Book Of Zechariah

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Holman Bible Dictionary [1]

When the book was written In 538, Cyrus the Great, emperor of the Persian Empire, issued an edict ( Ezra 1:2-4;  Ezra 6:3-5 ) allowing the Jews in Exile in Babylon to return to Jerusalem. Over the next two decades, many Exiles took advantage of Persian leniency, returned home, and began to reestablish life in Jerusalem or Judah. Apparently, an effort was made to begin rebuilding the Temple under an official named Sheshbazzar ( Ezra 5:14-16 ) and perhaps Zerubabel ( Ezra 3:1-13;  Zechariah 4:9 ), but the work stopped due to opposition from persons who had not been in Exile and local officials. Cyrus was succeeded by his son Cambysees, who died in 521 B.C. with no heir. The empire was thrown into disarray as two men, Darius I and Gautama, fought for the crown. In the midst of that turmoil, God raised two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, to urge finishing the Temple.

What Zechariah preached The message of Zechariah may be summarized under two headings: prosperity and purification. Simply put, God promised the people of Judah and Jerusalem prosperity if they purified themselves from sin. This message is found in the first six chapters of the Book of Zechariah. Those chapters are written in the form of eight visions, with two messages of exhortation. The structure of the book anticipates the structure of later books called apocalypses, books like Daniel and Revelation; the Book of Zechariah itself is not, however, an apocalypse.

The opening message ( Zechariah 1:1-6 ) reminds the audience that God had warned their forefathers not to sin, but they had not listened or repented. They had brought the Exile upon themselves. This message served to validate prophecy, after which Zechariah related his visions. The first three visions predict prosperity for Judah and Jerusalem. Four horsemen ride forth in  Zechariah 1:7-17 to announce God's return to Zion, a new day when prosperity would come. In the second vision (  Zechariah 1:18-21 ), four smiths (agents of God's deliverance) overcome four horns (symbols of the nations that ruled over Jerusalem). This reversal of fortunes would bring about the coming prosperity. In the third vision a man measures Jerusalem, only to find that it is too small to accommodate all those God would return to live there in glory. The visions conclude with a call to Exiles to return home from Babylon.

The last five visions deal with purification. In vision four ( Zechariah 3:1-10 ) the high priest Joshua is symbolically cleansed for his work. The fifth vision ( Zechariah 4:1-14 ) pictures God as a lampstand with two olive trees standing beside Him: Joshua and Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel is named to finish building the Temple, worship and sacrifice at which would be the means of purification. Vision six ( Zechariah 5:1-4 ) involves a scroll flying through the air. The scroll and a voice condemn stealing and lying to cover up one's theft. (Was theft an especially acute problem in the poor, reduced state of Judah after the Exile?) In the seventh vision ( Zechariah 5:5-11 ), Zechariah saw an ephah, in this case a container with a heavy, lead cover. Usually an ephah would hold about two-thirds of a bushel of grain. This ephah instead held a woman, who symbolizes impurity. Two women with wings came to take the iniquity back to Babylon, from which it had come. In the last vision ( Zechariah 6:1-8 ), four charioteers head out in all directions to patrol the earth (and presumably to punish evil).  Zechariah 7:1 and   Zechariah 8:1 contain additional messages from Zechariah, but add no new insights.

The last six chapters of the Book of Zechariah do not seem to have been composed at the same time as the first eight chapters. For one thing, they presuppose that the Temple exists and so at least must have been written after 515, when the Temple was finished. In addition,  Zechariah 11:12-13 is quoted in   Matthew 27:9-10 as a saying of Jeremiah. In some Old Testament manuscripts, then, the verses (and presumably their context) probably were attached to the Book of Jeremiah, while in the manuscripts preserved in our Hebrew Bibles they were attached to Zechariah. Since the chapters differ in style and contents from both Jeremiah and Zechariah, some scholars think they were prophecies from an unknown prophet either from the time of the Persian Empire (down to 332) or the Greek Empire. Others think they are the later work of Zechariah.

Whether written by Jeremiah, Zechariah, or an anonymous prophet, it is the contents of the chapters that are important.  Matthew 9:1 through 11 depict God's deliverance of His people in terms of the victory of God and His Messiah over the neighboring peoples, including the Greeks (  Zechariah 9:1-10:7 ), the return of the Exiles ( Zechariah 10:6-12 ), and the punishment of the wicked leaders of Judah ( Zechariah 11:4-17 ).  Zechariah 12-14 depict an end-time attack upon Jerusalem and the cities of Judah (  Zechariah 12:1-3;  Zechariah 14:1-3 ), an attack in which many people would be killed as God purifies His people ( Zechariah 13:7-9 ). God Himself would rescue His people ( Zechariah 12:4-9;  Zechariah 14:4-5 ,Zechariah 14:4-5, 14:12-15 ), cleanse the people from idolatry, rid the land of prophecy (which had become synonymous with false prophecy,  Zechariah 13:1-6 ), and turn Jerusalem into a paradise to which the nations of the world would come to worship.  Zechariah 14:1 envisions the Mount of Olives splitting in two, with fresh water (representing the blessings of God) flowing east and west watering the world. Cold and nighttime, representing threats to God's control, would be eliminated as He came to reign over all the world from Jerusalem.


