The Book of Zechariah-Chapter 7

Then it came about in the fourth year of King Darius (two years after Zech 1.1), that the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Kislev.
2) Now the town of Bethel (meaning “house of God”) and sent Sharezer (“protect the king”) and Regemmelech (“friend of the king”) and their men to seek the favor of the Lord (some exiles would give their children Chaldean names),
3) speaking to the priests who belong to the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets (Haggai and Zechariah especially) saying, “Shall I weep in the fifth month (on the ninth of Av Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple) and abstain (from food and all defilements ritually), as I have done these many years (with the Temple being built, they didn’t know if they were to continue the practice of fasting over the destruction of the Temple. This will be answered completely in Chapter 8)?”
4) Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me saying (the prophets nor the priests knew the answer),
5) “Say to the all the people of the land and to the priests, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months (in the seventh month they had a fast for Gedaliah who was murdered, angering Nebuchadnezzar-2 Kings 25.22-26) these seventy years, was it actually for me that you fasted (God never commanded it, and God’s primary concern here is not over the continuance of the practice but over the reality of it. It was an empty ritual void of any genuine repentance that would have given it any value in God’s sight anyway. So, the answer is “No” because it was to gratify their hypocrisy and will. They should have wept for their own sins, not the consequences of them)?”
6) And when you eat and drink, do you not eat for yourselves and do you not drink for yourselves (it was the same with the fasting)?”
7) Are not these the words which the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous with its cities around it, and the Negev (south) and the foothills were inhabited (didn’t I tell them what to do before the destruction)?”
8) Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying,
9) “Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice, and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother;
10) and not to oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor, and do not devise evil in your heart against one another.’
11) But they (those before the fall) refused to pay attention, and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing (idiom for “uncircumcised”).
12) And they made their hearts like flint (hard as stone-Jer 17.1; Luke 3.8) so that they could not hear the law (the Torah) and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.
13) And when it came about that just as he called and they wouldn’t listen, so they called and I would not listen,” says the Lord of hosts;
14) but I scattered them with a storm wind (of wrath-Nahum 1.3) among all the nations whom they have not known. Thus the land is desolated behind them, so that no one went back and forth, for they made the pleasant land desolate (they needed to remember why the land was destroyed and repent, not keep weeping and fasting over a building in a ritual).”

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Tanach, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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