In the eighth month of the second year that Darius was emperor of Persia, the LORD gave this message to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah and grandson of Iddo. 2The LORD Almighty told Zechariah to say to the people, “I, the LORD, was very angry with your ancestors, 3but now I say to you, ‘Return to me, and I will return to you. 4Do not be like your ancestors. Long ago the prophets gave them my message, telling them not to live evil, sinful lives any longer. But they would not listen to me or obey me. 5Your ancestors and those prophets are no longer alive. 6Through my servants the prophets I gave your ancestors commands and warnings, but they disregarded them and suffered the consequences. Then they repented and acknowledged that I, the LORD Almighty, had punished them as they deserved and as I had determined to do.’ ”
7In the second year that Darius was emperor, on the 24th day of the eleventh month (the month of Shebat), the LORD gave me a message in a vision at night. 8
I saw someone riding a red horse. He had stopped among some myrtle trees in a valley, and behind him were other horses — red, dappled, and white. 9I asked him, “Sir, what do these horses mean?”
He answered, “I will show you what they mean. 10The LORD sent them to go and inspect the earth.”
11They reported to the angel: “We have been all over the world and have found that the whole world lies helpless and subdued.”
12Then the angel said, “Almighty LORD, you have been angry with Jerusalem and the cities of Judah for seventy years now. How much longer will it be before you show them mercy?”
13The LORD answered the angel with comforting words, 14and the angel told me to proclaim what the LORD Almighty had said: “I have a deep love and concern for Jerusalem, my holy city, 15and I am very angry with the nations that enjoy quiet and peace. For while I was holding back my anger against my people, those nations made the sufferings of my people worse. 16So I have come back to Jerusalem to show mercy to the city. My Temple will be restored, and the city will be rebuilt.”
17The angel also told me to proclaim: “The LORD Almighty says that his cities will be prosperous again and that he will once again help Jerusalem and claim the city as his own.”
18In another vision I saw four ox horns. 19I asked the angel that had been speaking to me, “What do these horns mean?”
He answered, “They stand for the world powers that have scattered the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
20Then the LORD showed me four workers with hammers. 21I asked, “What have they come to do?”
He answered, “They have come to terrify and overthrow the nations that completely crushed the land of Judah and scattered its people.”
21In another vision I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2“Where are you going?” I asked.
“To measure Jerusalem,” he answered, “to see how long and how wide it is.”
3Then I saw the angel who had been speaking to me step forward, and another angel came to meet him. 4The first one said to the other, “Run and tell that young man with the measuring line that there are going to be so many people and so much livestock in Jerusalem that it will be too big to have walls. 5The LORD has promised that he himself will be a wall of fire round the city to protect it and that he will live there in all his glory.”
6-7The LORD said to his people, “I scattered you in all directions. But now, you exiles, escape from Babylonia and return to Jerusalem. 8Anyone who strikes you strikes what is most precious to me.”
So the LORD Almighty2.8 Hebrew has two additional words, the meaning of which is unclear. sent me with this message for the nations that had plundered his people: 9“The LORD himself will fight against you, and you will be plundered by the people who were once your servants.”
When this happens, everyone will know that the LORD Almighty sent me.
10The LORD said, “Sing for joy, people of Jerusalem! I am coming to live among you!”
11At that time many nations will come to the LORD and become his people. He will live among you, and you will know that he has sent me to you. 12Once again Judah will be the special possession of the LORD in his sacred land, and Jerusalem will be the city he loves most of all.
13Be silent, everyone, in the presence of the LORD, for he is coming from his holy dwelling place.
In another vision the LORD showed me the High Priest Joshua standing before the angel of the LORD. And there beside Joshua stood Satan,3.1 Satan: A supernatural being whose name indicates he was regarded as the opponent of human beings. ready to bring an accusation against him. 2
The angel of the LORD3.2 One ancient translation The angel of the LORD; Hebrew The LORD. said to Satan, “May the LORD condemn you, Satan! May the LORD, who loves Jerusalem, condemn you. This man is like a stick snatched from the fire.”
3Joshua was standing there, wearing filthy clothes. 4The angel said to his heavenly attendants, “Take away the filthy clothes this man is wearing.” Then he said to Joshua, “I have taken away your sin and will give you new clothes to wear.”
5He commanded the attendants to put3.5 Some ancient translations He commanded the attendants to put; Hebrew I said, “Let them put. a clean turban on Joshua's head. They did so, and then they put the new clothes on him while the angel of the LORD stood there.
6Then the angel told Joshua that 7the LORD Almighty had said: “If you obey my laws and perform the duties I have assigned to you, then you will continue to be in charge of my Temple and its courts, and I will hear your prayers, just as I hear the prayers of the angels who are in my presence. 8
Listen then, Joshua, you who are the High Priest; and listen, you fellow-priests of his, you that are the sign of a good future: I will reveal my servant, who is called The Branch! 9I am placing in front of Joshua a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, and in a single day I will take away the sin of this land. 10
When that day comes, each of you will invite his neighbour to come and enjoy peace and security, surrounded by your vineyards and fig trees.”