Zechariah

During the second year of the reign of Darius, a message came to me from Yahva on the 24th day of the 11th month (Shebat).

I had a vision that night of a man riding a red horse among myrtle trees in a valley. Behind him were red, brown and white horses. An angel was talking with me. I asked him; "Lord, what are these?" He answered; "I will show you." Then the man standing among the myrtle trees said; "They are Yahva's messengers. He told them to go throughout the earth." They reported to Yahva's angel who stood among the myrtle trees; "We have gone throughout the earth and found the whole world enjoying restful peace."

Then the angel of Yahva spoke; "Lord, you rule over all. How long will you refrain from showing your tender love for Jerusalem and the towns of Judah? You have been angry with them for 70 years." Yahva replied to the angel with comforting words. Then the angel said, "Proclaim Yahva's message, 'I am very jealous for my people in Jerusalem and Zion. But I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was annoyed with my people, but the foreigners went too far and tried to destroy them. I will return to Jerusalem and restore its people with love. My temple and Jerusalem will be rebuilt exactly as they were before. My towns will again be filled with good things. I will comfort Israel as I return to Jerusalem.'"

I saw four animal horns. I spoke to the angel who was talking with me. "What are these horns?" I asked. He replied; "They are the powerful nations that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem." Then Yahva showed me four skilled workers. I asked, "Why are they coming?" He answered, "These nations scattered the people of Judah, making them helpless. But the workers come to terrify and destroy the foreigners who scattered Judah's people." Then I saw a man holding a measuring line. "Where are you going?" I asked. "To Jerusalem," he answered; "to measure its wide and length." Then the angel left me and another angel came to him. He said to him, "Tell Zechariah that Jerusalem will be like a city that does not need walls. It will have many people and animals. Yahva will be a wall like fire around it and protect the city's glory.

Israel, I have scattered you in all directions. Come quickly! Escape from the land of the north. Come, people of Israel who are in Babylonia! Escape, you who live in the city of Babylon! Yahva rules over all. Yahva has sent me to honor him and to punish the nations that robbed you. Anyone who hurts you hurts those Yahva protects. I show my power to destroy your enemies. Their slaves will rob them of everything. Then you will know that supreme Yahva has sent me. People of Judah, shout and be happy! I am coming to live among you. Many nations will consecrate themselves to me and become my people. I will live among you so that you will know that I who rules over all has sent me to you. He will receive Judah as his share in the holy land, choose Jerusalem again. All you people of the world, be serene since Yahva is coming. He is preparing to descend from his temple in heaven.

Then Yahva showed me the high priest Yeshua standing before the angel. The slanderer was standing to Yeshua's right. The slanderer brought charges against the high priest. The angel said to the slanderer; "Be silent! The lord has chosen Jerusalem to rebuke you! Is Yeshua not like a burning stick pulled from fire." Yeshua stood before the angel wearing dirty clothes. The angel said to those standing around him; "Remove his dirty clothes. I have taken your sin away. I will dress you fine clothes. Put a clean turban on his head." They dressed him while the angel of Yahva watched.

Then the angel said to Yeshua; "Yahva orders you to live by his laws. You must comply! Thus you may rule in my temple and care for my courtyards. I will honor you among those standing here. High priest Yeshua, pay attention! Other priests sitting with you must listen. All of you are signs of things to come. I am going to bring my servant, root of Judah. Look at the seven sided stone which I have placed before Yeshua! I will carve a message each side to remove sin from this land today. Then each of you will live in peace and entertain your friends in your vineyard and under your fig trees."

Then the angel returned to me and awoke me as if I had been asleep. "What do you see?" he asked me. "I see a solid gold lamp stand," I answered. "It has a bowl on top with seven lamp, each with a connecting tube. There are two olive trees beside lamp stand, one on each side."

