Zechariah

זכריה

14 Chapters, 211 verses, 6,444 words.


 
 

Vital Statistics


 Purpose:  To give hope to God's people by revealing God's future deliverance through the Messiah 
 Author:  Zechariah
 Original audience:  The Jews in Jerusalem who had returned from their captivity in Babylon 
 Date written:  Chapter 1-8 were written approximately 520-518 B.C. Chapters 9-14 were written around 480 B.C. 
 Setting:  The exiles had returned from Babylon to rebuild Temple, but the work had been thwarted and stalled. Haggai and Zechariah confronted the people with their  task and encouraged them to complete it
 Key verses:  Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River[b] to the ends of the earth. (9:9-10)
 Key people:  Zerubbabel, Jeshua 
 Key place:  Jerusalem 
 Special features:  This book is the most apocalyptic and messianic of all the minor prophets. 




Background


 Zechariah's prophetic ministry took place in the postexilic period, the time of the Jewish restoration from Babylonian captivity. For historical details see Introduction to Haggai: Background.




Author and Unity


 Like Jeremiah (1:1) and Ezekiel (1:3), Zechariah was not only a prophet (1:1) but also a priest. He was born in Babylonia and was among those who returned to Judah in 538 B.C. under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua (his grandfather Iddo is named among the returnees in Ne 12:4). At a later time, when Joiakim was high priest, Zechariah apparently succeeded Iddo (1:1, 7) as head of that priestly family (Ne 12:10-16). Since the grandson succeeded the grandfather, it has been suggested that the father (Berekiah, 1:1, 7) died at an early age.


 Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai (Ezr 5:1; 6:14) but continued his ministry long after him (compare 1:1 and 7:1 with Hag 1:1; see also Ne 12:1-16). His young age (see 2:4) in the early period of his ministry makes it possible that he ministered even into the reign of Artaxerxes I (465-424 B.C.).


 Most likely Zechariah wrote the entire book that bears his name. Some have questioned his authorship of chs. 9-14--citing differences in style and other compositional features, and giving historical and chronological references that allegedly require a different date and author from those of chs. 1-8. All these objections, however, can be explained in other satisfactory ways, so there is no compelling reason to question the unity of the book.



Dates


 The dates of Zechariah's recorded messages are best correlated with those of Haggai and with other historical events as follows:


   1.   Haggai's first message (Hag 1:1-11; Ezr 5:1)    Aug. 29, 520 B.C.

   2.   Resumption of the building of the temple        Sept. 21, 520

        (Hag 1:12-15; Ezr 5:2) (The rebuilding seems

        to have been hindered from 536 to c. 530

        [Ezr 4:1-5], and the work ceased altogether

        from c. 530 to 520 [Ezr 4:24].)

   3.   Haggai's second message (Hag 2:1-9)            Oct. 17, 520

   4.   Beginning of Zechariah's preaching (1:1-6)     Oct./Nov., 520

   5.   Haggai's third message (Hag 2:10-19)            Dec. 18, 520

   6.   Haggai's fourth message (Hag 2:20-23)          Dec. 18, 520

   7.   Tattenai's letter to Darius concerning the      519-518

        rebuilding of the temple (Ezr 5:3-6:14)

        (There must have been a lapse of time

        between the resumption of the building

        and Tattenai's appearance.)

   8.   Zechariah's eight night visions (1:7-6:8)        Feb 15, 519

   9.   Joshua crowned (6:9-15)                         Feb 16 (?), 519

  10.   Repentance urged, blessings promised       Dec. 7, 518

        (chs. 7-8)

  11.   Dedication of the temple (Ezr 6:15-18)         Mar. 12, 516

  12.   Zechariah's final prophecy (chs. 9-14)          After 480 (?)



Occasion and Purpose


 The occasion is the same as that of the book of Haggai (see Background; Dates). The chief purpose of Zechariah (and Haggai) was to rebuke the people of Judah and to encourage and motivate them to complete the rebuilding of the temple (zec 4:8-10; Hag 1-2), though both prophets were clearly interested in spiritual renewal as well. In addition, the purpose of the eight night visions (1:7-6:8) is explained in 1:3,5-6: The Lord said that if Judah would return to him, he would return to them. Furthermore, his word would continue to be fulfilled.



Theological Teaching


 The theological teaching of the book is related to its Messianic as well as its apocalyptic and eschatological motifs. Regarding the Messianic emphasis, Zechariah foretold Christ's coming in lowliness (6:12), his humanity (6:12; 13:7), his rejection and betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (11:12-13), his crucifixion (struck by the "sword" of the Lord; 13:7), his priesthood (6:13), his kingship (6:13; 9:9; 14:9, 16), his coming in glory (14:4), his building of the Lord's temple (6:12-13), his reign (9:10; 14) and his establishment of enduring peace and prosperity (3:10; 9:9-10). These Messianic passages give added significance to Jesus' words in Lk 24:25-27, 44.


 Concerning the apocalyptic and eschatological emphasis, Zechariah foretold the siege of Jerusalem (12:1-3; 14:1-2), the initial victory of Judah's enemies (14:2), the Lord's defense of Jerusalem (14:3-4), the judgment on the nations (12:9; 14:3), the topographical changes in Judah (14:4-5), the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in the Messianic kingdom age (14:16-19) and the ultimate holiness of Jerusalem and her people (14:20-21).


