The Book of Zechariah in Smiths Bible Dictionary
The book of Zechariah, in its existing form, consists of
three principal parts, vis. chs. 1-8; chs. 9-11; chs. 12-14.
1. The first of these divisions is allowed by the
critics to be the genuine work of Zechariah the son of Iddo.
It consists, first, of a short introduction or preface in
which the prophet announces his commission; then of a series
of visions, descriptive of all those hopes and anticipations
of which the building of the temple was the pledge and sure
foundation and finally of a discourse, delivered two years
later, in reply to questions respecting the observance of
certain established fasts.
2. The remainder of the book consists of two
sections of about equal length, chs. 9-11 and 12-14, each of
which has an inscription. (1) In the first section he
threatens Damascus and the seacoast of Israel with
misfortune, but declares that Jerusalem shall be protected.
(2) The second section is entitled "The burden of the word
of Jehovah for Israel." But Israel is here used of the
nation at large, not of Israel as distinct from Judah.
Indeed the prophecy which follows concerns Judah and
Jerusalem, in this the prophet beholds the near approach of
troublous times, when Jerusalem should be hard pressed by
enemies. But in that day Jehovah shall come to save them an
all the nations which gather themselves against Jerusalem
shall be destroyed. Many modern critics maintain that the
later chapters, from the ninth to the fourteenth, were
written by some other prophet, who lived before the exile.
The prophecy closes with a grand and stirring picture. All
nations are gathered together against Jerusalem, and seem
already sure of their prey. Half of their cruel work has
been accomplished, when Jehovah himself appears on behalf of
his people. He goes forth to war against the adversaries of
his people. He establishes his kingdom over all the earth.
All nations that are still left shall come up to Jerusalem,
as the great centre of religious worship, and the city; from
that day forward shall be a holy city. Such is, briefly, an
outline of the second portion of that book which is commonly
known as the Prophecy of Zechariah. Integrity. -Mede was the
first to call this in question. The probability that the
later chapters, from the ninth to the fourteenth, were by
some other prophet seems first to have been suggested to him
by the citation in St. Matthew. He rests his opinion partly
on the authority of St. Matthew and partly-on the contents
of the later chapters, which he considers require a date
earlier than the exile. Archbishop Newcombe went further. He
insisted on the great dissimilarity of style as well as
subject between the earlier and later chapters and he was
the first who advocated the theory that the last six
chapters of Zechariah are the work of two distinct prophets.