Zephaniah Introduction - Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Bible Comments

    ZEPHANIAH was of the tribe of Simeon. The Jews are of opinion, that his ancestors, recited at the beginning of his prophet, were all prophets themselves. We have no exact knowledge either of his actions, or of the time of his death. He lived under king Josiah, who began to reign in the year of the world 3363, before Christ 637. The description which Zephaniah gives of the disorders that prevailed in Judah in his time, leads us to judge that he prophesied before the eighteenth year of Josiah; that is to say, before this prince had reformed the abuses and corruptions prevailing in his dominions. See 2 Kings 22:3-13. Besides, he foretels the destruction of Nineveh, chap. Zephaniah 2:13 which could not fall out before the sixteenth year of Josiah; allowing, with Berosus, twenty-one years to the reign of Nabopolassar over the Chaldeans. Therefore we must necessarily place the beginning of Zephaniah's prophesy at the beginning of the reign of Josiah. The style of this prophet is poetical, but contains nothing remarkable either with respect to the disposition of his subject, or the colouring of his diction. His method and his subject bear so near a resemblance to Jeremiah, that Saint Isidore asserts him to have been his abbreviator; nor is this the only prophet whom he resembles, as every one must own who compares him with Joel. See Calmet and Bishop Lowth.