Zechariah 7:1-8:23 July 29 2007
Zechariah had been ministering in Jerusalem
for about two years when God gave him the
messages recorded in chapters 7-8. A delegation
of people from Bethel came to Jerusalem to
inquire from the priests and prophets if they
should continue some fasts they had begun in
Babylonian exile. Through a prophetic message
God raised some questions about the people’s
integrity. Did they observe those fasts just for
the lord or just for themselves (Zech.7:1-7).
He encouraged his hearer to obey God’s
commands and avoid God’s judgment on them
Zechariah 8:1-23 is God’s message of comfort
and encouragement to those who returned to
Jerusalem. In prophetic messages the Lord usually
followed His message of judgment on sin with a
promise of hope and salvation based on the hearer’s
1. Check Your Motives (Zech. 7:1-7)
Zech. 7:1 In the fourth year of King Darius, the word
of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the
ninth month, the month of Kislev. 7:2 The people of
Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech, together
with their men, to entreat the LORD7:3 by asking the
priests of the house of the LORD Almighty and the
prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month,
as I have done for so many years?” 7:4 Then the word
of the LORD Almighty came to me: 7:5 “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?
7:6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you
not just feasting for yourselves? 7:7 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?’ ”
Fourth year. . . Fourth day. . . Ninth month. Dec.
7, 518 B.C .—not quite two years after the eight
night visions (Zech. 1:7).
Prophets. Including Zechariah. I. The people of
Bethel collectively. Fast in the fifth month..
(Zech. 8:19). So many years. “The past seventy
years” (Zech.7: 5).
(Zech.7:4-7) A rebuke for selfish and insincere
fasting on the part of the people and the priests.
(Zech.7:4,8 ; 6:9). Fasted. . . Fifth and Seventh.
(Zech.8:19). Seventy years (Zech.1:12 ). Since
these fasts commemorated events related to the
destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (Zech.
8:19), the 70 years here are to be reckoned from
586 B.C. Strictly speaking, 68 years had
transpired; 70 is thus a round number.
For yourselves( Isa 1:11-17; 58:1-7,13-14).
(Zech.7:7,12) Earlier Prophets. (Zech.1:4;7:7) Negev.
(Ge 12:9). Western foothills. Sloping toward the
2. Express Your Integrity (Zech. 7:8-10)
Zech. 7:8 And the word of the LORD came again to
Zechariah: 7:9 “This is what the LORD Almighty
says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and
compassion to one another. 7:10 Do not oppress
the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.
In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’
(Zech.7:9-10) Four tests of faithful covenant
living, consisting of a series of social, moral
and ethical commands. (Zech.7:9) Justice. The
proper ordering of all society (Zech.8:16; Isa
42:1,4; Mic 6:8). Mercy. Or “faithful love” (Hos
10:12; 12:6). Compassion. (Zech.1:16).
Oppress. Oppression is denounced frequently in
the OT ( Amos 2:6-8; 4:1; 5:11-12,21-24; 8:4-6).
Widow. . . Fatherless. . . Alien. . . Poor. For the
Biblical concern for such people (Dt 10:18; Isa 1:17;
Jer 5:28; Jas 1:27; 1Jn 3:16-18). In the ancient
Near East, the ideal king was expected to protect
the oppressed and needy members of society. Think
evil of each other. In (Zech.8:17) the almost
identical Hebrew is translated “plot evil against
your neighbor,” which is probably the sense here
3.Learn from the Past (Zech. 7:11-14)
Zech. 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention;
stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their
ears. 7:12 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. 7:13
“ ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called,
I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty. 7:14 ‘I
scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations,
where they were strangers. The land was left so desolate
behind them that no one could come or go. This is how they
made the pleasant land desolate.’ ”
They. The preexilic forefathers, as the reference to
the “earlier prophets” in (Zech.7:12) shows. Stubbornly
they turned their backs( Dt 9:6,13,27). Stopped up their
ears. (Psalms 58:4; Isa 6:10 ; Isa 33:15).
Hard as flint. (Eze 3:8-9). Words. . . Sent by His spirit.
The words of the prophets were inspired by God’s Spirit
(Neh. 9:30; 2Pet 1:21). Very Angry. (Zech.1:2,15).
Scattered them. One of the curses for covenant
disobedience (Dt 28:36-37,64-68; Dt 28:64). Whirl wind.
(Prov. 1:27; Isa 40:24; Hosea 4:19). Land. . . Desolate.
( Dt 28:41-42,45-52). This is how. By their sins. Pleasant
Land. (Psalms 106:24; Jer 3:19).
The Hebrews word translated "integrity" means
"completeness" or "innocence." It suggests such shades
of meaning as "uprightness, without wavering , blameless,
and perfect." It means "completeness" in the sense of being
in accord with truth and fact. To worship with integrity is
to direct worship to God according to His Instructions. It
means to have one’s heart, lips and actions synchronized
into one integrated act toward Him. Worshiping with
integrity is sincere worship from a pure and undivided
heart, innocent of any mixed motives or hypocrisy.
God questioned the motives of the people of Israel
with regard to their fasts. They did not fast unto the Lord.
They fasted selfishly for themselves. Therefore , they did
not fast with Integrity.