Yom Kippur the following year.] - a 360 day year YahshaYahuw 32:10 For a few days beyond a year you shall be troubled, (for a little more than a year you complacent women; for the vintage shall fail. The harvest won’t come. ... YashaYahuw 34:8 For YaHuWaH has a Day of Vengeance, a Year of Recompense for the cause of Tsiyown. 34:9 Its [Edom's] streams shall be turned into tar, its dust into brimstone, And its land shall become burning asphalt. 34:10 It won’t be quenched night nor day. Its smoke shall ascend a long time. From generation to generation, it shall lie waste. No one shall pass through it forever and ever. 34:11 But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it. The owl and the raven shall dwell in it. Then He shall stretch the measuring line of chaos over it, and the plumb line of emptiness [waste]. [Chaos: Heb., tohu. Emptiness: or “waste”; Heb., bohu. These two terms were used of what the earth became (Gen. 1:2) after a cataclysmic judgment and just before being reconstituted for the use of humanity][Battle-alarm: Heb, t’ruah, the term for the first day of the seventh month (Lev. 23:24), this then will be the day when what is being described will fall in the annual calendar.]
1:17 I will bring distress on men [great tribulation], that they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against YaHuWaH, and their blood will be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the Day of YaHuWaH’s wrath, but the whole earth will be devoured by the fire of His jealousy; for He will accomplish a complete - not to mention speedy - destruction for all who inhabit the earth.
2:1 Gather together, yes, gather together, O shameless nation,
Gather together: He repeats the command, emphasizing its importance. The phrases has the same root word in Hebrew, which actually means to forage for straw, stubble, or wood. It is the same term used of Par'oh’s making us find our own straw to make bricks. He is speaking to Yahuwdah --- that they will be gathered together again as a nation before The Great Day of Yahuwah arrives.
2:2 before the Appointed Time [Yom Kippur] when the day passes as the chaff, before the fierce anger of YaHuWaH comes on you, before the Day of YaHuWaH’s anger comes on you. 2:3 Seek YaHuWaH, all you humble of the earth, who have kept His ordinances. Seek righteousness. Seek humility, if so be that you will be hidden in the Day of YaHuWaH’s wrath. 2:4 For Azzah will be forsaken, and Ashqelown a desolation. They will drive out Ashdowd at noonday, and Eqrown will be rooted up. 2:5 Woe to the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Kerethiy! The Word of YaHuWaH is against you, Kena'an, the land of the Pelishtiym. I will destroy you, that there will be no inhabitant.
It almost seems that YaHuWaH will bring a great tidal wave to wipe out this coastal area. Amowts 5:8 seek Him Who made the Kimah (seven stars) and Kesil (Orion), and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night; Who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth: YaHuWaH is His Name! [Tsunami?]
5:9 He causes devastation to burst forth upon the fierce, so that devastation comes upon the stronghold. ----- 9:5 For YaHuWaH, Aluah Master of Armies, is He Who touches the earth and it melts, and all who dwell in it will mourn; and it will rise up wholly like the river, and will sink again, like the River of Mitsrayim. 9:6 It is He Who builds His chambers in the heavens, and has founded His strata in the earth; He Who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth; YaHuWaH is His Name.
[Rev. 8:8-9 The second messenger sounded, and what looked like a great burning mountain was thrown into the sea. One third of the sea became blood, and one third of the living creatures which were in the sea died. One third of the ships were destroyed.
2:6 The sea coast will be pastures, with cottages for shepherds and folds for flocks. 2:7 The coast will be for the remnant of the House of Yahuwdah. They will find pasture. In the houses of Ashqelown, they will lie down in the evening, for YaHuWaH, their Al, will visit them, and restore them. 2:8 I have heard the reproach of Mow'ab, and the insults of the children of Am'mown, with which they have reproached My people, and magnified themselves against their border. 2:9 Therefore as I live, says YaHuWaH Master of Armies, the Al of Ysra'al, surely Mow'ab will be as Sedom, and the children of Ammown as Amor'rah, a possession of nettles, and salt pits, and a perpetual desolation. The remnant of My people will plunder them, and the survivors of My nation will inherit them. 2:10 This they will have for their pride, because they have reproached and magnified themselves against the people of YaHuWaH Master of Armies. 2:11 YaHuWaH will be awesome to them, for He will famish all the gods of the land. Men will worship Him, everyone from his place, even all the shores of the nations. 2:12 You Kuwshiy also, you will be killed by My sword. 2:13 He will stretch out His hand against the north, destroy Ashshuwr, and will make Niyneweh a desolation, as dry as the wilderness. 2:14 Herds will lie down in the midst of her, all the animals of the nations. Both the pelican and the porcupine will lodge in its capitals. Their calls will echo through the windows. Desolation will be in the thresholds, for He has laid bare the cedar beams. 2:15 This is the triumphant city that lived carelessly, that said in her heart, “I am, and there is none besides me.” How she has become a desolation, a place for animals to lie down in! Everyone who passes by her will hiss, and shake their fists.
