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Book of Zechariah

I. Historical Background. Zechariah was the grandson of Iddo, the head of one of the priestly families that returned from the Exile (Neh.12.4, Neh.12.16). Twenty years after the return, the temple still lay a blackened ruin, and the discouraged people did not see how it could be restored. At this critical moment God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the Jews to rebuild the temple. The prophecies of the two men were delivered almost at the same time. Haggai appeared first, in August 520 b.c., and within a month after his appeal was made the foundation of the temple was laid. Soon after, Zechariah uttered his first prophecy (Zech.1.1-Zech.1.6). Haggai finished his recorded prophecies the same year. The following year Zechariah gave a message consisting of eight symbolic visions, with an appendix (Zech.1.7-Zech.6.15). Two years later he gave a third message in answer to an inquiry by the men of Bethel regarding the observance of a fast. The two prophecies found in Zech.9.1-Zech.9.17-Zech.14.1-Zech.14.21 are not dated and were probably given at a much later period.

II. Contents.

A. Zech.1.1-Zech.1.21-Zech.8.1-Zech.8.23. Messages delivered on three separate occasions.

1. Zech.1.1-Zech.1.6. A general introduction.

2. Zech.1.7-Zech.6.15. A series of eight symbolic night visions, followed by a coronation scene. These visions were intended to encourage the Israelites to complete the temple.

a. The horsemen among the myrtle trees. They patrol the earth for the Lord and bring him reports from all parts of the earth (Zech.1.8-Zech.1.17). The purpose of the vision is to assure the Israelites of God’s special care for and interest in them.

b. The four horns and the four craftsmen (Zech.1.18-Zech.1.21) teach that Israel’s enemies are now destroyed and there is no longer any opposition to the building of God’s house.

c. The man with a measuring line (Zech.2.1-Zech.2.13) teaches that Jerusalem will expand till it outgrows its walls, and God will be its best defense.

d. Joshua, the high priest, clad in filthy garments, which represent the sins of himself and the people, is cleansed and given charge of the temple. He is a type of the future Messiah-Branch who will take away all iniquity (Zech.3.1-Zech.3.10).

e. A seven-branched lampstand fed by two olive trees teaches that the people of God will receive God’s grace through their spiritual and temporal leaders, through whose efforts the prosperity of the nation will be accomplished (Zech.4.1-Zech.4.14).

f. A flying scroll (Zech.5.1-Zech.5.4) teaches that the land will be purified from wickedness when the temple is built and God’s law taught.

g. A woman (typifying the besetting sins of Israel) is carried off in a basket to the land of Babylon (Zech.5.5-Zech.5.11), teaching that God not only forgives the sins of his people but carries them away from their land.

h. Four war chariots go forth to protect God’s people (Zech.6.1-Zech.6.8), teaching God’s protective providence.

These visions are followed by a scene in which a party of Jews has just come from Babylon with silver and gold for the temple. Zechariah is instructed to take part of it and make a crown for the high priest, a type of the Messiah-Branch who is to be both Priest and King to his people.

3. Zech.7.1-Zech.7.14-Zech.8.1-Zech.8.23 were spoken two years later than the series of visions described above and represent Zechariah’s answer to the questions put to him by certain visitors as to whether the fasts observed in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem should still be kept. The reply is no; for God demands not fasts, but observance of moral laws. God has come to dwell with his people; and even the heathen will desire to worship God in Jerusalem.

B. Zech.9.1-Zech.9.17-Zech.14.1-Zech.14.21. This is made up of two distinct prophecies, without dates.

1. Zech.9.1-Zech.9.17-Zech.11.1-Zech.11.17. God will visit the nations in judgment and his people in mercy. The Prince of Peace will come and confound the evil shepherds, but he will be rejected by the flock, and they will consequently again experience suffering.

2. Zech.12.1-Zech.12.14-Zech.14.1-Zech.14.21. A prophecy describing the victories of the new age and the coming Day of the Lord. Three apocalyptic pictures are presented: (1) Jerusalem will be saved from a siege by her enemies by the intervention of the Lord. (2) A remnant of Israel will be saved. (3) The nations will come to Jerusalem to share in the joyous Feast of Tabernacles, and all will enjoy the blessings of God’s kingdom.

Bibliography: David Baran, The Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah, 1919; J. G. Baldwin, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (TOTC), 1972.——SB

ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF (זְכַרְיָ֥ה, זְכַרְיָ֨הוּ, “God has remembered”; LXX Ζαχαρίας, G2408). This prophecy was the eleventh in a collection of a dozen short books known as the twelve Minor Prophets, coming at the end of the second division of the Heb. canon of Scripture. The Book of Zechariah emerged from the immediate postexilic period, and is therefore a valuable source of information about a phase of Jewish history which is deficient in extra-Biblical documentation.


The historical situation underlying the Book of Zechariah is identical with that which gave rise to the oracles of Haggai. Both men were contemporaries, and were mentioned together in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14. Although they were the first two prophets to be named as living and working in Judaea after the return from exile in Babylonia in 537 b.c., they were not actually mentioned until 520 b.c. Consequently it has sometimes been supposed that they had returned to Pal. with a fresh group of repatriates about that time, and were provoked by the demoralized condition of the populace into the kind of prophetic activity recorded in their books. However, there appears to be no evidence for this supposition, and it is far more probable that both Haggai and Zechariah were still children when their parents returned to the homeland in 537 b.c. If this were actually the case, Zechariah would have grown to manhood amidst the spirit of apathy, indifference and neglect of spiritual priorities which characterized the period of the return between 537 and 520 b.c. If Zechariah were in fact a young adult when he began to prophesy, it is quite probable that he himself was the individual referred to as “that young man” (Zech 2:4).

The proclamation of the edict of Cyrus in 538 by which expatriate groups held captive in Mesopotamia during the neo-Babylonian regime (612-539 b.c.) were permitted to return to their ancestral homes and pick up the threads of their former life, must have raised high hopes in the minds of the faithful Jewish remnant in Babylonia. Inspired by the utterances and personal example of Ezekiel, the prospect of renewing a covenant relationship with God in the land of their fathers can hardly have failed to stimulate great interest in the future of a restored community. What the exiles had apparently reckoned without, however, was the sense of despair and disillusionment which quickly ensued when they saw the way in which Jerusalem had been desolated. Little that was of any value was intact, and the ruined walls made it possible for those elements of the Samaritans, Edomites and Arab tribes which lived in the vicinity to wander in and out of the city at will.

