A Call for Justice and Mercy1 a In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is b Chislev. 2 Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men c to entreat the favor of the Lord, 3 d saying to the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts and e the prophets, “Should I weep and f abstain in g the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?” 4 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: 5 “Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in h the fifth month and in i the seventh, for these j seventy years k was it l for me that you fasted? 6 m And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? 7 n Were not these the words that the Lord proclaimed o by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous p with her cities around her, and the q South and the r lowland were inhabited?” 8 And the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts s Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 t do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner u or the poor, and v let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” 11 But w they refused to pay attention x and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. ▼
▼ Hebrew and made their ears too heavy to hear12 z They made their hearts diamond-hard aa lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent ab by his Spirit through ac the former prophets. ad Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. 13 ae “As I ▼
▼ Hebrew hecalled, and they would not hear ag so they called, and I would not hear,” says the Lord of hosts, 14 ah “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all ai the nations that they had not known. aj Thus the land they left was desolate ak so that no one went to and fro al and the pleasant land was made desolate.”
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