I asked the angel; "Lord, what are these?" He answered; "Don't you know what they are?" I replied; "No." He said to me; "A message came to Zerubbabel from Yahva; 'Your strength and power will not rebuild my temple. Only the power of my radiance can do it.' With my support nothing can stop Zerubbabel from completing the temple. He will resolve the multitude of problems. To finish the temple, he will install the capstone stone while the people will rejoice"

A message came from Yahva through his angel; "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple and he will also complete it. By this you will know that Yahva has sent me to you. Do not demean the minor work done on the temple so far. People will be joyful when they see Zerubbabel holding the cap stone. The seven eyes on the stone are the eyes of Yahva himself as he views the entire earth."

I said to the angel; "I see two olive trees; one on the right side of the lamp stand and the other on the left. What are those trees? I also see two olive branches next to the gold pipes that pour olive oil. What are those branches?" He answered, "Don't you know what they are?" "No, lord," I said. He told me; "They are Zerubbabel and Yeshua, anointed servants of Yahva."

I looked up again and saw a flying scroll. "What do you see?" the angel asked me. "A flying scroll," I replied. "It is 20 cubits long and 10 cubits wide." He said to me; "A curse from Yahva is written on it. Written on one side is; 'Thieves will be expelled.' On the other side; 'Liars under oath will be expelled.' As it passes over the land it will enter houses of the thieves and the houses of liars who take oaths in my name. It will remain in those houses and destroy them, pulling down its beams and stones."

Then the angel came forward, saying to me; "See what is coming." "What is it?" I asked. "A measuring basket," he replied, "Containing the sins of all the people." Then its lead cover was lifted, showing a woman sitting in the basket! The angel said, "She represents everything evil." He pushed her back into the basket and replaced the cover.

I saw two other women with wings like a stork. A wind from Yahva carried them. They lifted the basket up between heaven and earth. "Where are they taking the basket?" I asked the angel. He replied, "To Babylonia. A house is being prepared for it. When the house is ready, the basket will be placed in it."

I saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, the third by white horses, and the fourth by spotted horses: All powerful horses. I asked the angel, "Lord, what are these?" The angel answered, "The four wind spirits of heaven. They serve Yahva throughout the world. The chariot with black horses is going north, followed by the white, while the spotted horses is going south."

The powerful horses went departed in a hurry to go survey the earth. The angel said, "Go all through the earth!" So they did. Then Yahva called to me, "Look! The horses going toward the north have given my anger rest in the north country."

His angel brought message came to me from Yahva; "Collect silver and gold from Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah who have just returned from Babylonia. Go to the house of Josiah, son of Zephaniah, and make a crown of silver and gold for the high priest Yeshua who is the root of Israel. He will spread his branches and expand Judah while building my temple. In majesty, he will sit on his throne, ruling as King and High Priest. The people will live in harmony under his reign.

The crown will be a memorial in the temple honoring those who contributed to it: Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Zephaniah's son Josiah. It will remind the people that Yahva's promises will come true.

Those who are far away will come to Jerusalem to help build the temple. The people will understand that Yahva sent me. If they carefully obey Yahva's laws, all the promises will be fulfilled."

During the fourth regnal year of Darius, a message came to me from Yahva on the fourth day of the ninth month (Kislev).

The people of Bethel wanted to ask for blessing from Yahva. They sent Sharezer, Regem-Melech and their men to the prophets and priests at the temple, asking them, "Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month, as we've done for many years?"

Then the message came to me from Yahva; "Ask the priests and the people this question for me; 'You mourned and fasted in the fifth and seventh months for the past 70 years. But did you really do it for me? When you were eating and drinking, were you not enjoying good food just for yourselves?

Didn't I tell you the same thing through earlier prophets when Jerusalem and the towns around it enjoyed peace and success? Then people lived in the Negev Desert and the western hills.'"

Another message for his people came to me from Yahva; "Treat everyone fairly. Show faithful love and tender concern to one another. Do not take advantage of widows. Do not mistreat children whose fathers have died. Do not crush strangers or poor people. Do not make evil plans against one another."

But they stubbornly refused to heed Yahva. They rejected the law and became obdurate ignoring Yahva's messages. For this Yahva was very angry. After all, his essence had spoken to his people through the earlier prophets. Yahva said; "They rejected my messages so I rejected their pleas. I used a windstorm to scatter them as strangers among all nations. The land they left became dry and desolate. No one could even travel through it. That is how they turned the pleasant land into a dry and empty desert."

