A Call to Repentance
1 In [a]the eighth month of the second year [of the reign] of [b]Darius [the king of Persia], the word of the Lord came to Zechariah (the Lord remembers) the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying,(A) 2 “The Lord was extremely angry with your fathers. 3 Therefore say to the Jews, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts (armies), “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and I shall return to you. 4 Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Repent [that is, change your way of thinking] and return now from your evil way [of life] and from your evil deeds.”’ But they did not listen or pay attention to Me,” declares the Lord.(B) 5 “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 But did not My words (warnings) and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? Then they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts planned to do to us [in discipline and punishment], in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so has He dealt with us.’”’”
Patrol of the Earth
7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month (Feb 15, 519 b.c.), which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of [the reign of] Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, as follows: 8 In the night I saw [a vision] and behold, a [c]Man was riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees that were in the ravine; and behind Him were horses: red, sorrel (reddish-brown), and white. 9 Then I said, “O my lord, what are these?” And the [d]angel who was speaking with me said, “I will show you what these are.” 10 And the Man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth and patrol it.” 11 And the men on the horses answered the [e]Angel of the Lord who stood among the myrtle trees and said, “We have gone throughout the earth [patrolling it] and behold, all the earth sits at rest [in peace and free from war].”
12 Then the Angel of the Lord said, “O Lord of hosts, how long will You withhold mercy and compassion from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which You have had indignation and anger these seventy years [of the Babylonian captivity]?” 13 And the Lord answered the angel who was speaking with me with gracious and comforting words. 14 So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I am jealous [with a burning, fiery passion] for Jerusalem and for Zion [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine] with a great jealousy. 15 But I am very angry with the [f]nations who are at ease and feel secure; for while I was only a little angry, they [g]furthered the disaster [against the people of Israel].” 16 Therefore, thus says the Lord, “I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy and compassion. My house shall be built in it,” says the Lord of hosts, “and a [h]measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.”’ 17 Proclaim again, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord shall again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”’”
18 Then I looked up, and saw four horns (powers)! 19 So I asked the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these?” And he answered me, “These are the horns [the powerful Gentile nations] that have scattered Judah (the Southern Kingdom), Israel (the Northern Kingdom), and Jerusalem (capital city of Judah).” 20 Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21 I asked, “What are these [horns and craftsmen] coming to do?” And he said, “These are the horns (powers) that have scattered Judah so that no man raised up his head [because of the suffering inflicted by the Gentile nations]. But these craftsmen have come to terrify them and make them panic, and throw down the horns of the nations who have lifted up their horns against the land of Judah in order to scatter it.”
God’s Favor to Zion
2 And I looked up, and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 So I said, “Where are you going?” And he said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see how wide it is and how long it is.” 3 And behold, the angel who was speaking with me was going out, and another angel was coming out to meet him, 4 and he said to the second angel, “Run, speak to that young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited [like villages] without walls [spreading out into the open country] because of the great number of people and livestock in it. 5 For I,’ declares the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her [protecting her from enemies], and I will be the glory in her midst.’”
6 “[i]Hear this! Flee from [Babylon] the land of the north [which shall come under judgment],” declares the Lord, “for I have scattered you like the four winds of the heavens,” declares the Lord. 7 “Hear, Zion (Jerusalem)! Escape, [j]you who are living with the daughter of Babylon!” 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After [k]glory He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you—for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. 9 Behold, I will wave my hand over them and they shall become plunder for their own slaves. Then you shall know (recognize, understand fully) that the Lord of hosts has sent Me. 10 Sing for joy and rejoice, O Daughter of Zion; for behold, I am coming, and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. 11 Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day and shall be My people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know (recognize, understand fully) that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.(C) 12 The Lord will take possession of Judah as His portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.
13 “Be still before the Lord, all mankind; for He is roused (raised up) from His holy habitation [in response to His persecuted people].”(D)
Joshua, the High Priest
3 Then the guiding angel showed me Joshua the high priest [representing disobedient, sinful Israel] standing before the [l]Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at Joshua’s right hand to be his adversary and to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Even the Lord, who [now and ever] has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is this not a [m]log snatched and rescued from the fire?”(E) 3 Now Joshua was clothed with [n]filthy (nauseatingly vile) garments and was standing before the Angel [of the Lord]. 4 He spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And He said to Joshua, “See, I have caused your wickedness to be taken away from you, and I will clothe and beautify you with rich robes [of forgiveness].” 5 And I (Zechariah) said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with [rich] garments. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.
6 And the Angel of the Lord [solemnly and earnestly] admonished Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways [that is, remain faithful] and perform My service, then you will also govern My house and have charge of My courts, and I will give you free access [to My presence] among these who are standing here.
