According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, Zephaniah can be interpreted to mean either “Yahweh has hidden” or “Yahweh has treasured.” It’s a bit ambiguous, but so is the book’s vision of the coming day of the Lord. God wipes Judah off the face of the earth, yet he also points the way for his lost people to get back home. In other words, the book of Zephaniah is ancient Israel’s version of Apple Maps.
Also all over the map: when the book was supposed to have been written. The opening verse indicates that Zephaniah prophesied during the late seventh century BCE, but the references to returning from exile would seem to indicate that it was written a century or so later during Judah’s Babylonian captivity. The mystery has proven to be so compelling that it even inspired a song.
We get Zephaniah’s family history in the first verse, and it includes great-great granddad Hezekiah, a pretty successful king of Judah.