“Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?
And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?
Are these not the words the LORD proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’ ”
And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah:
“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears.
They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry.
“ ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty.
‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’ ”