Zechariah 1

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Zechariah 1
CodexGigas 117 MinorProphets.jpg
The beginning part of the Book of Zechariah (1:1–6:15) in Latin in Codex Gigas, made around 13th century.
BookBook of Zechariah
Christian Bible partOld Testament
Order in the Christian part38

Zechariah 1 is the first chapter[a] of the Book of Zechariah in the Hebrew Bible[3] or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.[4][5] This book contains the prophecies attributed to the prophet Zechariah, and is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.[6] As the first of the total 14 chapters in the book,[3] this chapter is a part of a section (so-called "First Zechariah") consisting of Zechariah 1-8.[7] It records an introduction and the first two of eight visions received by the prophet.[8]


The original text was written in the Hebrew language. This chapter is divided into 21 verses in English Bibles.[b] Hebrew Bible uses different "verse numbering" (see below).

Verse numbering[edit]

There are some differences in verse numbering of this chapter in English Bibles and Hebrew texts:[3][9]

English Hebrew
1:1-17 1:1-16
1:18-21 2:1-4

This article generally follows the common numbering in Christian English Bible versions, with notes to the numbering in Hebrew Bible versions.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text, which includes the Codex Cairensis (from year 895), the Petersburg Codex of the Prophets (916), and Codex Leningradensis (1008).[10][11][c]

Fragments containing parts of this chapter were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, including: 4Q80 (4QXIIe; 75–50 BCE) with extant verses 4–6, 8–10, 13–15,[12][13][14][15] and Mur88 (MurXII; from Wadi Murabba'at; from early 2nd century CE) with extant verses 1–4.[13][16][17]

There is also a translation into Koine Greek known as the Septuagint (with a different verse numbering), made in the last few centuries BCE. Extant ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint version include Codex Vaticanus (B; B; 4th century), Codex Sinaiticus (S; BHK: S; 4th century), Codex Alexandrinus (A; A; 5th century) and Codex Marchalianus (Q; Q; 6th century).[18] Some fragments containing parts of this chapter (a revision of the Septuagint) were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, i.e., Naḥal Ḥever 8Ḥev1 (8ḤevXIIgr; late 1st century BCE) with extant verses 1–4, 12–14, 19–21 (verses 2:2–4 in Masoretic verse numbering)[13][19][20]


This chapter contains two "date formulas", in verses 1 and 7, which place the recorded events in the year of 520-519 BCE, "in the second year of Darius" (son of Hystaspes), the king of Persia.[8][21] Accordingly, Zechariah was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai, confirming the records in Ezra 5:1 and Ezra 6:14.[4][5][21]

  • Verse 1: "in the eighth month" corresponds to mid October–mid November 520 BCE.
  • Verse 7: "the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month" corresponds to a date between mid-January and mid-February 519 BCE.[21]

Preface (1:1–6)[edit]

Verses 1–6 serve as an "Introduction" to the subsequent visions and prophecies received by Zechariah with a call for the people to repentance.[3][21] This section together with chapters 7 and 8 form an editorial frame of the book.[22]

Verse 1[edit]

In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius,
came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet,
  • "In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius": corresponds to mid October-mid November 520 BCE.[7] Two months before, "in the sixth month" (Haggai 1:1), Haggai, conjointly with Zechariah (Ezra 5:12), exhorted Zerubbabel and the people to resume the intermitted building of the temple, despite the partial discouragement of the Persian Government (Ezra 5:3–5), and "in the seventh month" Haggai conveyed the magnificent promise about 'the later glory of the temple' (Haggai 2:1–9). However, Haggai also warned them, that the conversion was not complete, and Zechariah "in the eighth month", as well as Haggai "in the ninth month" (Haggai 2:10–14), urges a “thorough and inward repentance,” as the condition of receiving God’s promises.[24]
  • "The eighth month": it was called Bul before the Captivity (1 Kings 6:38), and afterward Marchesvan;[25] corresponds to parts of October and November, usually a time of rain in the area.[26]
  • "Darius": Darius son of Hystaspes, and the third Persian monarch: see Haggai 1:1; and Zechariah 1:15; not to be confused with Darius the Mede.[27] but .[28]
  • "Zechariah": The name means "one whom Jehovah remembers": a common name, four others of the same name occurring in the Old Testament. Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, he was a priest as well as a prophet, which adapts him for the sacerdotal character of some of his prophecies (Zechariah 6:13). He is called "the son of Berechiah the son of Iddo" (Zechariah 1:1); but simply "the son of Iddo" in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14. Probably his father died when he was young; and hence, as sometimes occurs in Jewish genealogies, he is called "the son of Iddo," his grandfather. Iddo was one of the priests who returned to Zerubbabel and Joshua from Babylon (Nehemiah 12:4).[28] He was murdered on a Day of Atonement in the Second Temple in Jerusalem, because of his admonishment, according to the Targum Lamentations 2:20.[29] This was mentioned by Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 23:29–36: "...shedding the blood of the prophets... from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar".[30] There is another Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada that was murdered as recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20–21, but this Zechariah is from the 9th century, during the First Temple period, before the exile to Babylon, and he was killed by officials of Judah who wanted to worship pagan deities, not by priests.[30]
  • "The son of Iddo the prophet": the word "prophet", as Kimchi observes, belongs to Zechariah; not but that his grandfather Iddo might be a prophet too; and the same writer takes notice, that in the Midrash mention is made of Iddo the prophet; and so there is an Iddo that is called the seer and the prophet in 2 Chronicles 9:29.[27]

