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Zechariah 1-7 (New Living Translation)

Zechariah 1-7

A Call to Return to the Lord

In November[a] of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord gave this message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo:

“I, the Lord, was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.’ Don’t be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention when the earlier prophets said to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Turn from your evil ways, and stop all your evil practices.’

“Where are your ancestors now? They and the prophets are long dead. But everything I said through my servants the prophets happened to your ancestors, just as I said. As a result, they repented and said, ‘We have received what we deserved from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He has done what he said he would do.’”

A Man among the Myrtle Trees

Three months later, on February 15,[b] the Lord sent another message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo.

In a vision during the night, I saw a man sitting on a red horse that was standing among some myrtle trees in a small valley. Behind him were riders on red, brown, and white horses. I asked the angel who was talking with me, “My lord, what do these horses mean?”

“I will show you,” the angel replied.

10 The rider standing among the myrtle trees then explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent out to patrol the earth.”

11 Then the other riders reported to the angel of the Lord, who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been patrolling the earth, and the whole earth is at peace.”

12 Upon hearing this, the angel of the Lord prayed this prayer: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for seventy years now you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. How long until you again show mercy to them?” 13 And the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.

14 Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong. 15 But I am very angry with the other nations that are now enjoying peace and security. I was only a little angry with my people, but the nations inflicted harm on them far beyond my intentions.

16 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I have returned to show mercy to Jerusalem. My Temple will be rebuilt, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and measurements will be taken for the reconstruction of Jerusalem.[c]

17 “Say this also: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The towns of Israel will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem as his own.’”

Four Horns and Four Blacksmiths

18 [d]Then I looked up and saw four animal horns. 19 “What are these?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.

He replied, “These horns represent the nations that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”

20 Then the Lord showed me four blacksmiths. 21 “What are these men coming to do?” I asked.

The angel replied, “These four horns—these nations—scattered and humbled Judah. Now these blacksmiths have come to terrify those nations and throw them down and destroy them.”

Future Prosperity of Jerusalem

[e]When I looked again, I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. “Where are you going?” I asked.

He replied, “I am going to measure Jerusalem, to see how wide and how long it is.”

Then the angel who was with me went to meet a second angel who was coming toward him. The other angel said, “Hurry, and say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem will someday be so full of people and livestock that there won’t be room enough for everyone! Many will live outside the city walls. Then I, myself, will be a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem, says the Lord. And I will be the glory inside the city!’”

The Exiles Are Called Home

The Lord says, “Come away! Flee from Babylon in the land of the north, for I have scattered you to the four winds. Come away, people of Zion, you who are exiled in Babylon!”

After a period of glory, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me[f] against the nations who plundered you. For he said, “Anyone who harms you harms my most precious possession.[g] I will raise my fist to crush them, and their own slaves will plunder them.” Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me.

10 The Lord says, “Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem,[h] for I am coming to live among you. 11 Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you. 12 The land of Judah will be the Lord’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city. 13 Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling.”

Cleansing for the High Priest

Then the angel showed me Jeshua[i] the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan,[j] was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.”

Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”

Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.

Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here.

“Listen to me, O Jeshua the high priest, and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. Now look at the jewel I have set before Jeshua, a single stone with seven facets.[k] I will engrave an inscription on it, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day.

10 “And on that day, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own grapevine and fig tree.”

A Lampstand and Two Olive Trees

Then the angel who had been talking with me returned and woke me, as though I had been asleep. “What do you see now?” he asked.

I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl of oil on top of it. Around the bowl are seven lamps, each having seven spouts with wicks. And I see two olive trees, one on each side of the bowl.” Then I asked the angel, “What are these, my lord? What do they mean?”

“Don’t you know?” the angel asked.

“No, my lord,” I replied.

Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’[l]

Then another message came to me from the Lord: “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

(The seven lamps[m] represent the eyes of the Lord that search all around the world.)

11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on each side of the lampstand, 12 and what are the two olive branches that pour out golden oil through two gold tubes?”

13 “Don’t you know?” he asked.

“No, my lord,” I replied.

14 Then he said to me, “They represent the two anointed ones[n] who stand in the court of the Lord of all the earth.”

A Flying Scroll

I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air.

“What do you see?” the angel asked.

