Daily reading for Wednesday, November 6, 2013

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Habakkuk 1:1 - Zechariah 10:12 (New International Version)

Habakkuk 1 - Zechariah 10

The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
    but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
    but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
    so that justice is perverted.

The Lord’s Answer

“Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told.
I am raising up the Babylonians,[a]
    that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
    to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;
    they are a law to themselves
    and promote their own honor.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
    fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
    their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
    they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes[b] advance like a desert wind
    and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
    and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
    by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
    guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”

Habakkuk’s Second Complaint

12 Lord, are you not from everlasting?
    My God, my Holy One, you[c] will never die.
You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment;
    you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
    you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
    Why are you silent while the wicked
    swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
14 You have made people like the fish in the sea,
    like the sea creatures that have no ruler.
15 The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks,
    he catches them in his net,
he gathers them up in his dragnet;
    and so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net
    and burns incense to his dragnet,
for by his net he lives in luxury
    and enjoys the choicest food.
17 Is he to keep on emptying his net,
    destroying nations without mercy?

I will stand at my watch
    and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
    and what answer I am to give to this complaint.[d]

The Lord’s Answer

Then the Lord replied:

“Write down the revelation
    and make it plain on tablets
    so that a herald[e] may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
    it speaks of the end
    and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
    it[f] will certainly come
    and will not delay.

“See, the enemy is puffed up;
    his desires are not upright—
    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness[g]
indeed, wine betrays him;
    he is arrogant and never at rest.
Because he is as greedy as the grave
    and like death is never satisfied,
he gathers to himself all the nations
    and takes captive all the peoples.

“Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

“‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods
    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!
    How long must this go on?’
Will not your creditors suddenly arise?
    Will they not wake up and make you tremble?
    Then you will become their prey.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    the peoples who are left will plunder you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain,
    setting his nest on high
    to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,
    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out,
    and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.

12 “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
    and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined
    that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,
    that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

15 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors,
    pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk,
    so that he can gaze on their naked bodies!
16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory.
    Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed[h]!
The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you,
    and disgrace will cover your glory.
17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,
    and your destruction of animals will terrify you.
For you have shed human blood;
    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman?
    Or an image that teaches lies?
For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation;
    he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’
    Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’
Can it give guidance?
    It is covered with gold and silver;
    there is no breath in it.”

20 The Lord is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth be silent before him.

Habakkuk’s Prayer

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.[i]

Lord, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy.

God came from Teman,
    the Holy One from Mount Paran.[j]
His glory covered the heavens
    and his praise filled the earth.
His splendor was like the sunrise;
    rays flashed from his hand,
    where his power was hidden.
Plague went before him;
    pestilence followed his steps.
He stood, and shook the earth;
    he looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains crumbled
    and the age-old hills collapsed
    but he marches on forever.
I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
    the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
    Was your wrath against the streams?
Did you rage against the sea
    when you rode your horses
    and your chariots to victory?
You uncovered your bow,
    you called for many arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
10     the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
    the deep roared
    and lifted its waves on high.

11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
    at the glint of your flying arrows,
    at the lightning of your flashing spear.
12 In wrath you strode through the earth
    and in anger you threshed the nations.
13 You came out to deliver your people,
    to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
    you stripped him from head to foot.
14 With his own spear you pierced his head
    when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
gloating as though about to devour
    the wretched who were in hiding.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
    churning the great waters.

16 I heard and my heart pounded,
    my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
    and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
    to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah:

Judgment on the Whole Earth in the Day of the Lord

“I will sweep away everything
    from the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord.
“I will sweep away both man and beast;
    I will sweep away the birds in the sky
    and the fish in the sea—
    and the idols that cause the wicked to stumble.”[k]

“When I destroy all mankind
    on the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord,
“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
    and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,
    the very names of the idolatrous priests
those who bow down on the roofs
    to worship the starry host,
those who bow down and swear by the Lord
    and who also swear by Molek,[l]
those who turn back from following the Lord
    and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.”