 There is also theological significance in the prophet's name, which means "The LORD (Yahweh) remembers." "The LORD" is the personal, covenant name of God and is a perpetual testimony to his faithfulness to his promises (see note on Ex 3:14). He "remembers" his covenant promises and takes action to fulfill them. In the book of Zechariah God's promised deliverance from Babylonian exile, including a restored kingdom community and a functioning temple (the earthly throne of the divine King), leads into even grander pictures of the salvation and restoration to come through the Messiah.


 Finally, the book as a whole teaches the sovereignty of God in history, over people and nations--past, present and future.



Literary Form and Themes


 The book is primarily a mixture of exhortation (call to repentance, 1:2-6), prophetic visions (1:7-6:8) and judgment and salvation oracles (chs. 9-14). The prophetic visions of 1:7-6:8 are called apocalyptic (revelatory) literature, which is essentially a literature of encouragement to God's people. When the apocalyptic section is read along with the salvation (or deliverance) oracles in chs. 9-14, it becomes obvious that the dominant emphasis of the book is encouragement because of the glorious future that awaits the people of God.


 In fact, encouragement is the book's central theme--primarily encouragement to complete the rebuilding of the temple. Various means are used to accomplish this end, and these function as sub themes. For example, great stress is laid on the coming of the Messiah and the overthrow of all anti-kingdom forces by him so that God's rule can be finally and fully established on earth. The then-current local scene thus becomes the basis for contemplating the universal, eschatological picture.






The Rulers and Prophets of Zechariah's Time   


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Medo-Persian Kings

       

Medo-Persian Empire

        Cyrus

Darius I Hystaspes 521  486

Ahasuerus(Xerxes) 486

        Smerdis
       Cambyses   

483 Vashti deposed

       Darius the Mede 539-525 

478 Esther Queen

             

ZECHARIAH

520        489

  
               
               
               
             

Haggai520 505

    
                 

Zechariah and His Contemporary Prophets

(Southern Kingdom)

 

Daniel and 70-years Jewish Captivity

3 Stages of Captivity

       
        
        
 605 Daniel and friends 

 538 Zerubbabel

 597 Ezekiel and 10,000 captives 538 Decree of Cyrus   
 586 Destruction of Jerusalem 536 Temple started   
           534 Temple work stopped   
           520 Temple work resumed   
           516 Temple finished   
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Outline


Part I (chs. 1-8)


I. Introduction (1:1-6)

A.  The Date and the Author’s Name (1:1)

B. A Call to Repentance (1:2-6)

II. A Series of  Eight Visions in  One Night (1:7-6:8)

A. The Horseman among the Myrtle Trees (1:7-17)

B. The Four Horns and the Four Craftsmen (1:18-21)

C. A Man with a Measuring Line (ch.2)

D. Clean Garments for the High Priests (ch.3)

E. The Gold Lampstand and the Two Olive Trees (ch.4)

F. The Flying Scroll (5:1-4)

G. The Woman in a Basket (5:5-11)

H. The Four Chariots (6:1-8)

III. The Symbolic Crowning of Joshua the High Priest (6:9-15)


IV. The Problem of Fasting and the Promise of the Future (chs.7-8)

A. The Question by the Delegation from Bethel (7:1-3)

B. The REbuke by the Lord (7:4-7)

C. The Command to Repent (7:8-14)

D. The Restoration of Israel to God’s Favor (8:1-17)

E. Kingdom Joy and Jewish Favor (8:18-23)

Part II (chs. 9-14)


V. Two Prophetic Oracles: The Great Messianic Future and the Full Realization of God’s Kingdom (chs.9-14)

A. The First Oracles: The Coming and Rejections of the Messiah (chs.9-11)

  1. The coming of the Messianic King (chs.9-10)

    1. The destruction of surrounding nations but the preservation of Zion (9:1-8)

    2. The coming of Zion’s KIng (9:9-10)

    3. The deliverance and blessing of Zion’s people (9:11-10:1)

    4. The leaders warned and the people encouraged (10:2-4)

    5. Israel’s victory and restauration (10:5-12)

    2. The rejection of the Messianic Shepherd-King (ch.11)

  1. The prologue (11:1-3)

  2. The rejections of the Good Shepherd (11:4-14)

  3. The rise and fall of the worthless shepherd (11:15-17)

B. The Second  Oracles: The Coming and Reception of the Messiah (chs.12-14)

  1. The deliverance and conversion of Israel (chs.12-13)

    1. The siege of Jerusalem (12:1-3)

    2. The divine deliverance (12:4-9)

    3. Israel completely delivered from sin (12:10-13:9)

    2. The Messiah’s coming and his kingdom (ch.14)

  1. The siege of Jerusalem (14:1-2)

  2. the Messiah's return and its effects (14:3-8)

  3. The establishment of the Messianic kingdom (14:9-11)

  4. The punishment of Israel’s enemies (14:12-15)

  5. The universal worship of the holy King (14:16-21)







Notes