1And it came to pass in the shnat arba of Daryavesh HaMelech, that the Devar Hashem came unto Zecharyah in the fourth of the chodesh hateshi'i (ninth month), even in Kislev; 2And Beth-El had sent Sar-Etzer and Regem-Melech, and their men, to make entreaty for favor before Hashem, 3And to speak unto the kohanim which were in the Beis Hashem Tzva'os, and to the nevi'im, saying, Should I mourn in the fifth month, hinnazer (separating myself by fasting), as I have done these so many shanim? 4Then came the Devar Hashem Tzva'os unto me, saying, 5Speak unto kol Am Ha'Aretz, and to the kohanim, saying, When ye did a tzom and mourned in the fifth and seventh, even these past shivim shanah, did ye at all fast the tzom unto Me, even to Me? 6And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? 7Should ye not hear the devarim which Hashem hath preached by the nevi'im harishonim, when Yerushalayim was inhabited and at ease, and the towns thereof round about her, when men inhabited the Negev and the Shefelah? 8And the Devar Hashem came unto Zecharyah, saying, 9Thus saith Hashem Tzva'os, saying, Administer mishpat emes. And let every man show chesed and rachamim to his brother; 10And oppress not the almanah, nor the yetomim, the ger, nor the aniyim; and let none of you imagine ra'ah against his brother in your lev. 11But they refused to heed, and stubbornly stiffened their shoulders, stopped up their oznayim, that they not hear. 12Yea, they made their hearts as shamir (diamond, i.e., hard as shamir), and would not yield in mishma'at (obedience) to the Torah and the devarim which Hashem Tzva'os hath sent by His Ruach [Hakodesh] through the hand of the nevi'im harishonim; therefore came a ketzef gadol (great wrath) from Hashem Tzva'os. 13Therefore it is come to pass, that as He [Hashem] called, and they would not hear; so they called, and I would not hear, saith Hashem Tzva'os; 14But I dispersed them with a whirlwind among kol HaGoyim which they had not known. Thus HaAretz was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned; for they laid the Eretz Chemdat [Yirmeyah 3:19] desolate.
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