1 AND IN the fourth year of the reign of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, Chislev.
2 Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to pray and entreat the favor of the Lord
3 And to speak to the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts and to the prophets, saying, [Now that I am returned from exile] should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself as I have done these so many years [in Babylon]?
4 Then came the word of the Lord of hosts to me [Zechariah], saying,
5 Speak to all the people of the land and to the priests, saying, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months, even those seventy years you were in exile, was it for Me that you fasted, for Me?
6 And when you ate and when you drank, did you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?
7 Should you not hear the words which the Lord cried by the former prophets when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity with her cities round about her, and the South (the Negeb) and the lowlands were inhabited?
8 And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying,
9 Thus has the Lord of hosts spoken: Execute true judgment and show mercy and kindness and tender compassion, every man to his brother;
10 And oppress not the widow or the fatherless, the temporary resident or the poor, and let none of you devise or imagine or think evil against his brother in your heart.
11 But they refused to listen and turned a rebellious and stubborn shoulder and made heavy and dull their ears that they might not hear.
12 Yes, they made their hearts as an adamant stone or diamond point, lest they should hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore there came great wrath from the Lord of hosts.
13 So it came to pass that as He cried and they would not hear [He said], So they shall cry and I will not answer, says the Lord of hosts,
14 But I will scatter them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they know not and who know not them. Thus the land was desolate after they had gone, so that no man passed through or returned, for they [the Jews by their sins] had [caused to be] laid waste and forsaken the pleasant land (the land of desire).