“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” (Zephaniah 1:14).
This rather enigmatic prophecy has apparently been difficult for Old Testament scholars to translate. The words “even” and “man” are not in the original, at all. The word for “cry” is better rendered “roar,” and the word for “voice” also means a loud voice, like thunder. Certain scholars have pointed out the intriguing possibility that a very slight change in the pointing of the Hebrew characters on the word for “bitterly” would convert it into a word similar to “Nazarite,” that could well be rendered “Nazarene.”
This possibility calls up another enigmatic verse, Matthew 2:23: “And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” Since Nazareth did not even exist during the days of the prophets, and since no such prophecy was known in the Old Testament, critics have charged Matthew with a serious error—that of manufacturing a prophetic fulfillment which did not exist. Conservative scholars have offered various explanations, but none, to date, have been persuasive, or even very helpful.
Now if it could be assumed that the ancient Hebrew copyists did indeed make this slight error in copying, possibly even with good intention (since “Nazarene,” in their day, would seem meaningless), then the last of Zephaniah 1:14 could perhaps be rendered: “A thunderous voice roaring on the day of the LORD: ‘The Nazarene is the mighty One!’”
In any case, there can be no doubt that, when the great day of the Lord does come, the One who was “despised and rejected of men” will finally see that “the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand” (Isaiah 53:3,10). Then His once-despised name will be above every name! HMM