I. God Is Just ( Zechariah 1:1-2:13 )

A. God's anger with His sinful people is justified ( Zechariah 1:1-2 ).

B. God will return to His people if they return to Him ( Zechariah 1:3 ).

C. History shows the justice of God and the sinfulness of His people ( Zechariah 1:4-6 ).

II. God Promises Prosperity to His People ( Zechariah 1:7-2:13 ).

A. Vision One: God's election mercy for His people replaces His anger ( Zechariah 1:7-17 ).

B. Vision Two: God punishes those who oppress His people ( Zechariah 1:18-21 ).

C. Vision Three: God's glorious presence will restore, protect, and expand His people ( Zechariah 2:1-13 ).

III. God Calls His People to Purification ( Zechariah 3:1-6:15 ).

A. Vision Four: God wants to forgive and purify His people and their leaders ( Zechariah 3:1-10 ).

B. Vision Five: God exercise His sovereign rule through His Spirit and His messianic leaders ( Zechariah 4:1-14 ).

C. Vision Six: God condemns stealing and lying ( Zechariah 5:1-4 ).

D. Vision Seven: God removes the wickedness of His people ( Zechariah 5:5-11 ).

E. Vision Eight: The universal God defeats the enemies of His people ( Zechariah 6:1-8 ).

F. God commissions leaders for His obedient people ( Zechariah 6:9-15 ).

IV. God Seeks Righteousness, Not Ritual. ( Zechariah 7:1-14 ).

A. God has always rejected selfish, insincere worship rituals ( Zechariah 7:1-7 ).

B. God seeks justice, mercy, and compassion ( Zechariah 7:8-10 ).

C. God is angry when His people reject His inspired teaching ( Zechariah 7:11-12 ).

D. God punishes His disobedient people ( Zechariah 7:13-14 ).

V. God in His Jealousy Restores His Faithful Remnant ( Zechariah 8:1-23 ).

A. God's jealousy leads to hope for His people ( Zechariah 8:1-5 ).

B. The faithful God wants to renew His covenant with His people ( Zechariah 8:6-8 ).

C. God is not bound by the past ( Zechariah 8:9-13 ).

D. God has punished Judah and now will bless her ( Zechariah 8:14-15 ).

E. God commands truthfulness, justice, and peace ( Zechariah 8:16-19 ).

F. God seeks all people to worship Him ( Zechariah 8:20-23 ).

VI. God Controls the Future of His People ( Zechariah 9:1-11:17 ).

A. God promises restoration ( Zechariah 9:1-17 ).

B. God punishes wicked leaders ( Zechariah 10:1-11:3 ).

C. God is not bound by past covenants from punishing His foolish people and their wicked leaders ( Zechariah 11:4-17 ).

VII. God Purges and Delivers His People ( Zechariah 12:1-14-21 ).

A. The universal God exercises His control over all His world ( Zechariah 12:1-13:6 ).

B. God will make a new covenant with the remnant of His people after striking His shepherd ( Zechariah 13:7-9 ).

C. God will rule over the whole earth on the day of the Lord ( Zechariah 14:1-21 ).

Paul L. Redditt

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

Zechariah, Book Of . The first eight chapters contain the genuine prophecies of Zechariah. Chs. 9 14 are sharply distinguished from these in form, language, and thought. They are generally regarded as anonymous prophecies which became attached to the original book, and are often spoken of as Deutero-Zechariah.

I. Chapters 1 8

1. Historical occasion. According to Ezra (  Ezra 5:1;   Ezra 6:14 ), the prophets Haggai and Zechariah roused Zerubbabel and Joshua to build the Temple, and the work went forward prosperously through their prophesying. The dates given in the book itself assign the prophecies to the second and fourth years of Darius (b.c. 520, 518). The first message (  Zechariah 1:1-5 ) is placed two months after the first address of Haggai, between the second and third. The section   Zechariah 1:7 to   Zechariah 6:15 is two months later than the last addresses of Haggai, while chs. 7, 8 follow after an interval of nearly two years. The prophecies are thus associated with the earlier part of the four years devoted to the re-building of the Temple, and their contents connect themselves with this occasion.

2. Contents. The book opens with an exhortation to return unto Jehovah (  Zechariah 1:1-6 ), based upon the sad experience of the fathers who had not heeded the word of the prophets to return from their evil ways.

It is especially noticeable that this post-exilic prophet, although very familiar with the words of his predecessors, is not enslaved by them; he rather draws a living lesson from a broad view of the vital experiences of the past. The main body of the book ( Zechariah 1:7 to   Zechariah 6:15 ) is made up of a series of eight visions and a symbolic action, after the manner of Ezekiel. In the first (   Zechariah 1:7-17 ) the prophet aees at night, in a myrtle-shaded glen, four horsemen whom the angel that talks with him designates as the messengers of Jehovah. They report that all is quiet in the earth. The angel calls upon Jehovah: ‘How long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?’ In response, assurance comes that Jehovah is displeased with the nations which are at ease, He is returned to Jerusalem, His house shall be built, His cities shall overflow with prosperity, Zion be comforted, Jerusalem chosen. The second vision (  Zechariah 1:18-21 ) is of four horns the nations which have scattered the holy people and four smiths, who are to cast them down. Next, the prophet sees (  Zechariah 2:1-5 ) the future Jerusalem spread far and wide beyond the limits of her old walls, with Jehovah as a wall of fire round about her. There follows a song that calls upon the exiles to return, pictures the discomfiture of those that have plundered them, and the future glory of Zion as Jehovah’s dwelling-place.

In ch. 3, Joshua, the high priest, is seen standing before Jehovah’s angel, clad in filthy garments and accused by the Satan. Now these garments are taken from him, and he is clothed in rich apparel as a symbol of the removal of guilt. Joshua is promised full exercise of his priestly functions if he will walk in Jehovah’s ways; he and those with him are a sign that Jehovah is to bring His servant the Branch (cf.  Isaiah 4:2 ,   Jeremiah 23:5;   Jeremiah 33:15 ). The vision that follows (ch. 4) is of the seven-branched lamp of the Temple, supplied with oil from two olive trees. Probably the promise to Zerubbabel (  Zechariah 4:6-10 a) should be transferred to the end of the chapter; then confusion disappears, and the seven lamps are interpreted as the eyes of Jehovah which run to and fro through the earth. The olive trees are explained as the two sons of oil that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. They must be Zerubbabel and Joshua, representatives of king and priest. The splendid promise to Zerubbabel now closes the picture, as that to Joshua had closed the preceding. In this, Zerubbabel is assured that he shall bring the Temple to completion, not by might nor by power, but by Jehovah’s spirit. The prominent place given in these visions to priest and king, as essential to the national life, is most significant. Next, the prophet aees (  Jeremiah 5:1-4 ) the curse of Jehovah as a book that flies and enters the house of every thief and perjurer to consume it. The seventh vision (  Jeremiah 5:6-11 ) follows naturally upon the preceding. Wickedness, represented by a woman, is carried away from the land to Babylonia. Jehovah’s curse has fallen upon the sinners, and sin itself is now removed to the land of exile. The last vision (  Jeremiah 6:1-8 ) represents four chariots going forth upon the earth; of these the one that goes to the north executes the wrath of Jehovah upon those who have oppressed His people. The visions opened with the horsemen that reported the earth as quiet; they close with the chariots that keep the world in subjection to Jehovah. There follows the symbolic act of crowning Joshua (more probably, in the original text, Zerubbabel). The visions centre in the hope of a glorious future for Jerusalem, with its Temple restored, its enemies stilled, its exiles returned, its sin forgiven, its wickedness removed, and with Jehovah’s spirit flowing in through priest and prince of Davidic line. The visions lead on to the symbolic crowning of the promised ruler.

In the third section (chs. 7, 8), Zechariah is led by a question concerning fasting to teach that the fasts which have been kept in the years of exile are to be changed into joyous feasts. Rather than fast they should observe the teachings of the earlier prophets concerning justice and mercy. With glorious promises for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem, with the nations coming to seek Jehovah, the original Book of Zechariah closes.

3. Significance. The historical importance of Zechariah in connection with the re-building of the Temple has already been noted. In the transition from prophetical to apocalyptic literature, this book is an important link. Zechariah has a large measure of the spirit of the early ethical prophets. From the experiences of the past he can draw broad and deep moral lessons, with something of the freedom and consciousness of immediate Divine illumination that distinguished an Amos or an Isaiah. Yet, even in the passages where this is most observable, one feels a harking back that was not characteristic of the earlier prophecy less of vital touch with present conditions and with the God in whose name he speaks. The centring of hope in prince and priest, with the consciousness that the great era of prophecy is past, sharply distinguishes Zechariah from his pre-exilic predecessors. In the visions, the machinery of apocalypse, Introduced by Ezekiel, has been somewhat developed in its feature of angelic intermediaries. The characteristic apocalyptic spirit, however, with its revelling in the blood of enemies, is noticeably lacking. Zechariah loves, rather, to dwell upon peace and prosperity, upon sin removed, and the Divine spirit inflowing. His message is rich and full, for he has caught the ethical enthusiasm of the great eighth-century prophets, and has enriched it by the spiritual insight of Jeremiah and the glorious hopes of the exilic prophets. Zechariah not only strove to get the Temple built, but also urged upon the builders those moral and spiritual truths without which the Temple and its worship would be hollow mockery.

