Like Haggai, Zechariah took part in the “restoration” of God’s people and the temple, when the Jews returned from Babylon (520 B.C.).
When they returned from exile, the fabulous promises of the prophets while they were captives in Babylon were not fulfilled (see Is 40:55). So they continued to hope. Zechariah sees their building of the temple as a symbol: a new age has begun and the Lord is preparing for the day of his salvation. The visions found in the first six chapters teach the Jews who are gathered round their temple, that they must be watchful and wait for the Day of the Lord.
The Second Part of the Book of Zechariah
Chapters 9–14 are the work of another prophet who lived two centuries later, possibly when the famous conqueror, Alexander, came to the Eastern countries. He teaches the Jews that they must not be afraid: the victory of God and the coming of his kingdom will take place in the midst of very painful events.
•1In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of Yahweh came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo:
2“Yahweh was very angry with your ancestors. 3Then you will tell them these words of Yahweh Sabaoth: ‘Return to me and I will return to you.’ 4Do not be like your ancestors whom the earlier prophets warned, reiterating to them Yahweh Sabaoth’s words: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your wicked deeds.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me. Yahweh asks you, 5“Where are your ancestors now? Those prophets also died 6but my words and decrees entrusted to my servants, the prophets, overtook your ancestors. They repented and confessed: “Yahweh Sabaoth has treated us just as he had determined to do, according to our ways and deeds.”
7On the twenty-fourth of Shebat, the eleventh month, in the second year of Darius, the word of Yahweh came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, in the following manner.
8In a vision at night, I saw a man riding a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine, and behind him were red, brown and white horses. 9I asked, “What are these, my lord?” The angel with whom I was talking answered, “You will know.” 10The man standing among the myrtle trees spoke, “They are those whom Yahweh sent to patrol the earth.” 11These then reported to Yahweh’s angel standing among the myrtle trees, “We have patrolled the whole earth and found it peaceful and tranquil.”
12The angel of Yahweh spoke, “O Yahweh of Hosts, how long will you be without mercy for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah which you have afflicted in anger these seventy years?” 13Yahweh replied with comforting words to the angel who spoke to me. 14This angel then turned to me and said, “Proclaim this word which Yahweh Sabaoth speaks: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, 15but I am very angry with complacent nations. At first I was only a little angry with Jerusalem, but they made things worse.’ 16Therefore Yahweh says: ‘I will turn again with mercy to Jerusalem, where my house will be rebuilt and the measuring line stretched.’”
Then Yahweh Sabaoth said, 17“Proclaim this as well: ‘My towns will once more overflow with prosperity; Yahweh will again comfort Zion and make Jerusalem his favorite.’”
The second vision
1I raised my eyes and saw four horns. 2I asked the angel who spoke to me what these were, and he answered, “These horns are the nations that scattered Judah and Jerusalem.” 3Yahweh then showed me four blacksmiths, and I asked, “What are they coming to do?”
4He answered, “Here are the horns that scattered Judah so that no one dared raise his head. But these blacksmiths have come to strike down the power of the nations that scattered the people of Judah.”
The third vision
5Raising my eyes again, I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. I asked, “Where are you going?” 6He answered, “I’m going to measure Jerusalem, to find its width and its length.” 7As the angel who spoke to me came forward, another angel met him 8and said, “Run and tell this to that young man: ‘Jerusalem will remain unwalled because of its multitude of people and livestock.’ 9For this is the word of Yahweh: I myself will be around her like a wall of fire, and also within her in glory .”
10“Come, come! Flee from the land of the north,” says Yahweh to all those whom he scattered to the four winds of heaven. 11“Come, escape O Zion, you who dwell in Babylon.” 12For thus Yahweh Sabaoth says, after his glory sent me to condemn the nations that have plundered you, “Whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye. 13Look, I will raise my hand against those nations, and they will be plundered by their slaves.” Thus you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me.
A call to the daughter of Zion
•14“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says Yahweh.
15“On that day, many nations will join Yahweh and be my people, but my dwelling is among you.” 16The people of Judah will be for Yahweh as his portion in his holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again.
17Keep still in Yahweh’s presence, for he comes, having risen from his holy dwelling.”