3:1 Woe to her who is defiant and polluted, the oppressing city! [Yarushalom]
(vv. 4-5) There has never been a time when Yarushalom has been oppressing the whole earth. But a treaty was already ratified under the Clinton administration that gives the Vatican jurisdiction over what will be called the first truly international city, and it only remains to be implemented. It would then no longer be considered the capital of Israel, which is one reason many nations have held back from placing their embassies there. The stage is set for the covenant of Dani'el 9:27. A civil war in Israel over the withdrawal from the “settlements” could be the catalyst for the United Nations sending troops in to bring control by enacting this treaty.
3:2 She didn’t obey the Voice. She didn’t receive correction. She didn’t trust in YaHuWaH. She didn’t draw near to her Al. 3:3 Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions. Her judges are evening wolves. They leave nothing until the next day. 3:4 Her prophets are arrogant and treacherous people. Her priests have profaned the Set-apart Place. They have done violence to the Torah. 3:5 YaHuWaH, in the midst of her, is righteous. He will do no wrong. Every morning He brings His justice to light. He doesn’t fail, but the unjust know no shame. 3:6 I have cut off nations. Their battlements are desolate. I have made their streets waste, so that no one passes by. Their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, so that there is no inhabitant. 3:7 I said, “Just fear Me. Receive correction, so that her dwelling won’t be cut off, according to all that I have appointed concerning her.” But they rose early and corrupted all their doings.
3:8 “Therefore wait for Me,” says YaHuWaH, “until The Day that I rise up to the prey, for My determination [legal right] is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them My indignation, even all My fierce anger, for all the wicked of the earth will be devoured with the fire of My jealousy.
[Gather: as the darnel or tares are gathered first to be burned before the wheat is gathered in. (Mat. 13:30) The whole earth: Aramaic, all the wicked of the earth. This verse includes all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, signifying that Hebrew is the language being referred to in the next verse:]
3:9 For then I will return to the people a pure language (Trueness of Speech), that they may all call on the Name of YaHuWaH, to serve Him with one accord (shoulder-blade).
Ephesians 4:25 So put off the Lie, speak the Truth, each with his neighbor, because we belong to each other.
3:10 From beyond the rivers of Kuwsh, My worshipers, even the daughter of My dispersed people, will bring My offering. 3:11 In That Day you will not be disappointed for all your doings, in which you have transgressed against Me; for then I will take away out of the midst of you your proudly exulting ones, and you will no more be haughty in My Set-apart Mountain. 3:12 “And I will leave a diminished and humbled people in your midst, and they will flee to the Name of YaHuWaH for protection. 13. “What is left of Ysra'al will not practice injustice or speak lies, nor will a fraudulent tongue be found in their mouths, because they [themselves] will graze and stretch out with no one to make them tremble.”
Rev. 14:4 These are those who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed by YaHuWSHuWaH from among men, the First-Fruit to Aluahiym and to the Lamb. 14:5 In their mouth was found no lie [do not harbor falsehood or false doctrine], for they are blameless.
3:14 Sing, daughter of Tsiyown! Shout, Ysra'al! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter of Yarushalom. 3:15 YaHuWaH has taken away your judgments. He has thrown out your enemy. The Sovereign of Ysra'al, YaHuWaH, is in the midst of you. You will not be afraid of evil any more. 3:16 In That Day, it will be said to Yarushalom, “Don’t be afraid, Tsiyown. Don’t let your hands be weak.” 3:17 YaHuWaH, your Aluahiym, is in the midst of you, a Mighty One Who will rescue. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.
[17. “YaHuWaH your Aluahiym is a Hero in your midst; He will rescue! He will gladly display joy over you; He will be speechless in His love. He will delight over you with a ringing cry of joy.]
3:18 I will remove those who grieve about the Appointed Feasts from you. They are a burden and a reproach to you. 3:19 Behold, at That Time I will deal with all those who afflict you, and I will rescue those who are lame, and gather those who were driven away. I will give them praise and esteem, whose shame has been in all the earth. 3:20 At That Time will I bring you in, and at That Time will I gather you; for I will give you esteem and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your blessings before your eyes, says YaHuWaH.