Zechariah 8 Study Notes


8:1-8 The sermon now turns dramatically from judgment to blessing, from complete dispersion to total restoration. Spectacular blessings from God had already been proclaimed in the visions (1:16-17; 2:4-5,11-12; 3:9-10), but here they are enlarged, seeking to change the hearers’ perception of themselves. With the returnees barely existing in the land, Zechariah sought to energize them with the potential of becoming something magnificent, but it would occur only by an act of God (8:15).

8:2 The connection between a jealous God and a God of wrath is evident elsewhere in the Prophets (Ezk 16:38,42; Nah 1:2), suggesting that his deep desire for relationship was matched by decisive judgment against anything that would interfere—whether from within or without (Zch 1:18-21; 2:9; 5:4; 7:12-14; cp. Heb 12:4-11).

8:3 In a remarkable reversal, God announced restoration instead of the dispersion just announced (7:14). Language of reversal is common in the Prophets (Ezk 16:59-60; Am 9:1-4,8-9,11-14). Whether announcing judgment or blessing, the object was the same—to enforce the covenant and encourage obedience. In the Prophets, Jerusalem was generally the centerpiece of God’s blessing, with special emphasis on the Holy Mountain (Is 2:2-3; Mc 4:1-5). Calling Jerusalem the Faithful City was another reversal; it had previously been referred to as a harlot (Is 1:21; Jr 3:1-2; Lm 1:8-9).

8:4-5 In times of hostility a city’s population could be decimated and the streets made unsafe, with the young and old being the first to suffer. The scene here offers an idyllic alternative.

8:6 Though the impossible blessings described may stagger the imagination, since God was the designer they were not too much to hope for (Jr 32:17,27). Several Hebrew terms suggest an allusion to Sarah’s equally incredible experience—a miraculous pregnancy after years of barrenness (Gn 18:13-14). The reference to the remnant identifies the returnees as the true community of restoration, as promised in the Prophets (Is 10:21-22; 11:11,16; Jr 23:3).

8:7-8 They will be my people, and I will be their . . . God indicates full restoration of the covenant relationship, in contrast to God’s stunning declaration, “You are not my people, and I will not be your God” (Hs 1:9).

8:9 Zechariah’s sermon was presented approximately halfway between laying the foundation and the completion of the temple. Let your hands be strong (cp. v. 13; Hg 2:4) suggests that the sermon included encouragement for persistence in the work of rebuilding.

8:10-11 Determination was necessary under harsh conditions. Prior to those days means before laying the foundation of the temple.

8:12 Everything the returnees could have hoped for was addressed in this sermon, which was rich with blessings (cp. Ezk 34:25-29). The peace . . . fruit . . . produce, and dew were the opposite of their experience in the land during the previous two decades (Hg 1:6-11; 2:15-19).

8:13-15 By referring to them as house of Judah and house of Israel Zechariah taught that the postexilic community represented the whole covenant people. The exhortation let your hands be strong also begins v. 9. They could be encouraged because God’s resolve to do them good was as certain as was his resolve to do them harm previously.


Hebrew word [kah TSAFF]
CSB translation be angry, enraged, provoke to anger
Uses in Zechariah 4
Uses in the OT 34
Focus passage Zechariah 8:14

Qatsaph means be angry (Gn 40:2). People are furious (Nm 31:14), enraged (Is 8:21), or infuriated (Est 2:21). God grows angry (Dt 1:34), directs fierce anger (Dt 9:19), or vents wrath (Nm 16:22). The causative verb denotes provoke (Dt 9:7), provoke to anger (Zch 8:14), or anger (Ps 106:32). Qetseph (28x) signifies divine wrath (21x, Nm 18:5) or anger (Is 54:8) and twice indicates human anger (Ec 5:17) or fury (Est 1:18). Qatsaph with qetseph implies being extremely angry (Zch 1:2). While Zch 1:15 mentions being a little angry, this root seems one of the strongest words for anger. Qetseph is synonymous with chemah (“wrath, fury”), but in a pair or series qetseph appears last, sometimes modified by “great,” as the most intense word: God uprooted people in his anger, fury, and great wrath (Dt 29:28). Aramaic counterparts of the verb (Dn 2:12) and noun (Ezr 7:23) occur.

8:16-17 The terms of the covenant made it clear that people determine their own destiny, while God responds accordingly (Jr 18:7-10). These are the things you must do reveals that the function of the sermon was more than simply rebuilding the walls (v. 9). In order for the returnees to enjoy the incredible blessings that God offered, they would need to obey the covenant’s standard of social justice (7:8-10). In Eph 4:25 Paul quotes Zch 8:16 as an exhortation to NT believers.

8:18-19 In response to the question that initiated the sermon—whether it was necessary to continue fasting and mourning the destruction of Jerusalem (7:3,5)—the Lord announced a reversal. Fasts of lamentation were to be transformed into times of joy, gladness, and cheerful festivals.

8:20-22 The idea that residents of many cities of the world would come to Jerusalem is well attested in the OT (2:11; 14:16-19; 2Sm 22:45-46; 1Kg 10:23-25; 2Ch 9:22-24; Is 2:2-3; 27:13; 45:20; 60:3). As with Solomon, such an ingathering was a sign of greatness, both of Jerusalem and of God’s presence. The image was a fitting conclusion to Zechariah’s sermon. The seemingly insignificant city of Jerusalem was now seen as the most important city in the world.

8:23 In the ancient Near East, grabbing the hem of a garment was an act of submission and supplication. Since the Israelites spent years under foreign domination, to have Gentiles show submission to them would be an astonishing reversal (Gn 27:29).