Another message came to me from Yahva; "I am burning with jealousy for my people. I will return to the land of Judah and live among my people in Jerusalem: The City of Truth. My mountain will be called The Holy Mountain. Once again old men and women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem; all so old to need canes. The city streets will be filled with playful boys and girls.

All of that might seem wonderful to the people living at that time. But it will not seem wonderful to me. I will save my people. I will gather them from the foreign countries and return them to Jerusalem. They will be my people as I am their faithful God who keep my promises.

Listen to the words of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They spoke to you when the work on my temple started again. Let your hands be strong so that you can rebuild the temple.

Before the work was restarted, there was no pay for the people or food for the animals. People could not go about their business safely because of their enemies. I had turned all of them against one another. But now I will not punish you who are living at this time. I will not treat you as I treated your people before you. Your seeds will grow well and your vines will bear fruit. The ground will produce crops for you and the heavens will drop their dew on your land. I give all of these things to those who are still alive.

Judah and Israel, in the past the nations cursed you. You will be seen as blessed to others. Do not fear, I will save you. Keep your bodies strong to do my work. In the past you made me angry. I decided to bring distress to your people. Then I did not pity them but now I plan to favor Jerusalem and Judah again. To receive these blessings, you must speak truthfully, make wise decisions in your courts, never plan evil against your neighbors, and never swear false oaths. Many people enjoy violating these precepts, but I hate these things and people."

Another message came from Yahva; "You have established special times for fasting in the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months. They will be times of joy for Judah, if you delight in telling the truth and bringing peace. People will freely travel among cities People from the cities of many nations will visit Jerusalem to ask Yavha's favor and honor him as their God, as we do now.'

At that time many men from foreign nations and languages will grasp the hem of a Judean's robe, saying; 'Let us go to Jerusalem with you. We have heard that God favors you.'"

This is the message from Yahva against the land of Aram and the city of Damascus, for the eyes of humanity, including all the tribes of Israel, are on the lord.

Doom is certain for Hamath, near Damascus, and for the cities of Tyre and Sidon, though they are so clever.

Tyre has built a strong fortress and has made silver and gold as plentiful as dust in the streets!

But Yahva will strip away Tyre's possessions and hurl its fortifications into the sea. It will be burned to the ground.

The city of Ashkelon will see Tyre fall and will be filled with fear. Gaza will shake with terror, as will Ekron, for their hopes will be dashed. Gaza's king will be killed, and Ashkelon will be deserted.

Foreigners will occupy the city of Ashdod. I will destroy the pride of the Philistines.

I will grab the bloody meat from their mouths and snatch the detestable sacrifices from their teeth. Then the surviving Philistines will worship our God. The Philistines of Ekron will join my people as the ancient Jebusites once did.

I will guard my Temple and protect it from invading armies. I watch closely to ensure that no more foreign oppressors overrun my people's land.

Rejoice, O people of Israel! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey- riding on a donkey's colt.

I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.

Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon.

Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.

Judah is my bow, and Israel is my arrow. Jerusalem is my sword, and like a warrior, I will brandish it against the Greeks.

The lord will appear above his people; his arrows will fly like lightning! The Sovereign lord will sound the ram's horn and attack like a whirlwind from the southern desert.

Yahva's Armies will protect his people, and they will defeat their enemies by hurling great stones. They will shout in battle as though drunk with wine. They will be filled with blood like a bowl, drenched with blood like the corners of the altar.

On that day their God will rescue his people, just as a shepherd rescues his sheep. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How wonderful and beautiful they will be! The young men will thrive on abundant grain, and the young women will flourish on new wine.

Ask the lord for rain in the spring, for he makes the storm clouds. And he will send showers of rain so every field becomes a lush pasture.

Household idols give worthless advice, fortune-tellers predict only lies, and interpreters of dreams pronounce falsehoods that give no comfort. So my people are wandering like lost sheep; they are attacked because they have no shepherd.

"My anger burns against your shepherds, and I will punish these leaders. For the lord of Heaven's Armies has arrived to look after Judah, his flock. He will make them strong and glorious, like a proud warhorse in battle.

