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“Branch” is a prophetic title for the Anointed One, that royal descendant of David whom God will send to usher in a new age of justice, peace, and joy. In Zechariah’s day, the people wonder if Zerubbabel is that king. Ac cording to the prophet, God has designs on him as the one to rebuild the temple and occupy the throne, but he is not destined to reign alone as the Anointed One will. Zerubbabel reigns with Joshua, the high priest. Together they are anointed, acclaimed, and crowned leaders to watch over God’s people.

Two years after I saw the eight visions, on the fourth day of the ninth month (called Chislev) of the fourth year of the reign of Persian King Darius, the word of the Eternal came to me, Zechariah. The situation was this: the citizens of Bethel had sent a delegation, including Sharezer and Regemmelech and his men, to seek the favor of the Eternal One by questioning the priests working in the temple of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, and by questioning the prophets.

Delegation: During the fifth month of every year, I fast and mourn. Should I continue separating myself from the impure world on these occasions as I have for so many years?

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Justice and Mercy, Not Fasting

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah(A) on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev.(B) The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat(C) the Lord(D) by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn(E) and fast in the fifth(F) month, as I have done for so many years?”

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