Fourth vision: the Messiah comes soon
•1He showed me then the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of Yahweh. At Joshua’s right side stood Satan, ready to accuse him. 2But the angel of Yahweh said to Satan, “May Yahweh rebuke you, Satan! Yahweh who has chosen Jerusalem—may he rebuke you! Is not this man a burning brand snatched from the fire?”
3Clad in filthy garments, Joshua stood before the angel, 4who said to those in front of him, “Take off his filthy garments.” Then turning to Joshua, he said, “See, I have taken away your guilt. Now I will clothe you with rich garments.” 5He added, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, as the angel of Yahweh looked on.
6The angel of Yahweh gave Joshua this assurance, 7“Listen to this word of Yahweh Sabaoth: ‘If you walk in my ways and heed my charge, you shall rule my house and keep my courts, and I will give you free access among those standing here. 8Listen further, O high priest Joshua and your associates who join in council with you: I am going to bring my servant the Branch. 9See, I am setting (before Joshua) a stone with seven eyes. I myself will engrave an inscription on it, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. 10On that day, you will invite one another under your vines and fig trees.’ This is what Yahweh Sabaoth says.”
The fifth vision
•1The angel who talked with me returned and shook me as one does to wake another from sleep. 2He asked, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on top. On the stand are seven lamps and there are seven pipes to feed them. 3There are also two olive trees, one at the right of the bowl and another at the left.” 4I asked the angel, “What are these, my Lord?” 5He replied with a question, “Don’t you know what they are?” I answered, “No, my Lord.”
10b He explained, “These seven are the eyes of Yahweh which range throughout the earth.”
11I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees to the right and left of the lampstand?” (12Before he could reply I asked again, “What are these two extentions of the olive trees, which are emptying out the golden oil through the two golden pipes?”) 13His reply was a question. “Don’t you know what these are?” I answered, “No, my Lord.” 14He said, “These are the two anointed with fresh oil, who serve the Lord of the whole earth.”
6This is a word of Yahweh for Zerubbabel, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”
7“What are you, O mighty mountains? You will be leveled before Zerubbabel. He will quarry from you to the last stone which crowns the temple amid shouts of: blessing, blessing on it!”
8The word of Yahweh then came to me, 9“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this House; his hands also shall finish it. (Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you.) 10Perhaps the beginning seems a small thing to you, yet you will rejoice on that day to see the crowning stone in the hands of Zerubbabel.”
The sixth vision
1Again I raised my eyes and saw a flying scroll. 2He asked me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “A flying scroll, thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.”
3He said to me, “This is the curse going forth throughout the earth. On one side it is written that every thief shall be banished; on the other side, that everyone who swears falsely shall be expelled. 4I will send it out to the house of the thief, as well as to the house of anyone who swears falsely. It will lodge there and destroy the house—timber, stone and everything.
The seventh vision
5Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what this is that is coming forth.” 6I asked, “What is it?” He answered, “This is a bushel container. This is the guilt of the people throughout the land.” 7The lead cover was lifted, and there sitting inside was a woman. 8“This is wickedness,” he said and thrust the woman inside the bushel stopping the opening with the lead cover.
9I looked up and saw two winged women coming; their wings were like that of a stork. As they lifted the bushel into the air, 10I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “Where are they taking the bushel?” 11He answered, “To Babylonia, to build a temple for it and set it down on a plinth.”
The eighth vision
1Once more I raised my eyes and saw four chariots coming out from between two mountains of bronze. 2Harnessed to the first chariot were red horses, to the second black horses, 3to the third white horses, and to the fourth spotted horses, all of them strong. 4I asked the angel talking with me, “What are these, my Lord?”
5The angel replied, “These are the four winds of heaven, going forth after presenting themselves before the Lord of the whole earth. 6The chariot with the black horses is going to the north country and the white ones are going after them, but the spotted ones are going to the south country.
7All these strong ones are scattering; they have sought permission to go and walk about over the earth.” The Lord had said, ‘Go! Walk over the earth!’ So they are doing so.” 8Then he cried out to me, “Look, those have just gone to the land of the north and they will set my spirit at rest in the land of the north.”
