God raised up certain "prophets" who were His mouthpieces.
They would speak out against their sin and idolatry and would
continually warn of God's judgment. Some of the prophets spoke
out in the North and some in the South, but God was faithfully
warning them of certain catastrophe if they would not turn to
The Book of Zechariah is a book of the Hebrew Bible attributed
to the prophet Zechariah. Zechariah’s ministry took place
during the reign of Darius the Great (Zechariah 1:1 ), and was
contemporary with Haggai in a post-exilic world after the fall
of Jerusalem in 586/7 BC. Ezekiel and Jeremiah wrote prior
to the fall of Jerusalem, while continuing to prophesy in the
earlier exile period. Scholars believe Ezekiel, with his
blending of ceremony and vision, heavily influenced the
visionary works of Zechariah 1-8. Zechariah is specific
about dating his writing (520-518 BC)...
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
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.
1. The eleventh in order of the twelve minor prophets. He is
called in his prophecy the son of Berechiah and the grandson
of Iddo, whereas in the book of Ezra, Ezr 5:1; 6:14 he is
said to have been the son of Iddo. It is natural to suppose
as the prophet himself mentions his father's name, whereas
the book of Ezra mentions only Iddo, that Berechiah had died
early, and that there was now no intervening link between
the grandfather and the grandson. Zechariah, like Jeremiah
and Ezekiel before him, was priest as well as prophet. He
seems to have entered upon his office while yet young, Zec
2:4 and must have been born in Babylon whence he returned
with the first caravan of exiles under Zerubbabel and
Jeshua. It was in the eighth month, in the second year of
Darius, that he first publicly discharged his office. In
this he acted in concert with Haggai. Both prophets had the
same great object before them; both directed all their
energies to the building of the second temple. To their
influence we find the rebuilding of the temple in a great
measure ascribed. If the later Jewish accounts may be
trusted, Zechariah, as well as Haggai, was a member of the
Great Synagogue. The genuine writings of Zechariah help us
but little in our estimate of his character. Some faint
traces, however, we may observe in them, of his education in
Babylon. He leans avowedly on the authority of the older
prophets, and copies their expressions. Jeremiah especially
seems to have been his favorite; and hence the Jewish saying
that "the spirit of Jeremiah dwelt in Zechariah." But in
what may be called the peculiarities of his prophecy, he
approaches more nearly to Ezekiel and Daniel. Like them he
delights in visions; like them he uses symbols and
allegories rather than the bold figures and metaphors which
lend so much force and beauty to the writings of the earlier
prophets. Generally speaking, Zechariah's style is pure, and
remarkably free from Chaldaisms...
Jehovah is renowned or remembered. (1.) A prophet of Judah,
eleventh of the twelve minor prophets. Like Ezekiel,
he was of
priestly extraction. He describes himself (1:1) as
"the son of
Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the
son of Iddo,"
who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical
in the second year of Darius (B.C. 520), about
after the return of the first company from exile. He
contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).
His book consists of two distinct parts, (1)
chapters 1 to 8,
inclusive, and (2) 9 to the end. It begins with a
(1:1-6), which recalls the nation's past history,
purpose of presenting a solemn warning to the
generation. Then follows a series of eight visions
succeeding one another in one night, which may be
regarded as a
symbolical history of Israel, intended to furnish
the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds.
symbolical action, the crowning of Joshua (6:9-15),
how the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of
Chapters 7 and 8, delivered two years later, are an
the question whether the days of mourning for the
the city should be any longer kept, and an
to the people, assuring them of God's presence and
The second part of the book (ch. 9-14) bears no
date. It is
probable that a considerable interval separates it
first part. It consists of two burdens.
The first burden (ch. 9-11) gives an outline of the
God's providential dealings with his people down to
the time of
The second burden (ch. 12-14) points out the glories
await Israel in "the latter day", the final conflict
of God's kingdom.
(2.) The son or grandson of Jehoiada, the high
priest in the
times of Ahaziah and Joash. After the death of
boldly condemned both the king and the people for
rebellion against God (2 Chr. 24:20), which so
stirred up their
resentment against him that at the king's
stoned him with stones, and he died "in the court of
of the Lord" (24:21). Christ alludes to this deed of
Matt. 23:35, Luke 11:51. (See ZACHARIAS -T0003862
(3.) A prophet, who had "understanding in the seeing
in the time of Uzziah, who was much indebted to him
for his wise
counsel (2 Chr. 26:5).
Besides these, there is a large number of persons
Scripture bearing this name of whom nothing is
(4.) One of the chiefs of the tribe of Reuben (1
(5.) One of the porters of the tabernacle (1 Chr.
(6.) 1 Chr. 9:37.
(7.) A Levite who assisted at the bringing up of the
the house of Obededom (1 Chr. 15:20-24).
(8.) A Kohathite Levite (1 Chr. 24:25).
(9.) A Merarite Levite (1 Chr. 27:21).
