Zechariah 2 and 3
Zechariah 4 and 5
By Susan Cottraux
Zechariah 7:1-7: And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu; When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the Lord, And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years? Then came the word of the Lord of hosts unto me, saying, Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? Should ye not hear the words which the Lord hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?
In the fourth year of Darius (two years after the previous prophecies), the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah. “Chisleu” refers to the month of November. The Jews of the country sent Sherezer (the treasurer) and Regemmellech (the king’s official) and their men to ask the Lord if they should continue the fast of Gedaliah and those with him at Mizpah (see II Kings 25:25, Jeremiah 41). The priests’ duty was to give decision on points of the law. They were asking if the fast should continue now that the temple and city are being restored; they were tired of it. The Lord wants to know why they kept it in the first place. Was it unto Him? No, it was to gratify their selves in hypocritical worship. If it had been to the Lord, they would have separated themselves not only from food, but from sin. It is not fasts that God required of them but that they should keep His Word given to them at the time when Jerusalem was in its integrity. They inquired anxiously about the fast but they should have been anxious about hearing the lesson taught by the former prophets and verified in the nation’s punishment. Repentance and obedience are required rather than fasts.
Zechariah 7:8-14: And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
God is pleased with loving obedience, rather than empty ceremonies. “Pulled away the shoulder” in verse 11 refers to an animal who refuses to bear a yoke. As they pushed from the yoke of obedience, God laid on them the yoke of oppression. As they made their hearts hard, God broke them with judgment. The harder the stone, the harder the blow of the hammer. The blame of their destruction lay with themselves, rather than with the Babylonians.
In chapter 8, the Lord paints the future relationship He will one day have with His people and the city of Jerusalem.
Verses 1-2: Again the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. The Lord describes His attitude toward the city of Jerusalem, called Zion. Zion is one of the hills upon which Jerusalem was built and is 105 feet higher than Mount Moriah. The name has come to symbolize Jerusalem. The Hebrew word “anqQana” is translated both as jealous and zealous; The Lord is zealous regarding the inhabitants of the city and His eternal plans. He desires a righteous city, reflecting his eternal nature.
Verse 3: Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain. This special event had both a near and distant fulfillment. The near fulfillment is pictured in Zechariah 9:9 as the Lord enters Jerusalem on a donkey. This was fulfilled literally as Jesus entered and dwelt in the city of Jerusalem. Ultimately Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, will be elevated above every city on earth when the Lord Himself makes it the city of His rule on earth. When Jesus rules the city of Jerusalem, He will rule in truth and righteousness.
Verse 4: Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. The scene presented here is one of contrast to the current situation in Zechariah’s day. When Zechariah wrote this, his people were in constant threat from the surrounding peoples. Those who were old would have been relatively few in number. In addition, children playing in the streets, in safety and security would have also seemed impossible to those around Zechariah. Using this impossible situation, the Lord looks past Zechariah’s day, to a day when the Lord would rule over the city of Jerusalem as the King. The staff is a symbol of great age, the point being made here is not of feeble age, but of great age. The reason the old men have a staff is because they have great age, this is a picture in the Millennium, when the age of those who live on earth will be great compared to Zechariah’s day. One hundred will be considered the age of a child (Isaiah 65:19-22).
Verse 5: And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. “Full of boys and girls” is a contrasting image from the current situation in Jerusalem; people were afraid of the foreign forces from surrounding areas.
Verse 6: Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts. The image presented by the Lord through Zechariah seems like an impossible event, something to marvel at, the Lord implies what seems impossible for men is not impossible for the Lord.
Verse 7: Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; Despite their disobedience in the past, the Lord promised to gather His people back into the land of their forefathers and bless them even greater than before. This will be completely fulfilled following the return of the Messiah (Zechariah 12:10) as those Jews who were scattered and in hiding are gathered following the national conversion of the nation to Jesus Christ who returns in glory and power to rule the nations.
Verse 8: And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. The relationship between the Lord and His people will be a direct relationship, and they will know the Lord their God.
Verse 9: Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. The Lord’s message is one of encouragement. He wants to encourage those who heard the prophets (Haggai and Zechariah). These prophets came on the scene after the people had lost their incentive to continue with the Lord’s temple. The situation of the people’s disobedience is announced in Haggai.
Verse 10, 11: For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour. But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the Lord of hosts. The people chose to listen to the prophets before. But now they ignored the temple and they suffered.
Verse 12: For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. Now that the people have obeyed the words of the prophets and almost finished the temple, they shall reap the prosperity of spiritual success.
As for the rest of the chapter, the nation of Israel is God’s covenanted people. Through the descendants of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the Messiah was born. Through Christ, the gentile nations can now receive the blessings of God’s covenant relationship. The blessing to come is still conditional on the nation’s obedience, not in ceremony, but in heart. In the days to come the fasts will become cheerful feasts.
Verses 19-20: Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also.
This scene looks forward into the future as the Gentile nations will one day know the God of Israel as their own God. People throughout the earth will come to know the God of Israel, when the nations will come to Jerusalem for judgment and guidance. The nations will submit to King Messiah and bow to Him in worship. The knowledge of the Lord will flow from Jerusalem and people will seek to know the God of Israel. They will turn to Jews and ask for their help.
Verses 22-23: Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.