New Living Translation

Zechariah 1

A Call to Return to the Lord

1In November[a] of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord gave this message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo:

“I, the Lord, was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.’ Don’t be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention when the earlier prophets said to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Turn from your evil ways, and stop all your evil practices.’

“Where are your ancestors now? They and the prophets are long dead. But everything I said through my servants the prophets happened to your ancestors, just as I said. As a result, they repented and said, ‘We have received what we deserved from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He has done what he said he would do.’”

A Man among the Myrtle Trees

Three months later, on February 15,[b] the Lord sent another message to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah and grandson of Iddo.

In a vision during the night, I saw a man sitting on a red horse that was standing among some myrtle trees in a small valley. Behind him were riders on red, brown, and white horses. I asked the angel who was talking with me, “My lord, what do these horses mean?”

“I will show you,” the angel replied.

10 The rider standing among the myrtle trees then explained, “They are the ones the Lord has sent out to patrol the earth.”

11 Then the other riders reported to the angel of the Lord, who was standing among the myrtle trees, “We have been patrolling the earth, and the whole earth is at peace.”

12 Upon hearing this, the angel of the Lord prayed this prayer: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for seventy years now you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. How long until you again show mercy to them?” 13 And the Lord spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.

14 Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong. 15 But I am very angry with the other nations that are now enjoying peace and security. I was only a little angry with my people, but the nations inflicted harm on them far beyond my intentions.

16 “‘Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I have returned to show mercy to Jerusalem. My Temple will be rebuilt, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and measurements will be taken for the reconstruction of Jerusalem.[c]

17 “Say this also: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The towns of Israel will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem as his own.’”

Four Horns and Four Blacksmiths

18 [d]Then I looked up and saw four animal horns. 19 “What are these?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.

He replied, “These horns represent the nations that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”

20 Then the Lord showed me four blacksmiths. 21 “What are these men coming to do?” I asked.

The angel replied, “These four horns—these nations—scattered and humbled Judah. Now these blacksmiths have come to terrify those nations and throw them down and destroy them.”

Footnotes

  1. 1:1 Hebrew In the eighth month. A number of dates in Zechariah can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Persian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of October and November 520 B.c.
  2. 1:7 Hebrew On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius. This event occurred on February 15, 519 B.c.; also see note on 1:1.
  3. 1:16 Hebrew and the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.
  4. 1:18 Verses 1:18-21 are numbered 2:1-4 in Hebrew text.

New International Reader's Version

Zechariah 1

The Lord Wants His People to Return to Him

1A message from the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet. Zechariah was the son of Berekiah. Berekiah was the son of Iddo. It was the eighth month of the second year that Darius was king of Persia. Here is what Zechariah said.

The Lord who rules over all was very angry with your people of long ago. And now he says to us, “Return to me. Then I will return to you,” announces the Lord. “Do not be like your people of long ago. The earlier prophets gave them my message. I said, ‘Stop doing what is evil. Turn away from your sinful practices.’ But they would not listen to me. They would not pay any attention,” announces the Lord. “Where are those people now? And what about my prophets? Do they live forever? I commanded my servants the prophets what to say. I told them what I planned to do. But your people refused to obey me. So I had to punish them.

“Then they had a change of heart. They said, ‘The Lord who rules over all has punished us because of how we have lived. He was fair and right to do that. He has done to us just what he decided to do.’ ”

A Vision of a Horseman Among Some Myrtle Trees

A message from the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet. Zechariah was the son of Berekiah. Berekiah was the son of Iddo. The message came during the second year that Darius was king. It was the 24th day of the 11th month. That’s the month of Shebat.

I had a vision at night. I saw a man sitting on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a valley. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.

An angel was talking with me. I asked him, “Sir, what are these?”

He answered, “I will show you what they are.”

10 Then the man standing among the myrtle trees spoke. He said, “They are the messengers the Lord has sent out. He told them to go all through the earth.”

11 They brought a report to the angel of the Lord. He was standing among the myrtle trees. They said to him, “We have gone all through the earth. We’ve found the whole world enjoying peace and rest.”

12 Then the angel of the Lord spoke up. He said, “Lord, you rule over all. How long will you keep from showing your tender love to Jerusalem? How long will you keep it from the towns of Judah? You have been angry with them for 70 years.” 13 So the Lord replied with kind and comforting words. He spoke them to the angel who talked with me.

14 Then the angel said, “Announce this message. Say, ‘The Lord who rules over all says, “I am very jealous for my people in Jerusalem and Zion. 15 And I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry with my people. But the nations went too far and tried to wipe them out.”

16 “ ‘So the Lord says, “I will return to Jerusalem. I will show its people my tender love. My temple will be rebuilt there. Workers will use a measuring line when they rebuild Jerusalem,” announces the Lord.

17 “ ‘He says, “My towns will be filled with good things once more. I will comfort Zion. And I will choose Jerusalem again.” ’ ”

A Vision of Four Horns and Four Skilled Workers

18 Then I looked up and saw four animal horns. 19 I spoke to the angel who was talking with me. “What are these horns?” I asked.

He said, “They are the powerful nations that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.”

20 Then the Lord showed me four skilled workers. 21 I asked, “What are they coming to do?”

He answered, “The horns are the powerful nations that scattered the people of Judah. That made Judah helpless. But these four skilled workers have come to terrify the horns. The workers will destroy the power of those nations. Those nations had used their power to scatter Judah’s people.”