8 Now listen, Joshua, the high priest, you and your colleagues who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol [of what is to come]—for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the [o]Branch [in Messianic glory].(F) 9 For behold, the [p]stone which I have set before Joshua; on that one stone are seven eyes (symbolizing infinite intelligence, omniscience). Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will remove the wickedness and guilt of this land in a single day.(G) 10 In that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and his fig tree [enjoying peace and prosperity in the kingdom].’”(H)
The Golden Lampstand and Olive Trees
4 And the angel who was speaking with me came back and awakened me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. 2 He said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a [q]lampstand all of gold, with its bowl [for oil] on the top of it and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it.(I) 3 And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side [supplying it continuously with oil].”(J) 4 So I asked the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5 Then the angel who was speaking with me answered me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” 6 Then he said to me, “This [continuous supply of oil] is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel [prince of Judah], saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of whom the oil is a symbol],’ says the Lord of hosts. 7 ‘What are you, O great mountain [of obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who will rebuild the temple] you will become a plain (insignificant)! And he will bring out the capstone [of the new temple] with loud shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”(K)
8 Also the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundations of this house, and his hands will finish it. Then you will know (recognize, understand fully) that the Lord of hosts has sent me [as His messenger] to you. 10 Who [with reason] despises the day of small things (beginnings)? For these [r]seven [eyes] shall rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the Lord which roam throughout the earth.”(L)
11 Then I said to him [who was speaking with me], “What are these two olive trees on the right side of the lampstand and on its left?” 12 And a second time I said to him, “What are these two olive branches which are beside the two golden pipes by which the golden oil is emptied?” 13 And he answered me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” 14 Then he said, “These are the two [s]sons of fresh oil [Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the prince of Judah] who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth [as His anointed ones].”(M)
The Flying Scroll
5 Again I looked up, and I saw a scroll flying in the air! 2 And the angel said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a [t]flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits (thirty feet) and its width is ten cubits (fifteen feet).” 3 Then he said to me, “This is the curse that is going out over the face of the whole land; for everyone who steals will be cut off according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears [oaths falsely] shall be cut off according to the writing on the other side.(N) 4 I will send the curse out,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night in that house and consume it, both its timber and its stones.”
5 Then the angel who was speaking with me came forward and said to me, “Now look up and see what this is going forth.” 6 And I said, “What is it?” And he said, “This is the [u]ephah (grain basket) going forth. This,” he continued, “is their appearance throughout the land(O) 7 (and behold, a [round, flat] lead [v]cover was lifted up); and there sat a woman inside the ephah.” 8 Then he said, “This is Wickedness (Godlessness)!” And he threw her back down into the middle of the ephah and threw the lead cover on its opening. 9 Then I looked up, and there were two women coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens. 10 I said to the angel who was speaking with me, “Where are they taking the ephah?” 11 And he said to me, “To the land of Shinar (Babylon) to build a temple for her; and when it is prepared, [w]she shall be set there on her own pedestal.”
The Four Chariots
6 Now again I looked up, and [x]four chariots were coming out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of [firm, immovable] bronze (divine judgment). 2 The first chariot had red horses (war, bloodshed), the second chariot had black horses (famine, death),(P) 3 the third chariot had white horses (victory), and the fourth chariot had strong dappled horses (death through judgment).(Q) 4 Then I said to the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5 The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go out after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth,(R) 6 with the chariot with the black horses going toward the north country; then the one with the white horses follows after them [because there are two northern powers to overcome], and the chariot with the dappled horses goes toward the south country.” 7 When the strong horses went out, they were eager to patrol the earth. And the Lord said, “Go, patrol the earth.” So they patrolled the earth [watching and protecting it]. 8 Then He called out to me and said to me, “See, those who are going to the north country have quieted My Spirit [of wrath] in the north country.”
9 The word of the Lord also came to me, saying, 10 “Take an offering from the exiles, from Heldai, from Tobijah, and from Jedaiah [as representatives]; and you go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, where they have arrived from Babylon.
The Symbolic Crowns
11 Take silver and gold [from them], and make an ornate crown and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Then say to Joshua, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold (look, keep in sight, watch), a Man (Messiah) whose name is Branch, for He shall branch out from His place (Israel, the Davidic line); and He shall build the [ultimate] temple of the Lord.(S) 13 Yes, [you are to build a temple of the Lord, but] it is He who shall build the [ultimate] temple of the Lord, and He shall bear the honor and majesty [as the only begotten of the Father] and sit and rule on His throne. And He shall be a [y]Priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between the two offices [Priest and King].”’(T) 14 Now the crown shall become a reminder in the temple of the Lord to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.(U) 15 And those who are far away will come and [help] build the temple of the Lord.” Then you shall know [without any doubt] that the Lord of hosts sent me (Zechariah) to you. And it will come about if you will diligently obey the [voice of the] Lord your God.
