Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Zechariah-Chapter 7

Zech 7.1-14 tells us about the question as to whether certain fasts concerning the destruction of the Temple should be continued since the Temple was nearly half done; the message of the former prophets and what happened as a result of their disobedience.

v 1…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.

v 2… Now the town of Bethel (meaning “house of God”) had sent Sharezer (“protect the king”) and Regemmelech (“friend of the king”) and their men to seek the favor (literally “stroke the face”) of the Lord (some exiles would give their children Chaldean names; these were men of importance among the people),

v 3…speaking to the priests who belong to the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets (Zechariah, 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 here in v 4-14 and completely in Chapter 8)?”

v 4…Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me saying (this is what Yehovah required, he never commanded this fast),

v 5…”Say to the all the people of the land (Judea) and to the priests, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months (for reason of the burning of the Temple; and in the seventh month they had a fast for Gedaliah who was murdered, angering Nebuchadnezzar-2 Kings 25.22-26) these seventy years (of captivity), was it actually for me that you fasted (God never commanded it according to Ezek 24.16-24 and he had no profit from it or advantage, or “What does that have to do with me?” so it was nothing to him; 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)?”

v 6…And when you eat and drink (at common meals), do you not eat for yourselves and do you not drink for yourselves (for their own needs, not for God’s glory; it was the same with the fasting)?”

v 7…Are not these the words which the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets (like Hosea, Isaiah and Jeremiah and others; it would have been much better to listen to their words which Yehovah gave them which would have prevented the losses in the first place), when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous with its cities around it (were enjoying the blessings of God, which would have continued if they would have listened), and the Negev (south) and the foothills (Shephelah Valley) were inhabited (didn’t I tell them what to do before the destruction)?”

v 8…Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying,

v 9… “Thus has the Lord of hosts said (he repeats what he said before to them before the destruction), ‘Dispense true justice, and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother;

v 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.’

v 11…But they (those before the fall) refused to pay attention (give heed to God’s word), and turned (pulled away) a stubborn shoulder (from serving the Lord and obeying the Torah) and stopped their ears from hearing (pretended that they could not hear or understand).

v 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.

v 13… And when it came about that just as he called (through the prophets for the people to repent) and they wouldn’t listen, so they called (when Jerusalem was besieged by Babylon) and I would not listen (to deliver them),” says the Lord of hosts;

v 14… but I scattered them with a storm wind (of fierce wrath-Nahum 1.3) among all the nations (Babylon, Medo-Persia) whom they have not known. Thus the land is desolated behind them (of inhabitants), so that no one went back and forth (from Babylon until the seventy years were completed), for they made the pleasant land desolate (by their sins and by the Babylonians who came as the instrument of Yehovah; they needed to remember why the land was destroyed and repent, not keep weeping and fasting over a building that their fathers caused to be destroyed by their disobedience and rebellion in the first place).”

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

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