1In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is 2Chislev.
Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men 3to entreat the favor of the LORD,
4saying to the priests of the house of the LORD of hosts and 5the prophets, "Should I weep and 6abstain in 7the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?"
Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me:
"Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in 8the fifth month and in 9the seventh, for these 10seventy years, 11was it 12for me that you fasted?
13And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?
14Were not these the words that the LORD proclaimed 15by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, 16with her cities around her, and the 17South and the 18lowland were inhabited?"
And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying,
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, 19Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,
20do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, 21or the poor, and 22let none of you devise evil against another in your heart."
But 23they refused to pay attention 24and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear.
25They made their hearts diamond-hard 26lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent 27by his Spirit through 28the former prophets. 29Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts.
30"As I called, and they would not hear, 31so they called, and I would not hear," says the LORD of hosts,
32"and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all 33the nations that they had not known. 34Thus the land they left was desolate, 35so that no one went to and fro, 36and the pleasant land was made desolate."