7:1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;
7:2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,
ninth month, Chisleu i.e. December.
7:3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?
"They," i.e. of the captivity in Babylon. The mission of these Jews of the captivity concerned a fast day instituted by the Jews in commemoration of the destruction of Jerusalem, wholly of their own will, and without warrant from the word of God. In the beginning there was doubtless sincere contrition in the observance of the day; now it had become a mere ceremonial. The Jews of the dispersion would be rid of it, but seek authority from the priests. The whole matter, like much in modern pseudo-Christianity, was extra-Biblical, formal, and futile. Jehovah takes the occasion to send a divine message to the dispersion. That message is in five parts:
(4) the messengers of the captivity are exhorted to hear the prophets of "these days," i.e, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, and to do justly; then all their fasts and feasts will become gladness and joy Zechariah 8:9-19 .