1. In the fourth year of Darius the king (the word of the LORD came to Zechariah), on the fourth day of Chislev, the ninth month,
2. Bethelsarezer sent Regemmelech and his men to implore favor of the LORD
3. and to ask the priests of the house of the LORD of hosts, and the prophets, "Must I mourn and abstain in the fifth month as I have been doing these many years?"
4. Thereupon this word of the LORD of hosts came to me:
5. Say to all the people of the land and to the priests: When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and in the seventh month these seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?
6. And when you were eating and drinking, was it not for yourselves that you ate, and for yourselves that you drank?
7. Were not these the words which the LORD spoke through the former prophets, when Jerusalem and the surrounding cities were inhabited and at peace, when the Negeb and the foothills were inhabited?
8. (This word of the LORD came to Zechariah:
9. Thus says the LORD of hosts:) Render true judgment, and show kindness and compassion toward each other.
10. Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the alien or the poor; do not plot evil against one another in your hearts.
11. But they refused to listen; they stubbornly turned their backs and stopped their ears so as not to hear.
12. And they made their hearts diamondhard so as not to hear the teaching and the message that the LORD of hosts had sent by his spirit through the former prophets.
13. Then the LORD of hosts in his great anger said that, as they had not listened when he called, so he would not listen when they called,
14. but would scatter them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they did not know. Thus the land was left desolate after them with no one traveling to and fro; they made the pleasant land into a desert.