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7.61 Zechariah -- the Priest

 Whereas we know almost nothing about Haggai, Zechariah is identified as the grandson of Iddo (Zech 1:1).  Nehemiah (Neh 12:16) mentions an Iddo, the head of a priestly family, who returned to Jerusalem from exile in 538 BC, with Zerubbabel and Joshua.  If we assume that this is the same Iddo, we know both when Zechariah arrived in Jerusalem and that he was probably a priest (like Ezekiel before him).  As there are other people in the OT named Iddo, this is not certain.

Most of the prophecies in chapters 1-8 are dated, and fall into the period 520-18, overlapping with Haggai’s ministry.  Chapters 9-14 are undated, and have sometimes been ascribed to different authorship.  NIV Study Bible (1405; compare Amplified Bible 1054) suggests a date after 480 BC, but we simply don’t know.


The name Zechariah means "The Lord Remembers" (NIV Study Bible, p. 1406), and throughout this book God remembers His people, stirs them to remember Him, and acts to renew the covenant.   Like Haggai, Zechariah has much to say to the remnant in Jerusalem as they struggle to rebuild.  But his concerns also range much wider.  It may be no coincidence that roughly half of Zechariah’s messages contain significant statements about Gentiles.  Haggai virtually ignores Gentiles in order to focus on the Jews’ spiritual priorities, but Zechariah tends to draw sweeping pictures of the present and future spiritual conditions of Israel and the world. 


Zechariah ranged far beyond the immediate situation of the Jews rebuilding Jerusalem.  With his apocalyptic visions, he is reminiscent of Daniel. In addressing the Gentiles and proclaiming the coming of the king of Israel, he echoes Isaiah two centuries before and anticipates the Christian revelation five centuries later.

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