Zechariah 8-14 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Lord’s Promises to Zion
8 The Lord All-Powerful said to me:
2 I love Zion so much that her enemies make me angry. 3 I will return to Jerusalem and live there on Mount Zion. Then Jerusalem will be known as my faithful city, and Zion will be known as my holy mountain.
4 Very old people with walking sticks will once again sit around in Jerusalem, 5 while boys and girls play in the streets. 6 This may seem impossible for my people who are left, but it isn’t impossible for me, the Lord All-Powerful. 7 I will save those who were taken to lands in the east and the west, 8 and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be their God, faithful to bring about justice.
9 I am the Lord All-Powerful! So don’t give up. Think about the message my prophets spoke when the foundation of my temple was laid. 10 Before that time, neither people nor animals were rewarded for their work, and no one was safe anywhere, because I had turned them against each other.
11 My people, only a few of you are left, and I promise not to punish you as I did before. 12 Instead, I will make sure that your crops are planted in peace and your vineyards are fruitful, that your fields are fertile and the dew falls from the sky. 13 People of Judah and Israel, you have been a curse to the nations, but I will save you and make you a blessing to them. So don’t be afraid or lose courage.
14 When your ancestors made me angry, I decided to punish you with disasters, and I didn’t hold back. 15 Now you no longer need to be afraid. I have decided to treat Jerusalem and Judah with kindness. 16 But you must be truthful with each other, and in court you must give fair decisions that lead to peace. 17 Don’t ever plan evil things against others or tell lies under oath. I, the Lord, hate such things.
A Time of Celebration
18 The Lord All-Powerful told me to say:
19 People of Judah, I, the Lord, demand that whenever you go without food as a way of worshiping me, it should become a time of celebration. No matter if it’s the fourth month, the fifth month, the seventh month, or the tenth month, you should have a joyful festival. So love truth and live at peace.
20 I tell you that people will come here from cities everywhere. 21 Those of one town will go to another and say, “We’re going to ask the Lord All-Powerful to treat us with kindness. Come and join us.”
22 Many people from strong nations will come to Jerusalem to worship me and to ask me to treat them with kindness. 23 When this happens, ten people from nations with different languages will grab a Jew by his clothes and say, “Let us go with you. We’ve heard that God is on your side.” I, the Lord All-Powerful, have spoken!
Israel’s Enemies Will Be Punished
9 This is a message
5 Both Ashkelon and Gaza
7 No longer will the Philistines
8 God says, “I will stand guard
The Lord Tells about the Coming King
9 Everyone in Jerusalem,
The Lord Promises To Rescue Captives
11 When I made a sacred agreement
The Lord Will Protect His People
14 Like a cloud, the Lord God
16 The Lord God will save them
A Bright Future for Judah and Israel
10 I, the Lord, am the one
2 You can’t believe idols
3 I, the Lord All-Powerful,
4 From this flock will come leaders
6 I will strengthen
8 I will give a signal
Trouble for Israel’s Enemies
11 Lebanon, open your gates!
Let the fire come in
4 The Lord my God said to me:
Tend those sheep doomed for slaughter! 5 The people who buy and butcher them go unpunished, while everyone who sells them says, “Praise the Lord! I’m rich.” Not even their shepherds have pity on them.
6 Tend those sheep because I, the Lord, will no longer have pity on the people of this earth. I’ll turn neighbor against neighbor and make them slaves of a king. They will bring disaster on the earth, and I’ll do nothing to rescue any of them.
7 So I became a shepherd of those sheep doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep dealers.[m] And I gave names to the two sticks I used for tending the sheep: One of them was named “Mercy” and the other “Unity.” 8 In less than a month, I became impatient with three shepherds who didn’t like me, and I got rid of them. 9 Then I said, “I refuse to be your shepherd. Let the sheep that are going to die, go on and die, and those that are going to be destroyed, go on and be destroyed. Then let the others eat one another alive.”
10 On that same day, I broke the stick named “Mercy” to show that the Lord had canceled his agreement with all people. 11 The sheep dealers who saw me knew right away that this was a message from the Lord. 12-13 I told them, “Pay me my wages, if you think you should; otherwise, forget it.” So they handed me my wages, a measly thirty pieces of silver.
Then the Lord said, “Throw the money into the treasury.”[n] So I threw the money into the treasury at the Lord’s temple. 14 Then I broke the stick named “Unity” and canceled the ties between Judah and Israel.
15 Next, the Lord said to me, “Act like a shepherd again—this time a worthless shepherd. 16 Once more I am going to let a worthless nobody rule the land—one who won’t care for the strays or search for the young or heal the sick or feed the healthy. He will just dine on the fattest sheep, leaving nothing but a few bones.”
17 You worthless shepherd,
Victory for Jerusalem
12 This is a message from the Lord about Israel:
I am the Lord! I stretched out the heavens; I put the earth on its foundations and gave breath to humans. 2 I have decided that Jerusalem will become a bowl of wine that makes the neighboring nations drunk. And when Jerusalem is attacked, Judah will also be attacked.[o] 3 But I will turn Jerusalem into a heavy stone that crushes anyone who tries to lift it.