From Judah will come the cornerstone, the tent peg, the bow for battle, and all the rulers.

They will be like mighty warriors in battle, trampling their enemies in the mud under their feet. Since Yahva is with them as they fight, they will overthrow even the enemy's horsemen.

"I will strengthen Judah and save Israel; I will restore them because of my compassion. It will be as though I had never rejected them, for I their God, who will hear their cries.

The people of Israel will become mighty warriors, and their hearts will be made happy as if by wine. Their children, too, will see it and be glad; their hearts will rejoice in the lord.

When I whistle to them, they will come running, for I have redeemed them. From the few who are left, they will grow as numerous as they were before.

Though I have scattered them like seeds among the nations, they will still remember me in distant lands. They and their children will survive and return again to Israel.

I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will resettle them in Gilead and Lebanon until there is no more room for them all.

They will pass safely through the sea of distress, for the waves of the sea will be held back, and the waters of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be crushed, and the rule of Egypt will end.

By my power I will make my people strong, and by my authority they will go wherever they wish. I, the lord, have spoken!"

Open your doors, Lebanon, so that fire may devour your cedar forests. Weep, you cypress trees, for all the ruined cedars; the most majestic ones have fallen. Weep, you oaks of Bashan, for the thick forests have been cut down.

Listen to the wailing of the shepherds, for their rich pastures are destroyed. Hear the young lions roaring, for their thickets in the Jordan Valley are ruined.

Yahva says; "Take care of the livestock dedicated for sacrifice, for those who buy them may slaughter them without punishment. Those who sell them say; 'Praise Yahva! We are rich!' without requiring their shepherds to spare them. I will no longer pity these people. I will abandon them to foreign kings and their people. They will crush the people of Judah but I will not save them."

I separated the sacrificial animals and cared for the injured ones. Then I made two staffs called Favor and Union. I shepherded the flock and I removed three worthless shepherds.

The sheep hated me and I am tired of them, saying; 'I won't be your shepherd any longer. Let the dying, die and the wanderers, wander. Let those who remain consume each other.'

Then I broke my staff called Favor. That meant Yahva's covenant with all of the nations was broken. It happened that very day. The injured sheep watched me. They knew it was Yahva's message.

I told them, "If you think it is best, give me my pay. But if you don't think so, you keep it." So they paid me 30 silver coins. Yahva said to me, "Throw the coins to the potter." What a good price they had set for me! So I threw the 30 silver coins to the potter in Yahva's temple.

Then I broke my second staff called Union. That broke the union between Judah and Israel.

Yahva said to me, "Now pretend to be a foolish shepherd. Get the things you need. I am going to raise up a shepherd over the land. He will not take care of those that are wounded. He will not look for the young ones. He will not heal those that are hurt. He will not feed the healthy ones. Instead, he will eat the best sheep. He will even tear off their hoofs."

How terrible it will be for that worthless shepherd!

He deserts the flock.

May a sword strike his arm and his right eye!

May his powerful arm become weak!

May his right eye be totally blind!

This is Yahva's message about Israel. Yahva spread out the heavens. He laid the foundation of the earth. He created the essence of all men. He says; Jerusalem will be like a cup in my hand. It will make all of the surrounding nations drunk from the wine of my anger. Judah and Jerusalem will be attacked by enemies. All of the nations on earth will unite against Jerusalem. Then it will become like a rock that cannot be moved. The nations that try to move it will only hurt themselves. I will cause every enemy horse to panic and make every rider crazy. I will watch over the people of Judah but all of the enemy horses will be blind.

Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, 'The people of Jerusalem are strong because Yahva is their God.'

Judah's leaders will be like a fire pot in a pile of wood; like a burning torch among bundles of grain. They will destroy all of the surrounding nations, but Jerusalem will remain in its place unharmed.

I will save the houses in Judah first. The honor of David's family line is great. So is the honor of those who live in Jerusalem. But their honor will not be greater than the honor of the rest of Judah.