II. Chapters 9 14

1. Critical analysis . As early as 1653, it was maintained, in the interest of the accuracy of   Matthew 27:9-10 , that chs. 9 11 were written by Jeremiah. This view was soon adopted by several writers, and chs. 12 14 were connected with 9 11 as the work of the earlier prophet. Near the close of the 18th century, chs. 9 11 and 12 14 were distinguished as separate prophecies, dated respectively, from internal evidence, in the time of Hosea, and shortly after the death of Josiah. At about the same time, the view that 9 14 were really later than Zechariah was advocated. During the 19th century, each of the three general conclusions (1) that the entire book is the work of Zechariah; (2) that 9 14 are pre-exilic; (3) that 9 14 are post-Zecharian found many advocates. In the third quarter of the century, however, the first view was largely abandoned, and, after the thoroughgoing discussion of Stade, in 1881 2, the third view became almost completely dominant. Growing knowledge of the general course of development of prophetic and apocalyptic literature makes this conclusion more and more inevitable. How many separate prophecies, by different hands, may be embodied in these six chapters is not determinable with equal clearness. On the whole, however, 9 11 (with   Matthew 13:7-9 ) seem distinct from 12 14. Less conclusive are the data which indicate distinct sections as beginning at   Matthew 11:4 and   Matthew 14:1 . It is not possible to connect chs. 9 14 positively with any known events in the post-exilic history. In general, the historical situation seems to be that of the years after Alexander’s conquests and death, when the Egyptian and Syrian rulers struggled for the possession of Palestine. Possibly some of the material comes from the time just before or during the Maccabæan struggle.

2. Contents . In   Matthew 9:1 to   Matthew 11:2 the oracle is one of doom upon Israel’s neighbours, with promises of dominion and prosperity for Israel, restored to her land. The title ‘burden of the word of Jehovah’ is very unusual, occurring elsewhere only in   Zechariah 12:1 and   Malachi 1:1 . The opening message of doom upon Israel’s neighbours bears outward resemblance to Amos, but the ethical ground of Amos’s denunciation is noticeably lacking. If v. 7 is rightly interpreted as referring to food ritually unclean, the contrast with the early prophet is still more striking. V. 8, with its comforting promise, seems to reflect the devastation of the Temple, as in the past. This is followed by the prediction of the coming king of peace a beautiful lyric which breaks in sharply upon the context, and is followed by a prediction of successful resistance to the Greeks, and victory given through Jehovah. The shepherds of Judah, Jehovah’s flock, are condemned, and victory is promised to the flock. The house of Judah shall be strengthened, and the house of Joseph restored to its land. In 11:4 17, 13:7 9 the figure of the false shepherds, introduced in the preceding section, is worked out into an allegory of the false and true shepherd, in a way that enables the prophet to illustrate the frustration of God’s beneficeot purpose by the obstinacy of His people, as well as the evil character of their rulers. The three shepherds cut off in quick succession strongly suggest the conditions shortly before the Maccabæan uprising, but the highly symbolic and somewhat imitative character of the prophecy renders it precarious to seek any exact picture of immediate conditions; our ignorance, too, of large portions of the post-exilic age makes it impossible to say that some other time may not have furnished an equally appropriate occasion.

The second main division of chs. 9 14, beginning with ch. 12, leads us immediately into the familiar apocalyptic conception introduced by Zephaniah, and developed by Ezekiel and Joel. The nations are assembled against Jerusalem, there to be consumed through the power of Jehovah. Hope centres in the house of David, and yet this house, it would seem, is now reduced to the position of merely one of the important families of the people. The closing verses of the first section in this division (13:1 6) indicate a time when prophecy is utterly degraded idols, prophets, unclean spirit are evils to be removed. Ch. 14 gives another apocalyptic vision of the siege of Jerusalem. The onslaught is terrible, and the discomfiture of her enemies is wrought only after great affliction. In this little apocalypse the vengeful, proud hopes with which the wretched, persecuted Jews consuled themselves throughout the later pre-Christian centuries, and on into Christian times, find vivid expression. With these hopes there is clearly present that late, narrow, legalistic spirit which finds its climax of religious outlook in a wide recognition of the feasts, and in ceremonially clean boiling-pots for the sacrifices. It is evident that the closing oracle of this collection appended to Zechariah carries us far into ‘the night of legalism.’

Henry T. Fowler.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

After the decree of Cyrus in 539 BC that released the Jews from captivity, a number returned to their homeland. They settled in Jerusalem under the leadership of the governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua, and set about rebuilding the city and the temple ( Ezra 1:1-4;  Ezra 2:1-2). Soon they had set up the altar and laid the foundation of the temple, but when local people began persecuting them, they became discouraged and stopped work ( Ezra 4:1-5;  Ezra 4:24). For sixteen years no work was done on the temple. Then, in 520 BC, God raised up two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, to stir up the people to get to work again and finish the temple ( Ezra 5:1-2;  Haggai 1:1;  Zechariah 1:1).

Characteristics of the book

The prophets’ preaching for the first six months was largely concerned with encouraging the people through the early difficulties. Haggai began the preaching with two stirring messages (Haggai 1;  Haggai 2:1-9), after which Zechariah delivered his first message ( Zechariah 1:1-6). Haggai followed this with two more messages ( Haggai 2:10-23), after which Zechariah delivered his second message ( Zechariah 1:7-21; Zechariah 2; Zechariah 3; Zechariah 4; Zechariah 5; Zechariah 6). Zechariah’s next recorded message was preached when the construction had reached the half-way point (Zechariah 7; Zechariah 8). The temple was finished in 516 BC, after four and a half years work ( Ezra 6:14-15).

Haggai and Zechariah were both concerned with rousing the people from their spiritual laziness and getting them to work on the temple, but the preaching of Zechariah went further. Through him God was preparing his people for the task for which he had chosen them, namely, the coming of the Messiah, the establishment of his kingdom and the salvation of people worldwide. Zechariah was therefore concerned to bring about a lasting spiritual change in the lives of the people.

The latter half of Zechariah’s book, which consists of two messages delivered probably late in his life, shows that the task the people faced was not an easy one. There would be bitter conflicts with the forces of evil, but in the end God’s kingdom would triumph.

In contrast to the straightforward preaching of Haggai, Zechariah’s preaching was often mysterious and colourful. His book shows characteristics of the apocalyptic literature that developed in Israel over the next few centuries. Apocalyptic writers presented their messages in the form of visions in which symbolic figures and numbers usually featured (see Apocalyptic Literature ).

Contents of the book

After an initial call to repentance (1:1-6), Zechariah recounts eight visions, all of which concern the rebuilding of the temple and God’s purposes for his people. The first three visions give encouragement to the workmen (1:7-2:13), the central pair give encouragement to the leaders, Joshua and Zerubbabel (3:1-4:14), and the last three give assurance of final victory (5:1-6:8). A short narrative recounts the crowning of the high priest (6:9-15).

At the half-way point in the building program, some representatives of the people asked Zechariah if they should still keep certain fasts to mourn the destruction of the former temple. In response Zechariah warns not to mourn over the past, but to have confidence for the future (7:1-8:23).