It seems highly probable that the exiles who returned to Judaea were far from wealthy, their more affluent countrymen having elected for the most part to remain behind in Babylonia when the summons to return to Pal. was proclaimed. Since there were almost no capital resources upon which the repatriates could draw, they were forced to eke out a scanty existence, living precariously from day to day on the products of a ruined and inhospitable terrain, and open always to the depredations of their enemies. Not unnaturally, the first concern of the repatriates was for shelter for their families, but by the time that they had built their houses among the ruins their enthusiasm for such ambitious constructional projects as a new Temple or a defensive wall around Jerusalem had been dissipated. The most immediate need was for inspired leadership, which would place the emphasis upon spiritual priorities and lead to a revival of community life in the theocracy. It was to this forbidding task that Haggai and Zechariah were called in 520 b.c. While the former furnished the initial impetus for laying the foundation of the second Temple, the latter helped materially toward the completion of the project by giving a larger spiritual dimension to the restored theocracy through his prophetic oracles. While Zechariah was concerned with the immediacy of the social and spiritual situation in the Judaea of 520 b.c., his oracles and visions made it clear that the community of repatriated exiles would exercise still further in the future an influence of untold importance, provided always that spiritual priorities were observed. His message was one of hope and promise at a time when the situation in Judaea could hardly have appeared worse.


There has been a good deal of scholarly discussion relating to the unity and homogeneity of the Book of Zechariah. The fourteen chs. of the extant work fall quite naturally into two main divisions, consisting of chs. 1-8 and 9-14. It would appear that the visions contained in the first section had been put together in some definite arrangement, since while the first and the last are independent in nature, the remainder seem to have been grouped in pairs intentionally. It is possible that Zechariah was following the bifid style of composition popularly used in antiquity, in which a work was compiled in two balanced halves, both of which reproduced faithfully the thought of the author, and which could therefore be circulated independently of one another if the need arose. Whether that was actually the case or not, the first division gives the undoubted impression of being a self-contained and homogeneous literary unit, proceeding from Zechariah as the author.

Some writers have also depreciated the unity of the prophecy by pointing out that chs. 9-14 of the book are closely associated in form with the Book of Malachi, which followed it immediately in the Heb. canon, through the use of the superscriptions of Zechariah 9:1; 12:1 and Malachi 1:1 in which the technical Heb. term for “oracle” occurs. Because of the relationship of these passages it has been assumed by certain scholars that the three sections thus introduced by the term “oracle” originally belonged together, but that the editor of the twelve Minor Prophets destroyed their unity by separating the Book of Malachi in its extant form in order to enlarge the number of minor prophets to twelve. Against this general view is the fact that other prophets, esp. Isaiah, used the term “oracle” in precisely the manner of Zechariah in passages of undisputed authenticity. Furthermore, it would be difficult to see why Malachi should have been separated from the prophetic material in the manner suggested and attributed to an individual composer, whereas the other oracles were not. While it may be thought that there are cogent reasons for supposing that the prophecy was compiled by more than one author, there are equally compelling ones for accepting the unity of composition by Zechariah himself.


The attributive author of the prophecy was Zechariah, named “Zacharias” in the LXX and Vul., a contemporary of the 6th cent. b.c. prophet Haggai. The name Zechariah was quite common in Heb. society, and in the OT over thirty individuals were given this cognomen. According to the superscription of the prophecy, the author was the son (more accurately “grandson”) of Iddo, the latter being one of the heads of priestly families which returned to Judaea after the exile. Hence, Zechariah himself was most prob. a priest, and may even have functioned as a prophet in the cultus. There are good reasons for believing that he was a young adult when he commenced prophesying, an event which began two months after his contemporary Haggai had concluded his final utterance. Thus the beginning of his work can be dated quite accurately from the superscription (1:1) in October-November of 520 b.c. He seems to have prophesied for a longer period than Haggai, functioning for as long as two years according to the dates in Zechariah 1:1 and 7:1, and possibly longer. The first section of the prophecy named Zechariah as the author and furnished specific dates for his activity, the period covered by Ezra 5:1-6:22. If chs. 9-14 were written by someone other than Zechariah, the identity of this individual cannot be determined either by internal or external evidence.


From the superscription it is possible to date the beginning of the prophetic activity of Zechariah at the end of 520 b.c., two months after Haggai began his work in Jerusalem. If the prophecy is a unity, the oracles were delivered between 520 and 518 b.c., and perhaps even later. Precisely how soon the prophecy appeared in its extant form is hard to say, but there was prob. only a short interval between the oral and written VSS. The position of the work as an integral part of the Minor Prophets in the second section of the Heb. Canon would suggest that the written form appeared within the lifetime of the prophet, and was accepted as canonical before the days of Malachi (c. 450 b.c.).

Place of origin.

As with the prophecy of Haggai, the oracles of Zechariah originated in Jerusalem in connection with the social and religious situation with which the prophet was confronted in 520 b.c. If it is assumed that chs. 9-14 were the work of a “deutero-Zechariah,” it might be possible to posit some other place than Jerusalem as the point of origin of at least certain of these utterances. A location outside Judaea would be unlikely because of the concerns of the author for the Messianic kingdom. In the light of the proposed unity of authorship it seems best to regard Jerusalem as the place where the prophecy originated.


The oracles of Zechariah were meant for the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judaea. In the earlier chs. his utterances were concerned with the Temple and the priesthood as well as with the civil government, though throughout the book his concern was with the nature and development of the theocracy. Whatever view is adopted about the authorship of the later chs., there can be no doubt about the destination of the material as a whole.


The conditions of apathy, neglect and despair which Zechariah encountered among the repatriated exiles in 520 b.c. furnished the occasion of the prophecy. With his contemporary Haggai he was called to give that kind of spiritual leadership which would regenerate the theocracy, recall it to its true vocation, and guide it toward its destiny as the living witness of God in the world. If the prophetic ministry of Zechariah extended over many years, the original occasion would be subsumed under the larger purpose of the spiritual and social development of the theocracy in Judaea.


As was the case with Haggai, the primary concern of Zechariah was the establishing of spiritual priorities in the life of the returned community. The lax attitude which the priests manifested toward their duties was matched among the laity by an indifference to the claims of the covenant relationship upon their lives, and even more seriously by a flagrant disregard for the moral prescriptions of the Mosaic Torah. Zechariah saw that the prosperity of the theocracy depended upon a proper relationship between the covenant people and their God. However keenly the repatriates felt about the injustices of life, it was evident that submission, penitence, and cleansing from sin must precede the outpouring of divine blessing. It was the avowed aim of Zechariah to establish the fundamental importance of this principle in the minds of the returned exiles, and to see that it operated at both religious and civil levels. Once this had been achieved satisfactorily it would be possible for the larger Messianic purposes of the theocracy to be satisfied.