When all nations on earth surround Jerusalem, 4 I will make every horse panic and every rider confused. But at the same time, I will watch over Judah. 5 Then every clan in Judah will realize that I, the Lord All-Powerful, am their God, and that I am the source of their strength.
6 At that time I will let the clans of Judah be like a ball of fire in a wood pile or a fiery torch in a hay stack. Then Judah will send the surrounding nations up in smoke. And once again the city of Jerusalem will be filled with people.
7 But I will first give victory to Judah, so the kingdom of David and the city of Jerusalem in all of their glory won’t be thought of more highly than Judah itself. 8 I, the Lord God, will protect Jerusalem. Even the weakest person there will be as strong as David, and David’s kingdom will rule as though my very own angel were its leader. 9 I am determined to wipe out every nation that attacks Jerusalem.
Mourning for the One Pierced with a Spear
10 I, the Lord, will make the descendants of David and the people of Jerusalem feel deep sorrow and pray when they see the one they pierced with a spear. They will mourn and weep for him, as parents weep over the death of their only child or their first-born. 11 On that day the people of Jerusalem will mourn as much as everyone did for Hadad Rimmon[p] on the flatlands near Megiddo. 12 Everyone of each family in the land will mourn, and the men will mourn separately from the women. This includes those from the family of David, and the families of Nathan, 13 Levi, Shimei,[q] 14 and all other families as well.
Getting Rid of Idols and False Prophets
13 In the future there will be a fountain, where David’s descendants and the people of Jerusalem can wash away their sin and guilt.
2 The Lord All-Powerful says:
When that time comes, I will get rid of every idol in the country, and they will be forgotten forever. I will also do away with their prophets and those evil spirits that control them. 3 If any such prophets ever appear again, their own parents must warn them that they will die for telling lies in my name—the name of the Lord. If those prophets don’t stop speaking, their parents must then kill them with a sword.
4 Those prophets will be ashamed of their so-called visions, and they won’t deceive anyone by dressing like a true prophet. 5 Instead, they will say, “I’m no prophet. I’ve been a farmer all my life.”[r]
6 And if any of them are asked why they are wounded,[s] they will answer, “It happened at the house of some friends.”
A Wounded Shepherd and Scattered Sheep
7 The Lord All-Powerful said:
My sword, wake up! Attack
War and Victory
14 The Lord will have his day. And when it comes, everything that was ever taken from Jerusalem will be returned and divided among its people. 2 But first, he will bring many nations to attack Jerusalem—homes will be robbed, women raped, and half of the population dragged off, though the others will be allowed to remain.
3 The Lord will attack those nations like a warrior fighting in battle. 4 He will take his stand on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem, and the mountain will split in half, forming a wide valley that runs from east to west. 5 Then you people will escape from the Lord’s mountain, through this valley, which reaches to Azal.[t] You will run in all directions, just as everyone did when the earthquake struck[u] in the time of King Uzziah of Judah. Afterwards, the Lord my God will appear with his holy angels.
6 It will be a bright day that won’t turn cloudy.[v] 7 And the Lord has decided when it will happen—this time of unending day.
8 In both summer and winter, life-giving streams will flow from Jerusalem, half of them to the Dead Sea in the east and half to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 9 Then there will be only one Lord who rules as King and whose name is worshiped everywhere on earth.
10-11 From Geba down to Rimmon[w] south of Jerusalem, the entire country will be turned into flatlands, with Jerusalem still towering above. Then the city will be full of people, from Benjamin Gate, Old Gate Place, and Hananel Tower in the northeast part of the city over to Corner Gate in the northwest and down to King’s Wine Press in the south. Jerusalem will always be secure and will never again be destroyed.
12 Here is what the Lord will do to those who attack Jerusalem: While they are standing there, he will make their flesh rot and their eyes fall from their sockets and their tongues drop out. 13 The Lord will make them go into a frenzy and start attacking each other, 14-15 until even the people of Judah turn against those in Jerusalem.[x] This same terrible disaster will also strike every animal nearby, including horses, mules, camels, and donkeys. Finally, everything of value in the surrounding nations will be collected and brought to Jerusalem—gold, silver, and piles of clothing.
16 Afterwards, the survivors from those nations that attacked Jerusalem will go there each year to worship the King, the Lord All-Powerful, and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters. 17 No rain will fall on the land of anyone in any country who refuses to go to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord All-Powerful. 18-19 This horrible disaster will strike the Egyptians and everyone else who refuses to go there for the celebration.
20-21 At that time the words “Dedicated to the Lord” will be engraved on the bells worn by horses. In fact, every ordinary cooking pot in Jerusalem will be just as sacred to the Lord All-Powerful as the bowls used at the altar. Any one of them will be acceptable for boiling the meat of sacrificed animals, and there will no longer be a need to sell special pots and bowls.[y]
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