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Zechariah 7 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

The Lord Wants Kindness and Mercy

Zechariah received a message from the Lord in the fourth year that Darius[a] was the king of Persia. This was on the fourth day of the ninth month (Kislev). The people of Bethel sent Sharezer, Regem-Melech, and his men to ask the Lord a question. They went to the prophets and to the priests at the Temple of the Lord All-Powerful. They asked them this question: “For many years we have shown our sadness for the destruction of the Temple. In the fifth month of each year, we have had a special time of crying and fasting. Should we continue to do this?”

I received this message from the Lord All-Powerful: “Tell the priests and the other people in this country this: ‘For seventy years you fasted and showed your sadness in the fifth month and in the seventh month. But was that fasting really for me? And when you ate and drank, was that for me? No, it was for your own good. The Lord used the earlier prophets to say the same thing long ago. That was when Jerusalem was still a rich city filled with people and there were still people living in the surrounding towns, in the Negev, and in the western foothills.’”

This is the Lord’s message to Zechariah:
“This is what the Lord All-Powerful said:
‘You must do what is right and fair.
    You must be kind and
    show mercy to each other.
10 Don’t hurt widows and orphans,
    strangers, or poor people.
Don’t even think of doing bad things to each other!’”

11 But they refused to listen
    and refused to do what he wanted.
They closed their ears so that they
    could not hear what God said.
12 They were very stubborn
    and would not obey the law.
The Lord All-Powerful used his Spirit
    and sent messages to his people through the prophets.
But the people would not listen,
    so the Lord All-Powerful became very angry.
13 So the Lord All-Powerful said,
“I called to them,
    and they did not answer.
So now, if they call to me,
    I will not answer.
14 I will bring the other nations against them like a storm.
    They didn’t know those nations,
but the country will be destroyed
    after those nations pass through.
This pleasant country will be destroyed.”

Footnotes:

  1. Zechariah 7:1 the fourth year … Darius This was about 518 B.C.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Zechariah 7 New International Version (NIV)

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.’”

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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