1 IN THE eighth month, in the second year [of the reign] of Darius, came the word of the Lord to Zechariah son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, [Ezra 5:1.]
2 The Lord was very angry with your fathers.
3 Therefore say to them [the Jews of this day], Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to Me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you; it is the utterance of the Lord of hosts.
4 Be not as your fathers to whom the former prophets cried, Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return now from your evil ways and your evil doings; but they would not hear or listen to Me, says the Lord. [II Kings 17:13; Isa. 45:22; Jer. 18:11; Ezek. 33:11.]
5 Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?
6 But My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, did they not overtake and take hold of your fathers? So they repented and said, As the Lord of hosts planned and purposed to do to us, according to our ways and according to our doings, so has He dealt with us.
7 Upon the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of the reign of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet. Zechariah said,
8 I saw in the night [vision] and behold, a Man riding upon a red horse, and He stood among the myrtle trees that were in a low valley or bottom, and behind Him there were horses, red, bay or flame-colored, and white.
9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel who talked with me said, I will show you what these are.
10 And the Man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro through the earth and patrol it.
11 And the men on the horses answered the Angel of the Lord Who stood among the myrtle trees and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth [patrolling it] and behold, all the earth sits at rest [in peaceful security].
12 Then the Angel of the Lord said, O Lord of hosts, how long will You not have mercy and lovingkindness for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which You have had indignation these seventy years [of the Babylonian captivity]?
13 And the Lord answered the angel who talked with me with gracious and comforting words.
14 So the angel who talked with me said to me, Cry out, Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.
15 And I am very angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was but a little displeased, they helped forward the affliction and disaster.
16 Therefore thus says the Lord: I have returned to Jerusalem with compassion (lovingkindness and mercy). My house shall be built in it, says the Lord of hosts, and a measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem [with a view to rebuilding its walls].
17 Cry yet again, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall yet again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord shall yet comfort Zion and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
18 Then I lifted up my eyes and saw, and behold, four horns [symbols of strength].
19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, What are these? And he answered me, These are the horns or powers which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.
20 Then the Lord showed me four smiths or workmen [one for each enemy horn, to beat it down].
21 Then said I, What are these [horns and smiths] coming to do? And he said, These are the horns or powers that scattered Judah so that no man lifted up his head. But these smiths or workmen have come to terrorize them and cause them to be panic-stricken, to cast out the horns or powers of the nations who lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.