Bible: Zech 1-8

Introduction

1:1 In the eighth month of Darius 1  second year, 2  the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah, 3  son of Berechiah son of Iddo, as follows:

1:2 The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 4  1:3 Therefore say to the people: 5  The Lord who rules over all 6  says, “Turn 7  to me,” says the Lord who rules over all, “and I will turn to you,” says the Lord who rules over all. 1:4 Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the former prophets called out, saying, ‘The Lord who rules over all says, “Turn now from your evil wickedness,”’ but they would by no means obey me,” says the Lord. 1:5 As for your ancestors, where are they? And did the prophets live forever? 1:6 But have my words and statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, not outlived your fathers? 8  Then they paid attention 9  and confessed, ‘The Lord who rules over all has indeed done what he said he would do to us, because of our sinful ways.’

The Introduction to the Visions

1:7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month Shebat, in Dariussecond year, 10  the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo, as follows:

The Content of the First Vision

1:8 I was attentive that night and saw a man seated 11  on a red horse that stood among some myrtle trees 12  in the ravine. Behind him were red, sorrel, 13  and white horses.

The Interpretation of the First Vision

1:9 Then I asked one nearby, “What are these, sir?” The angelic messenger 14  who replied to me said, “I will show you what these are.” 1:10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees spoke up and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk about 15  on the earth.” 1:11 The riders then agreed with the angel of the Lord, 16  who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been walking about on the earth, and now everything is at rest and quiet.” 1:12 The angel of the Lord then asked, Lord who rules over all, 17  how long before you have compassion on Jerusalem 18  and the other cities of Judah which you have been so angry with for these seventy years? 19  1:13 The Lord then addressed good, comforting words to the angelic messenger who was speaking to me. 1:14 Turning to me, the messenger then said, “Cry out that the Lord who rules over all says, ‘I am very much moved 20  for Jerusalem and for Zion. 1:15 But I am greatly displeased with the nations that take my grace for granted. 21  I was a little displeased with them, but they have only made things worse for themselves.

The Oracle of Response

1:16‘Therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘I have become compassionate 22  toward Jerusalem 23  and will rebuild my temple 24  in it,’ says the Lord who rules over all. ‘Once more a surveyor’s measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.’ 1:17 Speak up again with the message of the Lord who rules over all: ‘My cities will once more overflow with prosperity, and once more the Lord will comfort Zion and validate his choice of Jerusalem.’

Vision Two: The Four Horns

1:18 25  Once again I looked and this time I saw four horns. 1:19 So I asked the angelic messenger 26  who spoke with me, “What are these?” He replied, “These are the horns 27  that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” 28  1:20 Next the Lord showed me four blacksmiths. 29  1:21 I asked, “What are these going to do?” He answered, “These horns are the ones that have scattered Judah so that there is no one to be seen. 30  But the blacksmiths have come to terrify Judah’s enemies 31  and cut off the horns of the nations that have thrust themselves against the land of Judah in order to scatter its people.” 32 

Vision Three: The Surveyor

2:1 I looked again, and there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2:2 I asked, “Where are you going?” He replied, “To measure Jerusalem 33  in order to determine its width and its length.” 2:3 At this point the angelic messenger 34  who spoke to me went out, and another messenger came to meet him 2:4 and said to him, “Hurry, speak to this young man 35  as follows: ‘Jerusalem will no longer be enclosed by walls 36  because of the multitude of people and animals there. 2:5 But I (the Lord says) will be a wall of fire surrounding Jerusalem 37  and the source of glory in her midst.’

2:6You there! 38  Flee from the northland!” says the Lord, “for like the four winds of heaven 39  I have scattered you,” says the Lord. 2:7 Escape, Zion, you who live among the Babylonians! 40  2:8 For the Lord who rules over all says to me that for his own glory 41  he has sent me to the nations that plundered you – for anyone who touches you touches the pupil 42  of his 43  eye. 2:9 I am about to punish them 44  in such a way,” he says, “that they will be looted by their own slaves.” Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me.

2:10Sing out and be happy, Zion my daughter! 45  For look, I have come; I will settle in your midst,” says the Lord. 2:11 Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on the day of salvation, 46  and they will also be my 47  people. Indeed, I will settle in the midst of you all.” Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you. 2:12 The Lord will take possession of 48  Judah as his portion in the holy land and he will choose Jerusalem once again. 2:13 Be silent in the Lord’s presence, all people everywhere, 49  for he is being moved to action in his holy dwelling place. 50 

