2 The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech,[a] along with their attendants, to seek the Lord’s favor.3 They were to ask this question of the prophets and the priests at the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction,[b] as we have done for so many years?”
4 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply:5 “Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn,[c] was it really for me that you were fasting?6 And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?7 Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah[d] were well populated?’”
8 Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord:9 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.
7:3Hebrew mourn and fast in the fifth month. The Temple had been destroyed in the fifth month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar (August 586 B.c.); see 2 Kgs 25:8.
7:5Hebrew fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months. The fifth month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of July and August. The seventh month usually occurs within the months of September and October; both the Day of Atonement and the Festival of Shelters were celebrated in the seventh month.
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