This first major section of the book contains three parts, each introduced by a date formula (
1.1; 1.7; 7.1
Eighth month … second year, mid‐October to mid‐November 520 BCE. Darius I reigned over the Persian Empire, which extended “from India to Ethiopia” (Esth 8.9
), from 522 to 486. Zechariah means “the LORD has remembered.” The phrase son of Berechiah son of Iddo is open to interpretation. Iddo could be the prophet's grandfather, although elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible Iddo alone is
listed as Zechariah's father (Ezra 5.1; 6.14; Neh 12.16
). There were several Zechariahs in the Bible (in this regard, note “Zechariah son of Jeberechiah” in Isa 8.2
), and this may have led to scribal confusion (compare Mt 23.35 with 2 Chr 24.20–22
Cf. Mal 3.7
The former prophets proclaimed, e.g., Jer 18.11; 25.5; Ezek 33.11
. So they repented and said,
see Lam 1.18; 3.40–42; 5.7
. But see Zech 7.11
Note the pattern: (a) vision, (b) question about its meaning, (c) angelic interpretation.
Mid‐January to mid‐February 519.
The glen, a deep hollow; no ordinary place.
My lord, a term of respect for the angel.
Patrolled the earth,
see also Job 1.6–7; 2.2
. The whole earth remains at peace, i.e., the nations have not yet received their judgment (cf. 1.15; Hag 2.6
Seventy years, the length of time since the destruction of Jerusalem was slightly less (
), but seventy years was a conventional term of punishment (Isa 23.15–17; Jer 25.11–12; 29.10
Gracious and comforting words, e.g., Isa 40.1–2; Jer 29.10; 33.14
The measuring line, the first signs of new construction; see 2.1–5; Jer 31.38–39
Compare with 8.3; Isa 44.26; contrast with 2 Kings 23.27
The four horns symbolize powerful nations (cf. Dan 2.36–40; 7.19–27
) which the blacksmiths (the LORD's agents of destruction as in Isa 54.16; Ezek 21.31
) will smash.
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