Monday, December 3, 2018

01 Works, RELIGIOUS ART - Today, December 3, is Prophet Zephaniah's day, With Footnotes - 130

Prophet Zephaniah, old Russian Orthodox icon
First quarter of XVIII century
Iconostasis of Kizhi Monastery, Karelia, Russia

Zephaniah is the name of several people in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Tanakh. His name is commonly transliterated Sophonias in Bibles translated from the Latin Vulgate or Septuagint. 

The most well-known Biblical figure bearing the name Zephaniah is the son of Cushi, and great, great grandson of King Hezekiah, ninth in the literary order of the minor prophets. He prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah (B.C. 641-610). The only primary source from which we obtain our scanty knowledge of the personality and the rhetorical and literary qualities of this individual is the short book of the Old Testament which bears his name. The scene of his activity was the city of Jerusalem.

The cults of Baal and Astarte had developed in the Holy City, bringing with it elements of alien culture and morals. Josiah, a dedicated reformer, wished to put an end to perceived misuse of the holy places. One of the most zealous champions and advisers of this reform was Zephaniah, and his writing remains one of the most important documents for the understanding of the era of Josiah.

The prophet spoke boldly against the religious and moral corruption. He warned that God would "destroy out of this place the remnant of Baal, and pleaded for a return to the simplicity of their fathers. More Zephaniah

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