You will find an introduction and outline to Zechariah here.

Here is a prayer from the Book of Common Worship to use before reading.

God our helper, by your Holy Spirit, open our minds, that as the Scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed, we may be led into your truth and taught your will, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Outline, following Petersen

I. 1:1-8:23 Visions and Oracles of Restoration:

A. 1:1-6:8 Visions

1:1-6 Prologue, A call to repentance. The date is Oct/Nov 520 BCE. Notice the phrase “the word of the Lord”. This oracle is interesting because it is focused on the past.

1:7-17 The First Vision: Divine horsemen patrolling the earth. The date is Jan/Feb 519 BCE. The vision is a quiet but colorful scene until the angel asks God a question, “How long…?” Seventy years is a way of stating a long time. Then God responds with anger at the nations and promises for Zion and Jerusalem.

1:18-21 The Second Vision:Four horns and four smiths. We do not know exactly what the horns are. They may be four nations, or horned helmets, but most likely they refer to the four corners of the alter.The Hebrew word translated as “Blacksmiths” can refer to artisans who work with metal, wood, or stone. The peace of the first vision will be disrupted.

2:1-5 The Third Vision: A surveyor measures Jerusalem. As opposed to other descriptions that have walls around Jerusalem. This vision is of a city without walls. Notice the city is discussed and not the Temple. The Persian capital, Parsargadae, did not have walls but was surrounded by alters of fire. For Jerusalem, God will be their guard and glory.

2:6-13 An appeal to the Exiles: Admonitions and and promises. “up,up” is literally “woe,woe” an appeal to listen to what is being said.

3:1-10 The Fourth Vision: Joshua and the satan: Notice that this vision is different than the others.He is shown (rather than sees) and there is no question and response. The angel is part of the vision rather than its interpreter. Satan here, is the adversary or accuser and is part of the heavenly court who accuses Joshua. This “satan” is not our modern idea of Satan. The phrase “And I said”, would be better translated as “And he said”. The changing of clothing represents the changing of the status of impurity to ritual purity. The “branch” is a member of the family of David, probably Zerubbabel.The stone with seven facets may symbolize the high-priesthood and perhaps be part of their garments.

B. 7:1-8:23 Oracles

II. 9:1-14:21 Oracles about the Future

A. 9:1-11:17 First Oracle

B.12:1-14:21 Second Oracle

Read More About It:

Here are several good sources to aid your reading of Zechariah.

Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.

Ollenberger, Ben C., “Zechariah” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Vol 7, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 1996.

Petersen, David L. “Zechariah” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version.Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Perkins, Pheme; Newsom, Carol A. (2010-01-20) Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Petersen, David L. “Zechariah” in  HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.