Vision Four: The Priest

3:1 Next I saw Joshua the high priest 51  standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan 52  standing at his right hand to accuse him. 3:2 The Lord 53  said to Satan, “May the Lord rebuke you, Satan! May the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, 54  rebuke you! Isn’t this man like a burning stick snatched from the fire? 3:3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes 55  as he stood there before the angel. 3:4 The angel 56  spoke up to those standing all around, “Remove his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “I have freely forgiven your iniquity and will dress you 57  in fine clothing.” 3:5 Then I spoke up, “Let a clean turban be put on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood nearby. 3:6 Then the angel of the Lord exhorted Joshua solemnly: 3:7 The Lord who rules over all says, ‘If you live 58  and work according to my requirements, you will be able to preside over my temple 59  and attend to my courtyards, and I will allow you to come and go among these others who are standing by you. 3:8 Listen now, Joshua the high priest, both you and your colleagues who are sitting before you, all of you 60  are a symbol that I am about to introduce my servant, the Branch. 61  3:9 As for the stone 62  I have set before Joshua – on the one stone there are seven eyes. 63  I am about to engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord who rules over all, ‘to the effect that I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 64  3:10 In that day,’ says the Lord who rules over all, ‘everyone will invite his friend to fellowship under his vine and under his fig tree.’ 65 

Vision Five: The Menorah

4:1 The angelic messenger 66  who had been speaking with me then returned and woke me, as a person is wakened from sleep. 4:2 He asked me, “What do you see?” I replied, 67 I see a menorah of pure gold with a receptacle at the top and seven lamps, with fourteen pipes going to the lamps. 4:3 There are also two olive trees beside it, one on the right of the receptacle and the other on the left.” 68  4:4 Then I asked the messenger who spoke with me, “What are these, 69  sir? 4:5 He replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” So I responded, “No, sir.” 4:6 Therefore he told me, “These signify the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ 70  says the Lord who rules over all.”

Oracle of Response

4:7What are you, you great mountain? 71  Because of Zerubbabel you will become a level plain! And he will bring forth the temple 72  capstone with shoutings of ‘Grace! Grace!’ 73  because of this.” 4:8 Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me as follows: 4:9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundations of this temple, 74  and his hands will complete it.” Then you will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you. 4:10 For who dares make light of small beginnings? These seven eyes 75  will joyfully look on the tin tablet 76  in Zerubbabel’s hand. (These are the eyes of the Lord, which constantly range across the whole earth.)

4:11 Next I asked the messenger, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the menorah? 4:12 Before he could reply I asked again, “What are these two extensions 77  of the olive trees, which are emptying out the golden oil through the two golden pipes? 4:13 He replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” And I said, “No, sir.” 4:14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones 78  who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”

Vision Six: The Flying Scroll

5:1 Then I turned to look, and there was a flying scroll! 5:2 Someone asked me, “What do you see?” I replied, “I see a flying scroll thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.” 79  5:3 The speaker went on to say, “This is a curse 80  traveling across the whole earth. For example, according to the curse whoever steals 81  will be removed from the community; or on the other hand (according to the curse) whoever swears falsely will suffer the same fate.” 5:4 I will send it out,” says the Lord who rules over all, “and it will enter the house of the thief and of the person who swears falsely in my name. It will land in the middle of his house and destroy both timber and stones.”

Vision Seven: The Ephah

5:5 After this the angelic messenger 82  who had been speaking to me went out and said, “Look, see what is leaving.” 5:6 I asked, “What is it?” And he replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain 83  that is moving away from here.” Moreover, he said, “This is their ‘eye 84  throughout all the earth.” 5:7 Then a round lead cover was raised up, revealing a woman sitting inside the basket. 5:8 He then said, “This woman represents wickedness,” and he pushed her down into the basket and placed the lead cover on top. 5:9 Then I looked again and saw two women 85  going forth with the wind in their wings (they had wings like those of a stork) and they lifted up the basket between the earth and the sky. 5:10 I asked the messenger who was speaking to me, “Where are they taking the basket? 5:11 He replied, “To build a temple 86  for her in the land of Babylonia. 87  When it is finished, she will be placed there in her own residence.”

Vision Eight: The Chariots

6:1 Once more I looked, and this time I saw four chariots emerging from between two mountains of bronze. 88  6:2 Harnessed to the first chariot were red horses, to the second black horses, 6:3 to the third white horses, and to the fourth spotted horses, all of them strong. 89  6:4 Then I asked the angelic messenger 90  who was speaking with me, “What are these, sir? 6:5 The messenger replied, “These are the four spirits 91  of heaven that have been presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth. 6:6 The chariot with the black horses is going to the north country and the white ones are going after them, but the spotted ones are going to the south country. 6:7 All these strong ones 92  are scattering; they have sought permission to go and walk about over the earth.” The Lord had said, “Go! Walk about over the earth!” So they are doing so. 6:8 Then he cried out to me, “Look! The ones going to the northland have brought me 93  peace about the northland.” 94 

A Concluding Oracle

6:9 The word of the Lord came to me as follows: 6:10 Choose some people 95  from among the exiles, namely, Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, all of whom have come from Babylon, and when you have done so go to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 96  6:11 Then take some silver and gold to make a crown 97  and set it on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 6:12 Then say to him, ‘The Lord who rules over all says, “Look – here is the man whose name is Branch, 98  who will sprout up from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 6:13 Indeed, he will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed in splendor, sitting as king on his throne. Moreover, there will be a priest 99  with him on his throne and they will see eye to eye on everything. 6:14 The crown will then be turned over to Helem, 100  Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen 101  son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the Lord. 6:15 Then those who are far away 102  will come and build the temple of the Lord so that you may know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to you. This will all come to pass if you completely obey the voice of the Lord your God.”’

