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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 1

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-6

Zec 1:1-6

A Call To The Disobedient

(Zechariah 1:1-6)

“In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, Jehovah was sore displeased with your fathers. Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Return unto me, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will return unto you, saith Jehovah of hosts. Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets cried, saying, Thus saith Jehovah hosts, Return ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith Jehovah” (Zechariah 1:1-4).

What a Study of Haggai Brings Out

The 50,000 returning captives under Zerubbabel were commanded to rebuild the temple of Jehovah (cf. Ezra 6:14). The Samaritans; however, discourage the people and for 15 years the temple lays waste (cf. compare Ezra 4:24 to Ezra 6:1 ff / Haggai 1:3). During this work stoppage the Lord has caused drought (Haggai 1:11), mildew, and hail (Haggai 2:17). All the work of the Jews hands failed because they were in sin (Haggai 1:9; Haggai 2:14).

God sends Haggai and Zechariah (519 BC)

Haggai comes to the people first (Haggai 1:1). Twenty three days after his first prophetic words to the people they begin to work on the temple (Haggai 1:14 to Haggai 2:1). When Zechariah comes on the scene the people had begun working on the temple; however, they had not as yet turned their whole hearts to Him and thereby they continue to suffer drought, hail, and mildew (a failure of crops). Let us remember that Haggai had “stirred” the people to fear and obedience with his preaching during the sixth month and 24th day (Haggai 1:12-15). Two months later Zechariah is calling upon them to “return unto me, saith Jehovah of hosts, and I will return unto you...” Apparently their ways were still evil and they had not “hearkened” unto the Lord. While Haggai’s preaching produced fear and obedience the people were apparently not penitent over their sinful ways (cf. Haggai 1:12).

“Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live for ever? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? And they turned and said, Like as Jehovah of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us” (Zechariah 1:5-6).

Not doubt each generation of people must develop faith and understanding of their own. Success of such endeavors can be obtained by examining history and learning from our predecessors mistakes. Zechariah makes a strong appeal to history for the unfaithful in Jerusalem that were supposed to be building the Lord’s temple. The prophet calls upon them to look to their father’s past. Jehovah had sent prophets such as Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah to prophecy against Judah. The wicked people; however, would not hearken unto these men and thereby they were conquered and exiled. While these prophets and their father’s all died the word of God remained. Zechariah calls upon the people to look around them. Their city and God’s temple was in ruins, the wall of Jerusalem had fallen, and their fathers have died in Babylon. Should this not be enough to cause the current generation of disobedient to see the value of taking God’s commandments seriously? All that God had said through the prophets that would take place has been so (consider Isaiah 46:8-11).

God’s word had not perished even though the people’s fathers had died along with the prophets that warned them. A great lesson is learned here. Though men may pervert the law of God, the church be in a state of disarray, and the godly are scarcely found the word of God abides forever. Truth remains truth no matter what you or I may do to it. Jesus said that the word of God abides forever (cf. Matthew 24:35).

Verses 7-17

Zec 1:7-17

Zechariah’s First of Eight Visions

(Zechariah 1:7-17):

“Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of Jehovah unto Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, the prophet, saying, I saw in the night, and, behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were horses, red, sorrel, and white” (Zechariah 1:7-8).

Three months after Zechariah’s first address to the Jews in Jerusalem the prophet delivers the first of eight divine visions (see Daniel 7:1; Obed. 1:1; Joel 2:28 ff; Amos 1:1). God communicates His divine revelation to the prophet by means of a vision. Zechariah sees a night time vision of a man riding a red horse standing in the myrtle-trees in a bottom land area. Behind this horseman stood other horses of red, sorrel (red-brown), and white.

“Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will show thee what these are. And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom Jehovah hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth. And they answered the angel of Jehovah that stood among the myrtle-trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sits still, and is at rest” (Zechariah 1:9-11).

The angle speaking with Zechariah in the vision seems to be the rider of the red horse. The other angelic riders had a duty to go to and fro throughout the earth to see how the nations faired. The report was that “all the earth sits still, and is at rest.” The statement, or report, causes us to wander whether something was about to change this still and at rest state. We recall that Haggai had prophesied that God would “shake all nations” (Haggai 2:7). As of the time of Haggai and Zachariah the Lord’s shaking had not yet taken place. Haggai was likely speaking of the rise and fall of nations such as the Medes, Persians, Grecians, and Roman Empires.

“Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? And Jehovah answered the angel that talked with me with good words, even comfortable words. So the angel that talked with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: I am very sore displeased with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction” (Zechariah 1:12-15).

The angel upon the red horse asks Jehovah a question. He asks, How long will you not show mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah? The angel reminds Jehovah of the 70 years that they have spent in captivity. Jehovah answers the angel and the angel imparts the “comforting” information to Zechariah to distribute to the people as a prophet. The first thing that the Lord says is that He is displeased with all nations because they are at ease. Said sinful peoples do not consider their ways and neither do they consider the consequences of such wicked actions.

“Therefore thus saith Jehovah: I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies; my house shall be built in it, saith Jehovah of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth over Jerusalem. Cry yet again, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: My cities shall yet overflow with prosperity; and Jehovah shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:16-17).

The comforting words were that God’s house would be built and that the cities of Judah would overflow with prosperity. Furthermore, Jerusalem would return to the capital status before Judah was taken by Babylon. The lesson learned from Haggai; however, is that God’s blessings are contingent upon man’s obedience (cf. Haggai 1:9-10; Haggai 2:17-19). The comfort and prosperity of Judah was contingent upon their attitudes toward the Lord’s commandments.

Verses 18-21

Zec 1:18-21

Zechariah’s Second Vision (Zechariah 1:18-21)

“And I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, what are these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem” (Zechariah 1:18-19).

Zechariah reveals his second vision to the delinquent Jewish released captives who were responsible for building the temple. Zechariah sees four horns responsible for scattering Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Horns are Biblical symbols for power (Daniel 7:7-8; Amos 6:13). Four great powers are responsible for Israel and Judah’s collapse (we are not told what four nations) (likely Assyria, Egypt, Babylon and one other).

“And Jehovah showed me four smiths. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head; but these are come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it” (Zechariah 1:20-21).

There are four smiths (craftsmen) seen by Zechariah that correspond to the four horns that scattered Judah and Israel. These four smiths are sent to “terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations...” Though the nations that destroyed Judah and Israel may feel filled with power and might it is Jehovah that shall bring a terrifying nation against them. Time and time again Jeremiah warned Babylon of the consequences of her sinful actions. Jehovah God used Babylon to afflict the sinful people of Judah and then they too (i.e., the Babylonians) were punished for their sinful works (cf. Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 50-51; Jeremiah 50:14). What purpose would it be to reveal these thoughts to the returned captives responsible for building the temple? The people of God needed to know that the Lord was the sovereign God of all creation and that He alone is responsible for their standing on the ruins of Judah at that very moment. He had taken them full circle. God’s people had sinned with no regard for repentance. The Lord sent the Assyrians to Israel (Isaiah 10:6 ff) and the Babylonians upon Judah (cf. Jeremiah 51:20). As God caused these world empires to rise He also caused them to fall. Truly God is in control of all environments of creation. If only His people would now obey him with their true hearts He would certainly bless them.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Zechariah 1". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/zechariah-1.html.
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