AFTER READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS FOR STUDY ONE.
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW AN OUTLINE.
Before analyzing the test of any book of the Bible, it is well to learn the historical background.
Also, it is best to make a "skyscraper" view of its general contents. Accordingly, this introduction is divided into two parts: background and survey.
- Zechariah is the author, though some have questioned his authorship of chapters 9 though 14. The objections have to do with writing style and events mentioned. The objects can be explained.
- Zechariah was born in Babylonia in captivity with the rest of the Israelites his age. While still young he returned to Jerusalem with the first group of exiles in 538 B.C.
- The word of the Lord came to Zechariah during Zerubbabel, Haggai, and just under 50,000 Jews returned from Babylonian exile to Jerusalem. Zechariah and Hosea are the longest of the minor prophets with fourteen chapters each.
- Daniel was an old man when Israel returned and so stayed in Babylon. In Egypt Jeremiah had given his last prophecies a generation earlier. Ezekiel was also from the previous generation. It's doubtable that Zechariah would have known him because Zechariah was so young when he started his ministry. Haggai was a contemporary prophet. (Ezra 5:1) Zerubbabel was made governor of Judah by the Mede-Persian ruler Cyrus. (Ezra 2:1-2)
- Date and Place of Writing
- Zechariah ministry was written from 520 to sometime after 480 B.C.
- Zechariah's ministry was in Judah, probably all within Jerusalem because he was also a priest.
- Zechariah delivered messages to those who had returned to Jerusalem and Judah from Babylonia under Cyprus' edict. The main message concerns the building of the temple.
- Since the Holy Spirit has been given the Lord's people since Pentecost we are now the temple of the Lord. So this message is to us as well. Are we building his house or have we stopped working on it?
- Occasion and Purpose
- The Lord had stated through the prophet Jeremiah before Judah had been taken into captivity that the captivity would last seventy years. (Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10; and 2 Chron. 36:21) The exile began with Nebuchadnezzar's first invasion of Judah in 605 B.C. (2 Chron. 36:2-7) and ended with the first return of the Jews to the promised land in 536 B.C. (Ezra 1) Cyprus, the Mede-Persian ruler ordered the return of the exiles and the rebuilding of the Lord's temple.
- Daniel was an old man when they returned and so stayed in Babylon. He had learned of Jeremiah's prophecy and prayed with repentance for the return. Daniel had just received the revelation of Israel's seventy years (Daniel 9), and had not yet received the revelation of the last great war (Daniel 10-12) when the first exiles returned to Judah.
- After Daniel prayed the people returned to Jerusalem and had begun work on the temple. Then after a few years they stopped. The Lord first sent Haggai to rebuke then. Once they obeyed and started working on the temple again, the Lord gave them words of encouragement.
- Most of Zechariah's messages were given during the time that the second temple was being built. They were meant to rebuke and encourage the Jews concerning the project.
- Form and Style
The book of Zechariah is mostly an historical account. Chapters 9, 10 and the beginning of 11 are the only poetic part of Zechariah's book.
Zechariah received a series of visions, an oracle, and direct messages.
- Place Among the Old Testament Books
- Zechariah and Hosea are the longest of the minor prophets with 14 chapters each. Scholars have placed it with the other eleven minor prophets.
- Just because scholars have classified twelve of the prophetic books as minor does not mean that their message is any less important than the four major prophets. In fact the New Testament quotes the minor prophets more than the major prophets.
CLICK HERE TO GO BACK TO Zechariah STUDY 1 QUESTIONS
CLICK HERE TO GO BACK TO Zechariah STUDY 1 COMMENTS
Click the house to go to the Bible Study HOME Page