Zechariah 7 Expanded Bible (EXB)
The People Should Show Mercy
7 In the fourth year Darius was king, on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is called Kislev [December 7, 518 bc], the ·Lord spoke his word [L word of the Lord came] to Zechariah. 2 The city of Bethel sent Sharezer, Regem-Melech, and their men to ·ask the Lord a question [or seek the Lord’s favor]. 3 They went to the prophets and priests who were at the ·Temple [L house] of the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. The men said, “For years in the fifth month of each year we have ·shown our sadness [mourned; wept] and fasted. Should we continue to do this?”
4 The ·Lord All-Powerful spoke his word [L word of the Lord All-Powerful/of Heaven’s Armies/T of hosts came] to me, saying, 5 “Tell the priests and the people in the land: ‘For seventy years you fasted and ·cried [mourned] in the fifth and seventh months, but ·that was not [L was it…?] really for me. 6 And when you ate and drank, ·it was really [L was it not…?] for yourselves. 7 Wasn’t this the same thing the Lord said through the ·earlier [former] prophets, when Jerusalem and the surrounding towns were at peace and wealthy, and people lived in the ·southern area [L Negev] and the ·western hills [or lowland; L Shephelah]?’”
8 And the ·Lord spoke his word [L word of the Lord came] to Zechariah again, saying, 9 “This is what the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] says: ‘·Do what is right and true [Administer true justice]. Be kind and ·merciful [compassionate] to each other. 10 Don’t ·hurt [oppress] widows and ·orphans [the fatherless], foreigners or the poor [Ex. 22:21–24; 23:9; Lev. 19:33–34; Deut 24:17–18]; don’t ·even think of doing evil to [or secretly plot evil against] somebody else.’
11 “But they refused to pay attention; they ·were stubborn [turned their backs; L gave a stubborn shoulder] and ·did not want to listen anymore [covered their ears]. 12 They made their hearts ·as hard as rock [like flint] and would not listen to the ·teachings [law; L Torah] of the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. And they would not hear the words he sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] became very angry.
13 “‘When I called to them, they would not listen. So when they called to me, I would not listen,’ says the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts]. 14 ‘I scattered them like a ·hurricane [whirlwind] ·to other countries [among all the nations] they did not know. This good land was left so ·ruined behind them [desolate] that no one ·could live there [or traveled through it]. They had made the ·desired [pleasant] land ·a ruin [desolate; a wasteland].’”
Zechariah 7 New International Version (NIV)
Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting
7 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. 2 The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord 3 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?”
4 Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: 5 “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? 6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? 7 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?’”
8 And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: 9 “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.’”