I will be a shield to those who live in Jerusalem. Even the weakest among them will be great warriors like David. David's family line will be like the angel of Yahva who leads them. On that day I will begin to destroy all of the nations that attack Jerusalem.

I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on David's family line. I will also send it on those who live in Jerusalem. They will look to me. I am the one they have pierced. They will sob over me as someone sobs over an only child who has died. They will be full of sorrow over me, just like someone who is full of sorrow over an oldest son.

There will be mourning in Jerusalem. It will sound like the sobs of the people at Hadad Rimmon over Josiah's death in the Valley of Megiddo. Every family will mourn with their wives and children including the family lines of David, Nathan, Levi, Shimei and all others.

A fountain will open for the benefit of David's family line. It will also bless others who live in Jerusalem, wash away their sins. It will make them pure and clean.

On that day I will erase the names of other gods from the land, never remembered by anyone. I will expel evil prophets and eliminate demons that put lies in their mouths. Some people might still prophesy, but their parents will condemn them for lying by Yahva's name. If they continue, their parents will kill them.

Every prophet will be ashamed of his vision and will deny being a prophet. He will not wear clothes made of hair to trick people. He will say; 'I'm not a prophet, I'm a farmer. I have farmed the land since I was young.' If someone asks him; 'What are those wounds on your body?' He will answer, 'I received them at the house of my friends.'

My sword, wake up! Attack my shepherd!

Attack the man who is close to me; declares Yahva.

Strike the shepherd down, scatter the sheep.

I will turn my hand against their little ones.

Here is what will happen in the whole land.

Two-thirds of the people will be struck down and die.

But one-third will be left, I will put them in the fire.

I will make them as pure as silver and test them like gold.

They will call out to me and I will answer;

'These are my people.' They will say; 'Yahva is our God.'

The day of Yahva is coming. Jerusalem's enemies will loot everything. They will divide it in front of them. Yahva will gather all nations. They will fight against Jerusalem and capture the city. Its houses will be robbed and women raped. Half of the people will be taken as prisoners, but some remain.

Then Yahva will march in battle array against those nations. He will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. It will split from east to west. Half of the mountain will move north, the other half south. A large valley will be formed. People will run away through that mountain valley. It will reach all the way to Azel. They will run just as they did from the earthquake when Uzziah was king of Judah. Then Yahva will come with all of the holy ones.

There w1ll be no light on that day. The sun, moon and stars will not shine. It will be a day unlike any other, not separated into day and night. It will be a day known only to Yahva. After that day is over, there will be light again.

Life giving water will flow out from Jerusalem. Half will run into the Dead Sea. The other half will go to the Mediterranean Sea. The water will flow in summer and winter.

Yahva will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one God; Yahva.

The whole land south of Jerusalem will be changed. From Geba to Rimmon it will become like the Arabah Valley. But Jerusalem will be elevated. It will remain in its place. From the Benjamin Gate to the First Gate to the Corner Gate nothing will be changed. From the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepress the city will remain the same. People will live in it. Jerusalem will never be destroyed again. It will be secure.

Yahva will punish the nations that fought against Jerusalem, striking them with plagues. Their bodies rot while they are still standing. Their eyes will rot in their heads. Their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day Yahva will fill people with great panic. They will grab one another by the hand and attack each other.

Judah will also fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all of the surrounding nations will be collected. Huge amounts of gold, silver and clothes will be gathered. The same kind of plague will strike the horses, mules, camels and donkeys: All of the animals in the army camps.

But some people of the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will still be alive. They will go there to worship the King: Yahva who rules over everything. Year after year they will celebrate the feast of huts.

Some nations might not go to Jerusalem to worship the King. If they don't, they won't have any rain. The people of Egypt might not go there to take part. Then they won't have any rain either. That is the plague Yahva will send on the nations that don't go to celebrate the feast of huts. Egypt will be punished. So will all of the other nations that do not celebrate the Feast.

On that sacred day will be carved on the bells of the horses. The cooking pots in Yahva's temple will be as the sacred bowls for burnt offerings facing the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be dedicated to Yahva. All those who offer sacrifices will cook in the pots. No Canaanites will be permitted in Yahva's temple.



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