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A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Zephaniah

Kuruvilla Thomas
Bangalore
Published on 3 March 2020




Zephaniah Timeline
Fig. 1


Introduction

This study treats the book of Zephaniah as a "Functional Chiasmus" in order to arrive at a coherent reconfiguration of the text. Text that is arranged in the form of a functional chiasmus must be rearranged based on certain logical principles to be correctly interpreted. A functional chiasmus is a new concept; see definition here [1]. This study also contains an exegesis of the rearranged text. If you wish to skip the technicalities of a chiastic parse, you may read starting from Part 4 of the Discussion section, which has the reconfigured text.

With this reconstruction, we show that Zephaniah predicted God will use the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II to punish the hostile nations surrounding Israel, and also that God will punish hostile nations at the start of the Millennial reign of Christ.


Notes:
We will use the term "Judahite" to refer to the Israelites living in and around Jerusalem in the 1st century who primarily were of the tribe of Judah; We will try to avoid the term "Jew" to avoid the confusion it introduces.


Discussion

1. Presuppositions

We base our parse of Zephaniah on the assumption that it refers to 3 periods:

  1. The period of the Babylonian conquests under Nebuchadnezzar. (c. 612BC-582BC). The hostile nations surrounding Israel are wiped out.
  2. The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD). The Roman army prosecutes a brutal war against Judea and Jerusalem.
  3. The start of Christ's millennial reign on earth (circa 2000AD). Wicked nations of the earth are assembled and defeated.

2. Parsing the chiasmus

We will use the NIV Bible for this parse.

Parsing this chiasmus involves dividing portions of the text into three categories as above. We will call the period of the Babylonian conquests Period 1, the First Jewish Roman war Period 2 and the start of Christ's millennial reign Period 3.


Categorizing Zephaniah

Ch 1 Vs 2-3 belong to Period 3. Destruction of Israel's enemies at the start of Christ's millennial reign.

Ch 1 Vs 4 - 2 Vs 3 belong to Period 1. God punished the people of Judah using the Romans during the First Jewish-Roman War.

Ch 2 Vs 4-15 belong to Period 2. The enemies of of Israel are destroyed by the Babylonians.

Ch 3 Vs 1-7 belong to Period 1. The Romans massacre the Judahites as punishment from God.

Ch 3 Vs 8-20 belong to Period 3. The remnant of Israel is restored at the start of Christ's Millennial reign.


Original text

We color-code the chiastic units of the original text (NIV) below for easy visual identification using: red for Period 1, blue for Period 2 and green for Period 3.


Zephaniah 1 2 “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. 3 “I will sweep away both man and beast; I will sweep away the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea— and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.”
“When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth,” declares the Lord,
4 “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place, the very names of the idolatrous priests— 5 those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molek, 6 those who turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”
7 Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited.
8 “On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all those clad in foreign clothes. 9 On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.
10 “On that day,” declares the Lord, “a cry will go up from the Fish Gate, wailing from the New Quarter, and a loud crash from the hills. 11 Wail, you who live in the market district; all your merchants will be wiped out, all who trade with silver will be destroyed. 12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.’ 13 Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. Though they build houses, they will not live in them; though they plant vineyards, they will not drink the wine.”
14 The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. 15 That day will be a day of wrath— a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness— 16 a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.
17 “I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”
In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.


Zephaniah 2 1 Gather together, gather yourselves together, you shameful nation, 2 before the decree takes effect and that day passes like windblown chaff, before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s wrath comes upon you. 3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.
4 Gaza will be abandoned and Ashkelon left in ruins. At midday Ashdod will be emptied and Ekron uprooted. 5 Woe to you who live by the sea, you Kerethite people; the word of the Lord is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines. He says, “I will destroy you, and none will be left.” 6 The land by the sea will become pastures having wells for shepherds and pens for flocks. 7 That land will belong to the remnant of the people of Judah; there they will find pasture. In the evening they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon. The Lord their God will care for them; he will restore their fortunes.
8 “I have heard the insults of Moab and the taunts of the Ammonites, who insulted my people and made threats against their land. 9 Therefore, as surely as I live,” declares the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, “surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah— a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them; the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.”
10 This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. 11 The Lord will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the earth. Distant nations will bow down to him, all of them in their own lands.
12 “You Cushites, too, will be slain by my sword.”
13 He will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, leaving Nineveh utterly desolate and dry as the desert. 14 Flocks and herds will lie down there, creatures of every kind. The desert owl and the screech owl will roost on her columns. Their hooting will echo through the windows, rubble will fill the doorways, the beams of cedar will be exposed. 15 This is the city of revelry that lived in safety. She said to herself, “I am the one! And there is none besides me.” What a ruin she has become, a lair for wild beasts! All who pass by her scoff and shake their fists.


