1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, the son of Iddo, saying, 2 "The LORD has been greatly displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore, say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Turn to me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will turn to you," says the LORD of hosts. 4 "Do not be as your fathers, to whom the former prophets have cried, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Turn now from your evil ways and from your evil doings."' But they did not hear, nor listen to me," says the LORD. 5 "Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 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, 'As the LORD of hosts thought to do to us, according to our ways and according to our doings, so he has dealt with us.'"'"
7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, the son of Iddo, 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 there were red, speckled, and white horses. 9 Then I said, 'O my lord, what are these?'" And the angel who talked with me said to me, "I will show you what these are." 10 And the man who stood among the myrtle-trees answered and said, "These are those whom the LORD has sent to walk to and fro through the earth." 11 And they answered the angel of the LORD who stood among the myrtle-trees, and said, "We have walked to and fro through the earth, and behold, all the earth sits still and is at rest."
12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will you not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which you have had indignation these seventy years?" 13 And the LORD answered the angel who talked with me with good words and comforting words. 14 So the angel who communed with me said to me, "Cry, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very greatly displeased with the heathen who are at ease. For I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction." 16 Therefore, thus says the LORD: "I have returned to Jerusalem with mercies. My house shall be built in it," says the LORD of hosts, "and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem."' 17 Cry yet, saying, 'Thus says 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."'"
18 Then I lifted up my eyes and saw, and behold four horns. 19 And I said to the angel who talked with me, "What are these?" And he answered me, "These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem." 20 And the LORD showed me four craftsmen. 21 Then I said, "What are these coming to do?" And he spoke, saying, "These are the horns which have scattered Judah so that no man lifted up his head, but these have come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the Gentiles which lifted their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it."
John Gill's Chapter Summary
In this chapter, after the account of the prophet, and the time of the prophecy by him, are an exhortation of the people of the Jews to repentance; the vision of a rider upon a red horse, and the intercession of the angel of the Lord for Jerusalem; and another vision of the enemies of the Jews, and of their deliverers. The general inscription of the book; in which an account is given of the time of its writing, and of the writer of it (verse 1); then follows the exhortation to repentance, enforced from the wrath of God, which came upon their fathers for not listening to the Lord, and turning from their evil ways; and from the advantage that would be received thereby, the Lord would return to them; and from the certain accomplishment of the divine word; for, though both their fathers and prophets died, the word of the Lord had its sure effect (verses 2-6); and next the vision of the rider on the red horse is presented; the year, month, day, and night, in which it was seen, are mentioned (verse 7); and the rider is described by his form, a man; by the horse he rode upon, a red one; by the place he stood in among the myrtle-trees in the bottom; and by his attendants behind, red horses, speckled and white (verse 8). The interpretation of which last is given to the prophet by the angel, by the man among the myrtle-trees, and by the answer of them to the angel of the Lord themselves (verses 9-11); after which the angel is represented as making intercession for Jerusalem, who is answered by good and comfortable words (verses 12-13); upon which the prophet is bid to publish the jealousy of the Lord for Jerusalem; his displeasure at the heathens for afflicting them; his promise to return to the Jews, that the temple and city of Jerusalem should be rebuilt, and other cities of Judea, which should enjoy great prosperity (verses 14-17); and the chapter is concluded with a vision of four horns, signifying the enemies of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem; and of four craftsmen that should destroy them (verses 18-21).
[v.1] - "Zechariah" - In Hebrew, זכריה, Zkaryah (zek-ar-yaw'), which means, Yahweh has remembered. John Gill offered a similar meaning: "the blessed of the Lord."
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 1-4:
Grant, Almighty God, that as you have not only once embraced us in your paternal bosom, when it pleased you to offer to us the salvation obtained by the death of your only-begotten Son, but continue also daily to invite us to yourself, and also to recall the wandering to the right way,— O grant, that we may not always remain deaf and hardened against your warnings, but bring to you hearts really submissive, and study so to devote ourselves to you, that it may be evident that we have not received your grace in vain; and may we also continue in the constant fruition of it, until we shall at length fully attain that blessed glory, which having been obtained for us, is daily set before us by the teaching of the Gospel, that we may be confirmed in it. May we therefore make such continual advances, through the whole course of our life, that having at last put off all the corruptions of our flesh, we may be really united to you in that perfect purity to which you invite us, and which we hope for, through the grace of your only Son. Amen.
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 5-11:
Grant, Almighty God, that since we live here as in thick darkness, and are also surrounded with so much darkness of ignorance, that we often entertain doubts as to your providence, and think ourselves forsaken by you whenever you do not immediately succor us,— O grant, that with our minds raised above, we may contemplate those things which you have once revealed to your servant Zechariah, and not doubt, but you look on us also and command your angels to take care of us, and to raise us up in their hands, and to guide us in all our ways, and even in all the crooked windings of this life, so that we may learn to commit ourselves to be wholly ruled by you, and thus suffer ourselves to be drawn and turned here and there in the world, so as still to follow the way which you have pointed out to us, and to proceed straight toward the mark which you have been pleased to set before us, until we shall at length be gathered into that eternal rest, which has been obtained for us by the blood of your only-begotten Son. Amen.
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 12-17:
Grant, Almighty God, that though we are continually tossed here and there by various trials, and Satan ceases not to shake our faith,— O grant, that we may yet stand firm on the promise that you have once given us, and which you have also confirmed through your only-begotten Son, even that you will ever be propitious and reconcilable to us, so that we may not despair in our greatest troubles, but relying on your goodness may utter our groans to you, until the ripened time of our deliverance shall come: nor let us in the meantime envy the evanescent happiness of your enemies; but patiently wait, while you show that the chief object of desire is to have you propitious to us, and that accursed is every good thing which the ungodly receive while they provoke you and make you angry, until Christ shall at length reveal to us the real happiness and glory of your Church, when he shall appear at the last day for our salvation. Amen.
[v.20] - "craftsmen" - This would probably be better read as, "workmen."
[v.18-21] - John Calvin's prayer for verses 18-21 is included with the first five verses of the next chapter. Therefore, the prayer is in the next chapter.