The Book of Zechariah came last in the list of the twelve Minor Prophets, with which the second section of the Heb. canon closed. At no time in the history of later Judaism or in the early Christian period were doubts ever raised as to the canonicity of the prophecy. It was valued in the Primitive Church because of its Messianic teachings and the way in which the work was used by NT authors (Matt 21:1-11; cf. Zech 9:9, 10; Matt 26:14-16; cf. Zech 11:12).



As noted above, the extant prophecy falls readily into two principal sections:

Dated prophecies

(a) 1:1-6. Introduction and call to repentance, in which the prophet established his identity and pleaded with the repatriated Jews to return to the Lord. In particular he begged them to learn the lessons of past experience and avoid the misdeeds of their forebears.

(b) 1:7-17. The first vision, of four horsemen whose task it was to traverse the earth and report on existing conditions to the angel of the Lord. In this instance they stated that there were no political disturbances anywhere in the empire. Whereupon the angel interceded with God on behalf of desolated Jerusalem, and received a promise that He would soon “comfort Zion” and restore the city of Jerusalem.

(c) 1:18-21 (Heb 2:1-4). This short section contained the second vision, in which Zechariah saw four horns, symbolizing the foreign powers which had destroyed the Israelites. Four blacksmiths were also present in the vision, and to them was given the task of breaking the horns into pieces, indicating that those nations which had oppressed the Hebrews in former times would themselves be humbled.

(d) 2:1-13 (Heb 2:5-17). In the third vision the prophet was given a promise of great future prosperity for Jerusalem. The repatriates would be exalted above their former enemies, and life in the theocracy would be characterized by the divine presence in the midst of the people. This would be so notable a feature that it would attract many Gentile peoples to the service of the Lord.

(e) 3:1-7. The fourth vision of Zechariah revealed Joshua the high priest clothed in dirty attire and subjected to temptation by Satan. Because Jerusalem had been chosen by God for future blessing it was imperative for Joshua, as the representative of the people, to be cleansed ceremonially and fitted for his new spiritual responsibilities. Accordingly he was decked out in clean garments and a turban, and was then assured that he had been cleansed. Zechariah 3:8-10 comprised an oracle addressed subsequently to Joshua concerning the Branch (Messiah) and the engraved stone. Having been given the oversight of the civil and religious life in the theocracy, he was promised special access to God.

(f) 4:1-14. The fifth vision, in which the angel showed Zechariah a seven-branched lampstand fed by living branches from two olive trees, was accompanied by an interpretation. The lampstand represented the house of Israel, the seven lamps were the “eyes of God,” while the two olive trees symbolized an unfailing source of divine grace. Here the promise of God extended beyond Joshua to Zerubbabel, and assured him that the obstacles which hindered the building of the kingdom of God would only be removed by the divine spirit through grace. Zerubbabel would be privileged to see the completion of the Temple in all its splendor, even though at the time the oracle was uttered the people were passing through a day of small things.

(g) 5:1-4. In his sixth vision Zechariah saw a flying roll containing judgment upon thieves and perjurers. It would traverse the land and bring the punishment of God upon all the evildoers in the community.

(h) 5:5-11. The seventh vision of Zechariah showed the ephah, a container for measuring dry goods and equal to four gallons in liquid capacity, in which a woman was seated. Symbolic of wickedness, she was sealed inside the ephah by means of a lead stopper, and was transported to Shinar. This vision symbolized the eradication of iniquity from the theocracy and its banishment to Babylonia, the place of all evil as far as the repatriates were concerned.

(i) 6:1-8. In his eighth vision Zechariah saw four horse-drawn chariots, which as agents of God kept the world under surveillance. These four celestial spirits reported that all was quiet within the bounds of the empire, indicating that the world was once more at peace and under the direct control of God (cf. Zech 1:7-17).

(j) 6:9-15. A historical section which narrated the consecration of Joshua as symbolic of the Branch (Messiah), who built the Temple and who ruled as king and priest in the theocracy. Unlike their ancestors the members of the restored community would live in obedience to their God and at peace with each other.

(k) 7:1-8:23. Another historical section containing an oracle of Zechariah relating to the question of whether there should be fasting to commemorate the fall of Jerusalem in 597 b.c. The people were informed that a special quality of life rather than indulgence in mechanical actions is what God desires of the repatriates. If they will observe high moral, ethical, and spiritual standards, they can expect the blessing of God upon their community life. Jerusalem will experience a degree of prosperity unknown in her long history, and so conspicuous will the theocracy become in contemporary society that other nations will be attracted in a powerful manner to the Jewish way of life.

Undated prophecies.

(a) 9:1-17. The first of two sections whose superscription contains the word massā' or “oracle.” It deals with the impending judgment of God upon the cities of Syria, Phoenicia, and Philistia. Great devastation would be wrought against these neighbors of the house of Israel, and in particular the remnants of Philistia would be incorporated into the province of Judaea. Becoming Jewish by adoption, they would present no further threat to the security of the Jews. The Temple would then be enfolded in the protecting presence of God, and the Messianic prince would enter Jerusalem in triumphal procession to institute a reign of peace and prosperity, quelling in the meantime any threats to the well-being of the theocracy from such invaders as the Greeks.

(b) 10:1-12. This section comprises an oracle denouncing the foreign rulers of Judah, described as “shepherds,” who will be forced to yield to the superior strength of the divine leader as He gathers in His flock. The oracle foretold the downfall of the foreign overlords at the hands of the Jews, and predicted that the latter would be restored to their own land from the countries to which they had been scattered. The reference to the cornerstone (v. 4), tent peg and battle bow, may perhaps be a threefold allusion to the Messiah.

(c) 11:1-17. This oracle distinguished between the good and foolish shepherds, and described the way in which the flock of God had suffered at their hands. The good shepherd confounds the schemes of the evil shepherds, but is rejected by the flock. As a result, the flock endures affliction under yet another evil shepherd. In this utterance the prophet Zechariah foresaw that the much hoped-for theocratic relationship between God and His people would be marked by serious blemishes. With the breaking of the two staffs, Graciousness and Unifying Bond, would ultimately come the end of national unity. Unfaithfulness to the covenant obligations would result in the rule of a “worthless shepherd” in the theocracy, for which the people would have to shoulder the blame.

(d) 12:1-13:6. This section comprised an oracle of an eschatological nature which in general terms depicted the Israelites returning to God at some time in the future. The city of Jerusalem had been beset on all sides by powerful armies of Gentile origin, but suddenly the inhabitants of the city saw the hand of God operating against their foes, and they joined in the defense of Jerusalem with new vigor. Victory would be followed by national mourning, and this in turn would give rise to repentance and purification. Prophets would be repudiated because they had been unfaithful to their vocation, and rigid standards of morality would finally produce a people acceptable to God.