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord,
    for the day of the Lord is near.
The Lord has prepared a sacrifice;
    he has consecrated those he has invited.

“On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice
    I will punish the officials
    and the king’s sons
and all those clad
    in foreign clothes.
On that day I will punish
    all who avoid stepping on the threshold,[m]
who fill the temple of their gods
    with violence and deceit.

10 “On that day,
    declares the Lord,
“a cry will go up from the Fish Gate,
    wailing from the New Quarter,
    and a loud crash from the hills.
11 Wail, you who live in the market district[n];
    all your merchants will be wiped out,
    all who trade with[o] silver will be destroyed.
12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps
    and punish those who are complacent,
    who are like wine left on its dregs,
who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing,
    either good or bad.’
13 Their wealth will be plundered,
    their houses demolished.
Though they build houses,
    they will not live in them;
though they plant vineyards,
    they will not drink the wine.”

14 The great day of the Lord is near
    near and coming quickly.
The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry.
15 That day will be a day of wrath—
    a day of distress and anguish,
        a day of trouble and ruin,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
        a day of clouds and blackness
16     a day of trumpet and battle cry
against the fortified cities
    and against the corner towers.

17 “I will bring such distress on all people
    that they will grope about like those who are blind,
    because they have sinned against the Lord.
Their blood will be poured out like dust
    and their entrails like dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold
    will be able to save them
    on the day of the Lord’s wrath.”

In the fire of his jealousy
    the whole earth will be consumed,
for he will make a sudden end
    of all who live on the earth.

Judah and Jerusalem Judged Along With the Nations

Judah Summoned to Repent

Gather together, gather yourselves together,
    you shameful nation,
before the decree takes effect
    and that day passes like windblown chaff,
before the Lord’s fierce anger
    comes upon you,
before the day of the Lord’s wrath
    comes upon you.
Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,
    you who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
    perhaps you will be sheltered
    on the day of the Lord’s anger.

Philistia

Gaza will be abandoned
    and Ashkelon left in ruins.
At midday Ashdod will be emptied
    and Ekron uprooted.
Woe to you who live by the sea,
    you Kerethite people;
the word of the Lord is against you,
    Canaan, land of the Philistines.
He says, “I will destroy you,
    and none will be left.”
The land by the sea will become pastures
    having wells for shepherds
    and pens for flocks.
That land will belong
    to the remnant of the people of Judah;
    there they will find pasture.
In the evening they will lie down
    in the houses of Ashkelon.
The Lord their God will care for them;
    he will restore their fortunes.[p]

Moab and Ammon

“I have heard the insults of Moab
    and the taunts of the Ammonites,
who insulted my people
    and made threats against their land.
Therefore, as surely as I live,”
    declares the Lord Almighty,
    the God of Israel,
“surely Moab will become like Sodom,
    the Ammonites like Gomorrah—
a place of weeds and salt pits,
    a wasteland forever.
The remnant of my people will plunder them;
    the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.

10 This is what they will get in return for their pride,
    for insulting and mocking
    the people of the Lord Almighty.
11 The Lord will be awesome to them
    when he destroys all the gods of the earth.
Distant nations will bow down to him,
    all of them in their own lands.

Cush

12 “You Cushites,[q] too,
    will be slain by my sword.

Assyria

13 He will stretch out his hand against the north
    and destroy Assyria,
leaving Nineveh utterly desolate
    and dry as the desert.
14 Flocks and herds will lie down there,
    creatures of every kind.
The desert owl and the screech owl
    will roost on her columns.
Their hooting will echo through the windows,
    rubble will fill the doorways,
    the beams of cedar will be exposed.
15 This is the city of revelry
    that lived in safety.
She said to herself,
    “I am the one! And there is none besides me.”
What a ruin she has become,
    a lair for wild beasts!
All who pass by her scoff
    and shake their fists.

