Return to the LORD
1Zechariah the prophet heard a message from the LORD. He heard this when Darius had been king for two years. It was the 8th month of the year. Zechariah was the son of Berechiah and Berechiah was the son of Iddo.
2The LORD told Zechariah to say to the people,
‘I, the LORD, was very angry with your fathers and their fathers. 3Now I, the LORD Almighty, say this to you, “If you return to me, I will return to you.” 4Do not be like your fathers. Many years ago the prophets gave them a message from me. The message was, “Stop doing those things that are wrong.” They did not listen to me. And they did not think that my words were important. 5Your fathers and their prophets have been dead for a long time. 6I told my servants the prophets that they should say my words. They continued to say my words until my words made your fathers sorry. I had done to your fathers what I promised to do. They knew that. They said that they were very sorry.’
The man on the red horse
7Shebat is the name of the 11th month. On the 24th day of Shebat, the LORD spoke to Zechariah the prophet. This was when Darius had been king for two years.
8During the night I, Zechariah, had a dream from the LORD. I saw a man on a red horse. The horse was standing among some trees called myrtle trees, in the valley. And behind him were red, brown and white horses.
9I asked him, ‘My lord, what are these horses?’ The angel who talked with me said, ‘I will show you what they are.’
10The man who was standing among the trees answered, ‘The LORD has sent these horses to go to all the places on the earth.’
11And the horses spoke to the angel of the Lord who stood among the trees. They said, ‘We have gone all over the earth. All the earth is without trouble.’
12Then the angel of the Lord said, ‘Oh LORD Almighty, how long will you be angry with Jerusalem? How long will you be angry with the cities of Judah? You have already been angry for 70 years.’ 13And the LORD answered the angel with kind words.
14The angel said to me, ‘Tell this to the people. This is what the LORD Almighty says: “I love Jerusalem. Jerusalem is mine. 15I am very angry with the countries that are safe and without danger. Those countries were too cruel to my people, when I was only a little angry with Jerusalem.” 16So, this is what the LORD says: “I will return to Jerusalem to be kind to the people there. I will build my house again”, says the LORD Almighty, “and I will build the city again.” ’
17The angel told me that I must say this: ‘The LORD Almighty says, “My towns will be rich again. I will again speak kind words to Jerusalem. I will choose Jerusalem again as my own city.” ’
Four horns and four workers #1:18 In this story, a horn means a country that is powerful.
18And I looked up and I saw four horns. 19And I asked the angel that talked with me, ‘What are these horns?’ Then the angel said to me, ‘These are the strong enemies of my people. They took my people out of Judah, out of Israel and out of Jerusalem.’
20Then the LORD showed me four workers with hammers. 21I said, ‘What are these men coming to do?’ The LORD answered, ‘The horns are the enemies that destroyed Judah. They destroyed Judah so that they would all be ashamed. The workers came to frighten and to destroy the enemies because they killed many of my people. The enemies took many of my people out of Judah.’