(e) 13:7-14:21. This section continued the theme of purification for the nation of Israel, with equally strong eschatological emphases. In the last great assault of heathen armies upon Jerusalem, half of the city would be taken captive. When all seemed lost the Lord would intervene to secure victory for His people and establish His rule on earth. The Jews would have learned through these events to acknowledge the overlordship of God, and the concluding section of the oracle outlined the blessings of the newly-established divine kingdom. The Jews would make an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem at the feast of Tabernacles, and the covenantal ideal of holiness to the Lord would be the hallmark of life in the community.


The thought of Zechariah, like that of his contemporary Haggai, depended to a large extent upon that of his predecessors. However it is incorrect on that account to dismiss the writings of Zechariah as being either obscure apocalypticism or unoriginal prophetism. He began to prophecy at a time when zeal for the ideals of the theocracy had reached a very low ebb, and was being revived by the vigorous teachings of Haggai. Since his prophetic vocation began as a continuation of his contemporary’s efforts, it is hardly to be expected that there would be significant theological differences between the two men as far as the immediate task of reconstructing the theocratic community was concerned. For Haggai and Zechariah the situation resolved itself into a question of priorities, and in their thought a reconstructed and functioning Temple was by far the most important material consideration. They were also firmly convinced that the returned community could continue to exist only in so far as it exemplified the ideals of the covenant relationship, and a proper form of worship was for them the outward expression of that state of inward holiness which God demanded of His people. Zechariah, however, had a clearer vision of the dangers involved in cultic formalism, for he was concerned more than Haggai about the great need for the individual to commit himself consciously to the claims of God upon his life, and to foster the ideals of the covenant in the community through strict obedience to the divine will.

His wide outlook over the world of his day can be seen in his eschatology, which has pronounced Messianic overtones. There are distinctly nationalistic aspects in his thought, of course, with its expectation of the triumph of his people over the Gentile nations, but his broader prophetic vision contemplated a time when Jew and Gentile would gather together in a spirit of faith and devotion to worship God in the Temple at Jerusalem. Like Isaiah and the other prophets Zechariah placed the scene of the final redemption of humanity in this world. While it would be continuous with the present historical order, it would differ, for such factors as evil, wrongdoing and suffering would not exist. This state of grace would be ushered in through the personage of the Messiah, who would in fact establish and rule over the new kingdom. As with other prophets, Zechariah saw the final stage in the process as the cleansing of Jerusalem from sin and the restoration of the community to continuing peace and prosperity. This kind of prophetic apocalyptic is well attested in the OT, and contains nothing which is illegitimate or particularly unusual.

The later chs. of the prophecy need to be seen in the light of such a theological outlook, esp. those sections which point to a Messianic figure. It has been popular in some quarters to see in Zechariah 9:8, 15 and 12:10 allusions to some historical personage, whether in the time of Zechariah or in some other period up to and including the Maccabean age. This approach fails to appreciate the Messianic concepts inherent in the thought of Zechariah, and in the end becomes in itself merely an exercise in subjectivity. The peaceful prince of the concluding chs. who would usher in the blessings of the kingdom is already present in the eschatology of such prophets as Isaiah, who entertained similar sequences for the future of his people. Finally, it was precisely because the members of the Early Christian Church were awaiting the “consolation of Israel” that they were able to assign with such confidence a Messianic interpretation to passages such as Zechariah 9:9; 11:12, 13; 12:10 and 13:7.

Even though Zechariah was concerned for the well-being and prosperity of the theocracy, his very apocalypticism cast a shadow of doubt upon the future. The prophetic oracle of 11:4-14, which presents considerable difficulties of interpretation, seems to imply that God knew that His flock was doomed to almost complete extinction at the hands of their enemies. The fact that such a fate would be nothing less than they deserved did not alter the ultimate state of affairs for the prophet. The symbolic breaking of the two pastoral staffs named Beauty and Unifying Bond had an awesome eschatological ring about it, pointing as it would appear to do to the end of the relationship between God and His people. Even this prospect did not dismay the prophet entirely, for he was sufficiently grounded in the theology of the covenant to realize that if the holiness of the theocracy began to approximate to that of its Lord, the prospect of destruction would be averted and the blessings of peace and prosperity would be secured for all time.


H. G. Mitchell, ICC (1912); D. Baron, Vision and Prophecies of Zechariah (1918); E. Sellin, KAT (1929); F. Horst, HAT (1954); T. Winton Thomas, IB (1956), IV, 1053-1088; W. Neil, IDB (1962), IV, 943-947; R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the OT (1968), 949-957.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

1. The Prophet

2. His Times and Mission

3. Contents and Analysis

4. The Critical Question Involved

5. The Unity of the Book

6. Conclusion


Few books of the Old Testament are as difficult of interpretation as the Book of Zechariah; no other book is as Messianic. Jewish expositors like Abarbanel and Jarchi, and Christian expositors such as Jerome, are forced to concede that they have failed "to find their hands" in the exposition of it, and that in their investigations they passed from one labyrinth to another, and from one cloud into another, until they lost themselves in trying to discover the prophet’s meaning. The scope of Zechariah’s vision and the profundity of his thought are almost without a parallel. In the present writer’s judgment, his book is the most Messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological, of all the writings of the Old Testament.

1. The Prophet:

Zechariah was the son of Berechiah, and the grandson of Iddo (Zec 1:1,7). The same Iddo seems to be mentioned among the priests who returned from exile under Zerubbabel and Joshua in the year 536 BC (Ne 12:4; Ezr 2:2). If so, Zechariah was a priest as well as a prophet, and presumably a young man when he began to preach. Tradition, on the contrary, declares that he was well advanced in years. He apparently survived Haggai, his contemporary (Ezr 5:1; 6:14). He was a poet as well as a prophet. Nothing is known of his end. The Targum says he died a martyr.

2. His Times and Mission:

3. Contents and Analysis:

The prophecies of Zechariah naturally fall into two parts, chapters 1-8 and 9-14, both of which begin with the present and look forward into the distant future. (1) Zechariah 1-8, consisting of three distinct messages delivered on three different occasions:

(a) Zec 1:1-6, an introduction, delivered in the 8th month of the 2nd year of Darius Hystaspis (520 BC). These words, having been spoken three months before the prophecies which follow, are obviously a general introduction. They are decidely spiritual and strike the keynote of the entire collection. In them the prophet issues one of the strongest and most intensely spiritual calls to repentance to be found in the Old Testament.

(b) Zec 1:7-6:15, a series of eight night visions, followed by a coronation scene, all delivered on the 24th day of the 11th month of the same 2nd year of Darius (520 BC), or exactly two months after the corner stone of the temple had been laid (Hag 2:18; Zec 1:7). These visions were intended to encourage the people to rebuild God’s house. They are eight in number, and teach severally the following lessons:

(i) The vision of the horses (Zec 1:7-17), teaching God’s special care for and interest in his people: "My house shall be built" (Zec 1:16).

