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by L.M. Grant
The prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah were written almost at the same time, when a remnant of Israel had returned from captivity to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. Haggai, in common with Ezra, emphasizes the temple, while Zechariah is more occupied with the city of Jerusalem, as was also Nehemiah, though both Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem later than did Haggai and Zechariah. Both of these prophets speak solemnly of the failure of the returned remnant, just as their fathers had failed, and seek to stir up Israel to return in heart to the Lord.
Zechariah emphasizes that God had returned to Jerusalem with mercies (Zechariah 1:6) and paints a beautiful picture of blessing yet to come for Judah in particular, but in which all Israel will share. However, he also clearly shows that this cannot be fulfilled until many sorrows engulf the nation, culminating in the great distress of the future tribulation and the coming of the Messiah in power and glory.
The remnant that returned to Jerusalem by permission of Cyrus, King of Persia (Ezra 1:1-4), had at first begun to build, but this was hindered until the reign of Darius. In the sixth month of the second year of his reign Haggai prophesied (Haggai 1:1). Zechariah wrote in the eighth month of the same year.
The New King James Version is used throughout this commentary, except in a few instances where the difference is noted by the use of the letters JND to indicate the very accurate "New Translation" by J.N.Darby, or by NASB (New American Standard Bible).
the Seventh Week after Easter