Old Testament

The prophet Zechariah was the inspired author of this book. He was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai. He wrote between 520 and 518 BC, after the work of rebuilding the Temple had lagged for more than a decade. He called on the people of Judah to repent of their selfishness and negligence and urged them to complete the rebuilding of the Temple promptly, which they did. He emphasized that Christ, the real King, was coming to this temple. The long-promised Savior would arrive at last.
A special feature of his book is that much of the message is presented in visions, similar in style to those in Revelation.
Though the response of the people to Zechariah was initially favorable, in the end, according to Matthew 23:35, he was put to death in the temple.
A Call to Repent
11In the eighth month of the second year of Darius,[] the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo.
2The Lord was very angry with your forefathers.[] 3Therefore, now you are to tell this people that this is what the Lord of Armies says to them.
Return to me, declares the Lord of Armies, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Armies. 4Do not be like your forefathers, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed, “This is what the Lord of Armies says. Return, return from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.”
But our forefathers did not listen, nor did they pay attention to me, declares the Lord. 5Your forefathers—where are they now? And those prophets—did they go on living indefinitely? 6But my words and my statutes, which I commanded to my servants the prophets, caught up with our forefathers, didn't they?
Then they[] returned[] and said, “Because of our ways and our deeds, the Lord of Armies has done to us just as he planned to do to us.”
Eight Night-Visions
The First Vision: The Man Among the Myrtle Trees
7On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, that is, the month of Shebat,[] in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo.
8I saw a vision at night. In it I saw a man seated on a red horse, standing among myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, sorrel,[] and white horses.
9So I asked, “My lord, what are these?”
The angel who was speaking with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.”
10Then the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered, “These are the ones the Lord sent to range throughout the earth.”
11They reported to the angel[] of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have ranged throughout the earth. Look! All the earth is resting and quiet.”
12Then the angel of the Lord said, “Lord of Armies, how long will you withhold compassion from Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with whom you were indignant these seventy years?”
13The Lord responded with kind and compassionate words to the angel who was speaking with me.
14So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim this. This is what the Lord of Armies says.”
I am very zealous[] for Jerusalem and for Zion, 15and I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are complacent. When I was angry only a little,[] they added to the evil.
16Therefore, this is what the Lord says. I have turned to Jerusalem with compassionate feelings. My house will be built in Jerusalem, declares the Lord of Armies, and the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.
17Proclaim also this: This is what the Lord of Armies says. Once again my towns will overflow with prosperity. Once again the Lord will console Zion. Once again he will choose Jerusalem.
The Second Vision: Four Horns and Four Craftsmen
18Then I looked up, and I saw that there were four horns.[] 19I asked the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these?”
He answered me, “These are the horns that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
20Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen.[]
21I asked, “What are these men coming to do?”
He answered, “These are the horns that scattered Judah to such an extent that no one could raise his head, but these craftsmen are coming to terrify them and to knock down the horns of those nations who lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter her people.”


  • 1:1 That is, October/November of 520 BC
  • 1:2 Literally, your fathers. The pronoun your is plural. Here the term refers to the leaders of Israel before the exile to Babylon.
  • 1:6 Because verse 4 says that their forefathers did not repent, it seems that the pronoun they might not refer to the forefathers. Most translations, however, do interpret this line as a reference to a belated repentance of the forefathers and make it the conclusion of the preceding speech. As formatted above, this sentence refers to a repentant response of the people to Zechariah's message. This forms a parallel with the statement in Haggai 1:12, which says that the people responded favorably when they heard Haggai's message.
  • 1:6 Or repented
  • 1:7 That is, January/February of 519 BC
  • 1:8 The term sorrel refers to a type of reddish-brown horse, distinct from other reddish-brown horses such as chestnut and roan horses. The precise meaning of the Hebrew term is uncertain.
  • 1:11 Or Angel, both here and in verse 12. With a capital A, the Angel of the Lord is a title of the pre-incarnate Christ. With a small a, the angel of the Lord refers to a created angel. In some cases the specific identity of the messenger has not been indicated. A significant question in Zechariah is whether the leader of the group of angels which has been sent by the Lord of Armies on the mission of protecting Israel is a created angel or Christ the Angel of the Lord. In the heavenly scene in chapter 3 it seems clear that the Angel of the Lord is involved since he removes guilt. Here the identification of the individual speakers from within the group of angels is less certain.
  • 1:14 Or jealous
  • 1:15 Or angry for a little while
  • 1:18 English verses 1:18–21 are verses 2:1–4 in Hebrew.
  • 1:20 Or construction workers