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].’”
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