Disobedience and Fasting

In the fourth year of King Darius,(A) the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev. Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer, Regem-melech, and their men to plead for the Lord’s favor(B) by asking the priests who were at the house of the Lord of Hosts as well as the prophets, “Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month as we have done these many years?”

Then the word of the Lord of Hosts came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and in the seventh months for these 70 years, did you really fast for Me?(C) When you eat and drink, don’t you eat and drink simply for yourselves?(D) Aren’t these the words that the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem was inhabited and secure,[a] along with its surrounding cities, and when the southern region and the Judean foothills were inhabited?”

The word of the Lord came to Zechariah: “The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions.(E) Show faithful love and compassion(F) to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor,(G) and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.(H) 11 But they refused to pay attention(I) and turned a stubborn shoulder; they closed their ears so they could not hear.(J) 12 They made their hearts like a rock so as not to obey the law or the words that the Lord of Hosts had sent by His Spirit through the earlier prophets.(K) Therefore great anger came from the Lord of Hosts. 13 Just as He had called, and they would not listen, so when they called, I would not listen,” says the Lord of Hosts. 14 “I scattered them with a windstorm over all the nations that had not known them, and the land was left desolate behind them, with no one coming or going. They turned a pleasant land into a desolation.”

Footnotes

  1. Zechariah 7:7 Or prosperous

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?”

Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted(G) and mourned in the fifth and seventh(H) months for the past seventy years,(I) was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?(J) Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets(K) when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest(L) and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills(M) were settled?’”(N)

And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice;(O) show mercy and compassion to one another.(P) 10 Do not oppress the widow(Q) or the fatherless, the foreigner(R) or the poor.(S) Do not plot evil against each other.’(T)

11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly(U) they turned their backs(V) and covered their ears.(W) 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint(X) and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets.(Y) So the Lord Almighty was very angry.(Z)

13 “‘When I called, they did not listen;(AA) so when they called, I would not listen,’(AB) says the Lord Almighty.(AC) 14 ‘I scattered(AD) them with a whirlwind(AE) among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it.(AF) This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.(AG)’”

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