For a dozen years or more, the task of rebuilding the temple has been half completed. Zechariah is commissioned by God to encourage the people in their unfinished responsibility. He reminds the people of the future importance of this temple. One day the Messiah’s glory will inhabit this temple and future blessing is contingent on present obedience.
Zekar-yah means “Yahweh Remembers” or “Yahweh Has Remembered.” Israel will be blessed because Yahweh remembers the covenant He made with the fathers.
Like his predecessors, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Zechariah was of priestly lineage. He was born in Babylon and was brought by his grandfather to Palestine when the Jewish exiles returned under Zerubbabel, and Joshua the high priest.
A call to Repentance
Verse 1 – In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
Zechariah and Haggai were among the first exiles to leave Babylon under King Cyrus of Persia which had defeated Babylon in 539 B.C. Zechariah’s prophecy was delivered two months after Haggai’s first prophecy. Like Haggai, Zechariah encouraged the people to continue construction on the temple because it had halted nearly 15 years before.
Verse 2 – “The LORD has been very angry with your fathers.
Verse 3 – “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the LORD of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts.
Verse 4 – “Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.” But they did not hear nor heed Me,” says the LORD.
Verse 5 – “Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?
Verse 6 – Yet surely MY words and MY statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers?” “So they returned and said: ‘Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our deeds, so He has dealt with us.’ ” ‘ ”
God reminds this generation not to be like their fathers who were disobedient and repeated the consequences. As individuals, we are responsible for the choices we make.
The Horses Among the Myrtle Trees
Verse 7 – On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet.
Verse 8 – I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses; red, sorrel, and white.
Verse 9 – Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” So the angel who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what they are.”
Verse 10 – And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are the ones whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.”
Verse 11 – So they answered the Angel of the LORD, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, “We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly.”
The angel of the Lord saw that all nations were secure and at peace while Israel was still oppressed and despised. But God was planning a change.
Verse 12 – Then the Angel of the LORD answered and said, “O LORD of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?” (Seventy years was the time of God’s people in captivity.)
Verse 13 – And the LORD answered the angel who talked to me, with good and comforting words.
Verse 14 – So the angel who spoke to me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal.
Verse 15 – I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry and they helped – but with evil intent.”
God had used these nations to punish His sinful people, but they went beyond what their main purpose was, and when God saw it, He intervened.
Verse 16 – ‘Therefore thus says the LORD: “I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,” says the LORD of hosts, “And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.” ‘
Verse 17 – “Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of host: “My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; the LORD will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.” ‘ ”
The Four Horns and Four Craftsmen
Verse 18 – Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were four horns.
Verse 19 – And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” So he answered me, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
Verse 20 – The LORD showed me four craftsmen.
Verse 21 – And I said, “What are these coming to do?” So he said, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head; but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.”
The four horns were the four nations that oppressed Israel – Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and the Medo-Persia. The four craftsmen were the nations used to overthrow Israel’s enemies. God raised them up to judge the oppression of His people.