Jerusalem

Woe to the city of oppressors,
    rebellious and defiled!
She obeys no one,
    she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
    she does not draw near to her God.
Her officials within her
    are roaring lions;
her rulers are evening wolves,
    who leave nothing for the morning.
Her prophets are unprincipled;
    they are treacherous people.
Her priests profane the sanctuary
    and do violence to the law.
The Lord within her is righteous;
    he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
    and every new day he does not fail,
    yet the unrighteous know no shame.

Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant

“I have destroyed nations;
    their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
    with no one passing through.
Their cities are laid waste;
    they are deserted and empty.
Of Jerusalem I thought,
    ‘Surely you will fear me
    and accept correction!’
Then her place of refuge[r] would not be destroyed,
    nor all my punishments come upon[s] her.
But they were still eager
    to act corruptly in all they did.
Therefore wait for me,”
    declares the Lord,
    “for the day I will stand up to testify.[t]
I have decided to assemble the nations,
    to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out my wrath on them—
    all my fierce anger.
The whole world will be consumed
    by the fire of my jealous anger.

Restoration of Israel’s Remnant

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
    that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
    and serve him shoulder to shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush[u]
    my worshipers, my scattered people,
    will bring me offerings.
11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame
    for all the wrongs you have done to me,
because I will remove from you
    your arrogant boasters.
Never again will you be haughty
    on my holy hill.
12 But I will leave within you
    the meek and humble.
The remnant of Israel
    will trust in the name of the Lord.
13 They will do no wrong;
    they will tell no lies.
A deceitful tongue
    will not be found in their mouths.
They will eat and lie down
    and no one will make them afraid.

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[v]
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

A Call to Build the House of the Lord

In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jozadak,[w] the high priest:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the Lord’s house.’”

Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.

12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the Lord their God had sent him. And the people feared the Lord.

13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: “I am with you,” declares the Lord. 14 So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God, 15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.

The Promised Glory of the New House

In the second year of King Darius, on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak,[x] the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Blessings for a Defiled People

10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’”

The priests answered, “No.”

13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”

“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.

14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on[y]—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.

“‘From this day on I will bless you.’”

Zerubbabel the Lord’s Signet Ring

20 The word of the Lord came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.

23 “‘On that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

A Call to Return to the Lord

In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:

“The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”

The Man Among the Myrtle Trees

On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo.

During the night I had a vision, and there before me was a man mounted on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.

I asked, “What are these, my lord?”

The angel who was talking with me answered, “I will show you what they are.”

10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth.”

11 And they reported to the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world at rest and in peace.”

12 Then the angel of the Lord said, “Lord Almighty, how long will you withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which you have been angry with these seventy years?” 13 So the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.

14 Then the angel who was speaking to me said, “Proclaim this word: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, 15 and I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they went too far with the punishment.’

16 “Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem,’ declares the Lord Almighty.

17 “Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’”

Four Horns and Four Craftsmen

18 Then I looked up, and there before me were four horns. 19 I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?”

He answered me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.”

20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 I asked, “What are these coming to do?”

He answered, “These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one could raise their head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.”[z]

A Man With a Measuring Line

[aa]Then I looked up, and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand. I asked, “Where are you going?”

He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.”

While the angel who was speaking to me was leaving, another angel came to meet him and said to him: “Run, tell that young man, ‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’

“Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the Lord, “for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven,” declares the Lord.

“Come, Zion! Escape, you who live in Daughter Babylon!” For this is what the Lord Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them.[ab] Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me.

10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 11 “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Clean Garments for the High Priest

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[ac] standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.

“‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes[ad] on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.

10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

The Gold Lampstand and the Two Olive Trees

Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep. He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps. Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.”

I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”

He answered, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I replied.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

“What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.

10 “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone[ae] in the hand of Zerubbabel?”

11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?”

12 Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”

13 He replied, “Do you not know what these are?”

“No, my lord,” I said.

14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to[af] serve the Lord of all the earth.”

The Flying Scroll

I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll.

He asked me, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.[ag]

And he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished. The Lord Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.’”

The Woman in a Basket

Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what is appearing.”

I asked, “What is it?”

He replied, “It is a basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity[ah] of the people throughout the land.”

Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman! He said, “This is wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed its lead cover down on it.

Then I looked up—and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth.

10 “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel who was speaking to me.

11 He replied, “To the country of Babylonia[ai] to build a house for it. When the house is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”

Four Chariots

I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black, the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”

The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits[aj] of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west,[ak] and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”

When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.

Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit[al] rest in the land of the north.”

A Crown for Joshua

The word of the Lord came to me: 10 “Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon. Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak.[am] 12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he[an] will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’ 14 The crown will be given to Heldai,[ao] Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen[ap] son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the Lord. 15 Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord, and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God.”

Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.

13 “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. 14 ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’”

The Lord Promises to Bless Jerusalem

The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.”

This is what the Lord says: “I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?” declares the Lord Almighty.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Now hear these words, ‘Let your hands be strong so that the temple may be built.’ This is also what the prophets said who were present when the foundation was laid for the house of the Lord Almighty. 10 Before that time there were no wages for people or hire for animals. No one could go about their business safely because of their enemies, since I had turned everyone against their neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past,” declares the Lord Almighty.

12 “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people. 13 Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse[aq] among the nations, so I will save you, and you will be a blessing.[ar] Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.

14 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good again to Jerusalem and Judah. Do not be afraid. 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; 17 do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

18 The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.

19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”

20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.”

23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”

Judgment on Israel’s Enemies

A prophecy:

The word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrak
    and will come to rest on Damascus
for the eyes of all people and all the tribes of Israel
    are on the Lord[as]
and on Hamath too, which borders on it,
    and on Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful.
Tyre has built herself a stronghold;
    she has heaped up silver like dust,
    and gold like the dirt of the streets.
But the Lord will take away her possessions
    and destroy her power on the sea,
    and she will be consumed by fire.
Ashkelon will see it and fear;
    Gaza will writhe in agony,
    and Ekron too, for her hope will wither.
Gaza will lose her king
    and Ashkelon will be deserted.
A mongrel people will occupy Ashdod,
    and I will put an end to the pride of the Philistines.
I will take the blood from their mouths,
    the forbidden food from between their teeth.
Those who are left will belong to our God
    and become a clan in Judah,
    and Ekron will be like the Jebusites.
But I will encamp at my temple
    to guard it against marauding forces.
Never again will an oppressor overrun my people,
    for now I am keeping watch.

The Coming of Zion’s King

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
    and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
    and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
    His rule will extend from sea to sea
    and from the River[at] to the ends of the earth.
11 As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
    I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
    even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.
13 I will bend Judah as I bend my bow
    and fill it with Ephraim.
I will rouse your sons, Zion,
    against your sons, Greece,
    and make you like a warrior’s sword.

The Lord Will Appear

14 Then the Lord will appear over them;
    his arrow will flash like lightning.
The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet;
    he will march in the storms of the south,
15     and the Lord Almighty will shield them.
They will destroy
    and overcome with slingstones.
They will drink and roar as with wine;
    they will be full like a bowl
    used for sprinkling[au] the corners of the altar.
16 The Lord their God will save his people on that day
    as a shepherd saves his flock.
They will sparkle in his land
    like jewels in a crown.
17 How attractive and beautiful they will be!
    Grain will make the young men thrive,
    and new wine the young women.

The Lord Will Care for Judah

10 Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime;
    it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people,
    and plants of the field to everyone.
The idols speak deceitfully,
    diviners see visions that lie;
they tell dreams that are false,
    they give comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep
    oppressed for lack of a shepherd.

“My anger burns against the shepherds,
    and I will punish the leaders;
for the Lord Almighty will care
    for his flock, the people of Judah,
    and make them like a proud horse in battle.
From Judah will come the cornerstone,
    from him the tent peg,
from him the battle bow,
    from him every ruler.
Together they[av] will be like warriors in battle
    trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.
They will fight because the Lord is with them,
    and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame.