Hearts like Flint
7 In the fourth year of [the reign of] King Darius [of Persia], the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev (Dec 7, 518 b.c.). 2 Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to seek the favor of the Lord, 3 speaking to the priests who belong to the house of the Lord of hosts and to the prophets, saying, “[Now that I am returned from exile] shall I weep in the fifth month [mourning the destruction of the temple], and fast as I have done these many years [in Babylon]?” 4 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me (Zechariah), saying, 5 “Speak to all the people of the land and to the priests, saying, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months these seventy years [that you were in exile], was it actually for Me that you fasted? 6 When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and do you not drink for yourselves [to satisfy your own needs]? 7 Should you not hear the words which the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous along with her cities around her, and the South (the Negev) and the foothills were inhabited?’”
8 Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion, to each other; 10 and do not oppress or exploit the widow or the fatherless, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise or even imagine evil in your hearts against one another.’ 11 But they refused to listen and pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder [stiffening themselves in resistance] and stopped up their ears. 12 They made their hearts [hard] like flint, so that they could not hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. 13 And just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts; 14 “but I scattered them with a storm wind among all the nations whom they have not known. Thus the land was desolate after they had gone, so that no one passed through or returned, for they [by their sins] had made the pleasant land desolate and deserted.”
- Zechariah 1:1 I.e. Oct/Nov 520 b.c.
- Zechariah 1:1 Darius the Great ruled Persia (capital city, Persepolis) from 522-486 b.c. He was an avid builder who used paid workers for his projects instead of slaves, a concept which at that time was revolutionary. He was a gifted visionary, and an energetic king whose social and economic goals endured and greatly benefited both his subjects and future generations. He developed efficient highways, standardized coinage, weights, measures, and he promoted religious tolerance and human rights.
- Zechariah 1:8 This Man is identified as the Angel of the Lord in 1:11, with capitalization used to indicate Him.
- Zechariah 1:9 This is the interpreting angel, mentioned in vv 9, 13, 14; 2:3; 4:1, 4, 5; 5:5, 10; 6:4, 5, and is not to be confused with the Man in v 8 or the Angel of the Lord in v 11.
- Zechariah 1:11 “Angel” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see note Gen 16:7).
- Zechariah 1:15 I.e. the powerful Gentile nations whom God used to punish the Israelites for their disobedience.
- Zechariah 1:15 The conquering nations sought to wipe out the children of Israel, an evil which exceeded God’s intended punishment.
- Zechariah 1:16 I.e. Jerusalem shall be rebuilt and restored to even greater glory.
- Zechariah 2:6 Lit Hoy, hoy, also v 7, an exclamation of impending disaster.
- Zechariah 2:7 Those Jews who voluntarily remained in exile in Babylon after the decree of Cyrus in 538 b.c. were considered adulterers because of their relationship with the Gentiles.
- Zechariah 2:8 I.e. the Messiah’s first and second advents, Matt 25:31-46.
- Zechariah 3:1 “Angel” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see note Gen 16:7).
- Zechariah 3:2 The log represents the returned Jews who had nearly been consumed by the “fire” of the Babylonian captivity.
- Zechariah 3:3 Symbolic of Judah’s (the Southern Kingdom) disgusting sins.
- Zechariah 3:8 A Messianic title.
- Zechariah 3:9 Probably typifying the Messiah.
- Zechariah 4:2 The lampstand may symbolize Israel as a light to the nations.
- Zechariah 4:10 The seven eyes reflect God’s oversight of the world and its inhabitants, and His pleasure in the construction of the temple.
- Zechariah 4:14 The oil used in anointing symbolizes the Holy Spirit (v 6). The combination of priest and ruler points ultimately to the Messianic Priest-King (Ps 110; Zech 6:13; Heb 7).
- Zechariah 5:2 The measurements of the scroll, as a symbol of God’s judgment, are the same as the measurements of the Holy Place in the tabernacle in the wilderness.
- Zechariah 5:6 The ephah (a bushel basket for collecting grain) that was used by farmers was approximately 1.05 bushels, but it would be much larger in this vision.
- Zechariah 5:7 The Hebrew word for the cover is also used for a talent weight. Metal ingots were cast in the form of a flat disk.
- Zechariah 5:11 Perhaps symbolic of the removal of the sinful customs of the Israelites.
- Zechariah 6:1 I.e. four angelic spirits appointed by God to dispense His judgment.
- Zechariah 6:13 The Messiah will be both king and priest.