The Hypocrisy of False Fasting

7:1 In King Dariusfourth year, on the fourth day of Kislev, the ninth month, 103  the word of the Lord came to Zechariah. 7:2 Now the people of Bethel 104  had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech and their companions to seek the Lord’s favor 7:3 by asking both the priests of the temple 105  of the Lord who rules over all and the prophets, “Should we weep in the fifth month, 106  fasting as we have done over the years? 7:4 The word of the Lord who rules over all then came to me, 7:5 Speak to all the people and priests of the land as follows: ‘When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and seventh 107  months through all these seventy years, did you truly fast for me – for me, indeed? 7:6 And now when you eat and drink, are you not doing so for yourselves?’ 7:7 Should you not have obeyed the words that the Lord cried out through the former prophets when Jerusalem 108  was peacefully inhabited and her surrounding cities, the Negev, and the Shephelah 109  were also populated?

7:8 Again the word of the Lord came to Zechariah: 7:9 The Lord who rules over all said, ‘Exercise true judgment and show brotherhood and compassion to each other. 7:10 You must not oppress the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, or the poor, nor should anyone secretly plot evil against his fellow human being.’

7:11But they refused to pay attention, turning away stubbornly and stopping their ears so they could not hear. 7:12 Indeed, they made their heart as hard as diamond, 110  so that they could not obey the Torah and the other words the Lord who rules over all had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore, the Lord who rules over all had poured out great wrath.

7:13‘It then came about that just as I 111  cried out, but they would not obey, so they will cry out, but I will not listen,’ the Lord Lord who rules over all had said. 7:14 Rather, I will sweep them away in a storm into all the nations they are not familiar with.’ Thus the land had become desolate because of them, with no one crossing through or returning, for they had made the fruitful 112  land a waste.”

The Blessing of True Fasting

8:1 Then the word of the Lord who rules over all 113  came to me as follows: 8:2 The Lord who rules over all says, ‘I am very much concerned for Zion; indeed, I am so concerned for her that my rage will fall on those who hurt her.’ 8:3 The Lord says, ‘I have returned to Zion and will live within Jerusalem. 114  Now Jerusalem will be called “truthful city,” “mountain of the Lord who rules over all,” “holy mountain.”’ 8:4 Moreover, the Lord who rules over all says, ‘Old men and women will once more live in the plazas of Jerusalem, each one leaning on a cane because of advanced age. 8:5 And the streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing. 115  8:6 And,’ says the Lord who rules over all, ‘though such a thing may seem to be difficult in the opinion of the small community of those days, will it also appear difficult to me?’ asks the Lord who rules over all.

8:7The Lord who rules over all asserts, ‘I am about to save my people from the lands of the east and the west. 8:8 And I will bring them to settle within Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be their God, 116  in truth and righteousness.’

8:9The Lord who rules over all also says, ‘Gather strength, you who are listening to these words today from the mouths of the prophets who were there at the founding of the house of the Lord who rules over all, 117  so that the temple might be built. 8:10 Before that time there was no compensation for man or animal, nor was there any relief from adversity for those who came and went, because I had pitted everybody – each one – against everyone else. 8:11 But I will be different now to this remnant of my people from the way I was in those days,’ says the Lord who rules over all, 8:12 for there will be a peaceful time of sowing, the vine will produce its fruit and the ground its yield, and the skies 118  will rain down dew. Then I will allow the remnant of my people to possess all these things. 8:13 And it will come about that just as you (both Judah and Israel) were a curse to the nations, so I will save you and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid! Instead, be strong!’

8:14For the Lord who rules over all says, ‘As I had planned to hurt 119  you when your fathers made me angry,’ says the Lord who rules over all, ‘and I was not sorry, 8:15 so, to the contrary, I have planned in these days to do good to Jerusalem and Judah – do not fear! 8:16 These are the things you must do: Speak the truth, each of you, to one another. Practice true and righteous judgment in your courts. 120  8:17 Do not plan evil in your hearts against one another. Do not favor a false oath – these are all things that I hate,’ says the Lord.”

8:18 The word of the Lord who rules over all came to me as follows: 8:19 The Lord who rules over all says, ‘The fast of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth 121  months will become joyful and happy, pleasant feasts for the house of Judah, so love truth and peace.’ 8:20 The Lord who rules over all says, ‘It will someday come to pass that people – residents of many cities – will come. 8:21 The inhabitants of one will go to another and say, “Let’s go up at once to ask the favor of the Lord, to seek the Lord who rules over all. Indeed, I’ll go with you.”’ 8:22 Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord who rules over all and to ask his favor. 8:23 The Lord who rules over all says, ‘In those days ten people from all languages and nations will grasp hold of – indeed, grab – the robe of one Jew and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’” 122 

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