Zephaniah 3 1 Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! 2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. 3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. 4 Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law. 5 The Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.
6 “I have destroyed nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are laid waste; they are deserted and empty. 7 Of Jerusalem I thought, ‘Surely you will fear me and accept correction!’ Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.
8 Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them— all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.
9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10 From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. 11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12 But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord. 13 They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.”
14 Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. 16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. 17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
18 “I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you. 19 At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. 20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.




3. Building the reconfigured text


From this parse, it appears that Zephaniah 1-3 form a functional chiasmus as below:

A1   Ch 1 Vs 2-3 Period 3. The enemies of Israel are destroyed.
  B1   Ch 1 Vs 4 - 2 Vs 3 Period 1. God punishes the Judahites using the Romans.
    X   Ch 2 Vs 4-15 Period 2. The Babylonians destroy the enemies of Israel.
  B2   Ch 3 Vs 1-7 Period 1. The Romans massacre the Judahites.
A2   Ch 3 Vs 8-20 Period 3. The remnant of Israel is restored at the start of Christ's Millennial reign.


We now reconstruct the phrases in the right order based on the chiastic structure above and based on the ordering rules of a functional chiasmus [1].

We lead with central pivot point 'X'. The corresponding subunits (For example; subunit A1 corresponds to A2) are placed contiguously to form units (For example, A1,A2 is a unit ) so that we get a list of such units.


The sequence selected for rearrangement is:

X  [A1,A2]  [B1,B2]        (1)

Translating (1) into verse numbers, we get:

Ch 2 Vs 4-15  [Ch 1 Vs 2-3, Ch 3 Vs 8-20]   [Ch 1 Vs 4 - 2 Vs 3, Ch 3 Vs 1-7]        (2)

We arrive at the reconfigured passage in the next section by rearranging the verses so they are in sequence (2).



4. Zephaniah Reconfigured

The Babylonian conquests under Nebuchadnezzar. (c. 612BC-582BC).(Ch 2 Vs 4-15)
Chapter 2 4 Gaza will be abandoned and Ashkelon left in ruins. At midday Ashdod will be emptied and Ekron uprooted. 5 Woe to you who live by the sea, you Kerethite people; the word of the Lord is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines. He says, “I will destroy you, and none will be left.” 6 The land by the sea will become pastures having wells for shepherds and pens for flocks. 7 That land will belong to the remnant of the people of Judah; there they will find pasture. In the evening they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon. The Lord their God will care for them; he will restore their fortunes.
8 “I have heard the insults of Moab and the taunts of the Ammonites, who insulted my people and made threats against their land. 9 Therefore, as surely as I live,” declares the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, “surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah— a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them; the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.”
10 This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty. 11 The Lord will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the earth. Distant nations will bow down to him, all of them in their own lands.
12 “You Cushites, too, will be slain by my sword.”
13 He will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, leaving Nineveh utterly desolate and dry as the desert. 14 Flocks and herds will lie down there, creatures of every kind. The desert owl and the screech owl will roost on her columns. Their hooting will echo through the windows, rubble will fill the doorways, the beams of cedar will be exposed. 15 This is the city of revelry that lived in safety. She said to herself, “I am the one! And there is none besides me.” What a ruin she has become, a lair for wild beasts! All who pass by her scoff and shake their fists.


The start of Christ's millennial reign on earth (circa 2000AD) (Ch 1 Vs 2-3, Ch 3 Vs 8-20)
Chapter 1 2 “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. 3 “I will sweep away both man and beast; I will sweep away the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea— and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.”
“When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth,” declares the Lord,

Chapter 3 8 Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them— all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.
9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10 From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. 11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12 But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord. 13 They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.”
14 Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. 16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. 17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
18 “I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you. 19 At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. 20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.


The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD). (Ch 1 Vs 4 - 2 Vs 3, Ch 3 Vs 1-7)
Chapter 1 4 “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place, the very names of the idolatrous priests— 5 those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molek, 6 those who turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”
7 Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited.
8 “On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all those clad in foreign clothes. 9 On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.
10 “On that day,” declares the Lord, “a cry will go up from the Fish Gate, wailing from the New Quarter, and a loud crash from the hills. 11 Wail, you who live in the market district; all your merchants will be wiped out, all who trade with silver will be destroyed. 12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.’ 13 Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. Though they build houses, they will not live in them; though they plant vineyards, they will not drink the wine.”
14 The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. 15 That day will be a day of wrath— a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness— 16 a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.
17 “I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”
In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.


