Zephaniah (''the watchman of Jehovah'') gives his own genealogy to the fourth generation, showing his descent from Hizkiah, who is probably identical with King Hezekiah. He prophesied during the early part of the reign of Josiah, before idolatry had been put away by the reforms of that king.
Zephaniah's prophecy is marked by the emphasis he lays upon the Day of the Lord. The final application is to the Day of Christ. The impressive language can only find its fulfillment in the great Day of His wrath, described in Revelation 6. ''A day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasting and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm'' (Zeph 1:14-16).
But meanwhile, a day of judgment was near for Judah on account of her sins. He urges her to seek the Lord while there is still time [2:1-3]. He then proclaims God's judgment upon various nations which have oppressed God's people-- upon Philistia, Moab, Ammon, Ethiopia, Assyria, prophesying the fall and utter desolation of Nineveh.
The third chapter shows God's coming judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem, and the future restoration and joy of God's people in the day of the Messiah.
The chapter closes [v.18-20] with six beautiful ''I wills'' of what the Lord will do for us.
[Although the above paragraphs make spiritual application of this passage to believers of the present age, remember that the primary application is to the believing remnant of Israel, which the Lord has promised to restore, according to His unfailing love and the unconditional aspects of His covenant with that nation, when in the Messianic Kingdom, He is in the midst of them. These promises will be fulfilled ''at that time...'' v.19,20; cp. Isa 11:12; 27:12; Eze 28:25; 34:13; 37:21-28; Amos 9:14,15; Zech 2:10,11; 8:3.]