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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 1

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-6



10 Night Visions:

1. Red Horse Rider Among the Myrtle Trees, Zechariah 1:7-17.

2. The Four Horns, As Scatterers, Zechariah 1:18-19.

3. The Four Carpenters or Smiths, Zechariah 1:20-21.

4. The Measuring or Surveying Line, Zechariah 2:1-13.

5. Joshua the High Priest, Standing Before the Angel of the Lord, Zechariah 3:1-7.

6. Jehovah’s Servant, the Branch, Zechariah 3:8-10.

7. The Golden Candlestick and Two Olive Trees, Zechariah 4:1-13.

8. The 30 ft. Flying Roll, Zechariah 5; Zechariah 1-4.

9. The Ephah, Bushel Basket, Zechariah 5:5-11.

10. The Four Chariots, Zechariah 6:1-8.

(Crowning of the High Priest. Zechariah 6:9-15.


The Two Burdens

I. The Burden On Cities Surrounding Palestine, Zechariah 9:1 to Zechariah 11:17

a) Appearance of Israel’s Messiah, Zechariah 9:9.

b) Rejection of the Messiah, Zechariah 11:7-14.

II. The Burden Or (Seige of) Jerusalem, Zechariah 12:1-3.

a) Deliverance of Israel, Zechariah 12:4 to Zechariah 13:9.

b) Return of the Lord in Triumphant Glory, Zechariah 14:1-21.



Four Special Messages, (Zechariah 7:1 to Zechariah 8:23)

1) A Message of Rebuke, Zechariah 7:1-14.

2) A Message of Restoration, Zechariah 8:1-8.

3) A Message of Remembrance, Zechariah 8:9-19.

4) A Message of Promise, Zechariah 8:20-23.



This book was written by the prophet Zechariah as "the Word of the Lord," Zechariah 1:1. His parentage was of honorable lineage. He was the son of Berechiah, whose name means "Jehovah will bless:" His grandfather’s name was Iddo, which means "the appointed time:" While the name Zechariah means "Jehovah remembers." He was of priestly descent, born in Babylon and returned as a young man to Jerusalem, Nehemiah 12:14-16. While little more is known of him personally he is pre-eminent among the post ­exile prophets and this book he wrote is one of the most wonderful of all the Old Testament books.

Zechariah has more to say about the coming Person, Work, and Glory of Jesus Christ than all the other 11 minor prophets together. As a Messianic prophet, his rank is second only to Isaiah, the major prophet. His prophecy chronicles God’s plan and purpose for Israel, from the Babylonian captivity, to the final restoration glory of Israel, at the second coming of Jesus Christ.


Like Haggai, his contemporary prophet. Zechariah prophesied to the restored remnant of Israel, who had returned to Jerusalem, and their homeland, after 70 years in Babylonian captivity. They were a depressed and often languishing people, who needed a call to repentance and motivation to rebuild their temple of worship, around which they might then rebuild their lives and their nation.


The theme of Zechariah’s message was that God: 1) loved Israel, 2) was still preserving and caring for her, and 3) He had a future purpose and plan for her glory, beyond any she had ever known. The remnant had returned from her captivities 16 years earlier, Nehemiah 12:4; Nehemiah 12:16.

Zechariah’s major plea was for Israel to repent immediately, seek to obey God’s will and call for her obedient worship of and service to Him, His basic will for every man, even today, Zechariah 1:4; 2 Peter 3:2. Repentance and righteousness are necessary for men to be in fellowship with God in this age and the Millennial, yet to come. Zechariah’s prophecy of Jesus, as the Messiah, and of Israel, and his allusions to the church of this age, takes in a vast sweep of time and events that reveal God’s plan for Israel from the Assyrian captivities to the second advent of Jesus, and His reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords. At that time a remnant of Israel, and the church, shall be special objects and recipients of God’s covenant promises, to Israel and to the church, the Bride of Jesus Christ, the house that Jesus build, Hebrews 3:1-6.


