The prophet Zephaniah proclaimed his prophecy to the people of Judah during the reign of King Josiah. Little is known of his background except that he was a descendant of King Hezekiah. Coming of such noble stock, he must have been familiar with the life of the nobility in the capital and of the royal house.

Seeing the idolatry that had spread in the holy city during the reign of King Manasseh, Zephaniah denounces the "rebellious and polluted city," and her princes who are like "roaring lions," and her judges who are "like evening wolves, they leave not a bone for the morning." He also denounces the false prophets whom he calls "men of treachery," and the priests "who have profaned the sanctuary."

But after G‑d will have chastised Israel, there will be true rejoicing in Zion, where a purified and restored nation shall dwell in peace and security: "In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against Me; for then I will take away out of the midst of thee, thy proudly exalting ones, and thou shalt no more be haughty in My holy mountain... the remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; therefore they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

"Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all thy heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem. The L-rd hath taken away thy punishments; He hath cast out thine enemy. The King of Israel, the L-rd, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not fear evil any more... At that time will I bring you back; in that time I will gather you; for I will give you a name and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I will return your captives before your eyes, saith the L-rd."