A call to return to the Lord
The Lord speaks about their ancestors
the eighth month of the second year
of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah
son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo:
Lord was very angry with your ancestors.
Thus the present word is come back to God
tell the people: this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Return
to me,” declares the Lord Almighty, “and I will
return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
Don't be like your ancestors who said yes, but didn't return
not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed:
this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Turn from your evil ways
and your evil practices.” But they would not listen or pay attention
to me, declares the Lord.
Thus they suffered the exile [implied] and only then repented
are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live for ever?
did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants
the prophets, overtake your ancestors?
they repented and said, “The Lord Almighty has done to us what
our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.”'
This ‘word of the Lord', a starting call to repent and
change, is reinforced by reminders that in the past their ancestors
had heard God's warnings, failed to repent, ended up in exile,
and only then repented. This present generation is warning against
The man among the myrtle trees
Three months later he receives a vision of rested, returning riders
the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month,
the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius,
the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah,
the son of Iddo.
the night I had a vision, and there before me
was a man mounted on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle
trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.
Three months later, while awake in the night [no mention
of a dream] the prophet has a vision of a rider and other riders
in the background.]
He questions who are the riders and told they are reporting messengers
asked, ‘What are these, my lord?'
angel who was talking with me answered, ‘I will show you what
the man standing among the myrtle trees explained, ‘They are the
ones the Lord has sent to go throughout the earth.'
they reported to the angel of the Lord who was standing among
the myrtle trees, ‘We have gone throughout the earth and found
the whole world at rest and in peace.'
It appears there are two speakers. First an angel with
Zechariah who responds to his question, and then the rider on
the red horse who explains they had been sent to check the state
of the earth and found it at peace.]
The angel intercedes for Jerusalem and Judah
the angel of the Lord said, ‘Lord Almighty, how long will you
withhold mercy from Jerusalem and from the towns of Judah, which
you have been angry with these seventy years?'
the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked
The angel with Zechariah then intercedes on behalf of
Jerusalem that had lain desolate for the seventy years following
its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar, and seems to receive a positive
response from the Lord.]
the angel conveys God's word: He is angry with the nations for
how they acted
the angel who was speaking to me said, ‘Proclaim this word:
this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Jerusalem
I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only
a little angry, but they went too far with the punishment.”
This same angel speaks God's word that He is FOR Jerusalem
but will hold accountable those nations who did not hold back
in bringing discipline to Israel.]
The Lord will rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem
this is what the Lord says: “I will return to Jerusalem with mercy,
and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will
be stretched out over Jerusalem,” declares the Lord Almighty.
further: this is what the Lord Almighty says: “My towns will
again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort
Zion and choose Jerusalem.”'
The Lord then indicates He will rebuild both the Temple
and Jerusalem and will also bless the towns of the land.]
Four horns and four craftsmen
The prophet enquires about four horns he sees
I looked up, and there before me were four horns.
asked the angel who was speaking to me, ‘What are these?'
answered me, ‘These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel
He is told of those [four craftsmen] who will deal with those
the Lord showed me four craftsmen.
asked, ‘What are these coming to do?'
answered, ‘These are the horns that scattered Judah so that no
one could raise their head, but the craftsmen have come to terrify
them and throw down these horns of the nations who lifted up their
horns against the land of Judah to scatter its people.'
The prophet is then shown four horns which, after his
enquiry, are revealed as the invaders who came against the people
and the land previously. Then he sees four craftsmen who are coming
to bring down judgment on those nations who came so violently
to Chapter 2