On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month in the second year of the reign of Darius, the Message of God was given to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah, son of Iddo:
One night I looked out and saw a man astride a red horse. He was in the shadows in a grove of birches. Behind him were more horses - a red, a chestnut, and a white.
I said, "Sir, what are these horses doing here? What's the meaning of this?" The Angel-Messenger said, "Let me show you."
Then the rider in the birch grove spoke up, "These are the riders that God sent to check things out on earth."
They reported their findings to the Angel of God in the birch grove: "We have looked over the whole earth and all is well. Everything's under control."
The Angel of God reported back, "O God-of-the-Angel-Armies, how long are you going to stay angry with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah? When are you going to let up? Isn't seventy years long enough?"
God reassured the Angel-Messenger - good words, comforting words -
who then addressed me: "Tell them this. Tell them that God-of-the-Angel-Armies has spoken. This is God's Message: 'I care deeply for Jerusalem and Zion. I feel very possessive of them.
But I'm thoroughly angry with the godless nations that act as if they own the whole world. I was only moderately angry earlier, but now they've gone too far. I'm going into action.
"'I've come back to Jerusalem, but with compassion this time.' This is God speaking. 'I'll see to it that my Temple is rebuilt.' A Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies! 'The rebuilding operation is already staked out.'
Say it again - a Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies: 'My cities will prosper again, God will comfort Zion again, Jerusalem will be back in my favor again.'" Second Vision: Four Horns and Four Blacksmiths
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)