1And in the fourth year of king Darius the word of Yahweh came to Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, the month Chislev.
2The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to plead for Yahweh’s favor
3and to speak to the priests of the house of Yahweh of Armies and to the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month, abstaining from pleasure, as I have done these so many years?”
4Then the word of Yahweh of Armies came to me, saying,
5“Speak to all the people of the land and to the priests, saying, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and in the seventh month for these seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?
6When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?
7Are these not the words that Yahweh proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, with her cities around her, and the Negev and the Shephelah were inhabited?’”
8The word of Yahweh came to Zechariah, saying,
9“Thus has Yahweh of Armies spoken, saying, ‘Judge with true judgment, and every person is to show kindness and compassion to his brother.
10Do not oppress the widow, nor the fatherless, the foreigner, nor the poor, and none of you is to plot evil in your heart against his brother.’”
11But they refused to listen. They stubbornly pulled away their shoulder and plugged their ears, so that they would not hear.
12Yes, they made their hearts as hard as flint, in order not to hear the law and the words that Yahweh of Armies had sent by his spirit by the hand of the earlier prophets, so great wrath came from Yahweh of Armies.
13“And just as I called and they refused to listen, so they will call and I will not listen,” says Yahweh of Armies,
14“but I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they have not known. Thus the land was desolate after them, with no one passing through or returning, for they made the pleasant land desolate.”