6 I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze.2 The first chariot had red horses, the second black,3 the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful.4 I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”
5 The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits[a] of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world.6 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.”
7 When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.
8 Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit[c] rest in the land of the north.”
A Crown for Joshua
9 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. Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah.11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak.[d]12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord.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 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 in the temple of the Lord.15 Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the Lord, and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God.”
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 Lord3 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.’”
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