And it came to pass in the shnat arba of Daryavesh HaMelech, that the Devar Hashem came unto Zecharyah in the fourth of the chodesh hateshi’i (ninth month), even in Kislev;
And Beth-El had sent Sar-Etzer and Regem-Melech, and their men, to make entreaty for favor before Hashem,
And to speak unto the kohanim which were in the Beis Hashem Tzva’os, and to the nevi’im, saying, Should I mourn in the fifth month, hinnazer (separating myself by fasting), as I have done these so many shanim?
Then came the Devar Hashem Tzva’os unto me, saying,
Speak unto kol Am Ha’Aretz, and to the kohanim, saying, When ye did a tzom and mourned in the fifth and seventh, even these past shivim shanah, did ye at all fast the tzom unto Me, even to Me?
And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?
Should ye not hear the devarim which Hashem hath preached by the nevi’im harishonim, when Yerushalayim was inhabited and at ease, and the towns thereof round about her, when men inhabited the Negev and the Shefelah?
And the Devar Hashem came unto Zecharyah, saying,
Thus saith Hashem Tzva’os, saying, Administer mishpat emes. And let every man show chesed and rachamim to his brother;
And oppress not the almanah, nor the yetomim, the ger, nor the aniyim; and let none of you imagine ra’ah against his brother in your lev.
But they refused to heed, and stubbornly stiffened their shoulders, stopped up their oznayim, that they not hear.
Yea, they made their hearts as shamir (diamond, i.e., hard as shamir), and would not yield in mishma’at (obedience) to the Torah and the devarim which Hashem Tzva’os hath sent by His Ruach [Hakodesh] through the hand of the nevi’im harishonim; therefore came a ketzef gadol (great wrath) from Hashem Tzva’os.
Therefore it is come to pass, that as He [Hashem] called, and they would not hear; so they called, and I would not hear, saith Hashem Tzva’os;
But I dispersed them with a whirlwind among kol HaGoyim which they had not known. Thus HaAretz was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned; for they laid the Eretz Chemdat [Yirmeyah 3:19] desolate.