King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Zechariah 7

The captives’ inquiry respecting fasting. (1-7) Sin the cause of their captivity. (8-14)

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The captives’ inquiry respecting fasting

1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;

2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,

3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?

4 Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying,

5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?

6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?

7 Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?

Sin the cause of their captivity

8 And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying,

9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:

10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.

11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.

13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts:

14 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Casleu, in our November or December. C.

Ver. 2. And. Sept. from; (S. Jer.) or, “to Bethel sent Sarasar and Arbesesar, the king and his men, to render the face of the Lord propitious.” H. — These were Persian governors under Darius, (S. Jer.) or Cutheans, (Theod.) or Jews, at a distance from the temple, though in the country. M. —But they seem rather to be some who had not returned. C.

Ver. 3. The fifth month. They fasted on the tenth day of the fifth month; because on that day the temple was burnt. Therefore they inquire whether they are to continue that fast after the temple is rebuilt. See this query answered v. 19 of the following chapter. Ch. — The third of the seventh month (v. 5) was also a fast, on account of the death of Godolias, (C.) during the captivity. 4 K. xxv. 8. 25. W. — Sept. “Has the sanctification entered hither in the fifth month, as they (or I) have done?” &c. H. — Fasting and lamentation are styled sanctification, because they promote it; curatos quoque sanctificat; (S. Jer.) if the proper conditions be observed. H.

Ver. 5. Years, from the ruin of the temple till the fourth of Darius. — Unto me? Did you grieve for the injury done to me; or was your sorrow caused by your own loss? The prophet gives not a direct answer; but sufficiently shews that exterior works of themselves are of little value. Whether the Jews entered into his sentiments or not, they still observe these fasts, though he said they should be changed into days of rejoicing. C. viii. 19. C. — The fast was good, but imperfect, wanting works of charity. S. Greg. W.

Ver. 6. Yourselves, to gratify the senses more than from necessity, and without doing it for God’s glory. H.

Ver. 7. Prophets. He alludes to Is. lviii. 3. See also Jer. xiv. 12. Joel ii. 12. The Jews were always too much attached to the letter, without minding the spirit of the law, being zealous for corporal rather than for spiritual works. — South. Several of these cities were occupied by the Idumeans. — Plain, or Sephala, which afterwards became flourishing and populous. C.

Ver. 9. Judgment. Avoid sinning, when you fast. W.

Ver. 10. Devise. Sept. “wickedly remember in your hearts each one the evil of his brother.” H.

Ver. 11. Depart, so to leave the burden on their partner. Heb. C. — Lit. “giving way;” recedentem. Sixt. V. recedentes. Sept. “they gave a contemptuous back,” (H.) like a slave, whom the whip cannot correct.

Ver. 12. As, &c. Heb. “of Samir;” a stone used to polish jewels. Sept. “disobedient.”

Ver. 13. So shall. It seems the past time would be preferable; as Theodoret, S. Cyr. &c. understand it. C. — Yet the Jews, whom the prophet addressed, were also reprehensible; and they or their posterity felt the effects of God’s indignation, when he scattered them throughout the world, as we see at present. Sept. have the future; but Prot. the past tense, “they cried,” &c. H.