Of course, you cannot talk about the prophecies of Zephaniah without first mentioning the events recorded in 2 Kings. So we will begin this study by looking at 2 Kings 21-23 and then we will transition into the prophecies of Zephaniah.
2 Kings 21
After good King Hezekiah dies his son Manasseh takes the throne. Manasseh was a malicious malefactor who intentionally misled Israel into detestable acts of idolatry, these acts even rivaled those of the pagan nations surrounding them. Not only did Manasseh rebuild the pagan altars his father tore down during his reign, he also reinstated the practice of worshiping idols. He encouraged the worship of the false deities of those heathens and he came up with a few “new” false gods to worship.
Now, God had made a promise to the nation of Israel by way of King David and his son King Solomon that if Israel would obey the Law given through Moses that He would protect them from being victimized by the neighboring lands. “But they paid no attention” (v. 9, NKJV). The implication here is that Israel had a choice to submit to God or rebel against Him and so, in their volition they chose the latter. Therefore, it is stated in verse 14 (NKJV) that God would forsake His inheritance and they would become the victims of their enemies. This prophecy was most-likely delivered by Jeremiah or Zephaniah.
Back to Manasseh. Manasseh was murderous and it is very possible that his victims were offered as sacrifices to one or all of the false gods he worshiped. Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Manasseh dies and his son Amon takes over picking up where his dad left off.
Amon was just as wicked as his father. He kept up the pagan practices of his father and this led to the development of a coup. Subjects of Amon killed him and they were later killed by Amon’s loyal followers. After all this, the frineds of Amon elected his 8 year old son Josiah to take his place on the throne. Could it be that these elders thought they could control the kingdom by influencing this young and impressionable king? It’s very possible indeed! However, Josiah would prove to be a very different king than his grand-father or his father.