In the first of the two longer messages given later in life, Zechariah speaks of the punishment of enemies and the restoration of freedom. He draws a striking contrast between the worthless leadership of unspiritual people and the kind of leadership God wants (9:1-11:17). In the second message he warns that the victory Israel looked for will be achieved only at great cost and with much sorrow. He again notes the difference between the false shepherds and the true shepherd, and looks forward to the final triumph of the Messiah’s kingdom (12:1-14:21).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [4]

1. The Prophet

2. His Times and Mission

3. Contents and Analysis

4. The Critical Question Involved

5. The Unity of the Book

6. Conclusion


Few books of the Old Testament are as difficult of interpretation as the Book of Zechariah; no other book is as Messianic. Jewish expositors like Abarbanel and Jarchi, and Christian expositors such as Jerome, are forced to concede that they have failed "to find their hands" in the exposition of it, and that in their investigations they passed from one labyrinth to another, and from one cloud into another, until they lost themselves in trying to discover the prophet's meaning. The scope of Zechariah's vision and the profundity of his thought are almost without a parallel. In the present writer's judgment, his book is the most Messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological, of all the writings of the Old Testament.

1. The Prophet:

Zechariah was the son of Berechiah, and the grandson of Iddo ( Zechariah 1:1 ,  Zechariah 1:7 ). The same Iddo seems to be mentioned among the priests who returned from exile under Zerubbabel and Joshua in the year 536 Bc ( Nehemiah 12:4;  Ezra 2:2 ). If so, Zechariah was a priest as well as a prophet, and presumably a young man when he began to preach. Tradition, on the contrary, declares that he was well advanced in years. He apparently survived Haggai, his contemporary ( Ezra 5:1;  Ezra 6:14 ). He was a poet as well as a prophet. Nothing is known of his end. The Targum says he died a martyr.

2. His Times and Mission:

The earliest date in his book is the 2nd year (520 BC) of the reign of Darius Hystaspis, and the latest, the 4th year of the same king's reign ( Zechariah 1:1 ,  Zechariah 1:7;  Zechariah 7:1 ). Though these are the only dates given in his writings, it is possible of course that he may have continued active for several additional years. Otherwise, he preached barely two years. The conditions under which he labored were similar to those in Haggai's times. Indeed, Haggai had begun to preach just two months before Zechariah was called. At that time there were upheavals and commotions in different parts of the Persian empire, especially in the Northeast Jeremiah's prophecies regarding the domination of Babylon for 70 years had been fulfilled ( Jeremiah 15:11;  Jeremiah 29:10 ). The returned captives were becoming disheartened and depressed because Yahweh had not made it possible to restore Zion and rebuild the temple. The foundations of the latter had been already laid, but as yet there was no superstructure ( Ezra 3:8-10;  Zechariah 1:16 ). The altar of burnt offering was set up upon its old site, but as yet there were no priests worthy to officiate in the ritual of sacrifice ( Ezra 3:2 ,  Ezra 3:3;  Zechariah 3:3 ). The people had fallen into apathy, and needed to be aroused to their opportunity. Haggai had given them real initiative, for within 24 days after he began to preach the people began to work ( Haggai 1:1 ,  Haggai 1:15 ). It was left for Zechariah to bring the task of temple-building to completion. This Zechariah did successfully; this, indeed, was his primary mission and work.

3. Contents and Analysis:

The prophecies of Zechariah naturally fall into two parts, chapters 1 through 8,9 through 14, both of which begin with the present and look forward into the distant future. (1)  Zechariah 1 through 8, consisting of three distinct messages delivered on three different occasions: ( a )   Zechariah 1:1-6 , an introduction, delivered in the 8th month of the 2nd year of Darius Hystaspis (520 BC). These words, having been spoken three months before the prophecies which follow, are obviously a general introduction. They are decidely spiritual and strike the keynote of the entire collection. In them the prophet issues one of the strongest and most intensely spiritual calls to repentance to be found in the Old Testament. ( b ) Zec 1:7 through 6:15, a series of eight night visions, followed by a coronation scene, all delivered on the 24th day of the 11th month of the same 2nd year of Darius (520 BC), or exactly two months after the corner stone of the temple had been laid ( Haggai 2:18;  Zechariah 1:7 ). These visions were intended to encourage the people to rebuild God's house. They are eight in number, and teach severally the following lessons:

(i) The vision of the horses ( Zechariah 1:7-17 ), teaching God's special care for and interest in his people: "My house shall be built" ( Zechariah 1:16 ). (ii) The four horns and four smiths ( Zechariah 1:18-21 ), teaching that Israel's foes have finally been destroyed; in fact that they have destroyed themselves. There is no longer, therefore, any opposition to building God's house. (iii) The man with a measuring line ( Zechariah 2:1-13 ), teaching that God will re-people, protect and dwell in Jerusalem as soon as the sacred edifice has been built. The city itself will expand till it becomes a great metropolis without walls; Yahweh will be a wall of fire round about it. (iv) Joshua, the high priest, clad in filthy garments, and bearing the sins both of himself and the people ( Zechariah 3:1-10 ); but cleansed, continued and made typical of the Messiah-Branch to come. (v) The candelabrum and the two olive trees ( Zechariah 4:1-14 ), teaching that the visible must give place to the spiritual, and that, through "the two sons of oil," Zerubbabel the layman, and Joshua the priest ( Zechariah 4:14 ), the light of God's church will continue to burn with ever-flaming brightness. For it is "not by might" but by Yahweh's Spirit, i.e. by divine life and animation, by divine vigor and vivacity, by divine disposition and courage, by divine executive ability and technical skill, that God's house shall be built and supplied with spiritual life ( Zechariah 4:6 ). (vi) The flying roll ( Zechariah 5:1-4 ), teaching that when the temple is built and God's law is taught the land shall be purified from outward wickedness. (vii) The Ephah ( Zechariah 5:5-11 ); wickedness personified is borne away back to the land of Shinar, teaching that when the temple is rebuilt wickedness shall be actually removed from the land. (viii) The four chariots ( Zechariah 6:1-8 ), teaching that God's protecting providence will be over His sanctuary, and that His people, purified from sin, shall rest secure in Him. These eight visions are followed by a coronation scene, in which Joshua the high priest is crowned and made typical of the Messiah-Priest-King, whose name is Branch ( Zechariah 6:9-15 ). (c)  Zechariah 7:1-14; 8, Zechariah's answer to the Bethel deputation concerning fasting; delivered on the 4th day of the 9th month of the 4th year of Darius (518 BC). The Jews had been accustomed to fast on the anniversaries of the following four great outstanding events in the history of their capital: (i) when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, in the 4th month ( Jeremiah 52:6 ); (ii) when the Temple was burned in the 5th month ( Jeremiah 52:12 ); (iii) when Gedaliah was murdered in the 7th month ( Jeremiah 41:2 ); and (iv) when the siege of Jerusalem was begun in the 10th month ( 2 Kings 25:1 ).

There are four sections to the prophet's answer divided by the slightly varying formula, "The word of Yahweh came unto me" ( Zechariah 7:4 ,  Zechariah 7:8;  Zechariah 8:1 ,  Zechariah 8:18 ) and teaching: ( a ) Fasting affects only yourselves; God requires obedience ( Zechariah 7:4-7 ). ( b ) Look at the lesson from your fathers; they forsook justice and compassion and God punished them ( Zechariah 7:8-14 ). ( c ) Yahweh is now waiting to return to Jerusalem to save His people in truth and holiness. In the future, instead of a curse God will send blessing, instead of evil, good (Zec 8:1-17). ( d ) In fact, your fasts shall be changed into festivals, and many nations shall in that day seek Yahweh of hosts in Jerusalem ( Zechariah 8:18-23 ).

