Four Chariots

I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots(A) coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black,(B) the third white,(C) and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”

The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits[a](D) of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world.(E) The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west,[b] and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”

When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth.(F) And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.

Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit[c] rest(G) in the land of the north.”(H)

A Crown for Joshua

The word of the Lord came to me: 10 “Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon.(I) Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown,(J) and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua(K) son of Jozadak.[d](L) 12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch,(M) and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord.(N) 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he[e] will be a priest(O) on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.’ 14 The crown will be given to Heldai,[f] Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen[g] son of Zephaniah as a memorial(P) in the temple of the Lord. 15 Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord,(Q) and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.(R) This will happen if you diligently obey(S) the Lord your God.”

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Footnotes

  1. Zechariah 6:5 Or winds
  2. Zechariah 6:6 Or horses after them
  3. Zechariah 6:8 Or spirit
  4. Zechariah 6:11 Hebrew Jehozadak, a variant of Jozadak
  5. Zechariah 6:13 Or there
  6. Zechariah 6:14 Syriac; Hebrew Helem
  7. Zechariah 6:14 Or and the gracious one, the

At that time Tattenai,(A) governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai(B) and their associates went to them and asked, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?”(C) They[a] also asked, “What are the names of those who are constructing this building?” But the eye of their God(D) was watching over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received.

This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates, the officials of Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius. The report they sent him read as follows:

To King Darius:

Cordial greetings.

The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to the temple of the great God. The people are building it with large stones and placing the timbers in the walls. The work(E) is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction.

We questioned the elders and asked them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?”(F) 10 We also asked them their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information.

11 This is the answer they gave us:

“We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple(G) that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished. 12 But because our ancestors angered(H) the God of heaven, he gave them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this temple and deported the people to Babylon.(I)

13 “However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree(J) to rebuild this house of God. 14 He even removed from the temple[b] of Babylon the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to the temple[c] in Babylon.(K) Then King Cyrus gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar,(L) whom he had appointed governor, 15 and he told him, ‘Take these articles and go and deposit them in the temple in Jerusalem. And rebuild the house of God on its site.’

16 “So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God(M) in Jerusalem. From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished.”

17 Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives(N) of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter.

The Decree of Darius

King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives(O) stored in the treasury at Babylon. A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, and this was written on it:

Memorandum:

In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem:

Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid.(P) It is to be sixty cubits[d] high and sixty cubits wide, with three courses(Q) of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury.(R) Also, the gold(S) and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in the house of God.(T)

Now then, Tattenai,(U) governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai(V) and you other officials of that province, stay away from there. Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site.

Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this house of God:

Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury,(W) from the revenues(X) of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings(Y) to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail, 10 so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to the God of heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.(Z)

11 Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled(AA) on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble.(AB) 12 May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there,(AC) overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem.

I Darius(AD) have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.

Completion and Dedication of the Temple

13 Then, because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates(AE) carried it out with diligence. 14 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching(AF) of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus,(AG) Darius(AH) and Artaxerxes,(AI) kings of Persia.

Footnotes

  1. Ezra 5:4 See Septuagint; Aramaic We.
  2. Ezra 5:14 Or palace
  3. Ezra 5:14 Or palace
  4. Ezra 6:3 That is, about 90 feet or about 27 meters

Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah(A) on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev.(B) The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat(C) the Lord(D) by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn(E) and fast in the fifth(F) 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(G) and mourned in the fifth and seventh(H) months for the past seventy years,(I) was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?(J) Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets(K) when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest(L) and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills(M) were settled?’”(N)

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice;(O) show mercy and compassion to one another.(P) 10 Do not oppress the widow(Q) or the fatherless, the foreigner(R) or the poor.(S) Do not plot evil against each other.’(T)

11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly(U) they turned their backs(V) and covered their ears.(W) 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint(X) and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets.(Y) So the Lord Almighty was very angry.(Z)

13 “‘When I called, they did not listen;(AA) so when they called, I would not listen,’(AB) says the Lord Almighty.(AC) 14 ‘I scattered(AD) them with a whirlwind(AE) among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it.(AF) This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.(AG)’”

The Lord Promises to Bless Jerusalem

The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous(AH) for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.”

This is what the Lord says: “I will return(AI) to Zion(AJ) and dwell in Jerusalem.(AK) Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City,(AL) and the mountain(AM) of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain.(AN)

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem,(AO) each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.(AP)

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time,(AQ) but will it seem marvelous to me?(AR)” declares the Lord Almighty.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west.(AS) I will bring them back(AT) to live(AU) in Jerusalem; they will be my people,(AV) and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.(AW)

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Now hear these words, ‘Let your hands be strong(AX) so that the temple may be built.’ This is also what the prophets(AY) said who were present when the foundation(AZ) was laid for the house of the Lord Almighty. 10 Before that time there were no wages(BA) for people or hire for animals. No one could go about their business safely(BB) because of their enemies, since I had turned everyone against their neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as I did in the past,”(BC) declares the Lord Almighty.

12 “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit,(BD) the ground will produce its crops,(BE) and the heavens will drop their dew.(BF) I will give all these things as an inheritance(BG) to the remnant of this people.(BH) 13 Just as you, Judah and Israel, have been a curse[a](BI) among the nations, so I will save(BJ) you, and you will be a blessing.[b](BK) Do not be afraid,(BL) but let your hands be strong.(BM)

14 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Just as I had determined to bring disaster(BN) on you and showed no pity when your ancestors angered me,” says the Lord Almighty, 15 “so now I have determined to do good(BO) again to Jerusalem and Judah.(BP) Do not be afraid. 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth(BQ) to each other, and render true and sound judgment(BR) in your courts;(BS) 17 do not plot evil(BT) against each other, and do not love to swear falsely.(BU) I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

18 The word of the Lord Almighty came to me.

19 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth,(BV) fifth,(BW) seventh(BX) and tenth(BY) months will become joyful(BZ) and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth(CA) and peace.”

20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat(CB) the Lord and seek(CC) the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.”(CD)

23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”(CE)

Footnotes

  1. Zechariah 8:13 That is, your name has been used in cursing (see Jer. 29:22); or, you have been regarded as under a curse.
  2. Zechariah 8:13 Or and your name will be used in blessings (see Gen. 48:20); or and you will be seen as blessed