(ii) The four horns and four smiths (Zec 1:18-21), teaching that Israel’s foes have finally been destroyed; in fact that they have destroyed themselves. There is no longer, therefore, any opposition to building God’s house.

(iii) The man with a measuring line (Zechariah 2), teaching that God will re-people, protect and dwell in Jerusalem as soon as the sacred edifice has been built. The city itself will expand till it becomes a great metropolis without walls; Yahweh will be a wall of fire round about it.

(iv) Joshua, the high priest, clad in filthy garments, and bearing the sins both of himself and the people (Zechariah 3); but cleansed, continued and made typical of the Messiah-Branch to come.

(v) The candelabrum and the two olive trees (Zechariah 4), teaching that the visible must give place to the spiritual, and that, through "the two sons of oil," Zerubbabel the layman, and Joshua the priest (Zec 4:14), the light of God’s church will continue to burn with ever-flaming brightness. For it is "not by might" but by Yahweh’s Spirit, i.e. by divine life and animation, by divine vigor and vivacity, by divine disposition and courage, by divine executive ability and technical skill, that God’s house shall be built and supplied with spiritual life (Zec 4:6).

(vi) The flying roll (Zec 5:1-4), teaching that when the temple is built and God’s law is taught the land shall be purified from outward wickedness.

(vii) The Ephah (Zec 5:5-11); wickedness personified is borne away back to the land of Shinar, teaching that when the temple is rebuilt wickedness shall be actually removed from the land.

(viii) The four chariots (Zec 6:1-8), teaching that God’s protecting providence will be over His sanctuary, and that His people, purified from sin, shall rest secure in Him.

These eight visions are followed by a coronation scene, in which Joshua the high priest is crowned and made typical of the Messiah-Priest-King, whose name is Branch (Zec 6:9-15). (c) Zechariah 7; 8, Zechariah’s answer to the Bethel deputation concerning fasting; delivered on the 4th day of the 9th month of the 4th year of Darius (518 BC). The Jews had been accustomed to fast on the anniversaries of the following four great outstanding events in the history of their capital:

(i) when Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, in the 4th month (Jer 52:6);

(ii) when the Temple was burned in the 5th month (Jer 52:12);

(iii) when Gedaliah was murdered in the 7th month (Jer 41:2); and

(iv) when the siege of Jerusalem was begun in the 10th month (2Ki 25:1).

There are four sections to the prophet’s answer divided by the slightly varying formula, "The word of Yahweh came unto me" (Zec 7:4,8; 8:1,18) and teaching:

(a) Fasting affects only yourselves; God requires obedience (Zec 7:4-7).

(b) Look at the lesson from your fathers; they forsook justice and compassion and God punished them (Zec 7:8-14).

(c) Yahweh is now waiting to return to Jerusalem to save His people in truth and holiness. In the future, instead of a curse God will send blessing, instead of evil, good (Zec 8:1-17).

(d) In fact, your fasts shall be changed into festivals, and many nations shall in that day seek Yahweh of hosts in Jerusalem (Zec 8:18-23).

(2) Zechariah 9-14, consisting of two oracles, without dates;

(a) Zechariah 9-11, an oracle of promise to the new theocracy. This section contains promises of a land in which to dwell, a return from exile, victory over a hostile world-power, temporal blessings and national strength, closing, with a parable of judgment brought on by Israel’s rejection of Yahweh as their shepherd; thus Judah and Ephraim restored, united and made victorious over their enemies, are promised a land and a king (Zec 9); Israel shall be saved and strengthened (Zec 10); Israel shall be punished for rejecting the shepherding care of Yahweh (Zec 11);

(b) Zechariah 12-14, an oracle describing the victories of the new theocracy, and the coming day of Yahweh. This section is strongly eschatological, presenting three distinct apocalyptic pictures: thus how Jerusalem shall be besieged by her enemies, but saved by Yahweh (Zec 12); how a remnant of Israel purified and refined shall be saved (Zec 13); closing with a grand apocalyptic vision of judgment and redemption--the nations streaming up to Jerusalem to keep the joyous Feast of Tabernacles, and everything in that day becoming holy to Yahweh.

4. The Critical Question Involved:

There are two opposing schools of criticism in regard to the origin of Zechariah 9-14; one holds what is known as the pre-exilic hypothesis, according to which chapters 9-14 were written before the downfall of Jerusalem; more specifically, that Zechariah 9-11 and 13:7-9 spring from the 8th century BC, having been composed perhaps by Zechariah, the son of Jeberechiah mentioned in Isa 8:2; whereas Zechariah 12-14, except 13:7-9, were composed by some unknown contemporary of Jeremiah in the 7th century BC. On the other hand, there are also those who advocate a late post-Zecharian origin for chapters 9-14, somewhere about the 3rd century BC. The latter hypothesis is today the more popular. Over against these the traditional view, of course, is that Zechariah, near the close of the 6th century, wrote the entire book ascribed to him. Only chapters 9-14 are in dispute. No one doubts the genuineness of Zechariah 1-8.

The following are the main arguments of those who advocate a pre-exilic origin for these oracles:

(1) Zec 11:8, "And I cut off the three shepherds in one month." These "three shepherds" are identified with certain kings who reigned but a short time each in the Northern Kingdom; for example, Zechariah, Shallum and Menahem (2Ki 15:8-14). But the difficulty with this argument is that they were not cut off "in one month"; Menahem, on the contrary, reigned 10 years in Samaria (2Ki 15:17).

(2) Zec 12:11-14, which speaks of "a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon," is claimed to fix the date of Zechariah 12-14. Josiah fell in the valley of Megiddo (2Ki 23:29; 2Ch 35:22). But surely the mourning of Judah for Josiah might have been remembered for a century, from 609 BC till 518 BC.

(3) Zec 14:5, referring to the "earthquake" in the days of Uzziah, is another passage fastened upon to prove the preexilic origin of these prophecies. But the earthquake which is here alluded to took place at least a century and a half before the date assigned for the composition of Zechariah 14. And surely if an earthquake can be alluded to by an author 150 years after it occurs, Zechariah, who lived less than a century later, might have alluded to it also.

(4) A much stronger argument in favor of a pre-exilic origin of these prophecies is the names given to theocracy, e.g. "Ephraim" and "Jerusalem" (Zec 9:10), "Judah" and "Ephraim" (Zec 9:13), "house of Judah" and "house of Joseph" (Zec 10:6), "Judah and Israel" (Zec 11:14), implying that the kingdoms of Israel and Judah are still standing. But subsequent to the captivity the Jews ever regarded themselves as representatives of the 12 tribes, as is obvious from their offering 12 sacrifices (Ezr 6:17; 8:35). Moreover, old names such as "Israel" and "Judah" long survived (compare Jer 31:27-31; Zec 8:13).

