The prophet Zechariah was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai, and together God used them to encourage the people and leaders to finish the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and to restore the proper worship of God. Zechariah's ministry started shortly after Haggai's ministry, but lasted quite a bit longer, whereas Haggai's ministry started in 520 BC, Zechariah's ministry was from 522 to 509 BC. Zechariah's ministry extended to the fourth year of King Darius of Persia. The Medo-Persian Empire had defeated the Babylonian Empire and King Cyrus the Great had issued the "Edict of Restoration," which allowed the Jewish people to return and rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. During Haggai and Zechariah's time King Darius I, successor to King Cyrus was ruling the Medo-Persian Empire. The prophet Zechariah was given two messages from God for the people. The first was to finish the rebuilding of the Temple and to restore the proper worship of God. The second was concerning the coming Messiah, whom we know today as Christ Jesus our Lord. If we take a look at the cultural and historical setting of Zechariah's time, we see that Dairus I is now king of Persia.
The predecessor of King Darius I, Cyrus the Great, had conquered Babylon and in the first year of his reign he issued the command for the people to return and rebuild. Zerubbabel, the living heir of David, has led the return back to the land of Judah. Zerubbabel is the acting governor of those who had returned. Along with Zerubbabel, Joshua the son of Jehozadak has also returned. Joshua is a descendant of Aaron and he is the High Priest sent to lead the people in the proper worship of God and to carry out the functions of the Temple. The foundations of the Temple have been laid, but the work has come to a standstill because of hardships and because of resistance from those Gentiles who had moved into the area and did not want to see Jerusalem or the nation of Israel restored. After approximately sixteen to twenty years had passed God calls Zechariah to help encourage the people to finish the rebuilding of the Temple. Zechariah prophesies that God will be the glory of His restored Temple, and along with the ministry of Haggai, they encourage the people to finish the rebuilding. God through the prophet Zechariah encouraged the people to complete the building of the Temple and he also helped to turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord. God reminded the people of the promise that someday the Messiah would come to inhabit it. Therefore, the people were not just building for the present, but with the future hope of the Messiah in mind and the future restoration of the nation of Israel.
The vanity of idolatry. The Lord promises to visit and comfort the house of Israel in the future. The destruction of the Temple is foretold. God will take care of His sheep through Christ Jesus. The grievous vision against Jerusalem and Judah because of their idolatry. A Fountain of Grace will be opened in Jerusalem. In that day the Lord will cut off all idols from the land. The zeal of the godly against false prophets. In that day life giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem to the east and west.
10:1 Ask the Lord for rain In the time of the latter rain. The Lord will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, Grass in the field for everyone. 10:2 For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; They are in trouble because there is no shepherd. 10:3 "My anger is kindled against the shepherds, And I will punish the goatherds. For the Lord of hosts will visit His flock, The house of Judah, And will make them as His royal horse in the battle. 10:4 From him comes the cornerstone, From him the tent peg, From him the battle bow, From him every ruler together. 10:5 They shall be like mighty men, Who tread down their enemies In the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because the Lord is with them, And the riders on horses shall be put to shame. 10:6 "I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, Because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; For I am the Lord their God, And I will hear them. 10:7 Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, And their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; Their heart shall rejoice in the Lord. 10:8 I will whistle for them and gather them, For I will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased. 10:9 "I will sow them among the peoples, And they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall live, together with their children, And they shall return. 10:10 I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt, And gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, Until no more room is found for them. 10:11 He shall pass through the sea with affliction, And strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River shall dry up. Then the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, And the scepter of Egypt shall depart. 10:12 "So I will strengthen them in the Lord, And they shall walk up and down in His name," Says the Lord.
11:1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That fire may devour your cedars. 11:2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, Because the mighty trees are ruined. Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the thick forest has come down. 11:3 There is the sound of wailing shepherds For their glory is in ruins. There is the sound of roaring lions For the pride of the Jordan is in ruins. 11:4 Thus says the Lord my God, "Feed the flock for slaughter, 11:5 "whose owners slaughter them and feel no guilt; those who sell them say, 'Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich'; and their shepherds do not pity them. 11:6 "For I will no longer pity the inhabitants of the land," says the Lord. "But indeed I will give everyone into his neighbor's hand and into the hand of his king. They shall attack the land, and I will not deliver them from their hand." 11:7 So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock. 11:8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 11:9 Then I said, "I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other's flesh." 11:10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11:11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 11:12 Then I said to them, "If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain." So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 11:13 And the Lord said to me, "Throw it to the potter"-that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter. 11:14 Then I cut in two my other staff, Bonds, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. 11:15 And the Lord said to me, "Next, take for yourself the implements of a foolish shepherd. 11:16 "For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces. 11:17 "Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock A sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded."
12:1 The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: 12:2 "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. 12:3 "And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. 12:4 "In that day," says the Lord, "I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 12:5 "And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, 'The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.' 12:6 "In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place-Jerusalem. 12:7 "The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. 12:8 "In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. 12:9 "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 12:10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 12:11 "In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12:12 "And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 12:13 "the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; 12:14 "all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.
13:1 "In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. 13:2 "It shall be in that day," says the Lord of hosts, "that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land. 13:3 "It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, 'You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord.' And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies. 13:4 "And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive. 13:5 "But he will say, 'I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.' 13:6 "And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will answer, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.' 13:7 "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion," Says the Lord of hosts."Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones. 13:8 And it shall come to pass in all the land," Says the Lord, "That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one- third shall be left in it: 13:9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, 'This is My people'; And each one will say, 'The Lord is my God.' "
14:1 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. 14:2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 14:3 Then the Lord will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 14:4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. 14:5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You. 14:6 It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish. 14:7 It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord-Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light. 14:8 And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. 14:9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be-"The Lord is one," And His name one. 14:10 All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin's Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananeel to the king's winepresses. 14:11 The people shall dwell in it; And no longer shall there be utter destruction, But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. 14:12 And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. 14:13 It shall come to pass in that day That a great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, And raise his hand against his neighbor's hand; 14:14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations Shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance.