Answering the Bethel delegation
1In the fourth year of Darius the king, the Lord’s word came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, Kislev.#November–December 2The people of#Heb lacks the people of. Bethel sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech,#Heb uncertain along with his men, to seek the Lord’s favor, 3saying to the priests who were in the house of the Lord of heavenly forces and to the prophets: "Should I weep in the fifth month and abstain as I have done for a number of years?"
4Then the word of the Lord of heavenly forces came to me: 5Say to all the land’s people and to the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth month and the seventh month for these past seventy years, did you fast for me? 6When you ate and drank, weren’t you the ones eating and drinking? 7Weren’t these the words that the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem was dwelling quietly along with the surrounding cities, and when the arid southern plain and the western foothills were inhabited?
8The Lord’s word came to Zechariah:
9The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims:
Make just and faithful decisions; show kindness and compassion to each other! 10Don’t oppress the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the poor; don’t plan evil against each other! 11But they refused to pay attention. They turned a cold shoulder and stopped listening.
12They steeled their hearts against hearing the Instruction and the words that the Lord of heavenly forces sent by his spirit through the earlier prophets. As a result, the Lord of heavenly forces became enraged.
13So just as he called and they didn’t listen, when they called, I didn’t listen, says the Lord of heavenly forces. 14I scattered them throughout the nations whom they didn’t know. The land was devastated behind them, with no one leaving or returning. They turned a delightful land into a wasteland.