9The word of Yahweh came to me, 10“Take offerings from the returned captives, from the hands of Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, and go this very day to the house of Josiah, Zephaniah’s son, where they have arrived from Babylon. 11Take silver and gold and have crowns made, which you will set on the head of the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak. 12Repeat to him these words of Yahweh Sabaoth: ‘Here is the man whose name is Branch. From where he is he will branch out and build the Temple of Yahweh. 13It is he who will build the Temple of Yahweh, and this will be his glory. He will sit and rule upon his throne. A priest will sit at his right, and there will be harmony between both.’ 14As for the crowns, they will remain in the Temple of Yahweh as a memorial of what Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Josiah, Zephaniah’s son have done. 15Those from afar will come and help build the Temple of Yahweh, and you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently listen to the voice of your God Yahweh.”
1On the fourth day of the ninth month in the fourth year of Darius, the king, 2the people of Bethel sent Sharezer and Regemmelech with their men to win the favor of Yahweh 3and to question the priests of the House of Yahweh, God of Hosts, and the prophets, “Must we mourn and fast in the fifth month as we have done these many years?”
The true religion
•4And the word of Yahweh, God of Hosts came to me: 5“Speak to all the people and priests of the land as follows: ‘When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and seventh months through all these seventy years, did you truly fast for me—for me, indeed? 6Were you not those who decided to eat and to drink or not to do so?
7Remember the message that Yahweh proclaimed through earlier prophets when Jerusalem was peacefully inhabited and the surrounding region as well, when the Negeb and the western foothills were settled.
(8Again the word of Yahweh came to Zechariah,) 9Render true judgment, be kind and merciful to each other. 10Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the alien or the poor, do not plot evil in your heart against one another.
11But they refused to listen and stubbornly turned their back, stopping their ears. 12They made their hearts hard as diamonds so as not to hear the Law or the words that Yahweh, the God of Hosts spoke by his spirit through the earlier prophets. 13Then Yahweh, God of Hosts in his great anger proclaimed that just as they had not listened when he called to them, so when they cried to him he would not listen. 14Yahweh said he would scatter them as in a whirlwind among nations they did not know and the land behind them would be devastated without anyone passing through it. In that way a pleasant land was made desolate.”
•1The word of Yahweh, the God of Hosts was directed to me in this way, 2“I am intensely jealous for Zion, stirred by a burning anger for her sake. 3Yahweh says: I will return to Zion and live in her midst. Jerusalem shall be called city of faithfulness and the Mountain of Yahweh of Hosts, the mountain of holiness.”
4Yahweh, God of Hosts speaks, “Old men and women will again sit in the squares, each with a stick in hand on account of their great age. 5The squares of the city will be filled with girls and boys playing.”
6Yahweh, God of Hosts declares, “If that seems impossible in the eyes of those who have returned from exile, will it be impossible for me as well?”—word of Yahweh.
7Yahweh, God of Hosts says, “See, I am going to save my people, 8bringing them from the east and from the west and they will live in Jerusalem. They will be my people and I shall be their God in truth and in justice.”
9Yahweh, God of Hosts declares, “In these days you have just heard the words of the prophets, because on this day the foundation stone is laid for the reconstruction of the temple. Now do not be discouraged. 10Before that time there was no compensation for man or animal, nor was there any relief from adversity for those who came and went, because I had pitted everybody—each one—against everyone else. 11But from now on I will deal differently with this people.”
12Yahweh says, “I am sowing peace. The vine will give its fruit, the earth its produce, the heavens its dew and to the remnant of this people I will give all these things.
13So it will happen that just as you were a curse among the nations, now I will save you, Judah and Israel, and make you a blessing. Have no fear and let your hands be strong!”
14This is what Yahweh, God of Hosts, says: “Just as I resolved to do you harm because your fathers angered me and I did not relent, 15so now in these days I am determined to deal kindly with Jerusalem and Judah. Have no fear! 16This is what you must do: Speak the truth to one another; let those who judge give peace through honest sentences 17and do not plot evil in your heart against one another. Refrain from false oaths for it is what I detest”—word of Yahweh.
18The word of Yahweh came to me, saying: 19“This is what you will say for my sake: From now on the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will be days of joy, happy feastdays. Only be peacemakers and sincere people.”
