Introduction. The red horse. The four horns and the four craftsmen.
VERSE 1. In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, the LORD’s word came to the prophet Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, saying,
the eighth month, in the second year of Darius. That month began October 27, 520 BC.
the LORD. When rendered in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, “LORD” or “GOD” is the translation of God’s Proper Name.
the LORD’s word. Zechariah is given a series of eight apocalyptic visions:
- Zechariah 1:7-17. The Red Horse
- Zechariah 1:18-21. The Four Horns and the Four Craftsmen
- Zechariah 2. The Surveyor with a Measuring Line
- Zechariah 3. The Cleansing and Crowning of Joshua the High Priest
- Zechariah 4. The Golden Lampstand and Two Olive Trees
- Zechariah 5:1-4. The Flying Scroll
- Zechariah 5:5-11. The Woman in the Ephah
- Zechariah 6:1-5. The Four Chariots
came to. These words are important. Zechariah is merely the agent of this prophecy and not its source. That is the case with all true prophets.
Zechariah. This name means “the LORD remembers.”
Zechariah was born in Babylon. He was born a Levite. He was a contemporary of the prophet Haggai.
He returned to Jerusalem from Babylon with almost 50,000 other Jewish exiles.
VERSE 2. “The LORD was very displeased with your fathers.
VERSE 3. Therefore tell them, the LORD of Hosts says: ‘Return to me,’ says the LORD of Hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD of Hosts.
NIV translation. Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Return to me … and I will return to you. This is the essence of the LORD God’s message through the prophets. He desires a living relationship with us.
People are not called to merely return to the Law. Or religious practices. Rather, they are called to return to the LORD God himself.
Malachi 3:7. From the days of your fathers you have turned away from my ordinances and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Hosts. “But you say, ‘How shall we return?’
VERSE 4. Don’t you be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets proclaimed, saying: The LORD of Hosts says, ‘Return now from your evil ways and from your evil doings;’ but they didn’t hear nor listen to me, says the LORD.
the prophets, do they live forever? The answer is no. Their ministries are brief. So people should not ignore the chance to repent, offered by a prophet.
VERSE 6. But my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, didn’t they overtake your fathers? “Then they repented and said, ‘Just as the LORD of Hosts determined to do to us, according to our ways and according to our practices, so he has dealt with us.’ ”
VERSE 7. On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the LORD’s word came to the prophet Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo, saying,
This date was February 15, 519 BC.
VERSE 8. “I had a vision in the night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in a ravine; and behind him there were red, brown, and white horses.
NASB translation. I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel and white horses behind him.
behold. This is from the Hebrew word הִנֵּה. It means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.
a man. In the verses that follow, we see that Zechariah is actually beholding an angel.
riding on a red horse. In the Book of Revelation, there is a red horse. Its rider is an angel.
Revelation 6:4. Another came out: a red horse. To him who sat on it was given power to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another. There was given to him a great sword.
VERSE 9. Then I asked, ‘My lord, what are these?’ ” The angel who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what these are.”
VERSE 10. The man who stood among the myrtle trees answered, “They are the ones the LORD has sent to go back and forth through the earth.”
VERSE 11. They reported to the LORD’s angel who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, “We have walked back and forth through the earth, and behold, all the earth is at rest and in peace.”
VERSE 12. Then the LORD’s angel replied, “O LORD of Hosts, how long will you not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which you have had indignation these seventy years?”
how long will you not have mercy on Jerusalem. The NAB translation puts it this way: “how long will you be without mercy for Jerusalem?”
without mercy for Jerusalem. The angel intercedes for Jerusalem with God Almighty.
It has been long enough! Jerusalem has been in ruins for seventy years. It is time for Jerusalem to be shown mercy. Jerusalem needs a fresh start.
And upon this prayer, the rebuilding of Jerusalem begins.
VERSE 13. The LORD answered the angel who talked with me with kind and comforting words.
VERSE 14. So the angel who talked with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘The LORD of Hosts says: “I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.
NAB translation. And the angel who spoke with me said to me, Proclaim: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am deeply moved for the sake of Jerusalem and Zion.
I am deeply moved for the sake of Jerusalem and Zion. The LORD God is deeply moved for Jerusalem and Zion. He wishes for their very best.
The LORD God seems almost surprised at the severity of the evil that humans can inflict on each other. They inflicted great harm.
VERSE 15. I am very angry with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, but they added to the calamity.”
VERSE 16. Therefore the LORD says: “I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy. My house shall be built in it,” says the LORD of Hosts, “and a line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.” ’
NASB translation. Therefore thus says the Lord, “I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.”
I will return to Jerusalem with compassion. The LORD God will show fresh avalanches of mercy to Jerusalem.
My house will be built in it. The LORD God will once again build his Temple within Jerusalem.
a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem. The LORD God will measure all of Jerusalem’s needs and fulfill them all.
VERSE 17. “Proclaim further, saying, ‘The LORD of Hosts says: “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.” ’ ”
NAB translation. Proclaim further: Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity; the LORD will again comfort Zion, and again choose Jerusalem.
My cities. Once again, the LORD God describes Jerusalem as his specially chosen city. It is his.
overflow with prosperity. Both Jerusalem and Zion will overflow with material and spiritual prosperity. They will be the envy of the nations.
the LORD will again comfort Zion. In their restored relationship with the LORD God, both Jerusalem and Zion will experience altogether new levels of spiritual comfort.
again choose Jerusalem. The LORD God will choose them all over again.
four horns. In the context of a vision, horns indicate invincible strength.
VERSE 19. I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these?” He answered me, “These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.”
horns which have scattered. The four horns symbolize proud Gentile powers.
craftsmen. The Hebrew word is kharasheem. This indicates workmen skilled in wood, stone, or metal.
VERSE 21. Then I asked, “What are these coming to do?” He said, “These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man lifted up his head; but these have come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.