Zechariah 7

The Word Made Fresh

1In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah. This was on the fourth day of Chislev, the ninth month. 2The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melech and their men to seek the LORD’s help. 3They asked the priests and prophets in the LORD Almighty’s house, “Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month as has been the practice for years?”

4Then I received the word of the LORD Almighty: 5“Ask the people and the priests, ‘Did you fast and mourn for me in the fifth and seventh months for the last seventy years? 6Or when you eat and drink is it only for yourselves?’ 7Wasn’t this what the LORD told us through the prophets when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous along with the surrounding towns, and when the Negeb and Shephelah were inhabited?”

8Zechariah received this word from the LORD: 9“Pronounce honest judgments. Be kind and merciful to one another. 10Don’t trouble widows and orphans, nor foreigners nor the poor. Don’t plan evil things in your heart for one another.”

11But they wouldn’t listen and turned a deaf ear 12and hardened their hearts so they wouldn’t hear the law and the instructions the LORD Almighty had sent through the prophets of long ago. That is why the LORD Almighty was filled with great anger 13and said “When I called they refused to listen, so when they called I refused to hear them. 14I scattered them like the wind among all those nations that were foreign to them. That is why the land was left empty. That is why no one entered or departed, and the beautiful land was abandoned.


1-7: About two years later the people at Bethel (one of the pagan shrine sites set up by Jeroboam to worship the golden calves — see 1 Kings 12:25-29) send an envoy to ask the priests if they should continue their practice of fasting in the fifth month. God’s word through Zechariah is that their fasting as well as their eating has not been for God in the first place, but rather “for themselves,” meaning that they were not sincere in their participation in the rituals.

8-14: Justice, kindness, and mercy is what God wants rather than fasting (see Micah 6:8). God wanted them to treat one another well, especially those who were poor and outcast. They wouldn’t listen, and therefore God “scattered them like the wind among all those nations,” a reference to the destruction of Samaria and the kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians.


It is a good question to ask ourselves: do we worship for what we receive from it – or is our worship for the LORD?