Zechariah’s prophecy began in November, 520 B.C., during the second year of the reign of Darius, in or near Jerusalem; and covered a period of time to 487 B.C., about 33 years. For more detail check the chronology chart at the introduction of Haggai who began his ministry in Jerusalem only a short time before Zechariah. The actual prophetic ministry of Haggai, as recorded, covers a little less than four months, while Zechariah’s covers a period of two years, but it is believed both were on hand for most of the four year period the temple was in its resumed completion.


The occasion of Zechariah’s prophecy was to join Haggai who had motivated the backslidden remnant of Israel, including the people, Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, and Joshua the high priest, to repent of their sins, live righteously, and work faithfully in rebuilding the temple as a spiritual center of their worship and devotions; to worship as in the days of their forefathers, before the captivities.

He sought to dispel gloom, arouse hope, and given assurance to the restored remnant that God had not forgotten His chosen people, for whom He had unconditionally pledged a future state of glory. And even today "every man that has this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure," 1 John 3:2-3.



Verses 1-6:

Setting Of The Times And Conditions

Zechariah, like Haggai, prophesied to a remnant of Israel that had some fifteen years earlier returned from the Babylonian captivity. This prophecy begins between the time of the 2nd and 3rd messages of Haggai 2:9-10. The rebuilding of the temple was about a month under construction and its lack of beauty of the former temple was disheartening to the people in their labors. Zechariah warns them against becoming discouraged and the danger of turning back in disobedience to God, as their fathers had done. He then sought to cheer them with magnificent visions of the future which God had given to Him, Joshua 1:1-8.

Verse 1 relates that in the eighth month (of November) and in the second year of the reign of Darius, as recounted, v. 7; 7:1; the word of the Lord came to this prophet Zechariah of the lineage of Berechiah and Iddo, the prophet, a certain claim to inspiration, Psalms 119:160; 2 Peter 1:21. See also Ezra 5:1; Nehemiah 12:4. The meaning of the names of these three prophets signifies a Divine purpose to perpetuate and fulfill former covenants God had made with Israel; Zechariah means "Jehovah remembers," or recalls; Berechiah means "Jehovah will bless," while Iddo means "the appointed time."

Verse 2 warns that God had been sorely displeased with the disobedience of their fathers, which had led to their many years of captivity and oppression. He calls upon them to beware lest they selfishly return to a similar state of disobedience and subsequent suffering. They are challenged to awake and arise and go forward with rebuilding the temple of their God with prompt obedience, Haggai 1:4; Haggai 1:8.

Verse 3 affirms that Zechariah was directed of the Lord to speak to the remnant, calling them to turn back to Him, with the assurances He would turn to bless them; On the other hand they were to recognize that He also had the power to stop production of the "much" they had sown, causing it to "bring in little", if they walked in disobedient ways, Malachi 3:7; James 4:8; Jeremiah 3:12; Ezekiel 18:30; Micah 7:19; Haggai 1:6.

Verse 4 again warns of the suffering that would befall them should they return to the ways of their disobedient fathers, v. 2; 2 Chronicles 36:15-16. To ignore the voice of the prophets from God (Haggai and Zechariah) they were warned, would bring certain judgment upon them, as their fathers had experienced in ignoring the warnings from prophets of God in their days, 2 Chronicles 24:19; Zechariah 7:7.

Verse 5 asks them where their fathers and the former prophets are now. They had gone to their graves and their words had become silent. But the Lord’s words "endure forever," 1 Peter 1:25. This remnant of Israel was called to consider the judgment fate that had befallen their fathers, as foretold by prophets of their times. They were previously warned to arouse and build the temple, putting God first in their national life that they might please Him and receive His bounties, Matthew 6:33.

Verse 6 assures that the laws and statutes of the Lord are to be obeyed, or men suffer in Divine punishment until they acknowledge the righteousness of His commands and ways. This new generation, back in their homeland, is called upon to obey God in worship and Divine Service or warned that if they neglect doing so they shall suffer a similar punishment that God had sent upon their forefathers so that they were "without excuse," Romans 2:1; Proverbs 29:1; Lamentations 2:17; Jeremiah 4:18; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 22:2.