(2)  Zechariah 9 through 14, consisting of two oracles, without dates; ( a )   Zechariah 9 through 11, an oracle of promise to the new theocracy. This section contains promises of a land in which to dwell, a return from exile, victory over a hostile world-power, temporal blessings and national strength, closing, with a parable of judgment brought on by Israel's rejection of Yahweh as their shepherd; thus Judah and Ephraim restored, united and made victorious over their enemies, are promised a land and a king (  Zechariah 9 ); Israel shall be saved and strengthened ( Zechariah 10:1-12 ); Israel shall be punished for rejecting the shepherding care of Yahweh (Zec 11); ( b ) Zechariah 12 through 14, an oracle describing the victories of the new theocracy, and the coming day of Yahweh. This section is strongly eschatological, presenting three distinct apocalyptic pictures: thus how Jerusalem shall be besieged by her enemies, but saved by Yahweh ( Zechariah 12:1-14 ); how a remnant of Israel purified and refined shall be saved ( Zechariah 13:1-9 ); closing with a grand apocalyptic vision of judgment and redemption - the nations streaming up to Jerusalem to keep the joyous Feast of Tabernacles, and everything in that day becoming holy to Yahweh.

4. The Critical Question Involved:

There are two opposing schools of criticism in regard to the origin of  Zechariah 9 through 14; one holds what is known as the pre-exilic hypothesis, according to which chapters 9 through 14 were written before the downfall of Jerusalem; more specifically, that   Zechariah 9 through 11 and   Zechariah 13:7-9 spring from the 8th century BC, having been composed perhaps by Zechariah, the son of Jeberechiah mentioned in   Isaiah 8:2; whereas Zechariah 12 through 14, except  Zechariah 13:7-9 , were composed by some unknown contemporary of Jeremiah in the 7th century BC. On the other hand, there are also those who advocate a late post-Zecharian origin for chapters 9 through 14, somewhere about the 3rd century BC. The latter hypothesis is today the more popular. Over against these the traditional view, of course, is that Zechariah, near the close of the 6th century, wrote the entire book ascribed to him. Only chapters 9 through 14 are in dispute. No one doubts the genuineness of Zechariah 1 through 8.

The following are the main arguments of those who advocate a pre-exilic origin for these oracles: (1)  Zechariah 11:8 , "And I cut off the three shepherds in one month." These "three shepherds" are identified with certain kings who reigned but a short time each in the Northern Kingdom; for example, Zechariah, Shallum and Menahem ( 2 Kings 15:8-14 ). But the difficulty with this argument is that they were not cut off "in one month"; Menahem, on the contrary, reigned 10 years in Samaria ( 2 Kings 15:17 ). (2)  Zechariah 12:11-14 , which speaks of "a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon," is claimed to fix the date of Zechariah 12 through 14. Josiah fell in the valley of Megiddo ( 2 Kings 23:29;  2 Chronicles 35:22 ). But surely the mourning of Judah for Josiah might have been remembered for a century, from 609 Bc till 518 BC. (3)  Zechariah 14:5 , referring to the "earthquake" in the days of Uzziah, is another passage fastened upon to prove the preexilic origin of these prophecies. But the earthquake which is here alluded to took place at least a century and a half before the date assigned for the composition of Zechariah 14. And surely if an earthquake can be alluded to by an author 150 years after it occurs, Zechariah, who lived less than a century later, might have alluded to it also. (4) A much stronger argument in favor of a pre-exilic origin of these prophecies is the names given to theocracy, e.g. "Ephraim" and "Jerusalem" ( Zechariah 9:10 ), "Judah" and "Ephraim" ( Zechariah 9:13 ), "house of Judah" and "house of Joseph" ( Zechariah 10:6 ), "Judah and Israel" ( Zechariah 11:14 ), implying that the kingdoms of Israel and Judah are still standing. But subsequent to the captivity the Jews ever regarded themselves as representatives of the 12 tribes, as is obvious from their offering 12 sacrifices ( Ezra 6:17;  Ezra 8:35 ). Moreover, old names such as "Israel" and "Judah" long survived (compare  Jeremiah 31:27-31;  Zechariah 8:13 ). (5)  Zechariah 14:10 , which defines the area occupied by Judah as extending "from Geba to Rimmon," which corresponds, it is alleged, with the conditions which prevailed just prior to the captivity. But it satisfies equally well the conditions after the exile in Zechariah's own time. (6) Again, it is argued that the national sins, the prevailing sins, idolatry, teraphim and false prophecy ( Zechariah 10:2;  Zechariah 13:2-6 ), are those of pre-exilic times. But the same sins persisted in the post-exilic congregation ( Nehemiah 6:7-14;  Malachi 2:11;  Malachi 3:5 ), and there is no special emphasis laid upon them here. (7) Finally, it is argued that the enemies of Israel mentioned in Zechariah 9 through 14 are those of pre-exilic times, Assyria and Egypt ( Zechariah 10:10 ,  Zechariah 10:11 ), Syria, Phoenicia and Philistia ( Zechariah 9:1-7 ). But forms of expression are slow in changing: the name "Assyrians" occurs in  Lamentations 5:6 , and "Assyria" is employed instead of "Persia" in  Ezra 6:22 . Jeremiah prophesied against Damascus and Hamath long after their loss of independence ( Jeremiah 49:23-27 ). After the exile, the Philistines resisted Israel's return ( Nehemiah 4:7 ,  Nehemiah 4:8 ). In short all these nations were Israel's hereditary foes, and, therefore, judgments pronounced against them were always in place. Furthermore, it may be said in general that there are reasons for thinking that, in both halves of the Book of Zechariah, the exile is represented as an event of the past, and that the restoration from exile both of Ephraim and Judah, though incomplete, has already begun. This is unquestionably true of Zechariah 1 through 8 ( Zechariah 1:12;  Zechariah 2:6-12;  Zechariah 6:10;  Zechariah 7:5;  Zechariah 8:7 ,  Zechariah 8:8 ). The exile is treated as a fact. It is almost equally true of Zechariah 9 through 14 (compare  Zechariah 9:8 ,  Zechariah 9:11;  Zechariah 10:6 ,  Zechariah 10:8-10 ). Moreover, it may with justice be claimed that the alleged authors of chapters 9 through 14 dissociate themselves from any definitely named person or any specific event known to be pre-exilic. God alone is described as Ruler of His people. The only king mentioned is the Messiah-King ( Zechariah 9:9 ,  Zechariah 9:10;  Zechariah 14:9 ). The "house of David" mentioned in  Zechariah 12:7-12;  Zechariah 13:1 , is never described as in possession of the throne. It is David's "house," and not any earthly ruler in it, of which the prophet speaks. Further, there are passages, indeed, in chapters 9 through 14 which, if pre-exilic in origin, would have been obscure and even misleading to a people confronted by the catastrophes of 722 and 586 BC. No specific enemy is alluded to. No definite army is named as approaching. Instead of Assyria, Javan is painted as the opposing enemy of theocracy ( Zechariah 9:13 ), and even she is not yet raised up or even threatening. On the other hand, in Zechariah 12 through 14, it is not the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, but "all nations," who are described as coming up against Jerusalem ( Zechariah 12:2 ,  Zechariah 12:3;  Zechariah 14:2 ). Moreover, victory and not defeat is promised ( Zechariah 9:8 ,  Zechariah 9:14 ,  Zechariah 9:16;  Zechariah 12:4 ,  Zechariah 12:7 ,  Zechariah 12:8 ). The preexilic prophets Amos, Hosea and Jeremiah held out no such hopes. These oracles, however, promise even temporal prosperity and abundance ( Jeremiah 9:17;  Jeremiah 10:1 ,  Jeremiah 10:8 ,  Jeremiah 10:12;  Jeremiah 12:8;  Jeremiah 14:2 ,  Jeremiah 14:14 ); and they exhort the people to rejoice rather than to fear ( Jeremiah 9:9;  Jeremiah 10:7 ); while in  Jeremiah 14:16-19 all nations are represented as going up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, which was the most joyous feast of the Hebrew calendar. All this is quite the opposite of what the pre-exilic prophets (who are known to have been pre-exilic) actually prophesied. In Zec 9 through 14, there is sounded forth not one clear note of alarm or warning; judgment rather gives place to hope, warning to encouragement, threatening to joy and gladness, all of which is most inconsistent with the idea that these chapters are of preexilic origin. On the other hand, their are perfectly consistent with the conditions and promises of post-exilic times.

