The Lord Calls His People Back
1It was the eighth month of the second year Darius was king of Persia. The Lord spoke his word to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah. Berekiah was the son of Iddo. The Lord said:
2“The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 3So tell the people: This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says: ‘Return to me, and I will return to you.’ 4Don’t be like your ancestors. In the past the prophets spoke to them. They said: This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says: ‘Stop your evil ways and evil actions.’ But they wouldn’t listen or pay attention to me, says the Lord. 5Your ancestors are dead. And those prophets didn’t live forever. 6I commanded my words and laws to my servants the prophets. They preached to your ancestors, who returned to me. They said, ‘The Lord of heaven’s armies did as he said he would. He punished us for the way we lived and for what we did.’”
The Vision of the Horses
7It was on the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is called Shebat. It was Darius’s second year as king. The Lord spoke his word to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah. Berekiah was the son of Iddo.
8During the night I had a vision. I saw a man riding a red horse. He was standing among some myrtle trees in the ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.
9I asked, “What are these, sir?”
The angel who was talking with me answered. He said, “I’ll show you what they are.”
10Then the man standing among the myrtle trees explained. He said, “They are the ones the Lord sent through all the earth.”
11Then they spoke to the Lord’s angel. He was standing among the myrtle trees. They said, “We have gone through all the earth. Everything is calm and quiet.”
12Then the Lord’s angel asked, “Lord of heaven’s armies, how long before you show mercy to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah? You have been angry with them for 70 years now.” 13Then the Lord answered the angel who was talking with me. His words were comforting and good.
14Then the angel told me, “Announce this: This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says: ‘I have a strong love for Jerusalem. 15And I am very angry with the nations that feel so safe. I was only a little angry, but they made things worse for my people.’
16“So this is what the Lord says: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy. My Temple will be rebuilt,’ says the Lord of heaven’s armies. ‘And the measuring line will be used to rebuild Jerusalem.’
17“Also announce: This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says: ‘My towns will be rich again. I will comfort Jerusalem again. I will still choose Jerusalem.’”
The Vision of the Horns
18Then I looked up and saw four animal horns. 19I asked the angel who was talking with me, “What are these?”
He said, “These are the strong nations that scattered the people of Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.”
20Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen. 21I asked, “What are they coming to do?”
He answered, “They have come to scare and throw down the horns. Those horns scattered the people of Judah. No one could even lift up his head. The horns stand for the strong nations that attacked the people of Judah and scattered them.”