Chapter 2 1 Gather together, gather yourselves together, you shameful nation, 2 before the decree takes effect and that day passes like windblown chaff, before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s wrath comes upon you. 3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Chapter 3 1 Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! 2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. 3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. 4 Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law. 5 The Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.
6 “I have destroyed nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are laid waste; they are deserted and empty. 7 Of Jerusalem I thought, ‘Surely you will fear me and accept correction!’ Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.



5. An exegesis of the reconfigured text.

The passage has been split into 3 sections as above for analysis.

5.1 The Babylonian conquests under Nebuchadnezzar. (c. 612BC-582BC).(Ch 2 Vs 4-15)

Though this section details the defeat of Israel's enemies, it does not mention who defeated these nations or when - some of these regions have been defeated several times in history. We place this Period in the time of Nebuchadnezzar's military campaigns primarily because the passage includes the final destruction of the city of Nineveh around 612BC. The events listed in this section are not necessarily in chronological sequence.


Chapter 2 4 Gaza will be abandoned and Ashkelon left in ruins. At midday Ashdod will be emptied and Ekron uprooted. 5 Woe to you who live by the sea, you Kerethite people; the word of the Lord is against you, Canaan, land of the Philistines. He says, “I will destroy you, and none will be left.” 6 The land by the sea will become pastures having wells for shepherds and pens for flocks. 7 That land will belong to the remnant of the people of Judah; there they will find pasture. In the evening they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon. The Lord their God will care for them; he will restore their fortunes.

On a campaign against Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar II defeated the Philistines in the coastal region of southern Canaan and took the people into slavery in Mesopotamia c. 604BC. (Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron are Philistine cities and the Kerethites appear to be immigrants to the Canaan region). Some time later, parts of this region fell under Judean control for a period.



Chapter 2 8 “I have heard the insults of Moab and the taunts of the Ammonites, who insulted my people and made threats against their land. 9 Therefore, as surely as I live,” declares the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, “surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah— a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them; the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.” 10 This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the Lord Almighty.

The Judean king Zedekiah and the nations of Ammon and Moab had plotted rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar. So the Babylonian king appointed Gedaliah as governor of Judea to replace Zedekiah and gave him a small Babylonian guard for protection. The nations of the Transjordan aided in the assassination of Gedaliah and his guards, and annexed parts of a leaderless Judea. In retaliation, Nebuchadnezzar launched a punitive attack on the region of the Transjordan around 582BC, completely destroying Moab and Ammon; both of them ceased to be nations after that. Some time later, the Judahites occupied parts of this region for a while.



11 The Lord will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the earth. Distant nations will bow down to him, all of them in their own lands.

The word translated "earth" is more appropriately translated "land" in this context. The sense of this verse is that when the nations around Israel see the power that the God of Judah has over their gods, they and other more distant nations will bow down to the one true God.



Chapter 2 12 “You Cushites, too, will be slain by my sword.”

Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt and its allies in The Battle of Carchemish around 605 BC. Nebuchadnezzar waged several other successful campaigns against Egypt and its allies after that. The Cushites who occupied southern Egypt were likely defeated by Nebuchadnezzar along with the Egyptians during one of these battles (Ezekiel 30).



Chapter 2 13 He will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, leaving Nineveh utterly desolate and dry as the desert. 14 Flocks and herds will lie down there, creatures of every kind. The desert owl and the screech owl will roost on her columns. Their hooting will echo through the windows, rubble will fill the doorways, the beams of cedar will be exposed. 15 This is the city of revelry that lived in safety. She said to herself, “I am the one! And there is none besides me.” What a ruin she has become, a lair for wild beasts! All who pass by her scoff and shake their fists.

During the reign of Nabopolassar, his son Nebuchadnezzar II allied with the Medes to defeat the Assyrians, sacking the wealthy and powerful city of Nineveh in 612 BC.



5.2 The start of Christ's millennial reign on earth (circa 2000AD) (Ch 1 Vs 2-3, Ch 3 Vs 8-20)

Chapter 1 2 “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. 3 “I will sweep away both man and beast; I will sweep away the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea— and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.”
“When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth,” declares the Lord,

We believe that this passage refers to the assembly and defeat of the nations - especially those that were hostile to Israel - at the start of Christ's Millennial reign. There may be some level of hyperbole in these lines but the sense is that the wicked will suffer great loss.



