To Sophonias, that was descended from Ezechias through Amarias, Godolias and Chusi, this message came from the Lord, at the time when Josias son of Amon reigned in Juda.
Fall to I must, and weed yonder plot of ground, the Lord says;
rid it, says he, of man and beast, of bird in air and fish under water; and down shall the godless come too, never a man left alive upon it.
All Juda, all the citizens of Jerusalem, shall feel the stroke. Not a trace shall they leave behind, yonder gods of the country-side, acolyte and priest of theirs not a memory;
forgotten, all that worship the host of heaven from the roof-tops, all that worship …,✻ take they their oaths to the Lord, or swear they by Melchom;
forgotten, all that turn their backs on the Lord, and will neither seek nor search for him.
Silence, there, to greet the Lord! Here is day of his appointing, here is great sacrifice of his preparing; all his guests bidden, all their cleansing done.
The Lord’s sacrifice! A day of reckoning it shall be, king and prince I will call to account, all that go clad in foreign bravery,
all that spurn yonder threshold,✻ and fill the house of the Lord their God with deeds of treachery and wrong.
What an outcry that day, the Lord says, from the Fishmongers’ Gate, what lamenting from the New Town! How the hill-sides will echo to the noise of your ruin!
Ay, lament indeed, you that dwell in Mortar Valley; of the merchant folk no more is heard; here is an end of all that trafficked in silver.
Time, then, to call for lamps, and search Jerusalem through! Trust me, I will find them out, spoiled natures, like wine that has settled on its lees, the men who think to themselves, From the Lord nothing is to hope, nothing to fear.
Ransacked their wealth shall be, and their homes ruined; houses they build they shall never dwell in, vineyards they plant they shall drink of never.
Nearer, nearer comes the great day of the Lord’s reckoning, ay, and soon; bitter the bruit of its coming; here is peril to cow the bravest heart.
Day of vengeance, day of strain and stress, day of ransack and ruin; dim and dark, overcast with cloud and storm!
City is none so well fortified, pinnacle is none so high in air, but shall hear braying of trumpets and the battle-cry.
Guilty wretches, they shall grope in the dark, flesh and blood of them cheap as dust and dung;
silver and gold of them powerless to buy off the Lord’s present vengeance. Burns through the land the fire of his slighted love; takes full toll, and speedily, of all that dwell there.
The Holy Bible