Book of Zephaniah in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

LITERATURE I. The Author. 1. Name: The name "Zephaniah" (tsephanyah; Sophonias), which is borne by three other men mentioned in the Old Testament, means "Yah hides," or "Yah has hidden" or "treasured." "It suggests," says G. A. Smith, "the prophet's birth in the killing time of Manasseh" (2 Ki 21:16). 2. Ancestry: The ancestry of the prophet is carried back four generations (Zeph 1:1), which is unusual in the Old Testament (compare Isa 1:1; Hos 1:1); hence, it is thought, not without reason (Eiselen, Minor Prophets, 505), that the last-mentioned ancestor, Hezekiah, must have been a prominent man--indeed, no other than King Hezekiah of Judah, the contemporary of Isaiah and Micah. If Zephaniah was of royal blood, his condemnation of the royal princes (1:8) becomes of great interest. In a similar manner did Isaiah, who in all probability was of royal blood, condemn without hesitation the shortcomings and vices of the rulers and the court. An ancient tradition declares that Zephaniah was of the tribe of Simeon, which would make it impossible for him to be of royal blood; but the origin and value of this tradition are uncertain. Zephaniah lived in Judah; that he lived in Jerusalem is made probable by the statement in 1:4, "I will cut off .... from this place," as well as by his intimate knowledge of the topography of the city (1:10,11). 3. Life: For how long he continued his prophetic activity we do not know, but it is not improbable that, as in the case of Amos, his public activity was short, and that, after delivering his message of judgment in connection with a great political crisis, he retired to private life, though his interest in reforms may have continued (2 Ki 23:2)...

Link: https://bible-history.com/isbe/Z/ZEPHANIAH,+BOOK+OF/