1. In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of Yahweh was addressed to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Chislev.
2. Bethel sent Sharezer with a deputation to entreat Yahweh's favour
3. and to ask the priests in the Temple of Yahweh Sabaoth and the prophets, 'Ought I to go on mourning and fasting in the fifth month as I have been doing for so many years past?'
4. Then the word of Yahweh Sabaoth was addressed to me as follows,
5. 'Say to all the people of the country and to the priests, "While you have been fasting and mourning in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, have you really been fasting for my sake?
6. And when you were eating and drinking, were you not eating and drinking for your own sake?
7. Do you not know the words which Yahweh proclaimed through the prophets in the past, when Jerusalem was inhabited and secure, as were her surrounding towns, and when the Negeb and the lowlands were inhabited?" ' (
8. The word of Yahweh was addressed to Zechariah as follows,
9. 'Yahweh Sabaoth says this.) He said, "Apply the law fairly, and show faithful love and compassion towards one another.
10. Do not oppress the widow and the orphan, the foreigner and the poor, and do not secretly plan evil against one another."
11. But they would not listen; they turned a rebellious shoulder; they stopped their ears rather than hear;
12. they made their hearts adamant rather than listen to the teaching and the words that Yahweh Sabaoth had sent -- by his spirit -- through the prophets in the past; and consequently the fury of Yahweh Sabaoth overtook them.
13. And so, since when he called they would not listen, "I would not listen when they called", says Yahweh Sabaoth,
14. "but scattered them among all the nations unknown to them. Hence, after they had gone, the country was deserted, and no one came or went. They had turned a land of delights into a desert." '