(5) Zec 14:10, which defines the area occupied by Judah as extending "from Geba to Rimmon," which corresponds, it is alleged, with the conditions which prevailed just prior to the captivity. But it satisfies equally well the conditions after the exile in Zechariah’s own time.

(6) Again, it is argued that the national sins, the prevailing sins, idolatry, teraphim and false prophecy (Zec 10:2; 13:2-6), are those of pre-exilic times. But the same sins persisted in the post-exilic congregation (Ne 6:7-14; Mal 2:11; 3:5), and there is no special emphasis laid upon them here.

(7) Finally, it is argued that the enemies of Israel mentioned in Zechariah 9-14 are those of pre-exilic times, Assyria and Egypt (10:10,11), Syria, Phoenicia and Philistia (9:1-7). But forms of expression are slow in changing: the name "Assyrians" occurs in La 5:6, and "Assyria" is employed instead of "Persia" in Ezr 6:22. Jeremiah prophesied against Damascus and Hamath long after their loss of independence (49:23-27). After the exile, the Philistines resisted Israel’s return (Ne 4:7,8). In short all these nations were Israel’s hereditary foes, and, therefore, judgments pronounced against them were always in place. Furthermore, it may be said in general that there are reasons for thinking that, in both halves of the Book of Zechariah, the exile is represented as an event of the past, and that the restoration from exile both of Ephraim and Judah, though incomplete, has already begun. This is unquestionably true of Zechariah 1-8 (1:12; 2:6-12; 6:10; 7:5; 8:7,8). The exile is treated as a fact. It is almost equally true of Zechariah 9-14 (compare 9:8,11; 10:6,8-10). Moreover, it may with justice be claimed that the alleged authors of chapters 9-14 dissociate themselves from any definitely named person or any specific event known to be pre-exilic. God alone is described as Ruler of His people. The only king mentioned is the Messiah-King (9:9,10; 14:9). The "house of David" mentioned in 12:7-12; 13:1, is never described as in possession of the throne. It is David’s "house," and not any earthly ruler in it, of which the prophet speaks. Further, there are passages, indeed, in chapters 9-14 which, if pre-exilic in origin, would have been obscure and even misleading to a people confronted by the catastrophes of 722 and 586 BC. No specific enemy is alluded to. No definite army is named as approaching. Instead of Assyria, Javan is painted as the opposing enemy of theocracy (9:13), and even she is not yet raised up or even threatening. On the other hand, in Zechariah 12-14, it is not the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, but "all nations," who are described as coming up against Jerusalem (12:2,3; 14:2). Moreover, victory and not defeat is promised (9:8,14,16; 12:4,7,8). The preexilic prophets Amos, Hosea and Jeremiah held out no such hopes. These oracles, however, promise even temporal prosperity and abundance (9:17; 10:1,8,12; 12:8; 14:2,14); and they exhort the people to rejoice rather than to fear (9:9; 10:7); while in 14:16-19 all nations are represented as going up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, which was the most joyous feast of the Hebrew calendar. All this is quite the opposite of what the pre-exilic prophets (who are known to have been pre-exilic) actually prophesied. In Zec 9-14, there is sounded forth not one clear note of alarm or warning; judgment rather gives place to hope, warning to encouragement, threatening to joy and gladness, all of which is most inconsistent with the idea that these chapters are of preexilic origin. On the other hand, their are perfectly consistent with the conditions and promises of post-exilic times.

The other hypothesis remaining to be discussed is that known as the post-Zecharian. This may be said to represent the prevailing critical view at the present time. But it, like the pre-exilic hypothesis, is based upon a too literalistic and mechanical view of prophecy. Those, like Stade, Wellhausen, Kuenen, Marti, Kautzsch, Cornill, Cheyne, Driver, Kuiper, Echardt and Mitchell, who advocate this view, employ the same critical methods as those whose views we have just discussed, but arrive at diametrically opposite conclusions. Indeed, no two critics agree as to the historical circumstances which produced these oracles. Most are of the opinion, however, that these chapters were composed during the Greek period, i.e. after 333 BC. In examining the arguments urged by the representatives of this school special caution is needed in distinguishing between the grounds advanced in support of a post-exilic and those which argue a post-Zecharian date. The former we may for the most part accept, as Zechariah was himself a post-exilic prophet; the latter we must first examine. In favor of a very late or Grecian origin for Zechariah 9-14, the chief and all-important passage, and the one upon which more emphasis is placed than upon all others together, is 9:13, "For I have bent Judah for me, I have filled the bow with Ephraim; and I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and will make thee as the sword of a mighty man." Kuiper in summing up throws the whole weight of his argument in favor of a Greek date on this verse. Wellhausen makes it decide the date of these prophecies; while Stade declares that the announcement of the "sons of Javan" is alone sufficient to prove that these prophecies are after 333 BC. Two things are especially emphasized by critics in connection with this important passage:

(1) that the sons of Javan are the world-power of the author’s day, namely, the Greek-Maccabean world-power; and

(2) that they are the enemies of Zion.

But in opposition to these claims it should be observed

(1) that the sons of Javan are but one of several world-powers within the range of the prophet’s horizon (Zec 9:1-7, Syria, Phoenicia, Philistia; 12:2 f; 14:2 f, all nations; and 10:10,11, Assyria and Egypt); and

(2) that the Greeks under Alexander were not the enemies of Zion, and did not fight against the Jews, but against the Persians.

Assuming the genuineness of the passage (Zec 9:13), the following considerations point to the Persian period as its probable historical background:

(a) The prophecy would be vague and meaningless if uttered after the invasion of Alexander.

(b) The passage does not describe a victory for the sons of Javan, but rather a defeat.

(c) It is introduced by an appeal to those still in exile to return, which would have been quite meaningless after Alexander’s conquest.

(d) In short, Zec 9:13-17, as a whole, is not a picture of actual war, but rather an apocalyptic vision of the struggle of Israel with the world-power of the West, hence, its indefiniteness and figurative language.

Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that in Zechariah’s own day the Greeks were rapidly becoming a menacing world-power. In the first 3 years (521-519 BC) of Darius’ reign, 12 different revolts took place, principally in the North and East But, in 518, Darius was compelled to move westward at the head of his royal armies; Darius’ visit to Egypt in 517 BC was cut short by the disturbances of the Greeks (compare Wiedemann, Gesch., 236). In the year 516 BC the Greeks of the Hellespont and Bosporus, with the island of Samos, were made to submit to Pets rule. The next year (515 BC), Darius led an expedition against the Scythians across the Danube, the failure of which encouraged the Ionians subsequently to revolt. In 500 BC the great Ionian revolt actually took place. In 499 BC Sardis, the most important stronghold for Persia in Asia Minor, was burned by the Athenians. In 490 BC Marathon was fought and Persia was conquered. In 480 BC Xerxes was defeated at Salamis. But it is unnecessary to sketch the rise of Jayan further. Enough has been related to show that already in the reign of Darius Hystaspis--in whose reign Zechariah is known to have lived and prophesied--the sons of Greece were a rising world-power, and a threatening world-power. This is all really that is required by the passage. The sons of Jayan were but one of Israel’s enemies in Zechariah’s day; but they were of such importance that victory over them carried with it momentous Messianic interests. The language of chapter 9 is vague, and, in our judgment, too vague and too indefinite to have been uttered after Marathon (490 BC), or even after the burning of Sardis (500 BC); for, in that case, the author would have been influenced more by Greece and less by the movements and commotions of the nations.

Other arguments advanced by the post-Zecharian school are:

(1) Zec 14:9, "And Yahweh shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall Yahweh be one, and his name one." To Stade this passage contains a polemic against the conditions in Greek times when all gods were conceived of as only different representations of one and the same god. But, on the contrary, the post-exilic congregation was as truly a theocracy in the days of Darius Hystaspis as in the period subsequent to Alexander’s conquest. The Jewish colony of the Restoration was a religious sect, not a political organization. Zechariah often pictures the close relation of Yahweh to His people (2:10-13; 8:3,13), and the author of chapters 9-14 describes similar conditions. The "yearning for a fuller theocracy," which Cheyne (Bampton Lectures, 120) discovers in Zec 9-14, is thoroughly consistent with the yearning of a struggling congregation in a land of forsaken idols shortly after the return from exile.

(2) Zec 12:2 b, interpreted to mean that "Judah also, forced by the enemy, shall be in the siege against Jerusalem," is a proof, it is alleged, that the children of the Diaspora had served as soldiers. The verse, accordingly, is said to be a description of the hostile relations which actually existed between Jerusalem and Judah in the beginning of the Maccabean struggle. The validity of these claims, however, is vitiated by a correct exegesis of the passage in hand. The text is apparently corrupt. In order to obtain a subject for "shall be," the preposition before Judah had better be stricken out, as in the Targum. The passage then translated reads, "And Judah also shall be in the siege against Jerusalem." But this is ambiguous. It may mean that Judah shall fight against Jerusalem, or it may mean that Judah, too, shall be besieged. The latter is obviously the true meaning of the passage, as Zec 12:7 indicates. For, as one nation might besiege Jerusalem (a city), so all nations, coming up are practically going to besiege Judah. The Septuagint favors this interpretation; likewise the Coptic version; and Zec 14:14. Wellhausen frankly concedes that "no characteristic of the prophecy under discussion in reality agrees with the conditions of the Maccabean time. The Maccabees were not the Jews of the lowland, and they did not join themselves with the heathen out of hatred to the city of Jerusalem, in order finally to fall treacherously upon their companions in war. There is not the slightest hint in our passage of religious persecution; that alone decides, and hence, the most important sign of Maccabean times is wanting."

(3) Zec 10:10,11, which mentions "Egypt" and "Assyria" (and which, strange to say, is also one of the strongest proofs in support of the preexilic hypothesis), is singularly enough interpreted to refer respectively to the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria. But this is quite impossible, and especially so in view of the prominence which is given to Egypt in 14:19, which points to Persian rather than Greek conditions; for then Egypt, in consequence of her perpetual efforts to throw off the Persian yoke, was naturally brought under the observation of the Jews in Palestine, who repeatedly beheld the Persian armies passing on their way to the valley of the Nile.

(4) Still another argument advanced in favor of a late post-Zecharian date for these oracles is that from language and style: Aramaisms, scriptio plena, the preponderance of the shorter form of the personal pronoun "I," the Hebrew ending on, the frequent use of the nota accusativi, especially with suffixes, the omission of the article, the use of the infinitive absolute, and the clumsy diction and weary repetition of these prophecies are pointed to as evidence of their origin in Grecian times. But in opposition to these claims, it may be remarked in general that their force is greatly weakened by two considerations: (a) the fact that the author of Zechariah 9-14 depends so largely on older prophecies for his thoughts, and consequently more or less for his language; and (b) the fact that these prophecies are so very brief. There is no mode of reasoning so treacherous as that from language and style. (For the technical discussion of this point, see the present writer’s The Prophecies of Zechariah, 54-59.)

5. The Unity of the Book:

Among the further objections made to the genuineness of Zechariah 9-14, and consequently to the unity of the book, the following are the chief:

(1) There are no "visions" in these oracles as in Zechariah 1-6. But there are none either in Zechariah 7; 8, and yet these latter are not denied to Zechariah. As a matter of fact, however, visions do actually occur in chapters 9-14, only of a historico-parabolic (11:4-17) and eschatological character (9:13-17; chapters 12; 14).

(3) There is "no Satan." But Satan is never mentioned elsewhere in any prophetic book of the Old Testament.

(4) There is "no interpreting angel" in Zechariah 9-14. But "oracles" need no interpreting angel. On the other hand, "the Angel of Yahweh" is mentioned in both parts (3:1 ff; 12:8), a fact which is far more noteworthy.

(5) Proper names are wanting in Zechariah 9-14, e.g. Zerubbabel and Joshua. But neither do these names occur in chapters 7; 8.

(6) The sins alluded to are different, e.g. theft and false swearing in Zec 5:3,1; while in 10:2 seeking teraphim and in 13:2 ff false prophecy are named. But these sins may have existed side by side. What is far more noteworthy, in both parts the prophet declares that all these evils shall be taken away and removed out of the land (3:9; 5:9-11; 13:1,2).

(7) The Messianic pictures are different, e.g. in Zechariah 1-8 the Messiah is spoken of as Branch-Priest (3:8,9; 6:12,13); whereas in chapters 9-14, as King, (9:9,10). But in 6:13 it is expressly stated that the Branch-Priest "shall sit and rule upon his throne." Of far greater moment is the picture of the nations coming to Zion to worship Yahweh. This remarkable picture recurs in all the different sections of the book (6:12,13,15; 8:20-23; 12:6; 14:16-19).

On the other hand, the following are some of the arguments which favor the genuineness of these disputed chapters:

(1) The fundamental ideas of both parts are the same. By this we mean that the deeper we go the nearer we approach unity. As Dr. G.A. Smith argues against Graetz, who divides Hosea 1-3 from Hosea 4-14, "in both parts there are the same religious principles and the same urgent and jealous temper"; the same is equally true of Zec 1-8 and Zec 9-14. Certain similarities are especially noteworthy, e.g.

