Book of Zechariah in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

LITERATURE Few books of the Old Testament are as difficult of interpretation as the Book of Zechariah; no other book is as Messianic. Jewish expositors like Abarbanel and Jarchi, and Christian expositors such as Jerome, are forced to concede that they have failed "to find their hands" in the exposition of it, and that in their investigations they passed from one labyrinth to another, and from one cloud into another, until they lost themselves in trying to discover the prophet's meaning. The scope of Zechariah's vision and the profundity of his thought are almost without a parallel. In the present writer's judgment, his book is the most Messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological, of all the writings of the Old Testament. 1. The Prophet: Zechariah was the son of Berechiah, and the grandson of Iddo (Zec 1:1,7). The same Iddo seems to be mentioned among the priests who returned from exile under Zerubbabel and Joshua in the year 536 BC (Neh 12:4; Ezr 2:2). If so, Zechariah was a priest as well as a prophet, and presumably a young man when he began to preach. Tradition, on the contrary, declares that he was well advanced in years. He apparently survived Haggai, his contemporary (Ezr 5:1; 6:14). He was a poet as well as a prophet. Nothing is known of his end. The Targum says he died a martyr. 2. His Times and Mission: The earliest date in his book is the 2nd year (520 BC) of the reign of Darius Hystaspis, and the latest, the 4th year of the same king's reign (Zec 1:1,7; 7:1). Though these are the only dates given in his writings, it is possible of course that he may have continued active for several additional years. Otherwise, he preached barely two years. The conditions under which he labored were similar to those in Haggai's times. Indeed, Haggai had begun to preach just two months before Zechariah was called. At that time there were upheavals and commotions in different parts of the Persian empire, especially in the Northeast Jeremiah's prophecies regarding the domination of Babylon for 70 years had been fulfilled (Jer 15:11; 29:10). The returned captives were becoming disheartened and depressed because Yahweh had not made it possible to restore Zion and rebuild the temple. The foundations of the latter had been already laid, but as yet there was no superstructure (Ezr 3:8-10; Zec 1:16). The altar of burnt offering was set up upon its old site, but as yet there were no priests worthy to officiate in the ritual of sacrifice (Ezr 3:2,3; Zec 3:3). The people had fallen into apathy, and needed to be aroused to their opportunity. Haggai had given them real initiative, for within 24 days after he began to preach the people began to work (Hag 1:1,15). It was left for Zechariah to bring the task of temple-building to completion. This Zechariah did successfully; this, indeed, was his primary mission and work...

Link: https://bible-history.com/isbe/Z/ZECHARIAH,+BOOK+OF/