(10.) The father of Iddo (1 Chr. 27:21).
(11.) One who assisted in teaching the law to the
the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 17:7).
(12.) A Levite of the sons of Asaph (2 Chr. 20:14).
(13.) One of Jehoshaphat's sons (2 Chr. 21:2).
(14.) The father of Abijah, who was the mother of
(15.) One of the sons of Asaph (2 Chr. 29:13).
(16.) One of the "rulers of the house of God" (2
(17.) A chief of the people in the time of Ezra, who
him about the return from captivity (Ezra 8:16);
same as mentioned in Neh. 8:4,
(18.) Neh. 11:12.
(19.) Neh. 12:16.
(20.) Neh. 12:35,41.
(21.) Isa. 8:2.
The Jewish saying was, "the spirit of Jeremiah dwelt in
Zechariah." Like Ezekiel and Daniel, Zechariah delights in
symbols, allegories, and visions of angels ministering
before Jehovah and executing His commands on earth.
Zechariah, like Genesis, Job, and Chronicles, brings Satan
personally into view. The mention of myrtles (representing
the then depressed Jewish church, Zechariah 1:11) accords
with the fact of their non mention before the Babylonian
exile (Nehemiah 8:15); contrast the original command as to
the trees at the feast of tabernacles, "palms, and willows
of the brook" Esther's name Hadassah means "myrtle". (See
MYRTLE.) Joshua's filthy garments (Zechariah 3) were those
assumed by the accused in Persian courts; the white robe
substituted was the caftan, to this day put upon a state
minister in the East when acquitted. Some forms and phrases
indicate a late age (as 'achath used as the indefinite
Zechariah encouraged the Jews in rebuilding the
temple by unfolding the glorious future in contrast with the
present depression of the theocracy. Matthew (Matthew 27:9)
quotes Zechariah 11:12 as Jeremiah's words. Doubtless
because Zechariah had before his mind Jeremiah 18:1-2;
Jeremiah 32:6-12; Zechariah's prophecy is but a reiteration
of the fearful oracle of Jeremiah 18-19, about to be
fulfilled in the destruction of the Jewish nation. Jeremiah,
by the image of a potter's vessel (the symbol of God's
absolute power over His creatures: Romans 9:21; Isaiah 45:9;
Isaiah 64:8), portrayed their ruin in Nebuchadnezzar's
Zechariah repeats this threat as about to be
fulfilled again by Rome for their rejection of Messiah
Matthew, by mentioning Jeremiah, implies that the field of
blood now bought by "the reward of iniquity" in the valley
of Hinnom was long ago a scene of doom symbolically
predicted, that the purchase of it with the traitor's price
renewed the prophecy and revived the curse. The mention of
Ephraim and Israel as distinct from Judah, in chapters 10 to
14, points to the ultimate restoration, not only of the Jews
but of the northern Israelite ten tribes, who never returned
as a body from their Assyrian captivity, the earnest of
which was given in the numbers out of the ten tribes who
returned with their brethren of Judah from the Babylonian
captivity under Cyrus. There are four parts:...
1. Eleventh of the 12 minor prophets. Son of Berechiah,
grandson of Iddo; Ezra (Ezra 5:1; Exr 6:14) says son of
Iddo, omitting Berechiah the intermediate link, as less
known, and perhaps having died early. Zechariah was
probably, like Ezekiel, priest as well as prophet, Iddo
being the priest who returned with Zerubbabel and Joshua
from Babylon (Nehemiah 12:4; Nehemiah 12:16). His priestly
birth suits the sacerdotal character of his prophecies
He left Babylon, where he was born, very young.
Zechariah began prophesying in youth (Zechariah 2:4), "this
young man. In the eighth month, in Darius' second year (520
B.C.), Zechariah first prophesied with Haggai (who began two
months earlier) in support of Zerubbabel and Shealtiel in
the building of the temple, which had been suspended under
Pseudo-Smerdis Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:24; Ezra 5:1-2; Ezra
6:14). The two, "Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of
Iddo" the priest prophet, according to a probable tradition
composed psalms for the liturgy of the temple: Psalms 137;
146 to 148, according to Septuagint; Psalm 125, 126 (See
NEHEMIAH) according to the Peshito; Psalm 111 according to
The Hallelujah characterizes the post exile psalms,
it occurs at both beginning and end of Psalms 146 to 150;
these are all joyous thanksgivings, free from the
lamentations which appear in the other post exile psalms.
Probably sung at the consecration of the walls under
Nehemiah; but Hengstenberg thinks at the consecration of the
second temple. Jewish tradition makes Zecharia a member of
the great synagogue. frontZECHARIAH, BOOK OF.)
2. Firstborn son of Meshelemiah, a Korhite, keeper
of the N. gate of the tabernacle under David (1 Chronicles
9:21; 1 Chronicles 26:2; 1 Chronicles 26:14, "a wise