Disobedience and Fasting
1In the fourth year of King Darius,7:1 Zch 1:1 the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev.
2Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer, Regem-melech, and their men to plead for the Lord’s favor7:2 Zch 8:21–22
3by asking the priests who were at the house of the Lord of Armies as well as the prophets, “Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month as we have done these many years?”
4Then the word of the Lord of Armies came to me:
5“Ask all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and in the seventh months for these seventy years, did you really fast for me?7:5 Is 58:1–7
6When you eat and drink, don’t you eat and drink simply for yourselves?7:6 1Co 10:31
7Aren’t these the words that the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem was inhabited and secure,7:7 Or prosperous along with its surrounding cities, and when the southern region and the Judean foothills were inhabited?”
8The word of the Lord came to Zechariah:
9“The Lord of Armies says this: ‘Make fair decisions.7:9 Ex 18:19–23; Zch 8:16 Show faithful love and compassion7:9 Jr 7:5–7; Hs 10:12; Mc 6:8 to one another.
10Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the resident alien or the poor,7:10 Dt 14:29; 16:11 and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.’7:10 Mt 22:39; Jms 3:5–6
11But they refused to pay attention7:11 Zch 1:4 and turned a stubborn shoulder; they closed their ears so they could not hear.7:11 Is 6:10
12They made their hearts like a rock so as not to obey the law or the words that the Lord of Armies had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets.7:12 Jr 7:13,24 Therefore intense anger came from the Lord of Armies.
13Just as he had called, and they would not listen, so when they called, I would not listen, says the Lord of Armies.
14I scattered them with a windstorm over all the nations that had not known them, and the land was left desolate behind them, with no one coming or going. They turned a pleasant land into a desolation.”