The other hypothesis remaining to be discussed is that known as the post-Zecharian. This may be said to represent the prevailing critical view at the present time. But it, like the pre-exilic hypothesis, is based upon a too literalistic and mechanical view of prophecy. Those, like Stade, Wellhausen, Kuenen, Marti, Kautzsch, Cornill, Cheyne, Driver, Kuiper, Echardt and Mitchell, who advocate this view, employ the same critical methods as those whose views we have just discussed, but arrive at diametrically opposite conclusions. Indeed, no two critics agree as to the historical circumstances which produced these oracles. Most are of the opinion, however, that these chapters were composed during the Greek period, i.e. after 333 BC. In examining the arguments urged by the representatives of this school special caution is needed in distinguishing between the grounds advanced in support of a post-exilic and those which argue a post-Zecharian date. The former we may for the most part accept, as Zechariah was himself a post-exilic prophet; the latter we must first examine. In favor of a very late or Grecian origin for  Zechariah 9 through 14, the chief and all-important passage, and the one upon which more emphasis is placed than upon all others together, is   Zechariah 9:13 , "For I have bent Judah for me, I have filled the bow with Ephraim; and I will stir up thy sons, [[O Z]] ion, against thy sons, O G reece, and will make thee as the sword of a mighty man." Kuiper in summing up throws the whole weight of his argument in favor of a Greek date on this verse. Wellhausen makes it decide the date of these prophecies; while Stade declares that the announcement of the "sons of Javan" is alone sufficient to prove that these prophecies are after 333 BC. Two things are especially emphasized by critics in connection with this important passage: (1) that the sons of Javan are the world-power of the author's day, namely, the Greek-Maccabean world-power; and (2) that they are the enemies of Zion. But in opposition to these claims it should be observed (1) that the sons of Javan are but one of several world-powers within the range of the prophet's horizon ( Zechariah 9:1-7 , Syria, Phoenicia, Philistia;  Zechariah 12:2 f;   Zechariah 14:2 f, all nations; and   Zechariah 10:10 ,  Zechariah 10:11 , Assyria and Egypt); and (2) that the Greeks under Alexander were not the enemies of Zion, and did not fight against the Jews, but against the Persians. Assuming the genuineness of the passage ( Zechariah 9:13 ), the following considerations point to the Persian period as its probable historical background: ( a ) The prophecy would be vague and meaningless if uttered after the invasion of Alexander. ( b ) The passage does not describe a victory for the sons of Javan, but rather a defeat. ( c ) It is introduced by an appeal to those still in exile to return, which would have been quite meaningless after Alexander's conquest. ( d ) In short,  Zechariah 9:13-17 , as a whole, is not a picture of actual war, but rather an apocalyptic vision of the struggle of Israel with the world-power of the West, hence, its indefiniteness and figurative language.

Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that in Zechariah's own day the Greeks were rapidly becoming a menacing world-power. In the first 3 years (521-519 BC) of Darius' reign, 12 different revolts took place, principally in the North and East But, in 518, Darius was compelled to move westward at the head of his royal armies; Darius' visit to Egypt in 517 Bc was cut short by the disturbances of the Greeks (compare Wiedemann, Gesch., 236). In the year 516 Bc the Greeks of the Hellespont and Bosporus, with the island of Samos, were made to submit to Pets rule. The next year (515 BC), Darius led an expedition against the Scythians across the Danube, the failure of which encouraged the Ionians subsequently to revolt. In 500 Bc the great Ionian revolt actually took place. In 499 Bc S ardis, the most important stronghold for Persia in Asia Minor, was burned by the Athenians. In 490 Bc M arathon was fought and Persia was conquered. In 480 Bc X erxes was defeated at Salamis. But it is unnecessary to sketch the rise of Jayan further. Enough has been related to show that already in the reign of Darius Hystaspis - in whose reign Zechariah is known to have lived and prophesied - the sons of Greece were a rising world-power, and a threatening world-power. This is all really that is required by the passage. The sons of Jayan were but one of Israel's enemies in Zechariah's day; but they were of such importance that victory over them carried with it momentous Messianic interests. The language of chapter 9 is vague, and, in our judgment, too vague and too indefinite to have been uttered after Marathon (490 BC), or even after the burning of Sardis (500 BC); for, in that case, the author would have been influenced more by Greece and less by the movements and commotions of the nations.

Other arguments advanced by the post-Zecharian school are: (1)  Zechariah 14:9 , "And Yahweh shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall Yahweh be one, and his name one." To Stade this passage contains a polemic against the conditions in Greek times when all gods were conceived of as only different representations of one and the same god. But, on the contrary, the post-exilic congregation was as truly a theocracy in the days of Darius Hystaspis as in the period subsequent to Alexander's conquest. The Jewish colony of the Restoration was a religious sect, not a political organization. Zechariah often pictures the close relation of Yahweh to His people ( Zechariah 2:10-13;  Zechariah 8:3 ,  Zechariah 8:13 ), and the author of chapters 9 through 14 describes similar conditions. The "yearning for a fuller theocracy," which Cheyne ( Bampton Lectures , 120) discovers in Zec 9-14, is thoroughly consistent with the yearning of a struggling congregation in a land of forsaken idols shortly after the return from exile. (2)  Zechariah 12:2 , interpreted to mean that "Judah also, forced by the enemy, shall be in the siege against Jerusalem," is a proof, it is alleged, that the children of the Diaspora had served as soldiers. The verse, accordingly, is said to be a description of the hostile relations which actually existed between Jerusalem and Judah in the beginning of the Maccabean struggle. The validity of these claims, however, is vitiated by a correct exegesis of the passage in hand. The text is apparently corrupt. In order to obtain a subject for "shall be," the preposition before Judah had better be stricken out, as in the Targum. The passage then translated reads, "And Judah also shall be in the siege against Jerusalem." But this is ambiguous. It may mean that Judah shall fight against Jerusalem, or it may mean that Judah, too, shall be besieged. The latter is obviously the true meaning of the passage, as  Zechariah 12:7 indicates. For, as one nation might besiege Jerusalem (a city), so all nations, coming up are practically going to besiege Judah. The Septuagint favors this interpretation; likewise the Coptic version; and   Zechariah 14:14 . Wellhausen frankly concedes that "no characteristic of the prophecy under discussion in reality agrees with the conditions of the Maccabean time. The Maccabees were not the Jews of the lowland, and they did not join themselves with the heathen out of hatred to the city of Jerusalem, in order finally to fall treacherously upon their companions in war. There is not the slightest hint in our passage of religious persecution; that alone decides, and hence, the most important sign of Maccabean times is wanting." (3)  Zechariah 10:10 ,  Zechariah 10:11 , which mentions "Egypt" and "Assyria" (and which, strange to say, is also one of the strongest proofs in support of the preexilic hypothesis), is singularly enough interpreted to refer respectively to the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria. But this is quite impossible, and especially so in view of the prominence which is given to Egypt in  Zechariah 14:19 , which points to Persian rather than Greek conditions; for then Egypt, in consequence of her perpetual efforts to throw off the Persian yoke, was naturally brought under the observation of the Jews in Palestine, who repeatedly beheld the Persian armies passing on their way to the valley of the Nile.

