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by Paul E. Kretzmann
The Book of the Prophet Zechariah
The prophet Zechariah ("Jehovah remembers," "he whom Jehovah remembers") was a son of Berechiah and a grandson of Iddo, a member of a priestly family. Cf Nehemiah 12:4. As late as the time of the high priest Joiakim, Nehemiah 12:12-16, he was the chief of his generation or order. His prophetic activity followed immediately upon that of Haggai, as far as his writing is concerned, for he received his first recorded revelation in November of the year 520 B. C. Both Haggai and Zechariah were active in furthering the construction of the second Temple. Cf Ezra 5:1; Ezra 6:14. He was still a comparatively young man when he began his work as prophet, and there is no record of the length of his activity. We may conclude from certain references in the Book of Nehemiah that he reached a ripe old age.
The Book of Zechariah may be divided into four or, more exactly, into three parts. After an exhortation admonishing the Jews to be obedient to the words of the Lord we have eight visions, in the manner of the prophet Ezekiel, all of which were vouchsafed the prophet in one night in February of the year 519. The second part of the book, dated December, 518, contains a message with both admonition and promise. The third part contains a prophetic description of the future of God's people, which, again, is divided into two parts, both highly Messianic in character. "The style of the prophet varies with his subject: at one time conversational, at another, poetical. His symbols are enigmatical and therefore accompanied by explanations. His prose is like that of Ezekiel, diffuse, uniform, and full of repetitions. The rhythm of his poetry is somewhat unequal, and the parallelisms are not altogether symmetrical. Still there is often found much of the elevation met with in the earlier prophets and a general congruity between the style and the subject. Graphic vividness is his peculiar merit. Chaldaisms occur occasionally. Another special characteristic of Zechariah is his introduction of spiritual beings into his prophetic scenes. " (Fausset. )
the Second Week of Advent