20Yahweh, the God of Hosts speaks, “People will come from other nations, people from great cities. 21The inhabitants of one town will talk with those of another and say: ‘Come, let us go and implore the favor of Yahweh, and I, too, will seek Yahweh.’ 22Many great peoples and powerful nations will come seeking Yahweh, God of Hosts, in Jerusalem and pray to him.”
23Yahweh, the God of Hosts assures you, “In those days ten men of different languages spoken in various lands, will take hold of a Jew by the hem of his garment and say: We, too, want to go with you for we have heard that God is with you.”
Second Part of the Book
1Word of Yahweh. Yahweh dwells in the land of Hadrach and Damascus for the cities of Aram belong to him as do all the tribes of Israel, 2and Hamath as well, on its border, and Tyre and Sidon, the people who do good business. 3Tyre built herself a stronghold and piled up silver like dust, gold like the mud in the street. 4But the Lord will take away her possessions and throw down her power on the sea and she herself will perish by fire.
5Ashkelon will see and be afraid; Gaza, too, will tremble and Ekron as well for her hope will fade. The king will disappear from Gaza and Ashkelon will be without inhabitants. 6People of low birth will occupy Ashdod. I will put an end to the pride of the Philistines. 7I shall take the meat with blood from their mouth and their unclean food from between their teeth. Only a remnant of them will be left and they will become like a clan among the Judeans. The people of Ekron will be like the Jebusites at the present time. 8I shall camp as a guard near my House to protect it from all who come and go. No longer shall an oppressor crush them now for I am aware of their affliction.
Your king comes, riding on a donkey
•9Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion!
Shout for joy, daughter of Jerusalem!
For your king is coming, just and victorious,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10No more chariots in Ephraim,
no more horses in Jerusalem,
for he will do away with them.
The warrior’s bow shall be broken when he dictates peace to the nations.
He will reign from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
11As for you, for the sake of your Covenant sealed with blood, I shall release your prisoners from the ancient cistern. 12The prisoners who wait in expectation will return to you, O Zion; today I declare that I will repay you double for your exile. 13I shall bend my bow—Judah—and Ephraim shall be my arrow. I shall send your sons, O Zion, against the Greeks! For me you shall be a warrior’s sword.
14Yahweh will appear above them, his arrows flashing like lightning. He will sound his horn and come in a storm from the south. 15Yahweh, God of Hosts, will protect them; they will triumph and trample the wicked. They will drink blood like wine and be filled with it like the bowls of the drink offering, like the horns of an altar.
16On that day, Yahweh, their God, will save them and pasture them like a flock. 17How happy! how beautiful it will be! Grain will make young men flourish and new wine, the maidens!
Trust in the Lord
1Ask from Yahweh the spring rain, and Yahweh, who makes the lightnings, will send showers of rain and make grass sprout in each one’s field.
2The home idols utter empty words and diviners have false visions, dreams that foretell illusions and offer empty comfort. 3This is why the people stray like sheep without a shepherd. Against these shepherds my anger is aroused and I will punish the leaders.
When Yahweh of Hosts visits his flock, the nation of Judah, he will make it his proud war horse. 4He will provide the host and the spear, the bow in battle and all the leaders. 5They will be like warriors trampling mud in battle. They will fight recalling that Yahweh is with them and rout those on horses.
6“I will strengthen the nation of Judah and save the descendants of Joseph. I will bring them back for I have compassion on them and they will be as if I had never rejected them, for I am Yahweh, their God, who hears their cry.
7Ephraim’s men will be like heroes and feel joyful as if warmed by wine. Their children will rejoice on seeing it; their hearts will exult in Yahweh.
8Yahweh says: I shall whistle and gather them together for I have redeemed them and they shall be as numerous as before. 9Then I shall spread them among the nations, but from the most distant lands they will remember me. There they shall raise their children who will return.
10I shall bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I shall give them again the land of Gilead and Lebanon but these will not suffice for them. 11They will pass through the sea of Egypt and the depths of the Nile will be dried up. Then the arrogance of Assyria will be cast down and Egypt will no longer have a king. 12I shall strengthen them, says Yahweh, and they shall advance confident in my Name.”
1Open your gateways, Lebanon, to let fire devour your cedars. 2Lament, cypresses, for the cedar has fallen. The majestic ones have been brought low. Wail, oaks of Bashan, for the impenetrable forest has been cut down. 3The sighs of the shepherds reecho because their beautiful plain has been ravaged. The young lions’ roar reechoes because the fruitful valley of the Jordan is laid waste.
