Zechariah 7

1 In the fourth year of king Darius, the LORD’s word came to Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Chislev. 2 The people of Bethel sent Sharezer and Regem Melech, and their men, to entreat the LORD’s favour, 3 and to speak to the priests of the house of the LORD of Armies, and to the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?” 4 Then the word of the LORD of Armies came to me, saying, 5 “Speak to all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and in the seventh month for these seventy years, did you at all fast to me, really to me? 6 When you eat, and when you drink, don’t you eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? 7 Aren’t these the words which the LORD proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and its cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?’” 8 the LORD’s word came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus has the LORD of Armies spoken, saying, ‘Execute true judgement, and show kindness and compassion every man to his brother. 10 Don’t oppress the widow, nor the fatherless, the foreigner, nor the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart.’ 11 But they refused to listen, and turned their backs, and stopped their ears, that they might not hear. 12 Yes, they made their hearts as hard as flint, lest they might hear the law, and the words which the LORD of Armies had sent by his Spirit by the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the LORD of Armies. 13 It has come to pass that, as he called, and they refused to listen, so they will call, and I will not listen,” said the LORD of Armies; 14 “but I will scatter them with a whirlwind amongst all the nations which they have not known. Thus the land was desolate after them, so that no man passed through nor returned: for they made the pleasant land desolate.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–7

If we truly desire to know the will of God in doubtful matters, we must not only consult his word and ministers, but seek his direction by fervent prayer. Those who would know God’s mind should consult God’s ministers; and, in doubtful cases, ask advice of those whose special business it is to search the Scriptures. The Jews seemed to question whether they ought to continue their fasts, seeing that the city and temple were likely to be finished. The first answer to their inquiry is a sharp reproof of hypocrisy. These fasts were not acceptable to God, unless observed in a better manner, and to better purpose. There was the form of duty, but no life, or soul, or power in it. Holy exercises are to be done to God, looking to his word as our rule, and his glory as our end, seeking to please him and obtain his favour; but self was the centre of all their actions. And it was not enough to weep on fast days; they should have searched the Scriptures of the prophets, that they might have seen what was the ground of God’s controversy with their fathers. Whether people are in prosperity or adversity, they must be called upon to leave their sins, and to do their duty.

Verses 8–14

God’s judgements upon Israel of old for their sins, were written to warn Christians. The duties required are, not keeping fasts and offering sacrifices, but doing justly and loving mercy, which tend to the public welfare and peace. The law of God lays restraint upon the heart. But they filled their minds with prejudices against the word of God. Nothing is harder than the heart of a presumptuous sinner. See the fatal consequences of this to their fathers. Great sins against the Lord of hosts, bring great wrath from his power, which cannot be resisted. Sin, if regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the success of prayer. The Lord always hears the cry of the broken-hearted penitent; yet all who die impenitent and unbelieving, will find no remedy or refuge from miseries which while here they despised and defied, but which they then will not be able to bear.

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