What is the sacrifice mentioned in Zephaniah 1:7? By Jack Kettler
“Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.” (Zephaniah 1:7)
Judah is told to “hold thy peace,” why? Additionally, is this an animal sacrifice or something else?
Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of Josiah (640–609 B.C.), a good King of Judah who wanted to restore proper worship.
- Book heading (1:1)
- Judgment coming against Judah (1:2–6)
- The Day of the LORD (1:7–3:20)
- Day of judgment (1:7–9)
- Impending doom (1:10–18)
- Repentance is possible (2:1–3)
- Warnings to the nations (2:4–3:8)
- The expectation of hope (3:9–20)
In Matthew Poole’s Commentary, one learns about the phrase “hold thy peace.:”
“Hold thy peace; thou that murmurest in discontent, or disputest out of frowardness against God, his worship, and his government, that thinkest of him but little better than of Baal or Malcham, cease all thy quarrels and dispute, stand in awe.”
“At the presence of the Lord God; who is almighty, omniscient, who ruleth and will avenge.”
“The day of the Lord; a day of vengeance from the Lord. The Lord hath prepared a sacrifice; the wicked among the Jews, whom he will sacrifice by the Chaldean’s sword.”
“He hath bid his guests; summoned in beasts of the field and fowls of the air, to eat the flesh and drink the blood of slain Jews, whom the Babylonians slew.” (1)
The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary informs the reader about the sacrifice:
“This judgment will speedily come. Zephaniah 1:7. “Be silent before the Lord Jehovah! For the day of Jehovah is near, for Jehovah has prepared a slaying of sacrifice, He has consecrated His called.” The command, “Be silent before the Lord,” which is formed after Habakkuk 2:20, and with which the prophet summons to humble, silent submission to the judgment of God, serves to confirm the divine threat in Zephaniah 1:2-6. The reason for the commanding Hush! (keep silence) is given in the statement that the day of Jehovah is close at hand (compare Joel 1:15), and that God has already appointed the executors of the judgment. The last two clauses of the verse are formed from reminiscences taken from Isaiah. The description of the judgment as zebhach, a sacrifice, is taken from Isaiah 34:6 (cf. Jeremiah 46:10 and Ezekiel 39:17). The sacrifice which God has prepared is the Jewish nation; those who are invited to this sacrificial meal (“called,” 1 Samuel 9:13) are not beasts and birds of prey, as in Ezekiel 39:17, but the nations which He has consecrated to war that they may consume Jacob (Jeremiah 10:25). The extraordinary use of the verb hiqdiish (consecrated) in this connection may be explained from Isaiah 13:3, where the nations appointed to make war against Babel are called mequddâshı̄m, the sanctified of Jehovah (cf. Jeremiah 22:7).” (2) (underlining emphasis mine)
The phrase keeping silence was emblematic of showing reverence toward God.
According to the Old Testament, the day of the LORD is a time of God’s judgment, which occurs numerous times and is not limited to end-times eschatology.
Lord had prepared a sacrifice. It was the judgment of the unrepentant Jerusalem and Judea who were the recipients of His judgment (Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 39:17)
Therefore, the Day of the LORD was the Day of the LORD’s Sacrifice.
Zephaniah amplifies the coming judgment in the following passages:
“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.” (Zephaniah 1:14-16)
Which is why:
“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Zephaniah, Vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 976.
- Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Zephaniah, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 129.
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at Amazon