The example of the good shepherd
•4Yahweh, my God, said to me: “Pasture the sheep to be slaughtered, 5for their buyers slay them and get away with it, whereas those who sell them say: ‘Praised be Yahweh! I am rich!’ And their shepherds hardly give them a thought. 6Yahweh says: I shall no longer give a thought to the inhabitants of this land, and I am handing over each one to the power of his shepherd; although their king may oppress the land, I shall not rescue this people from their power.”
7So I became the shepherd of the sheep to be slaughtered and provided myself with two staffs—one I called Favor and the other Bonds. I then pastured my flock, 8doing away with three leaders in one month. I lost patience with them and they, for their part, were disgusted with me. 9So I said, “No longer shall I shepherd you: whatever is to die, let it die and let what is to perish, perish, and let those who are left devour each other’s flesh.” 10Then I took and broke my staff Favor to break the Covenant I had made with all nations. 11It was broken off that day and the sheep merchants who watched knew it was Yahweh who had spoken.
12I then said to them, “If you agree, give me my wages, otherwise let it go.” So they weighed out my wages, thirty pieces of silver. 13And Yahweh said to me, “Throw it into the treasury, this splendid sum at which they valued me!” So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the treasury in Yahweh’s House.
14I then snapped in two my second staff Bonds, doing away with the friendship between Judah and Israel.
15Then Yahweh said to me, “Take another disguise, one that is fitting for a foolish shepherd 16for I am going to raise up another shepherd who will care nothing for lost sheep nor will he search for strays, or bind up the injured and pasture those that survive. No, but he will eat the fat ones and tear off their hoofs.”
17Woe to the worthless shepherd who abandons his flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! Let his arm wither and his right eye be blind!
The final battle
•1An oracle. This is the word of Yahweh concerning Israel. Word of Yahweh, who spread out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth and formed humans with inner spirit:
2“See, I am making of Jerusalem a cup that will send the nations reeling; it will happen when Jerusalem is besieged.
3On that day I shall make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations around her. All the nations will be united against her and all who try to lift the rock will be badly injured.”
4Yahweh says: “On that day I will make every horse wild with fright, every rider demented. All the horses of the nations will be blinded but I will watch over Judah 5and the leaders of the clans of Judah will say to themselves: ‘The strength of the inhabitants of Jerusalem comes from Yahweh their God.’
6On that day I will make the leaders of the clans of Judah like a fire in a woodland and a flaming torch among the sheaves. They will devour right and left all the nations around them, while Jerusalem will continue to hold its site.
7Yahweh will first save the towns and villages of Judah so that David’s people and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not feel more important than the rest of Judah.
8On that day Yahweh will strengthen the inhabitants of Jerusalem in such a way that the weaklings among them shall be like David and David’s people who lead them, will be like God, like an angel of Yahweh.
9On that day I will see to the destroying of all the nations that came against Jerusalem.
10I will pour out on the family of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of love and supplication. They will look at the one who was pierced and mourn for him as for an only child, weeping bitterly as for a firstborn. 11The mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning of Haddadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
12Each family will mourn individually: the family of David by themselves and their wives separately; the family of Nathan by themselves and their wives separately, 13the family of Levi by themselves and their wives separately, the family of Shimei by themselves and their wives separately 14and the same with the other families, each family by themselves and their wives separately.
•1On that day a spring will well up for the family of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse themselves of sin and defilement.
Yahweh, God of Hosts says: 2On that day I will wipe out the names of idols from the land and never again will they be mentioned. 3I will also remove the prophets and their unclean spirits and expel them from the land. If a prophet does prophesy, his parents: father and mother, will say to him: “You shall live no longer for you uttered lies in the name of Yahweh.” His own father and mother will stab him when he prophesies.
4On that day the prophets will be ashamed of their prophetical visions and no longer wear a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive. 5Instead, each of them will say: “I am not a prophet, I am a farmer, the land has owned me since my youth.” 6And if anyone says to him: “What are these wounds on your hands?” He will answer: “With these I was wounded in my friend’s house.”
