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Zechariah 1:1-6

Context
Introduction

1:1 In the eighth month of Darius’ 1  second year, 2  the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah, 3  son of Berechiah son of Iddo, as follows:

1:2 The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. 4  1:3 Therefore say to the people: 5  The Lord who rules over all 6  says, “Turn 7  to me,” says the Lord who rules over all, “and I will turn to you,” says the Lord who rules over all. 1:4 “Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the former prophets called out, saying, ‘The Lord who rules over all says, “Turn now from your evil wickedness,”’ but they would by no means obey me,” says the Lord. 1:5 “As for your ancestors, where are they? And did the prophets live forever? 1:6 But have my words and statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, not outlived your fathers? 8  Then they paid attention 9  and confessed, ‘The Lord who rules over all has indeed done what he said he would do to us, because of our sinful ways.’”

1 sn Darius is Darius Hystaspes, king of Persia from 522-486 b.c.

2 sn The eighth month of Darius’ second year was late October – late November, 520 b.c., by the modern (Julian) calendar. This is two months later than the date of Haggai’s first message to the same community (cf. Hag 1:1).

3 sn Both Ezra (5:1; 6:14) and Nehemiah (12:16) speak of Zechariah as a son of Iddo only. A probable explanation is that Zechariah’s actual father Berechiah had died and the prophet was raised by his grandfather Iddo. The “Zechariah son of Barachiah” of whom Jesus spoke (Matt 23:35; Luke 11:51) was probably the martyred prophet by that name who may have been a grandson of the priest Jehoiada (2 Chr 24:20-22).

4 tn Heb “fathers” (so KJV, NAB); NIV “forefathers” (also in vv. 4, 5).

5 tn Heb “to them”; the referent (the people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 sn The epithet Lord who rules over all occurs frequently as a divine title throughout Zechariah (53 times total). This name (יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, yÿhvah tsÿvaot), traditionally translated “Lord of hosts” (so KJV, NAB, NASB; cf. NIV, NLT “Lord Almighty”; NCV, CEV “Lord All-Powerful”), emphasizes the majestic sovereignty of the Lord, an especially important concept in the postexilic world of great human empires and rulers. For a thorough study of the divine title, see T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 123-57.

7 tn The Hebrew verb שׁוּב (shuv) is common in covenant contexts. To turn from the Lord is to break the covenant and to turn to him (i.e., to repent) is to renew the covenant relationship (cf. 2 Kgs 17:13).

8 tc BHS suggests אֶתְכֶם (’etkhem, “you”) for the MT אֲבֹתֵיכֶם (’avotekhem, “your fathers”) to harmonize with v. 4. In v. 4 the ancestors would not turn but in v. 6 they appear to have done so. The subject in v. 6, however, is to be construed as Zechariah’s own listeners.

9 tn Heb “they turned” (so ASV). Many English versions have “they repented” here; cf. CEV “they turned back to me.”



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