Vision of horses (1:7–17)[edit]

"The Vision of Zechariah". A miniature made in Sicily (about AD 1300) presents the first of the prophet Zechariah's eight visions. Zechariah stands on the left, next to an angel who points to a man mounting a red horse.

This section records the first of Zechariah's eight night visions, which are his primary and most distinctive feature, with a high literary form and a standardized format, structured in a concentric pattern.[31] In the first vision, the earth is peaceful and expectant, patrolled by the four horsemen (the first of numerous symbols from Zechariah to be reused in the Book of Revelation).[32] The 'seventy years of the Lord's withholding mercy' (cf. Jeremiah 25:11) are fulfilled, the people are returned and the temple is to be rebuilt.[32]

Verse 7[edit]

Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius,
came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet,
  • "the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month... in the second year of Darius": Corresponds to mid-January to mid-February 519 BCE,[32] exactly five months after the building of the temple was resumed (Haggai 2:15), and two months after Haggai's last prophecy (Haggai 2:20).[24]
  • "the month Sebat": The Hebrew month "Shevat" (called here by its Chaldean name) answered to parts of January and February.[26] It was three months since Zechariah had been called to the prophetical office, and two months after Haggai delivered his final prophecies, so now Zechariah carries on the revelation.[26] The term is Chaldee, meaning a "shoot," namely, the month when trees begin to "shoot" or "bud".[28] Called Sabat in the Septuagint version, and in the Apocrypha (1 Maccabees 16:14).[27]

Verse 12[edit]

Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said, "O Lord of hosts, how long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which You were angry these seventy years?"[34]

Cross reference: Jeremiah 25:12, Jeremiah 29:10, Daniel 9:2, Zechariah 7:5

Vision of the horns and craftmen (1:18–21)[edit]

The second vision contains the symbolism of the 'powerful nations that have terrorized the chosen people' and the 'counterforces ("blacksmiths" or "craftsmen") raised by YHWH'.[32]

Verse 20[edit]

Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen.[35]
  • "Craftsmen" (MEV, NASB, NIV, NKJV): from Hebrew חָרָשִֽׁים, khā-rā-shîm;[36] KJV: "carpenters"; NET Bible: "blacksmiths"; a generic term which can mean "metalworker, smith, armorer".[d]

Verse 21[edit]

And I said, "What are these coming to do?"
And he said, "These are the horns that scattered Judah after which no one could raise his head; and these four craftsmen have come to terrify and throw down the horns of the nations who lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it."[37]
  • "These four craftsmen": lit. "these",[38] referring to the four persons in previous verse. As the horns are perhaps made of strong metal (representing oppressive nations with strong military), they can only be cut off by "craftsmen" or "blacksmiths", who represent 'deliverers whom the Lord raises up, such as kings like Cyrus of Persia (cf. Isaiah 54:16)'.[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chapter numbers was first used in Vulgate Bible in 13th century,[1][2] then first used in Hebrew text in the 14th century by Rabbi Solomon ben Ismael.[1]
  2. ^ Verse numbers was first used by Rabbi Isaac Nathan in a Hebrew concordance of Masoretic Text in the 15th century, but not fully printed in a Hebrew Bible until the publication of the Antwerp Polyglott of 1569, whereas Pagninus' Latin Bible of 1528 was published with Arabic numerals for every verse in the whole book.[2]
  3. ^ Aleppo Codex (930) at present only contains Zechariah 9:17b–14:21.[12]
  4. ^ HALOT 358 s.v. חָרָשׁ; apud note [a] on Zechariah 1:20 in NET.