Chapter 3 8 Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them— all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.
9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10 From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings.

God will assemble the nations and pour out His anger on them. The Israelites and faithful Christians will be gathered from around the world into the new Israel.



Chapter 3 11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from you your arrogant boasters. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12 But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord. 13 They will do no wrong; they will tell no lies. A deceitful tongue will not be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.”
14 Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. 16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. 17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” 18 “I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you. 19 At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. 20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the Lord.

Jerusalem will be purged of its arrogant people and Satan worshippers. God will gather the Israelites into a blessed, powerful new Israel under Christ.

We believe that the sense of verse 18 is: "I will gather you who mourn for loss of the festivals appointed by God; you will no longer be burdened by their loss".



5.3 The First Jewish–Roman War (circa 66AD–74AD). (Ch 1 Vs 4 - 2 Vs 3, Ch 3 Vs 1-7)

Chapter 1 4 “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place, the very names of the idolatrous priests— 5 those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the Lord and who also swear by Molek, 6 those who turn back from following the Lord and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”

The religion of the Judahites who returned from Babylon was corrupted by the Satanic Babylonian teaching of the Pharisees - just like Talmudic Judaism is today. Pharisaism allowed the worship of Satanic gods like Baal or Moloch by twisting the scriptures. This was one of the reasons that Jesus abhorred the ways of the Pharisees and proclaimed woe on them in Matthew 23.



Chapter 1 7 Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near. The Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited.
8 “On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice I will punish the officials and the king’s sons and all those clad in foreign clothes. 9 On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.

God will punish those who have adopted the pagan practices of foreigners like the Greeks - those who worship foreign gods and show their allegiance to foreign ways by wearing heathen clothes. For example, He will punish worshippers of Dagon, who avoided stepping on the threshold because that idol had fallen on the threshold (1 Samuel 5:4). God will also punish those who practice their pagan religions using violence and deceit

The leadership and the "king's sons" are singled out for punishment as we have seen in other parses like Isaiah 2-4 [3]. (The "king" and officials of this time are the chief priests and other religious leaders.).



Chapter 1 10 “On that day,” declares the Lord, “a cry will go up from the Fish Gate, wailing from the New Quarter, and a loud crash from the hills. 11 Wail, you who live in the market district; all your merchants will be wiped out, all who trade with silver will be destroyed. 12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.’ 13 Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. Though they build houses, they will not live in them; though they plant vineyards, they will not drink the wine.”
14 The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. 15 That day will be a day of wrath— a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness— 16 a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.
17 “I will bring such distress on all people that they will grope about like those who are blind, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”
In the fire of his jealousy the whole earth will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live on the earth.

The Romans completely destroyed Judea and Jerusalem and killed most of the people in it. (In verse 18, the word translated as "earth" is more appropriately translated to "land" in this context.)

There are two periods we commonly see referred to as the "Day of the Lord" in reconstructions - the End Times tribulation Period and this Period of the destruction of Jerusalem.



Chapter 2 1 Gather together, gather yourselves together, you shameful nation, 2 before the decree takes effect and that day passes like windblown chaff, before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s wrath comes upon you. 3 Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Only those who believed in Christ and followed his instruction to flee to the mountains were spared from the Roman massacre as we have seen in our parse of the "70 Weeks of Daniel" [2].



Chapter 3 1 Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! 2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. 3 Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning. 4 Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law. 5 The Lord within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.
6 “I have destroyed nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are laid waste; they are deserted and empty. 7 Of Jerusalem I thought, ‘Surely you will fear me and accept correction!’ Then her place of refuge would not be destroyed, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.

Jerusalem was a corrupt city that has been led astray by its leaders - the Pharisees, priests and prophets. Although the Lord had hopes for His city, Jerusalem did not change its ways and so was destroyed.




Conclusion

This paper is a chiastic reconstruction of the text which shows that the passage contains three interwoven prophetic passages. Although this passage has a straightforward chiastic structure, it is difficult to parse because no information is given on who conducts the attacks described in the passage or when these assaults in the region of the Holy Land took place. This reconstruction of the passage seems to imply that the defeat of Israel's enemies at the time of Nebuchadnezzar is a type of the defeat of Israel's enemies at the start of Christ's Millennial reign



References

[1] A Definition of Functional Chiasmus
[2] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of "The 70 Weeks Of Daniel"
[3] A Chiastic Reconfiguration Of Isaiah 2-4










Related pages

Daniel 9
Mark 13
Luke 21
Luke 17:22-37
Functional Chiasmus