(4) Still another argument advanced in favor of a late post-Zecharian date for these oracles is that from language and style: Aramaisms, scriptio plena , the preponderance of the shorter form of the personal pronoun "I," the Hebrew ending ōn , the frequent use of the nota accusativi , especially with suffixes, the omission of the article, the use of the infinitive absolute, and the clumsy diction and weary repetition of these prophecies are pointed to as evidence of their origin in Grecian times. But in opposition to these claims, it may be remarked in general that their force is greatly weakened by two considerations: ( a ) the fact that the author of   Zechariah 9 through 14 depends so largely on older prophecies for his thoughts, and consequently more or less for his language; and ( b ) the fact that these prophecies are so very brief. There is no mode of reasoning so treacherous as that from language and style. (For the technical discussion of this point, see the present writer's The Prophecies of Zechariah , 54-59.)

5. The Unity of the Book:

Among the further objections made to the genuineness of  Zechariah 9 through 14, and consequently to the unity of the book, the following are the chief: (1) There are no "visions" in these oracles as in   Zechariah 1 through 6. But there are none either in   Zechariah 7:1-14; 8, and yet these latter are not denied to Zechariah. As a matter of fact, however, visions do actually occur in chapters 9 through 14, only of a historico-parabolic ( Zechariah 11:4-17 ) and eschatological character ( Zechariah 9:13-17;  Zechariah 12:1-14; 14). (2) There are "no dates," as in  Zechariah 1:1 ,  Zechariah 1:7;  Zechariah 7:1 . But dates are seldom attached to "oracles" ( Isaiah 13:1;  Isaiah 15:1;  Nahum 1:1;  Habakkuk 1:1;  Malachi 1:1 ). There is but one instance in the entire Old Testament ( Isaiah 14:28 margin); whereas "visions" are frequently dated. (3) There is "no Satan." But Satan is never mentioned elsewhere in any prophetic book of the Old Testament. (4) There is "no interpreting angel" in Zechariah 9 through 14. But "oracles" need no interpreting angel. On the other hand, "the Angel of Yahweh" is mentioned in both parts (  Zechariah 3:1 ff;   Zechariah 12:8 ), a fact which is far more noteworthy. (5) Proper names are wanting in Zechariah 9 through 14, e.g. Zerubbabel and Joshua. But neither do these names occur in chapters 7; 8. (6) The sins alluded to are different, e.g. theft and false swearing in  Zechariah 5:3 ,  Zechariah 5:1; while in  Zechariah 10:2 seeking teraphim and in   Zechariah 13:2 ff false prophecy are named. But these sins may have existed side by side. What is far more noteworthy, in both parts the prophet declares that all these evils shall be taken away and removed out of the land (  Zechariah 3:9;  Zechariah 5:9-11;  Zechariah 13:1 ,  Zechariah 13:2 ). (7) The Messianic pictures are different, e.g. in Zechariah 1 through 8 the Messiah is spoken of as Branch-Priest ( Zechariah 3:8 ,  Zechariah 3:9;  Zechariah 6:12 ,  Zechariah 6:13 ); whereas in chapters 9 through 14, as King, ( Zechariah 9:9 ,  Zechariah 9:10 ). But in  Zechariah 6:13 it is expressly stated that the Branch-Priest "shall sit and rule upon his throne." Of far greater moment is the picture of the nations coming to Zion to worship Yahweh. This remarkable picture recurs in all the different sections of the book (  Zechariah 6:12 ,  Zechariah 6:13 ,  Zechariah 6:15;  Zechariah 8:20-23;  Zechariah 12:6;  Zechariah 14:16-19 ).

