In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev.
Now [the people of] Bethel had sent Sharezer, Regem-melech, and their men to plead for the Lord's favora3
by asking the priests who were at the house of the Lord of Hosts as well as the prophets, "Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month as we have done these many years?"
Then the word of the Lord of Hosts came to me:
"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 70 years, did you really fast for Me?b6
When you eat and drink, don't you eat and drink [simply] for yourselves?c7
Aren't [these] the words that the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem was inhabited and secure,d along with its surrounding cities, and when the southern region and the Judean foothills were inhabited?"
The word of the Lord came to Zechariah:
"The Lord of Hosts says this: Render true justice.e Show faithful love and compassionf to one another.
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the stranger or the poor,g and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.h11
But they refused to pay attentioni and turned a stubborn shoulder; they closed their ears so they could not hear.j12
They made their hearts like a rock so as not to obey the law or the words that the Lord of Hosts had sent by His Spirit through the earlier prophets.k Therefore great anger came from the Lord of Hosts.
Just as He had called, and they would not listen, so when they called, I would not listen," says the Lord of Hosts.
"I 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."