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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

The Two Main Parts.

William Newcombe in 1785 first noted that the second half of Zechariah (chs. 9–14 ) differs from the first in authorship, date, and circumstances. Proto-Zechariah comprises an anthology of visionary material in 1:7–6:15 , surrounded by an editorial frame in 1:1–6 and chs. 7–8 containing oracles and preached material. The whole concerns the restoration of Jerusalem and its temple after the Exile, and is dated over a brief period, 520–518 BCE, though the editorial additions may not have been completed until 450 BCE. Zech 9–14 opens with a secondary heading in 9:1 and is subdivided by another at 12:1 . The same occurs at Mal 1:1 . This may indicate that three small booklets were appended to Proto-Zechariah at different dates. In literary genre Zech 9–14 looks at first sight more akin to classical prophecy than to Proto-Zechariah, but closer inspection reveals that it is very hard to relate to history, and that the messenger formula ‘Thus says the LORD’ introducing first-person speech from YHWH is hardly used. Much is in the third person, and the whole of ch. 14 is an extended descriptive piece. The forms of classical prophecy are breaking down. The interest in Jerusalem and the leadership is maintained, but there are no references to the temple building programme, and the hopes of the immediate restoration period appear to have been soured; there are tensions within the community, and hope is deferred until the final day of the Lord, which must be preceded by further suffering. No dates are given, and a great range of historical contexts has been suggested, from the seventh century (chs. 9–11 only, Otzen 1964 ) to the third century, after the conquests of Alexander the Great (‘Alexander III’, OBC). The latter view, put forward by Stade (1881–2 ), is probably now the majority view. Certainly nothing predates 450 BCE. For a full study of the continuities and discontinuities between the two halves of Zechariah see Mason (1976 ).

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