•7“Sword, awake and strike my shepherd, the man who is near to me!” says Yahweh, God of Hosts. “Strike the shepherd and let the flock be scattered!” Yahweh threatens, “I will turn against the little ones, 8and in all the land, two thirds shall be destroyed and one third left. 9This third shall be cleansed by fire; I shall refine them as silver is refined; I shall test them as gold is tested. They shall call upon my Name and I will hear them. I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they shall say, ‘Yahweh is my God.’”
Another description of the final battle
•1The day of Yahweh will come when people will divide spoils in your midst. 2I will let all the nations come against Jerusalem to attack it. The city will be taken and houses pillaged, women violated. Half of the city will be deported but the rest will not be removed. 3Then Yahweh will go forth and fight against the nations as he does on the day of battle. 4On that day his feet will rest on the mount of Olives, facing Jerusalem on the east and the mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west by a deep valley leaving half of the mountain to the north and half to the south. 5You will flee through my mountain valley for it will extend as far as Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Yahweh will come and all his holy ones with him.
6On that day there will be no cold or frost. 7It will be a unique day, known to Yahweh, without day or night and when evening comes there will still be light.
8On that day living water will flow from Jerusalem, half to the sea in the east, half to the sea in the west; it will never dry up in summer or in winter. 9Yahweh will be king of all the earth. On that day there will be Yahweh alone and only his Name.
10All the land will be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon in the Negeb, but Jerusalem shall be outstanding on its heights, from the Benjamin Gate to the First Gate, to the Corner Gate and from the tower of Hananel to the royal winepress. 11Its people shall no longer fear any disaster. Jerusalem shall be inhabited and secure.
12And this is how Yahweh will punish all the nations that made war on Jerusalem: each one’s flesh will rot even as he stands, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, their tongue in their mouth. 15A similar plague shall strike the horses, mules, camels and donkeys, and all the animals in their camps. 13On that day Yahweh will cause great panic among them: they will take hold of one another and attack one another 14while the men of Judah fight in Jerusalem. The wealth of all the neighboring nations will be left in that place, gold, silver and garments in great quantities.
16The survivors of all the nations that fought against Jerusalem will come, year by year, to worship Yahweh, God of Hosts and celebrate the feast of Tabernacles. 17If any peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King Yahweh, God of Hosts, they will have no rain. 18If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they too will be afflicted with the plague destined for those who do not go up to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles. 19That shall be the punishment of Egypt and of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles.
20On that day, even the bells of the horses shall be inscribed: “Consecrated to Yahweh.” 21The cooking pots of the temple will be as sacred as the bowls of offering that are used for the altar, and even the ordinary cooking pots of the people of Jerusalem and Judah will be consecrated to Yahweh, God of Hosts. So everyone who offers sacrifice may use them for cooking. Still more: from that day, there will no longer be merchants in the House of Yahweh, God of hosts.
• 1.1 Zechariah is blessed with a series of night visions in which the plan of God, fixed and determined in heaven, is revealed to him. The events will certainly take place.
– First vision, 1:7-17, apparently nothing in the external situation leads one to think that the day of the Lord is drawing near. However, the Lord is watching and does not forget Jerusalem.
– Second vision, 2:1-4, the powers which will destroy their political enemies are already in place.
– Third vision, 2:5-9, if now the Jews have to protect Jerusalem with walls, God will shortly provide complete security.
• 2.14 In the following we have one of the two calls to the captives: a call to rejoicing because God lives with his people. We now have more motives for rejoicing. In the Bible the expression Daughter of Zion is one of the many names for the People of God.
Zechariah foretells the new times when he says that God will be permanently at work in Zion, figure of the Church in which all people of the earth will gather together.
• 3.1 This new vision of the high priest, Joshua, seems to predict the renewal of the priesthood. In the beginning, Joshua is identified with the whole people, sad and in mourning to atone for sin. Later Joshua is alone and announces the future priesthood, that of Christ, appointed by God as the mediator between him and humankind.
The Branch (v. 8). This name was to designate the Messiah. However, let us take note of 6:12; this last text perhaps referred at first to Zerubbabel, descendant of kings (see Acts 2:21 and Mt 1:12). But Zerubbabel later fell into oblivion and power passed to the priests. The text was, no doubt, altered in favor of the high priest. From then on, for many Jews the Messiah would be of priestly origin.
