A Call to Return to the lord
1In November# 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. 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:
2“I, the lord, was very angry with your ancestors. 3Therefore, 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.’ 4Don’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.’
5“Where are your ancestors now? They and the prophets are long dead. 6But 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
7Three months later, on February 15,# 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. the lord sent another message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo.
8In 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. 9I asked the angel who was talking with me, “My lord, what do these horses mean?”
“I will show you,” the angel replied.
10The rider standing among the myrtle trees then explained, “They are the ones the lord has sent out to patrol the earth.”
11Then 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.”
12Upon 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?” 13And the lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.
14Then 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. 15But 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.# Hebrew and the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.’
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# Verses 1:18-21 are numbered 2:1-4 in Hebrew text.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.”
20Then 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.”