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

The Social and Religious Context.

Proto-Zechariah can fairly be called a ‘theocratic’ or establishment work because of its institutional subject-matter and occasionally its tone, particularly in the oracular additions to the visionary material. It has sometimes been accused (e.g. by Hanson 1979 ) of complacently assuming that the promises made in classical prophecy were completely fulfilled in the restoration of Jerusalem in the sixth century, leaving nothing further to be hoped for. In contrast Zech 9–14 , which contains controversy material criticizing the leadership, has been characterized as anti-establishment and dissatisfied with the restoration (Hanson 1979; Plöger 1968 ); it is more eschatological in outlook (‘Eschatology’, OCB). However, if the two halves really had such opposing interests it would be odd that the work is as unified as it is. Rather they are complementary: Proto-Zechariah knows his own time is the ‘day of small things’ and his work does have an eschatological dimension. Zech 9–14 stems from a later time in which the community required to be challenged rather than consoled, and much of chs. 12–14 in fact has a liturgical background; according to Plöger (1968 ) in ch. 12 the establishment criticizes itself. One plausible explanation for the ambivalence of Deutero-Zechariah is that it was written and edited over an extended period of perhaps two centuries (450–250?) by and for the kind of traditionists who would later emerge into the light of history as the community at Qumran: separatists who criticized mainstream Judaism for its perceived loss of purity and its political compromises.

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