• 4.1 Fifth vision: the new Israel will be subject to civil and religious authorities and both will be faithful to God.
Sixth vision: criminals and thieves will be expelled from the new city.
Seventh vision: evil itself will be rejected.
Eighth vision: those sent by the Lord already prepare the realization of his plan for Salvation.
• 7.4 The authority is asked whether it is fitting to continue fasting. The prophet repeats the teachings of other prophets before him, a teaching summed up in Hosea’s phrase: “I want love, says God, not sacrifices.” Many people believe that by sacrifices and gifts they can bargain with God and obtain favors. Yet, true religion is what Zechariah says and the letter of James will also say: see James 1:27 (Is 58).
• 8.1 God expresses all his love for the chosen people who are personified in their city, Jerusalem. He promises prosperity and the happiness of salvation. Above all, he brings them to discover their role in the world: to be a point for gathering all the people.
For us these are words of hope, but they also require us to behave in such a way that unbelievers may really become aware that God is present in us. We can apply what was said about Isaiah 65 here: we must guide our countries toward this peace, full of rejoicing that only God can bring about.
In verse 8 notice the expression: They will be my people and I shall be their God. This is the typical messianic promise and the sign of the new Covenant.
• 9.1 This is the beginning of the second part of the book (see Introduction). The prophet announces a liberation of the people after a very cruel trial. A mysterious Shepherd (another name for the Messiah) will achieve this liberation when, having been rejected and killed by his people, he will arouse feelings of repentance in them. These texts remind us of the Songs of the Servant of Yahweh in the second part of the book of Isaiah.
• 9. Announcing a humble Messiah. When he solemnly enters Jerusalem, Jesus will fulfill this prophecy literally (see Mt 21:5).
• 11.4 This is a parable. The prophet plays the role of Yahweh himself. It seems to mean the following: Because the people did not want to be led by Yahweh, Yahweh will deliver them to evil shepherds who will take advantage of them. Yahweh is dismissed for thirty pieces of silver. A mysterious gesture which the Gospel will recall in dealing with Judas’ betrayal (see Mt 27:10). Elsewhere in the Bible God threatens the evil rulers. Here he reproaches the people, who now have the shepherds they deserve.
• 12.1 This chapter announces the tragedy which will move the Jewish people: all the nations will be opposed to them and they will be saved by God. Verses 8-11, which John will recall in John 19:37 and Revelation 1:7, show the death of Christ in a veiled way. The Jews will be converted when they see the one they have pierced. From his sacrifice the fountain mentioned in 13:1 will spring forth, a fountain of forgiveness and of holiness.
Note that Haddadrimmon was a Phoenician god; the inhabitants of the plain of Megiddo celebrated his death every year.
• 13.1 In the final days an answer will be given to the thirst for forgiveness, which the Bible itself aroused in the faithful (see Jn 7:37 and 20:22). The fountain mentioned here is like the river coming from the temple (Ezk 47).
I will also remove the prophets and their unclean spirits (v. 3). The days of the great prophets are over and the author of these lines realizes that the only prophets left are fortune-tellers, liars and charlatans. There is no room for those in a community which has received all the truth that God can reveal to us in the person of his Son.
• 7. Another text referring to the good shepherd, whom Yahweh strikes. This means that the shepherd will be wounded and that Yahweh will use this event for his plan of salvation. See what was said in Isaiah 66:8 about this form of expression of the Jews.
Matthew remembers this place in 26:31.
• 14.1 This chapter describes with amazing images the coming of the kingdom of God after the great trial. A vision of the heavenly Jerusalem which the apostle John will amplify in Revelation. All the nations of the world have found the living God and they come to adore him. This is similar to the end of chapter 66 of Isaiah.
Yahweh will come and all his holy ones with him (v. 5). These are his angels, responsible for his works, just as in Psalms 89:6; 138:2; 149:1. See Matthew 16:27.
In the new Jerusalem, religion will not be an activity apart from other human activities: men and women will no longer be believers merely at Mass on Sundays, and the rest of the week act the same as everybody else, mediocre and sinful. Rather everything will be holy. Zechariah says this by using images peculiar to his time (vv. 20-21).