“I will strengthen Judah
    and save the tribes of Joseph.
I will restore them
    because I have compassion on them.
They will be as though
    I had not rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God
    and I will answer them.
The Ephraimites will become like warriors,
    and their hearts will be glad as with wine.
Their children will see it and be joyful;
    their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.
I will signal for them
    and gather them in.
Surely I will redeem them;
    they will be as numerous as before.
Though I scatter them among the peoples,
    yet in distant lands they will remember me.
They and their children will survive,
    and they will return.
10 I will bring them back from Egypt
    and gather them from Assyria.
I will bring them to Gilead and Lebanon,
    and there will not be room enough for them.
11 They will pass through the sea of trouble;
    the surging sea will be subdued
    and all the depths of the Nile will dry up.
Assyria’s pride will be brought down
    and Egypt’s scepter will pass away.
12 I will strengthen them in the Lord
    and in his name they will live securely,
declares the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Habakkuk 1:6 Or Chaldeans
  2. Habakkuk 1:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Habakkuk 1:12 An ancient Hebrew scribal tradition; Masoretic Text we
  4. Habakkuk 2:1 Or and what to answer when I am rebuked
  5. Habakkuk 2:2 Or so that whoever reads it
  6. Habakkuk 2:3 Or Though he linger, wait for him; / he
  7. Habakkuk 2:4 Or faith
  8. Habakkuk 2:16 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls, Aquila, Vulgate and Syriac (see also Septuagint) and stagger
  9. Habakkuk 3:1 Probably a literary or musical term
  10. Habakkuk 3:3 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the middle of verse 9 and at the end of verse 13.
  11. Zephaniah 1:3 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
  12. Zephaniah 1:5 Hebrew Malkam
  13. Zephaniah 1:9 See 1 Samuel 5:5.
  14. Zephaniah 1:11 Or the Mortar
  15. Zephaniah 1:11 Or in
  16. Zephaniah 2:7 Or will bring back their captives
  17. Zephaniah 2:12 That is, people from the upper Nile region
  18. Zephaniah 3:7 Or her sanctuary
  19. Zephaniah 3:7 Or all those I appointed over
  20. Zephaniah 3:8 Septuagint and Syriac; Hebrew will rise up to plunder
  21. Zephaniah 3:10 That is, the upper Nile region
  22. Zephaniah 3:20 Or I bring back your captives
  23. Haggai 1:1 Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of Jozadak; also in verses 12 and 14
  24. Haggai 2:2 Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of Jozadak; also in verse 4
  25. Haggai 2:15 Or to the days past
  26. Zechariah 1:21 In Hebrew texts 1:18-21 is numbered 2:1-4.
  27. Zechariah 2:1 In Hebrew texts 2:1-13 is numbered 2:5-17.
  28. Zechariah 2:9 Or says after … eye: “I … plunder them.”
  29. Zechariah 3:1 Hebrew satan means adversary.
  30. Zechariah 3:9 Or facets
  31. Zechariah 4:10 Or the plumb line
  32. Zechariah 4:14 Or two who bring oil and
  33. Zechariah 5:2 That is, about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide or about 9 meters long and 4.5 meters wide
  34. Zechariah 5:6 Or appearance
  35. Zechariah 5:11 Hebrew Shinar
  36. Zechariah 6:5 Or winds
  37. Zechariah 6:6 Or horses after them
  38. Zechariah 6:8 Or spirit
  39. Zechariah 6:11 Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of Jozadak
  40. Zechariah 6:13 Or there
  41. Zechariah 6:14 Syriac; Hebrew Helem
  42. Zechariah 6:14 Or and the gracious one, the
  43. Zechariah 8:13 That is, your name has been used in cursing (see Jer. 29:22); or, you have been regarded as under a curse.
  44. Zechariah 8:13 Or and your name will be used in blessings (see Gen. 48:20); or and you will be seen as blessed
  45. Zechariah 9:1 Or Damascus. / For the eye of the Lord is on all people, / as well as on the tribes of Israel,
  46. Zechariah 9:10 That is, the Euphrates
  47. Zechariah 9:15 Or bowl, / like
  48. Zechariah 10:5 Or ruler, all of them together. / They
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