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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

B. 7:1-8:23 Oracles

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

A. 9:1-11:17 First Oracle:Similarly to Amos, this chapter begins with oracles against foreign nations. God will defeat these nations and God’s kingdom will be instituted. These chapters are mostly poetry.

10:1-12 The Lord the Militant Shepherd: Notice there is a change in theme and language in chapter 10. At the same time, notice the connections between 10:1-2 and 9:16-17(God’s provision); and between 10:1-2 and the rest of chapter 10(God is the one in control). Teraphim are small household idols. Teraphim, diviners and dreamers are false guides, who leave the people/sheep without leadership/shepherd.The house of Joseph (Ephraim) is the Northern Kingdom, Israel shall both be redeemed and returned home. Notice in verse 11 the allusion to the Exodus and crossing of the Red Sea.

11:1-3 Taunts against northern countries. Bashan is what will become Syria.

11:4-17 Shepherding a Flock. Shepherd was used as a metaphor for kings, or religious or civic leaders. These verses contain a series of oracles about shepherds. Verses 4-6 the shepherd (Zechariah?) leads a doomed flock. Verses 7-14 a symbolic action by the one who has the two staffs, symbolizing the broken covenant. Thirty shekels was the restitution required for a slave gored by an ox (Ex 21:32). Other ancient texts consider 30 shekels to be a trivial amount of money. In verse 13 the “lordly price” is likely meant ironically. Verses 15-16 are a second symbolic action and verse 17 is a woe oracle against the worthless shepherd.

B.12:1-14:21 Second Oracle: These chapters are mostly prose. Notice the repetition of “on that day” and the oracle begins with the words “The word of the Lord” These oracles are concerned with the coming day of the Lord.

12:1-9 focus on the role of Jerusalem with respect to surrounding nations. Verses 10-14 is a lamentation for the martyred prophet or king. Christians read this messianically. Hadad-rimmon was both the place where Josiah’s death was mourned and also the name of a Syrian storm god (also known as Baal) whose annual disappearance was mourned in agricultural areas.

13:1 Cleansing by God’s purifying waters

13:2-6 The end of prophecy

13:7-9 The shepherd is struck and the sheep are scattered, a remnant is purified and saved. The covenant is restored.

14:1-21 An eschatological depiction of the Lord’s day.  Jerusalem suffers but is saved by God. Verses 6-9 describe the Lord’s day, no cold, no night and living waters. The Lord becomes king. Verses 10-11 Jerusalem is elevated and secure. Verses 12-15 those who attack Jerusalem will suffer a plague. Verses 16-19 instead of attacking Jerusalem, the nations will make pilgrimage to Jerusalem.Verses 20-21 Everything will be holy.

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.

 

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