Reading for November 14th

Zechariah 6-10 (Listen)

A Vision of Four Chariots

Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four chariots came out from between two mountains. And the mountains were mountains of bronze. The first chariot had red horses, the second black horses, the third white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled horses—all of them strong. Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” And the angel answered and said to me, “These are going out to the four winds of heaven, after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth. The chariot with the black horses goes toward the north country, the white ones go after them, and the dappled ones go toward the south country.” When the strong horses came out, they were impatient to go and patrol the earth. And he said, “Go, patrol the earth.” So they patrolled the earth. Then he cried to me, “Behold, those who go toward the north country have set my Spirit at rest in the north country.”

The Crown and the Temple

And the word of the Lord came to me: “Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’ And the crown shall be in the temple of the Lord as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.

“And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the Lord. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

A Call for Justice and Mercy

In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev. Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to entreat the favor of the Lord, saying to the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts and the prophets, “Should I weep and abstain in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: “Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? Were not these the words that the Lord proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?”

And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.”

The Coming Peace and Prosperity of Zion

And the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the Lord of hosts? Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.”

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Let your hands be strong, you who in these days have been hearing these words from the mouth of the prophets who were present on the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the Lord of hosts. For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”

For thus says the Lord of hosts: “As I purposed to bring disaster to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the Lord of hosts, so again have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not. These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.”

And the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’ Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

Judgment on Israel's Enemies

The oracle of the word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrach

and Damascus is its resting place.

For the Lord has an eye on mankind

and on all the tribes of Israel,

and on Hamath also, which borders on it,

Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.

Tyre has built herself a rampart

and heaped up silver like dust,

and fine gold like the mud of the streets.

But behold, the Lord will strip her of her possessions

and strike down her power on the sea,

and she shall be devoured by fire.

 

Ashkelon shall see it, and be afraid;

Gaza too, and shall writhe in anguish;

Ekron also, because its hopes are confounded.

The king shall perish from Gaza;

Ashkelon shall be uninhabited;

a mixed people shall dwell in Ashdod,

and I will cut off the pride of Philistia.

I will take away its blood from its mouth,

and its abominations from between its teeth;

it too shall be a remnant for our God;

it shall be like a clan in Judah,

and Ekron shall be like the Jebusites.

Then I will encamp at my house as a guard,

so that none shall march to and fro;

no oppressor shall again march over them,

for now I see with my own eyes.

 

The Coming King of Zion

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is coming to you;

righteous and having salvation is he,

humble and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim

and the war horse from Jerusalem;

and the battle bow shall be cut off,

and he shall speak peace to the nations;

his rule shall be from sea to sea,

and from the River to the ends of the earth.

As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,

I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;

today I declare that I will restore to you double.

For I have bent Judah as my bow;

I have made Ephraim its arrow.

I will stir up your sons, O Zion,

against your sons, O Greece,

and wield you like a warrior's sword.

 

The Lord Will Save His People

Then the Lord will appear over them,

and his arrow will go forth like lightning;

the Lord God will sound the trumpet

and will march forth in the whirlwinds of the south.

The Lord of hosts will protect them,

and they shall devour, and tread down the sling stones,

and they shall drink and roar as if drunk with wine,

and be full like a bowl,

drenched like the corners of the altar.

 

On that day the Lord their God will save them,

as the flock of his people;

for like the jewels of a crown

they shall shine on his land.

For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty!

Grain shall make the young men flourish,

and new wine the young women.

 

The Restoration for Judah and Israel

Ask rain from the Lord

in the season of the spring rain,

from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,

and he will give them showers of rain,

to everyone the vegetation in the field.

For the household gods utter nonsense,

and the diviners see lies;

they tell false dreams

and give empty consolation.

Therefore the people wander like sheep;

they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd.

 

“My anger is hot against the shepherds,

and I will punish the leaders;

for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah,

and will make them like his majestic steed in battle.

From him shall come the cornerstone,

from him the tent peg,

from him the battle bow,

from him every ruler—all of them together.

They shall be like mighty men in battle,

trampling the foe in the mud of the streets;

they shall fight because the Lord is with them,

and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.

 

“I will strengthen the house of Judah,

and I will save the house of Joseph.

I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,

and they shall be as though I had not rejected them,

for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them.

Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior,

and their hearts shall be glad as with wine.

Their children shall see it and be glad;

their hearts shall rejoice in the Lord.

 

“I will whistle for them and gather them in,

for I have redeemed them,

and they shall be as many as they were before.

Though I scattered them among the nations,

yet in far countries they shall remember me,

and with their children they shall live and return.

I will bring them home from the land of Egypt,

and gather them from Assyria,

and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon,

till there is no room for them.

He shall pass through the sea of troubles

and strike down the waves of the sea,

and all the depths of the Nile shall be dried up.

The pride of Assyria shall be laid low,

and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.

I will make them strong in the Lord,

and they shall walk in his name,”

declares the Lord.