1 Now in the fourth year of King Darius it came to pass that the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, on the fourth day of the ninth month, Chislev, 2 when 1 the people sent 2 Sherezer, with RegemMel'ech and his men, to 3 the house of God, 4 to pray before the LORD, 3 and to a ask the priests who were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and the prophets, saying, "Should I weep in b the fifth month and 5 fast as I have done for so many years?"
4 Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 5 "Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: 'When you c fasted and mourned in the fifth d and seventh months e during those seventy years, did you really fast f for Me - for Me? 6 g 'When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? 7 'Should you not have obeyed the words which the LORD proclaimed through the h former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and i the 6 South and the Lowland were inhabited?' "
Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying,
"Thus says the LORD of hosts:
j 'Execute true justice,
Show 7 mercy and compassion
Everyone to his brother. 10 k Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless,
The alien or the poor.
l Let none of you plan evil in his heart
Against his brother.' 11 "But they refused to heed, m shrugged 8 their shoulders, and n stopped 9 their ears so that they could not hear. 12 "Yes, they made their o hearts like flint, p refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. q Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. 13 "Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so r they called out and I would not listen," says the LORD of hosts. 14 "But s I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known. Thus the land became desolate after them, so that no one passed through or returned; for they made the pleasant land desolate."