Son of Berechiah, son of Iddo (Neh. 12:4, 16); a contemporary of Haggai (Ezra 5:1; 6:14); prophesied from the second to fourth year of Darius Ⅰ (520–518 B.C.). The book of Zechariah has two divisions: Zech. 1–8, a series of visions sketching the future of the people of God, and Zech. 9–14, prophecies about the Messiah and events preceding His Second Coming.
1. The future of the people of God. (a) Zech. 1:1–6, introduction: warning to hear and repent, by the example of the fathers, who refused to hear and were overtaken by God’s judgments, justly, as they acknowledged. (b) Zech. 1:7–17, first vision, riders on horses of various colors, which go over all the earth to report on the state of the nations in the interests of Jerusalem. (c) Zech. 1:18–21, second vision, four horns—all the agencies that have scattered Israel; and four craftsmen—the divine agencies that shall counteract and destroy them. (d) Zech. 2, third vision, a man with a measuring line to measure Jerusalem. The city shall be immeasurable and overflow with people. (e) Zech. 3, fourth vision, Joshua, the high priest, in filthy garments, standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan at his right hand to accuse him (see also Job 1:6–11). Satan is rebuked; the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem has plucked the brand from the burning. The beautiful vision might be a reflection of the feeling of the people, their abject condition awakening a sense of their sin, and the fear that the Lord had not returned to them in truth. They are comforted with the assurance that His favor and forgiveness are with them, dispensed through the ministries among them; these ministries are but types of a more perfect one, when through the Branch (Messiah) the Lord will remove the iniquity of the land in one day (Jer. 23:5; 33:15). (f) Zech. 4, fifth vision, a lampstand surmounted by a bowl of oil, which feeds by tubes the seven burning lamps of the lampstand, two olive trees on either side supplying the bowl with oil. The lamps might represent the light shed by the people or that shed among them. The oil is the symbol of the Spirit, through whom, and not by might or power, all Israel’s work and destiny shall be accomplished. This Spirit is dispensed through the two anointed ones (“sons of oil”), representing the priestly and royal rule (Joshua and Zerubbabel). (g) Zech. 5:1–4, sixth vision, a symbol of the curse that shall light on sin in the land. (h) Zech. 5:5–11, seventh vision, symbol of the removing of the sin of the people to Shinar, the land of their foes (Lev. 16:21). (i) Zech. 6:1–8, eighth vision, horsemen, called also winds (Rev. 7:1), going to all quarters of the earth—symbols of agencies by which God shall subdue the nations, foes of His people. (j) Zech. 6:9–15, symbolic action to teach that the Branch (Messiah), who shall truly build the temple of the Lord, shall be a Crowned Priest. (k) Zech. 7–8 reply to a question about fasting: the Lord is indifferent whether men fast or eat; He desires that they execute judgment and show mercy (7:8–10). The fasts shall be turned into festivals of joy (8:19). Zech. 1–8 are full of profoundly spiritual teaching.
2. Events preceding the Lord’s Second Coming. (a) Zech. 9–11. An invasion from the north sweeps over Damascus, Tyre, and the Philistines; the last are incorporated in Israel (9:1–7). Zion is saved; her King comes to her righteous and victorious, meek, and a prince of peace (9:8–10). Her captives are restored, and Judah and Ephraim, miraculously strengthened of God, are victorious over the Greeks and shall no more seek to diviners, but to the Lord (9:11–10:2). (b) A similar theme. Good shepherds displace the evil ones; Judah miraculously strengthened, with Ephraim fully restored, shall humble the pride of Assyria and Egypt (10:3–12). (c) Invasion of Lebanon and the Jordan-land (11:1–3). The prophet is commissioned to feed the flock destined for slaughter (11:4–8); renounces the thankless task (11:9–14); the flock falls into the hands of an evil shepherd (11:15–17). (d) Zech. 12–14. Final war of the nations against Jerusalem, and their defeat (12:1–9). (e) The Spirit poured out on Jerusalem, and a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness (12:10–13:6). (f) Zech. 14 appears to be a duplicate of Zech. 12, with the difference that Jerusalem falls for a time into the hands of the nations before the Lord appears for her salvation.