“I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.[o]

Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land. And this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.”

A Woman in a Basket

Then the angel who was talking with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what’s coming.”

“What is it?” I asked.

He replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain,[p] and it’s filled with the sins[q] of everyone throughout the land.”

Then the heavy lead cover was lifted off the basket, and there was a woman sitting inside it. The angel said, “The woman’s name is Wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and closed the heavy lid again.

Then I looked up and saw two women flying toward us, gliding on the wind. They had wings like a stork, and they picked up the basket and flew into the sky.

10 “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel.

11 He replied, “To the land of Babylonia,[r] where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready, they will set the basket there on its pedestal.”

Four Chariots

Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. “And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.

The angel replied, “These are the four spirits[s] of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west,[t] and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.”

The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the Lord said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol.

Then the Lord summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit[u] there in the land of the north.”

The Crowning of Jeshua

Then I received another message from the Lord: 10 “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua[v] son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne,[w] and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’

14 “The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the Lord to honor those who gave it—Heldai,[x] Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah[y] son of Zephaniah.”

15 People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.

A Call to Justice and Mercy

On December 7[z] of the fourth year of King Darius’s reign, another message came to Zechariah from the Lord. The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech,[aa] along with their attendants, to seek the Lord’s favor. They were to ask this question of the prophets and the priests at the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction,[ab] as we have done for so many years?”

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply: “Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn,[ac] was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah[ad] were well populated?’”

Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10 Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.

11 “Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. 12 They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.

13 “Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 14 As with a whirlwind, I scattered them among the distant nations, where they lived as strangers. Their land became so desolate that no one even traveled through it. They turned their pleasant land into a desert.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1 Hebrew In the eighth month. A number of dates in Zechariah can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Persian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of October and November 520 B.c.
  2. 1:7 Hebrew On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius. This event occurred on February 15, 519 B.c.; also see note on 1:1.
  3. 1:16 Hebrew and the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.
  4. 1:18 Verses 1:18-21 are numbered 2:1-4 in Hebrew text.
  5. 2:1 Verses 2:1-13 are numbered 2:5-17 in Hebrew text.
  6. 2:8a The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  7. 2:8b Hebrew Anyone who touches you touches the pupil of his eye.
  8. 2:10 Hebrew O daughter of Zion.
  9. 3:1a Hebrew Joshua, a variant spelling of Jeshua; also in 3:3, 4, 6, 8, 9.
  10. 3:1b Hebrew The satan; similarly in 3:2.
  11. 3:9 Hebrew seven eyes.
  12. 4:7 Hebrew ‘Grace, grace to it.’
  13. 4:10 Or The seven facets (see 3:9); Hebrew reads These seven.
  14. 4:14 Or two heavenly beings; Hebrew reads two sons of fresh oil.
  15. 5:2 Hebrew 20 cubits [9.2 meters] long and 10 cubits [4.6 meters] wide.
  16. 5:6a Hebrew an ephah [20 quarts or 22 liters]; also in 5:7, 8, 9, 10, 11.
  17. 5:6b As in Greek version; Hebrew reads the appearance.
  18. 5:11 Hebrew the land of Shinar.
  19. 6:5 Or the four winds.
  20. 6:6 Hebrew is going after them.
  21. 6:8 Hebrew have given my Spirit rest.
  22. 6:11 Hebrew Joshua, a variant spelling of Jeshua.
  23. 6:13 Or There will be a priest by his throne.
  24. 6:14a As in Syriac version (compare 6:10); Hebrew reads Helem.
  25. 6:14b As in Syriac version (compare 6:10); Hebrew reads Hen.
  26. 7:1 Hebrew On the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar. This event occurred on December 7, 518 B.c.; also see note on 1:1.
  27. 7:2 Or Bethel-sharezer had sent Regemmelech.
  28. 7:3 Hebrew mourn and fast in the fifth month. The Temple had been destroyed in the fifth month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar (August 586 B.c.); see 2 Kgs 25:8.
  29. 7:5 Hebrew fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months. The fifth month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar usually occurs within the months of July and August. The seventh month usually occurs within the months of September and October; both the Day of Atonement and the Festival of Shelters were celebrated in the seventh month.
  30. 7:7 Hebrew the Shephelah.
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New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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