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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

Zechariah 7



Verses 1-14

IN THE FIRST verse of chapter 7, we find another date given; almost two years later than that of the visions just recorded, and the prophecies of Haggai. These fresh prophecies were occasioned by the arrival of certain men with questions as to the observance of fasts, and we notice that we pass from the record of visions to a series of plain declarations of God's message. We now find repeated nor, 'I lifted up mine eyes', but rather, 'The word of the Lord came'.

The question raised by these men concerned a fast in the fifth month which had been observed for many years. From Jeremiah 52:12, we learn that it was in that month the Babylonian army had burned Solomon's magnificent temple, and wrecked Jerusalem. Now once more the house of the Lord was being built, if not entirely finished, so was it suitable that they should still observe the fast? A very natural question!

The answer of God through Zechariah linked with this fast another in the seventh month, which apparently was in memory of the murder of Gedaliah and others, and the flight of the remnant, left in the land, into Egypt, as recorded in 2 Kings 25:25, 2 Kings 25:26. These tragedies were commemorated with fasting and tears, during the seventy years captivity. As far as we can discern, no direct answer was given to the question they raised: instead another question was raised with them. Did they have Jehovah before their minds in their observances or only themselves? And when the fast was over, did they return to their eating and drinking just enjoying themselves? Did they really fast, enquired the Lord, 'unto Me, even to Me?'

Here is deeply important instruction for ourselves. We may put it thus: In our observances and service a right motive is everything. We may diligently observe the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week, diligently preach the Gospel, or minister to the saints; but are we doing it with God Himself, revealed in Christ, before us, or are we just pursuing an agreeable ritual and maintaining our own reputations in it all? A searching question, which the writer had better ask himself as well as the readers ask themselves.

If the people had kept the Lord before them and observed His words through the former prophets, things would have been far otherwise. And what was His word now through Zechariah, but just what it had been through them. Take Isaiah's first chapter as an example. He accused the people of moral corruption, whilst maintaining ceremonial exactitude. In verses Zechariah 7:11-14, of our chapter the men who enquired are reminded of this, and are plainly challenged as to the present attitude of themselves and the people of their day, as we see in verses Zechariah 7:8-10. The moral evils that had wrecked the nation were still working amongst the people that had returned to the land. A remnant may return but the inveterate tendency to develop the old evils remains. Let us never forget that.


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Zechariah 7:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

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