Then the word of the LORD Almighty came to me:
"Ask all the people of the land and the priests, 'When you fasted1 and mourned in the fifth and seventh2 months for the past seventy years,3 was it really for me that you fasted?
And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?47
Are these not the words the LORD proclaimed through the earlier prophets5 when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest6 and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills7 were settled?' "88
And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah:
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice;9 show mercy and compassion to one another.1010
Do not oppress the widow11 or the fatherless, the alien12 or the poor.13 In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'1411
"But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly15 they turned their backs16 and stopped up their ears.1712
They made their hearts as hard as flint18 and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets.19 So the LORD Almighty was very angry.2013
" 'When I called, they did not listen;21 so when they called, I would not listen,'22 says the LORD Almighty.2314
'I scattered24 them with a whirlwind25 among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land was left so desolate behind them that no one could come or go.26 This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.27' "