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7 Furthermore, it came about that in the fourth year of Da·riʹus+ the king the word of Jehovah occurred to Zech·a·riʹah, on the fourth [day] of the ninth month, [that is,] in Chisʹlev.*+ 2 And Bethʹel proceeded to send Shar·eʹzer and Reʹgem-melʹech and his men* to soften+ the face of Jehovah, 3 saying to the priests+ who belonged to the house of Jehovah of armies, and to the prophets, even saying: “Shall I weep in the fifth+ month, practicing an abstinence,* the way I have done these O how many years?”+ 4 And the word of Jehovah of armies continued to occur to me, saying: 5 “Say to all the people of the land* and to the priests, ‘When YOU fasted+ and there was a wailing in the fifth [month] and in the seventh+ [month], and this for seventy years,+ did YOU really fast to me, even me?+ 6 And when YOU would eat and when YOU would drink, were not YOU the ones doing the eating, and were not YOU the ones doing the drinking? 7 [Should YOU] not [obey] the words+ that Jehovah called out by means of the former prophets,+ while Jerusalem happened to be inhabited, and at ease, with her cities all around her, and [while] the Negʹeb*+ and the She·pheʹlah*+ were inhabited?’” 8 And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to Zech·a·riʹah, saying: 9 “This is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘With true justice* do YOUR judging;+ and carry on with one another loving-kindness*+ and mercies;+ 10 and defraud no widow+ or fatherless boy,+ no alien resident+ or afflicted one,+ and scheme out nothing bad against one another in YOUR hearts.’+ 11 But they kept refusing to pay attention,+ and they kept giving a stubborn shoulder,+ and their ears they made too unresponsive to hear.+ 12 And their heart+ they set as an emery stone to keep from obeying the law+ and the words that Jehovah of armies sent by his spirit,+ by means of the former prophets;+ so that there occurred great indignation on the part of Jehovah of armies.”+ 13 “‘And so it occurred that, just as he called and they did not listen,+ so they would call and I would not listen,’+ Jehovah of armies has said. 14 ‘And I proceeded tempestuously to hurl them throughout all the nations+ that they had not known;+ and the land itself has been left desolate behind them, with no one passing through and with no one returning;+ and they proceeded to make the desirable land+ an object of astonishment.’”
^ The postexilic name of the ninth Jewish lunar month, which falls within November and December. See App 8B.
^ “And his men.” Heb., wa·ʼana·shavʹ, pl. of ʼish.
^ “Practicing an abstinence.” Heb., hin·na·zerʹ, in the infinitive absolute, indefinite as to time and impersonal.
^ Or, “the south,” that is, the southern part of the Promised Land.
^ Or, “the lowland.”
^ Lit., “[With] the judgment of truth.”
^ Or, “and . . . loyal love.” Heb., wecheʹsedh.