Verses 7-17

The Ten Visions

Verses 7-17:

Vision 1:

The Red Horse Rider Among The Myrtle Trees

Verse 7 recounts that on the 24th day of Sebat (February) in the second year of the reign of Darius, about two months after Zechariah’s first commission from the Lord, v. 1, there came to him some ten visions in one night, given in sequence, or order, followed by interpretations of their meaning to and for the remnant of Israel. It was the eleventh month of the Hebrew calendar; And the month Sebat means "the time of shoots," or the season of the year when trees begin to bud or shoot forth their leaves. The ten visions cover ch. 1:8 through ch. 6.

Verse 8 relates what Zechariah saw in his first vision. There was a "man" called "my Lord," v. 9, and the "angel (messenger) of the Lord," that stood among myrtle trees and talked with him, v. 10, 11. This man (Jehovah) was riding a red horse of vengeance, that seems to characterize the bloody Gentile powers, Daniel 9:26; Matthew 24:6-7; Revelation 19:9. The myrtle trees signified Israel’s program of Divine worship, that, properly carried out, was a fragrance to the Lord, but neglected, brought bloody woes, inflicted through Gentile powers, first in the area of Babylon, in the low places about the Euphrates and Tigris rivers where the fragrant myrtles grow. Yet, the angel stood in the midst, with mixed colored horses in the back, guarding His own people, as Jesus walked in the midst of the seven churches of Asia, guarding them; Revelation 1:1; Revelation 1:3-20.

Verse 9 begins an explanation of the first vision. Verses 8-17, this, first vision reveals Judah in dispersion, with Jerusalem under adverse possession, while Gentile nations are at rest or little concerned about the matter. It is a continuing condition as Gentile domination over them shall continue until "The Lord shall yet comfort Zion," v. 16, 17; Isaiah 40:1-6; Luke 21:24.

Zechariah inquired of the angel, (perhaps Gabriel, the informing angel), just what the meaning of this first vision was and the angel replied that he would explain it to him, Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 1:14.

Verse 10 relates that the man (angel or messenger of Jehovah) that stood among the myrtle trees, guarding Israel, v. 8 told Zechariah that these, represented by the speckled horses, were a myriad of protecting or guardian angels that walked through the earth to defend God’s chosen people from Satan’s powers, as he walked about, seeking whom he might devour, Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9-10; Psalms 34:7; Psalms 91:11; Psalms 103:20-21.

Verse 11 tells of the response of these horse riders over the earth and their observation that peace and rest covered the earth. The Persian wars had ceased, and Judah and Israel lingered, delayed in rebuilding the house of God; Though a remnant had returned to Jerusalem and their homeland, v. 1; Judges 5:26. While Judah and the temple were desolate, the Gentile powers were in prosperity. At such a time God had purposed to "shake and overthrow the throne of the kingdoms," to defend His people, Haggai 2:7; Haggai 2:21-22.

Verse 12 relates the intercession of Jehovah on behalf of the languishing remnant of Judah, as He stood among the myrtles, His chosen people, even as He now intercedes for His people, v. Zechariah 8:13; Hebrews 7:25. It had been vain for them to pray during the 70 years of captivity, but their years of punishment were now past, Jeremiah 25:11-12; Ezra 5:1. Yet the people were in a sad state and their capital and temple still lay in ruins, Nehemiah 1:3. It is now time for them to pray and rise up and build, Revelation 6:10; Haggai 1:2; James 1:22.

Verse 13 explains that the Lord (Jehovah), called "the Angel of the Lord," v. 12, spoke to Zechariah "good words" and, or even "comfortable words," literally, words of comfort for disheartened Judah and Israel, regarding full restoration and reestablishment in her land. Such is recounted Jeremiah 20:10-11; Isaiah 57:18; Hosea 11:8. See also Isaiah 40:1-2; Jeremiah 29:10; Jeremiah 30:10; Jeremiah 31:3; Joshua 23:14.

