Zechariah 7 New English Translation (NET Bible)
The Hypocrisy of False Fasting
7 In King Darius’ fourth year, on the fourth day of Kislev, the ninth month, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah. 2 Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech and their companions to seek the Lord’s favor 3 by asking both the priests of the temple of the Lord who rules over all and the prophets, “Should we weep in the fifth month, fasting as we have done over the years?” 4 The word of the Lord who rules over all then came to me, 5 “Speak to all the people and priests of the land as follows: ‘When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and seventh months through all these seventy years, did you truly fast for me—for me, indeed? 6 And now when you eat and drink, are you not doing so for yourselves?’” 7 Should you not have obeyed the words that the Lord cried out through the former prophets when Jerusalem was peacefully inhabited and her surrounding cities, the Negev, and the Shephelah were also populated?
8 Again the word of the Lord came to Zechariah: 9 “The Lord who rules over all said, ‘Exercise true judgment and show brotherhood and compassion to each other. 10 You must not oppress the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, or the poor, nor should anyone secretly plot evil against his fellow human being.’
11 “But they refused to pay attention, turning away stubbornly and stopping their ears so they could not hear. 12 Indeed, they made their heart as hard as diamond, so that they could not obey the Torah and the other words the Lord who rules over all had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore, the Lord who rules over all had poured out great wrath.
13 “‘It then came about that just as I cried out, but they would not obey, so they will cry out, but I will not listen,’ the Lord who rules over all had said. 14 ‘Rather, I will sweep them away in a storm into all the nations they are not familiar with.’ Thus the land had become desolate because of them, with no one crossing through or returning, for they had made the fruitful land a waste.”
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.’”