(a) an unusually deep, spiritual tone pervades the entire book. The call to a true repentance, first sounded forth in the introduction (1:1-7), is developed more and more throughout the entire 14 chapters; thus, in the sanctifying of Joshua (Zec 3:4), in the message to Zerubbabel, "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit" (Zec 4:6), in the conditions of future blessing (Zec 6:15), in the answer to the Bethel deputation (Zec 7:5-9; 8:16 ); and in Zechariah 9-14, in the consecration of the remnant of the Philistines (9:7), in the blessings to Ephraim (10:12), in the baptism of grace upon Jerusalem (12:10), in the fountain for sin (13:1), in the worship of Yahweh (13:9), in the living waters going forth from Jerusalem (14:8), and in the dedication of everything as holy unto the Lord (14:20,21). The tone which tempers these prophecies is an extraordinarily deep and spiritual one throughout. And this argument cannot be set aside by rejecting wholesale certain passages as later interpolations, as is done by Mitchell (ICC, 242-44).

(b) There is a similar attitude of hope and expectation in both parts. This is especially important. For example,

(i) the return of the whole nation is a prevailing idea of happiness in both parts (Zec 2:6,10; 8:7,8; 9:12; 10:6,7).

(ii) The expectation that Jerusalem shall be inhabited (Zec 1:16,17; 2:4; 8:3,8; 12:6; 14:10,11),

(c) the prophet’s attitude toward Judah is the same in both parts. It is an attitude of supreme regard for Judah’s interests, making them second only to the capital (Zec 2:2,4,16; 8:19; 1:12; 8:13,15; 12:2; 14:14; 10:3; 12:4,6,7; 14:21; 9:9,13; 10:6; 11:14; 14:5). The prophet’s attitude toward the nations, the enemies of theocracy, is the same in both parts. The whole assembled world are the enemies of Israel. But though they have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem (1:11), and are still coming up to besiege Jerusalem (12:2; 14:2), yet they shall be joined to the Lord in that day (2:11) and worship Yahweh like the Jews (8:20-23; 14:16-19). These are all striking instances of similarity in the fundamental ideas of the two parts of the book.

(2) There are peculiarities of thought common to both parts: e.g.

(b) the habit of expanding one fundamental thought into a series of clauses (Zec 6:13; 9:5,7; 1:17; 3:8,9; 12:4);

(e) the resort in each part of the book to symbolic actions as a mode of instruction; e.g. the coronation scene in 6:9-15, and the breaking of the two staves in 11:4-14.

Accordingly, we conclude,

(1) that Zechariah 9-14 are of post-exilic origin;

(2) that they are not, however, late post-exilic;

(3) that they had their origin in the period just before the completion of the temple, 516 BC, and

(4) that they were probably composed by Zechariah himself.

6. Conclusion:

This conclusion is based upon the text taken as a whole, without an arbitrary dissection of the prophecies in the interests of a false theory. Mitchell (ICC, 258-59), after eliminating numerous individual passages, arrives at the conclusion that Zechariah 9-14 were written by four different writers;

(1) Zec 9:1-10, soon after 333 BC;

(2) Zec 9:11-11:3, about 247-222 BC;

(3) Zec 11:4-17 and 13:7-9, between 217 and 204 BC; and

(4) Zec 12:1-13:6 and chapter 14, about the same time.

Tradition points to a saner and securer conclusion, that these oracles were written by Zechariah himself; which in turn is corroborated by internal evidence, as has been shown above. One wonders why these oracles, written so late in Israel’s history, should have been appended by the collectors of the Canon to the genuine prophecies of Zechariah, if, as is alleged, that prophet had nothing whatever to do with them!


(1) Those Who Defend the Unity of the Book:

C. H. H. Wright, Zechariah and His Prophecies (Bampton Lectures), London, 1879; G. L. Robinson, The Prophecies of Zechariah, with Special Reference to the Origin and Date of Chapters 9-14, Leipzig Dissertation, reprinted from American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, XII, 1896; W.H. Lowe, Hebrew Student’s Commentary on Zechariah, Hebrew and the Septuagint, London, 1882; O.J. Bredenkamp, Der Prophet Sach., Erklart, 1879; Marcus Dods, The Post-Exilian Prophets: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi ("Handbook for Biblical Classes"), Edinburgh, 1879; E.B. Pusey, Minor Prophets, 1877; W. Drake, "Commentary on Zechariah" (Speaker’s Commentary), 1876; T. W. Chambers, "The Book of Zechariah" (Lange’s Bible Work), 1874; A. Van Hoonacker, in Revue Biblique, 1902, 161 ff; idem, Les douze petits prophetes, 1908; Wm. Moeller, article "Zechariah" in The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by W.C. Piercy, 1908.

(2) Those Who Advocate a Preexilic Origin for Zechariah 9-14:

Hitzig-Steiner, Die zwolf kleinen Propheten, 1881; Samuel Davidson, An Introduction to the Old Testament, 1862-63; W. Pressel, Commentar zu den Schriften der Propheten Haggai, Sacharja und Maleachi, 1870; C. A. Bruston, Histoire critique de la litterature prophetique des Hebreux, 1881; Samuel Sharpe, History of the Hebrew Nation, Literature and Chronology, 1882; G. von Orelll, Das Buch Ezechiel u. die zwolf kleinen Propheten, 1888; Ferd. Montet, Etude critique sur la date assignable aux six derniers chapitres de Zac, 1882; H. L. Strack, Einleitung in das Altes Testament, 1895; F. W. Farrar, Minor Prophets, in "Men of the Bible" series.

(3) Those Who Advocate a Post-Zecharian Origin for Zecharaih 9-14:

B. Stade, "Deuterozacharja, eine krit. Studie," in ZATW, 1881-82; T. K. Cheyne, "The Date of Zec 9-14," in JQR, I, 1889; C. H. Cornill, Einleitung in das Altes Testament, 1891; S. R. Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, 1910; J. Wellhausen, Die kleinen Propheten ubersetzt, 1893; N. I. Rubinkam, The Second Part of the Book of Zechariah, 1892; Karl Marti, Der Prophet Sacharja, 1892; A. F. Kirkpatrick, Doctrine of the Prophets, 1892; R. Eckardt, "Der Sprachgebrauch von Zach 9-14," ZATW, 1893, 76-109; A. K. Kuiper, Zacharja 9-14; eine exegetischcritische Studie, 1894; J. W. Rothstein, Die Nachtgesichte des Sacharja, 1910; G.A. Smith in Expositor’s Bible, 1896-97; S. R. Driver In the New Century Bible; H. G. Mitchell, ICC, 1912.

George L. Robinson