Seven Oracles: Judah and Zion Restored. 1Then the word of the LORD of hosts came: 2Thus says the LORD of hosts:
I am intensely jealous for Zion,a
stirred to jealous wrath for her.
I have returned to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem will be called the faithful city,* b
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain.
Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of old age.c 5The city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.
Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, should it seem impossible in my eyes also?d—oracle of the LORD of hosts.
I am going to rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun. 8I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be their God,e in faithfulness and justice.
Let your hands be strong, you who now hear these words which were spoken by the prophets when the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid* for the building of the temple.f 10For before those days, there were no wages for people, nor hire for animals. Those who came and went were not safe from the enemy, for I set neighbor against neighbor. 11But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in former days—oracle of the LORD of hosts.
12For there will be a sowing of peace:
the vine will yield its fruit,
the land will yield its crops,
and the heavens* will yield their dew.
I will give all these things to the remnant of this people to possess. 13Just as you became a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you that you may be a blessing.g Do not fear; let your hands be strong.
14Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Just as I intended to harm you when your ancestors angered me—says the LORD of hosts—and I did not relent, 15so again in these days I intend to favor Jerusalem and the house of Judah; do not fear! 16These then are the things you must do: Speak the truth to one another;h judge with honesty and complete justice in your gates.* i 17Let none of you plot evil against another in your heart, nor love a false oath. For all these things I hate—oracle of the LORD.
Three Oracles: Judah and the Nations. 18The word of the LORD of hosts came to me:
19Thus says the LORD of hosts:
The fast days of the fourth, the fifth, the seventh, and the tenth months* j will become occasions of joy and gladness, and happy festivals for the house of Judah.k So love faithfulness and peace!
20Thus says the LORD of hosts:
There will yet come peoples and inhabitants of many cities;l 21and the inhabitants of one city will approach those of another, and say, “Come! let us go to implore the favor of the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts. I too am going.” 22Many peoples and strong nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to implore the favor of the LORD.
23Thus says the LORD of hosts:
In those days ten people from nations of every language will take hold,m yes, will take hold of the cloak of every Judahite and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”
* [8:3] Faithful city: a unique biblical epithet for Jerusalem, signaling the importance of the holy city and its leaders for establishing justice in society (see also vv. 8, 16, 19). Holy mountain: Jerusalem and its Temple, the sacred center of the holy land (2:16) and of the whole world.
* [8:9] When the foundation…was laid: December 18, 520 B.C., the date of the Temple refoundation ceremony, marking the beginning of the project to restore the Temple (see Hg 2:10, 18, 20).
* [8:12] Vine…land…heavens: future prosperity, reversing the hardships of Hg 1:10.
* [8:16] Gates: important gathering places in ancient Near Eastern cities, where legal proceedings were often carried out.
* [8:19] Fast days of the fourth, the fifth, the seventh, and the tenth months: all these fast days were probably held in connection with Jerusalem’s demise. The fasts of the fourth month (commemorating the departure of Judahite leadership from Jerusalem, 2 Kgs 25:3–7) and of the tenth month (marking the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem, 2 Kgs 25:1) were added to the fasts of the fifth and seventh months mentioned in Zec 7:3 and 5 (see notes).
i. [8:16] Zec 7:9; Dt 21:19; 22:24; Ru 4:1, 11.
j. [8:19] Zec 7:1–3; Mt 9:14–15.
k. [8:19] Is 35:10; Jer 31:13.
l. [8:20] 1 Kgs 8:43.
m. [8:23] 1 Sm 15:27; Tb 13:11.