Verse 14 further explains that the angelic messenger that communed with Zechariah gave him a Divine message to cry to the people of Judah, Jerusalem, and Zion, to be heard by all. The message was that the Lord was extremely jealous over Jerusalem and Zion, Zechariah 8:2. This jealousy was like that of a husband for his wife, who had been wronged or insulted by others. In dishonoring the people of Judah, men that dishonored God, Isaiah 40:6; Isaiah 58:1; Numbers 25:11; Numbers 25:13; 1 Kings 19; 1 Kings 10; Joel 2:18.

Verse 15 declares that as God was jealous for His people of Judah so was He severely displeased with the heathen who had enslaved them and grown fat and at ease from their slave-service and properties that they had seized as booty. God’s displeasure with His people is expressed in temporary chastening. But with the heathen it is final and fatal, Isaiah 47:6; Jeremiah 30:11; Hebrews 12:10-11. They had sought the extinction of Judah, to gratify their own ambition and desire for revenge, Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 25:6; Obadiah 1:10-17.

Verse 16 pledges the Lord’s returned mercies to Jerusalem, the city of peace; Whereas He had for a period of seventy years withdrawn His mercies, to permit her chastening, until she sought His face and acknowledged her sins, Hosea 5:15; Isaiah 12:1; Isaiah 51:8. God affirms and assures them that His house, temple, and restored worship should be built in Jerusalem, by them, though only the foundation had been laid and the work interrupted, Haggai 2:18; It was finished some four years later, Zechariah 1:1; Ezra 6:15. The measuring line was used for building accurately, not hastily, but with progressive regularity, Nehemiah 2:3; Ezekiel 41:3, etc.

Verse 17 calls upon Zechariah to proclaim that the Lord’s cities of Judah shall yet experience prosperity, throughout the land, and He will comfort Zion and the whole land and show that He has chosen Jerusalem as His own city, Isaiah 40:1; Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 51:3. See also Zechariah 2:12; Zechariah 3:2; Isaiah 14:1.

Verses 18-19

The Second Vision

Verses 18, 19:

The Four Horns--Vision 2

Verse 18 is the testimony of Zechariah that in a vision he had seen four horns. To the common, pastoral people horns were a symbol of ruling, conquering power and pride. They represented ruling powers of the Gentile world, Revelation 17:3; Revelation 17:12. The number four also indicated their rule in every direction, all cardinal points of the horizon. It also looked further to the four "one-world" Gentile powers of 1) Babylon, 2) Medo-Persia, 3) Greco-Macedonia, and 4) Rome, as described Daniel chs. 2, 7.

Verse 19 is a statement of Zechariah’s inquiry of the angel that talked with him. He simply asked the angel what the four horns meant. To his inquiry the angel explained that they were the horns or Gentile powers that had scattered or dispersed Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Though the final dispersion is not yet finished, or the restoration that shall surely follow, Ezra 4:1; Ezra 5:3; Jeremiah 50:17-18; Daniel 12:7; Habakkuk 3:14.

Verses 20-21


The Third Vision

Verses 20, 21:

The Four Carpenters, Vision 3

Verse 20 states that the Lord showed Zechariah four carpenters, carvers, engravers, of artifacers, men who could build or tear down, as the tower of Babel was, as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities found about them were, and as the cities of Nineveh and Babylon were, Deuteronomy 33:25; Judges 2:16; 1 Samuel 12:11. Zechariah then asked the angel what these four carpenters, who were "skilled to destroy", had come to do, to which the following angelic explanation was given:

Verse 21 gives the angelic interpretation of the four horns (Gentile powers) that had oppressed Judah, until all were so fearful, humiliated, and dehumanized that no man would lift up his head, with any pride of self esteem, Psalms 75:4-5; Lamentations 2:17. These carpenters had come to terrorize these who had terrorized the people of God beyond reason, Job 10:15; Ezekiel 30:9; Ezekiel 34:21.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Zechariah 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/zechariah-1.html. 1985.
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