King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Old Testament > Zechariah > Home

Zechariah 1

An exhortation to repentance. (1-6) A vision of the ministry of angels. (7-17) The security of the Jews and the destruction of their enemies. (18-21)

Zechariah 1 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

An exhortation to repentance

1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.

3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.

4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.

5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

A vision of the ministry of angels

7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.

9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.

10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.

11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.

12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?

13 And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.

14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.

16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

17 Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

The security of the Jews and the destruction of their enemies

18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.

19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters.

21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Barachias adopted him, (1 Esd. v. 1.) or rather Addo was his grandfather.

Ver. 2. Angry, as he has severely chastised them. C.

Ver. 3. Turn ye. Such expressions admonish us of our free-will, and when we answer, convert us, &c. (Lam. v. 11. C.) we confess that God’s grace preventeth us. Trid. Sess. vi. 5. W. — We may resist the Holy Spirit, (H.) and reject his graces. The prophet exhorts the people to lay aside all former negligence, (C.) and proceed with the temple. H. — It had been commenced about two months before. Agg. ii. 1. 16.

Ver. 5. Always. He seems to hint, that after Malachias prophets would be sent no more till Christ should appear; or, that God’s word should be fulfilled (v. 6.) though the prophets were dead. C.

Ver. 6. Fathers. They felt their effects. H. — Returned; being converted by the sight of God’s judgments. Osee iv. 1. and 2 Esd. i. 6.

Ver. 7. Sabath. These names were brought from Chaldea. The month was lunar, and corresponded sometimes with parts of our December and January, at other times with January, or with that and the following month. C.

Ver. 8. A man. An angel in the shape of a man. It was probably S. Michael, the guardian angel of the Church of God. Ch. — It is plain that he was an ange. v. 11. W. — He appears in obscurity, to shew the distress of the nation. C. — Among. Sept. “between two shady mountains.” H.

Ver. 10. These are they, &c. The guardian angels of provinces and nations. Ch. — The Jews believed that each nation had such an angel, who had to give an account to one in higher authority. God proportions his revelation to their ideas.

Ver. 11. Rest. All the country under Michael’s care enjoyed peace, (C.) in the second year of Darius. H. — The red horse implies slaughter. Apoc. vi. 4. It was now repressed. Tournemine.

Ver. 12. The seventieth year; viz. from the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem, in the ninth year of king Sedecias, to the second year of king Darius. These seventy years of the desolation of Jerusalem and the cities of Juda, are different from the seventy years of captivity foretold by Jeremias; which began in the fourth year of Joakim, and ended in the first year of king Cyrus. Ch. — Of these Daniel (ix.) speaks. The temple had also been destroyed now seventy years, (W.) and the angel prays, (H.) while the prophet begs that the people may be inspired to rebuild it. W. — Michael takes occasion from the angels’ report, to beseech the Lord to perfect what had been so well begun. He speaks not expressly of the temple, as Aggeus had prevailed on the people to commence that edifice. They had excused themselves that the time was not come, as they probably dated from the burning of the temple; though its desolation began with the siege, thirty months before. See Jer. xxv. 11. and xxix. 10. C.

Ver. 13. Answered. We have here a proof of the intercession of angel, and of its good effects. H. — In me; revealing God’s will. S. Jer. — Yet it seems to be S. Michael. C. iv. 1. Chal. Theod. C.

Ver. 14. Zeal. I will again treat her as my spouse. H.

Ver. 15. Nations, represented as four horns, v. 18, 19. — Evil, through malice, and thus deserved themselves to be punished. Osee i. 4.

Ver. 16. Line. Soon after Nehemias came to rebuild the city. C.

Ver. 18-20. Four horns,…four smiths. The four horns represent the empires, or kingdoms, that persecute and oppress the people of God: the four smiths or carpenters (for faber may signify either) represent those whom God makes his instruments in bringing to nothing the power of persecutors. Ch. — The Ammonites, &c. on the east, the Philistines on the west, the Idumeans and Egyptians on the south, and the Assyrians and Chaldees on the north, had much molested God’s people, and were therefore punished. W. — The princes of Assyria and of Babylon, the kings of Persia and of Egypt, had all treated them ill; and these four empires have or will be destroyed by four chariots, (C. vi. 1.) Nabopolassar, Cyrus, Alexander, and Antiochus. Dan. vii. 1. &c. S. Jerom, and many who usually follow him, understand the empires of the Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, to be designated by the horns, as the workmen mean the angels who have chastised those nations.

Ver. 21. Every. Heb. “at pleasure; none shall lift,” &c. These kingdoms shall no longer prove formidable. C. — Fray, or “terrify.” Sept. “to sharpen them in their hands. The horns are nations,” &c. H.