Devotional Commentary on Zechariah 7


I was searching for a commentary that I can rely on at least sometimes and that I found in Franz Delitzsch the father of the skew Assyriologist Friedrich Delitzsch. Franz started to teach at Leipzig in 1844. What does that tells us? He stated as a Lutheran that the bonds of the Concord of Augsburg should not restrain us in exegesis. And rightly so.

That is why his conservative “progressive thinking” brought him on the same par as Ellen White and the doctrines of Adventism before 1890. He died in that year. Jews said about him that no-one understood the Hebrew Old Testament as thoroughly in Christian circles as him. I agree.

Chapter 7 and chapter 8 form a combo and they belong together really. In chapter 7 returnees from Bethel asked whether they should still fast on those days that are marked in the history of the Chaldean disaster over Jerusalem. They were keeping fast-days in the 5th, 7th, 4th and 10th months.  

10th of Ab 586 the Temple was destroyed by fire of Neb (Jeremiah 52:12-13)

This is the day the captain of the guard Nebuzar-dan came and burnt a larger area than was previously done on the 7th day. “House of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great, burned he with fire”.

7th of Ab 585 Temple was destroyed. (2 Kings 25:8-9).

He came on the 7th to the outskirts of Jerusalem but the burning was done on the 10th of Ab 586 BCE. For three days they have been planning their destruction before they entered on the 10th.

There is no discrepancy here and Jeremiah was there and first hand witness and would not be wrong and so is the witnesses and sources of Kings but from other eyes not Jeremiah’s. Even with CNN one has to harmonize data to come to a synthesis of harmony from different sources and witnesses arriving at the truth.

3rd of Tishri they fasted for the Gedaliah murders

9th of Tammuz Neb conquered Jerusalem in Zedekiah’s 11th year.

10th of 10th month in Zedekiah’s 9th year Neb came.

So these were days that they were fasting for.

The fourth year of Darius the Great was in 518 BCE and in the 9th month of Kislev God spoke an answer to Zechariah on this question of fast day keeping or not.

“And He had sent Beth-el-śar-eer and Ragum-melek and his men to praise before the face/in the presence of the Lord” (verse 2). “And they sent” is not supported in the consonantal text of the Hebrew. People have separated the two names of Beth-el and śar-eser like Delitzsch, but that is not necessary. The KJV rendering that Sher-é-zer and Re-gem-mel-ech should be sent to the “house of God” is unacceptable for there is no preposition or directive he to even suggest the word “to” or “towards”. A similar position as mine was advocated also by Delitzsch.

The name Beth-el-śar-eser is interesting. In KAI 234 on the reverse line 3 there is a contract from Ashur in this Canaanite Inscription book by Donner and Röllig. In that contract is a name very similar to the one just mentioned. The name of the individual is spelled: blsrzr. Here it is btlśrr.

It is tempting to connect the name Regem-melek with the Elephantine houseowner drgmn, which would originate in the genitive relationship “of Regem”. His house was in the south at Elephantine just behind Hohea as the papyrus from Assouan indicated and published by A. van Hoonacker in 1915, page 15. This is of course a century later and just like Omri were a point of reference a century or two later so it can be with these names.

These two individuals had to speak to the priests “that belong to the house of the Lord” (verse 3). They did not go to a temple in which were priests. With the temple destroyed the priests are those who belong to the Lord in their office or function. The term is only referential and not indicative of an actual temple.

God asked whether He should weep and separate?

God asked that when they eat and drink whether that eating and drinking was not for themselves? God is making the point in verse 5 that it does not matter whether they are fasting or eating, they do it not with Him in mind.

God gave the same message to them through the prophets earlier (verse 7). The message was called or cried out [qr’].

The institution exists and the religious ceremonies take their course but the focus has been lost sight of. This is the dilemma pointed out by God.

They missed the earlier message and the same is now before them. Obey rather than fast.

In verse 3 there is a singular action of weeping and a singular action of sending yet two men were sent to worship and ask the priests and prophets a question. On this basis it seems as if the Lord is asking the question through Zechariah as one can see in verse 13.

In verse 5 there is a plural action of fasting and weeping. The accusation formula is that it is addressed to the “people of the land” and “to the priests”. On this basis God is the One speaking in verse 3 about Himself and they are addressed in verse 5. Zechariah himself speaks.

With allusions to the “former prophets” Isaiah, Hosea, Amos and Micah, the Word of the Lord came to Zechariah (verse 8).

They are asked to execute true judgment and mercy and do compassions one to another (man to his brother).

They are not to oppress the widow, the fatherless, the stranger [gr] or the poor. “The evil of one another should not be imagined in the heart” (verse 10).

The r`t “of” one another (man with his brother) should not be ḥšb (think, reckoned, computed, devised) in their hearts”.

In our society also everything depends on computation, organization, even malicious, deceitful and sinful acts.

The origin of imaginations are images burnt into memory. So the solution lies here too. Stop watching. When you do not see you do not desire and do not take. Stop looking. Many mental diseases and pathologies can be solved this way because that is why the Lord said that we are not to make any image of what is in heaven or earth and worship them. Text versus Image. Text is safe for the mind but images like games, idol singers mania, sports, sport idols mania, and sex related images are bulldozing the memory of a person to act in lines with Satan’s agendas. Solution? Text only and do not look. Switch off.

“But they refused to listen” (verse 11).

That was the key problem then before the exile and now after God is saying to them about fasting, it can be the same problem again.

“And they made their heart as a Shamir = diamond [so Delitzsch] not to listen to the Torah and to the Words that the Lord of Hosts sent through His [Holy] Spirit by the earlier prophets” (verse 12).

God cares that is why He sent messages. But people do not listen.

As He called and they did not listen before the exile, so if will happen after the exile that He will call but they will not listen so when they called the Lord He did not listen (verse 13). We are under the same situation and the same principle applies to our digital generation. People flash pass the Word of God in their smartphones and just drop “Amen” to show participation but there is no “hearkening to the Torah [= instruction] of the Lord.”

“And with a whirlwind I will scatter them among all the nations whom they did not know” (verse 14). It is sad to say and the Jews will admit it is true, they were scattered in history among all nations whom they initially did not know. The land was a desolation nearly throughout the Middle Ages.

God is not linked to a land or ethnic race. God said to Zechariah that the very land these returnees are looking at will eventually be also waste with no one passing because of the similarity of their sins.

Since God is not owner of just one land but many and faithful people are anywhere on the globe, the same rule applies. If faithful people become wayward and do not listen to His instruction, they too can be migrated all over the globe and their land can also become a waste. It applies to all of us in modern times as well.


Dear God

Forgive us for not getting it even though You spell it out so clearly. Ownership comes from Creatorship and thus that right demands not machine-like worship but relational thanks from us. Thank you Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.