On the other hand, the following are some of the arguments which favor the genuineness of these disputed chapters: (1) The fundamental ideas of both parts are the same. By this we mean that the deeper we go the nearer we approach unity. As Dr. G.A. Smith argues against Graetz, who divides  Hosea 1 through 3 from   Hosea 4 through 14, "in both parts there are the same religious principles and the same urgent and jealous temper"; the same is equally true of   Zechariah 1 through 8 and   Zechariah 9 through 14. Certain similarities are especially noteworthy, e.g. ( a ) an unusually deep, spiritual tone pervades the entire book. The call to a true repentance, first sounded forth in the introduction (  Zechariah 1:1-7 ), is developed more and more throughout the entire 14 chapters; thus, in the sanctifying of Joshua ( Zechariah 3:4 ), in the message to Zerubbabel, "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit" ( Zechariah 4:6 ), in the conditions of future blessing ( Zechariah 6:15 ), in the answer to the Bethel deputation ( Zechariah 7:5-9;  Zechariah 8:16 ff); and in Zechariah 9 through 14, in the consecration of the remnant of the Philistines (  Zechariah 9:7 ), in the blessings to Ephraim ( Zechariah 10:12 ), in the baptism of grace upon Jerusalem ( Zechariah 12:10 ), in the fountain for sin ( Zechariah 13:1 ), in the worship of Yahweh ( Zechariah 13:9 ), in the living waters going forth from Jerusalem ( Zechariah 14:8 ), and in the dedication of everything as holy unto the Lord ( Zechariah 14:20 ,  Zechariah 14:21 ). The tone which tempers these prophecies is an extraordinarily deep and spiritual one throughout. And this argument cannot be set aside by rejecting wholesale certain passages as later interpolations, as is done by Mitchell ( ICC , 242-44). ( b ) There is a similar attitude of hope and expectation in both parts. This is especially important. For example, (i) the return of the whole nation is a prevailing idea of happiness in both parts ( Zechariah 2:6 ,  Zechariah 2:10;  Zechariah 8:7 ,  Zechariah 8:8;  Zechariah 9:12;  Zechariah 10:6 ,  Zechariah 10:7 ). (ii) The expectation that Jerusalem shall be inhabited ( Zechariah 1:16 ,  Zechariah 1:17;  Zechariah 2:4;  Zechariah 8:3 ,  Zechariah 8:8;  Zechariah 12:6;  Zechariah 14:10 ,  Zechariah 14:11 ), (iii) and that the temple shall be built and become the center of the nation's religious life ( Zechariah 1:16 ,  Zechariah 1:17;  Zechariah 3:7;  Zechariah 6:15;  Zechariah 7:2 ,  Zechariah 7:3;  Zechariah 9:8;  Zechariah 14:20 ,  Zechariah 14:21 ). (iv) Messianic hope is peculiarly strong in both ( Zechariah 3:8 ,  Zechariah 3:9;  Zechariah 6:12 ,  Zechariah 6:13;  Zechariah 9:9 ,  Zechariah 9:10;  Zechariah 11:12 ,  Zechariah 11:13;  Zechariah 12:10;  Zechariah 13:1 ,  Zechariah 13:7-9 ). (v) Peace and prosperity are expected ( Zechariah 1:17;  Zechariah 3:10;  Zechariah 6:13;  Zechariah 8:12 ,  Zechariah 8:19;  Zechariah 9:10 ,  Zechariah 9:12-17;  Zechariah 10:1 ,  Zechariah 10:7 ,  Zechariah 10:8 ,  Zechariah 10:10 ,  Zechariah 10:12;  Zechariah 12:8;  Zechariah 14:11 ,  Zechariah 14:16-19 ). (vi) The idea of God's providence as extending to the whole earth ( Zechariah 1:14-17;  Zechariah 2:9 ,  Zechariah 2:12;  Zechariah 4:10;  Zechariah 6:5;  Zechariah 9:1 ,  Zechariah 9:8 ,  Zechariah 9:14;  Zechariah 10:3 ,  Zechariah 10:1 ,  Zechariah 10:9 ,  Zechariah 10:12;  Zechariah 12:2-4 ,  Zechariah 12:8;  Zechariah 13:7;  Zechariah 14:3 ,  Zechariah 14:9 ). Again, ( c ) the prophet's attitude toward Judah is the same in both parts. It is an attitude of supreme regard for Judah's interests, making them second only to the capital ( Zechariah 2:2 ,  Zechariah 2:4 , 16;  Zechariah 8:19;  Zechariah 1:12;  Zechariah 8:13 ,  Zechariah 8:15;  Zechariah 12:2;  Zechariah 14:14;  Zechariah 10:3;  Zechariah 12:4 ,  Zechariah 12:6 ,  Zechariah 12:7;  Zechariah 14:21;  Zechariah 9:9 ,  Zechariah 9:13;  Zechariah 10:6;  Zechariah 11:14;  Zechariah 14:5 ). The prophet's attitude toward the nations, the enemies of theocracy, is the same in both parts. The whole assembled world are the enemies of Israel. But though they have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem ( Zechariah 1:11 ), and are still coming up to besiege Jerusalem ( Zechariah 12:2;  Zechariah 14:2 ), yet they shall be joined to the Lord in that day ( Zechariah 2:11 ) and worship Yahweh like the Jews ( Zechariah 8:20-23;  Zechariah 14:16-19 ). These are all striking instances of similarity in the fundamental ideas of the two parts of the book.

(2) There are peculiarities of thought common to both parts: e.g. ( a ) the habit of dwelling on the same thought (  Zechariah 2:1 ,  Zechariah 2:4 ,  Zechariah 2:5 ,  Zechariah 2:11;  Zechariah 6:12 ,  Zechariah 6:13;  Zechariah 8:4 ,  Zechariah 8:5;  Zechariah 8:21 ,  Zechariah 8:22;  Zechariah 11:8; parallel  Zechariah 13:3;  Zechariah 14:5 ,  Zechariah 14:16 ,  Zechariah 14:18 ,  Zechariah 14:19 ); ( b ) the habit of expanding one fundamental thought into a series of clauses ( Zechariah 6:13;  Zechariah 9:5 ,  Zechariah 9:7;  Zechariah 1:17;  Zechariah 3:8 ,  Zechariah 3:9;  Zechariah 12:4 ); ( c ) the habit of referring to a thought already introduced: e.g. to the "Branch" ( Zechariah 3:8;  Zechariah 6:12 ); "eyes" ( Zechariah 3:9;  Zechariah 4:10 ); measuring "line" ( Zechariah 1:16;  Zechariah 2:5 ,  Zechariah 2:6 ); choosing Jerusalem ( Zechariah 1:17;  Zechariah 2:12;  Zechariah 3:2 ); removing iniquity ( Zechariah 3:9;  Zechariah 5:3 ff;   Zechariah 13:2 ); measurements ( Zechariah 5:2;  Zechariah 14:10 ); colors of horses ( Zechariah 1:8;  Zechariah 6:2 ,  Zechariah 6:6 ); the idea of Israel as a "flock" ( Zechariah 9:16;  Zechariah 10:2;  Zechariah 11:4 f;   Zechariah 13:7 ); idols ( Zechariah 10:2;  Zechariah 13:2 ); shepherds ( Zechariah 11:3 ff;   Zechariah 13:7 ); and of "all nations" ( Zechariah 11:10;  Zechariah 12:3 ff;   Zechariah 14:2 ff); Mitchell in attempting to answer this argument has failed utterly to grasp the point ( ICC , 243); ( d ) the use made of the cardinal number "two"; thus, two olive trees ( Zechariah 4:3 ); two women ( Zechariah 5:9 ); two mountains ( Zechariah 6:1 ); two staves ( Zechariah 11:7 ); two parts ( Zechariah 14:2 ,  Zechariah 14:4 ); with which compare  Zechariah 6:13;  Zechariah 9:12;  Zechariah 14:8; ( e ) the resort in each part of the book to symbolic actions as a mode of instruction; e.g. the coronation scene in  Zechariah 6:9-15 , and the breaking of the two staves in  Zechariah 11:4-14 .

(3) Certain peculiarities of diction and style favor unity of authorship; e.g. the phrase "no man passed through nor returned" ( Zechariah 7:14;  Zechariah 9:8 ) never occurs elsewhere in the Old Testament. The author's preference for and frequent use of vocatives ( Zechariah 2:7 ,  Zechariah 2:10;  Zechariah 3:2 ,  Zechariah 3:8;  Zechariah 4:7;  Zechariah 9:9 ,  Zechariah 9:13;  Zechariah 11:1 ,  Zechariah 11:2;  Zechariah 13:7 ); and especially the frequent alternation of the scriptio plena and the scriprio defectiva orthography in the Hebrew (compare   Zechariah 1:2 ,  Zechariah 1:5 with   Zechariah 1:4 ,  Zechariah 1:6 and   Zechariah 8:14;  Zechariah 2:11 with   Zechariah 5:7;  Zechariah 1:11 with   Zechariah 7:7;  Zechariah 9:5 with   Zechariah 10:5 ,  Zechariah 10:11; and  Zechariah 10:4 with   Zechariah 9:9 ).

Accordingly, we conclude, (1) that  Zechariah 9 through 14 are of post-exilic origin; (2) that they are not, however, late post-exilic; (3) that they had their origin in the period just before the completion of the temple, 516 BC, and (4) that they were probably composed by Zechariah himself.

6. Conclusion:

This conclusion is based upon the text taken as a whole, without an arbitrary dissection of t