  1. ^ a b "Hebrew Bible" - article in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ a b Moore, G.F. The Vulgate Chapters and Numbered Verses in the Hebrew Bible at JSTOR.
  3. ^ a b c d Zechariah, Book of. Jewish Encyclopedia
  4. ^ a b Collins 2014, p. 421.
  5. ^ a b Hayes 2015, Chapter 23.
  6. ^ Mason 1993, pp. 826-828.
  7. ^ a b Coogan 2007, p. 1357 Hebrew Bible.
  8. ^ a b Mason 1993, p. 826.
  9. ^ Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament - Zechariah 1.
  10. ^ Würthwein 1995, pp. 35-37.
  11. ^ Boda 2016, pp. 2-3.
  12. ^ a b Boda 2016, p. 3.
  13. ^ a b c Dead sea scrolls – Zechariah
  14. ^ Ulrich 2010, pp. 619–620.
  15. ^ Fitzmyer 2008, p. 39.
  16. ^ Boda 2016, pp. 3–4.
  17. ^ Fitzmyer 2008, p. 141.
  18. ^ Würthwein 1995, pp. 73-74.
  19. ^ Fitzmyer 2008, pp. 127–128.
  20. ^ Boda 2016, p. 5.
  21. ^ a b c d Coogan 2007, p. 1358 Hebrew Bible.
  22. ^ Larkin 2007, p. 611.
  23. ^ Zechariah 1:1 KJV
  24. ^ a b Barnes, Albert. Notes on the Bible - Zechariah 1. James Murphy (ed). London: Blackie & Son, 1884. Reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998.
  25. ^ As in Josephus, 'Antiquities,' 1:3.3.
  26. ^ a b c Exell, Joseph S.; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice (Editors). On "Zechariah 1". In: The Pulpit Commentary. 23 volumes. First publication: 1890. Accessed 24 April 2019.
  27. ^ a b c Gill, John. Exposition of the Entire Bible. "Zechariah 1". Published in 1746-1763.
  28. ^ a b c Jamieson, Robert; Fausset, Andrew Robert; Brown, David. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary On the Whole Bible. "Zechariah 1". 1871.
  29. ^ Targum Lamentations. Translated by C. M. M. Brady; based upon the text of MS Urb. 1.
  30. ^ a b Which Zechariah was murdered in the temple? 7 February 2009 – Accessed 20 December 2016.
  31. ^ Larkin 2007, pp. 611–612.
  32. ^ a b c d Larkin 2007, p. 612.
  33. ^ Zechariah 1:7 KJV
  34. ^ Zechariah 1:12 NKJV
  35. ^ Zechariah 1:20 MEV or Zechariah 2:3 Hebrew Bible
  36. ^ Hebrew Text Analysis: Zechariah 1:20. Biblehub
  37. ^ Zechariah 1:21 MEV or Zechariah 2:4 Hebrew Bible
  38. ^ Note [a] on Zechariah 1:21 in NKJV.
  39. ^ Note [a] on Zechariah 1:20 in NET.


  • Boda, Mark J. (2016). Harrison, R. K.; Hubbard, Jr, Robert L. (eds.). The Book of Zechariah. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 978-0802823755.
  • Collins, John J. (2014). Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures. Fortress Press. ISBN 9781451469233.
  • Coogan, Michael David (2007). Coogan, Michael David; Brettler, Marc Zvi; Newsom, Carol Ann; Perkins, Pheme (eds.). The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Issue 48 (Augmented 3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195288810.
  • Fitzmyer, Joseph A. (2008). A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 9780802862419.
  • Hayes, Christine (2015). Introduction to the Bible. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300188277.
  • Larkin, Katrina J. A. (2007). "37. Zechariah". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 610–615. ISBN 978-0199277186. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  • Mason, Rex (1993). "Zechariah, The Book of.". In Metzger, Bruce M; Coogan, Michael D (eds.). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195046458.
  • Ulrich, Eugene, ed. (2010). The Biblical Qumran Scrolls: Transcriptions and Textual Variants. Brill.
  • Würthwein, Ernst (1995). The Text of the Old Testament. Translated by Rhodes, Erroll F. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-0788-7. Retrieved 26 January 2019.

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