On December 7 of the fourth year of King Darius’s reign, another message came to Zechariah from the .
References for Zechariah 7:1
The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech, along with their attendants, to seek the ’s favor.
References for Zechariah 7:2
They were to ask this question of the prophets and the priests at the Temple of the of Heaven’s Armies: “Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, as we have done for so many years?”
References for Zechariah 7:3
The of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply:
“Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting?
References for Zechariah 7:5
And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?
Isn’t this the same message the proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?’”
References for Zechariah 7:7
Then this message came to Zechariah from the :
“This is what the of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.
Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.
“Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing.
They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.
“Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the of Heaven’s Armies.
As with a whirlwind, I scattered them among the distant nations, where they lived as strangers. Their land became so desolate that no one even traveled through it. They turned their pleasant land into a desert.”