A prophet of Judah, the eleventh of the twelve minor prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly extraction. He describes himself (1:1) as "the son of Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo," who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from exile. He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).
His book consists of two distinct parts,
(1) chapters 1 to 8, inclusive, and
(2) 9 to the end.
It begins with a preface (1:1-6), which recalls the nation's past history, for the purpose of presenting a solemn warning to the present generation. Then follows a series of eight visions ((1:7-6:8),), succeeding one another in one night, which may be regarded as a symbolical history of Israel, intended to furnish consolation to the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds. The symbolical action, the crowning of (Joshua 6:9-15), describes how the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of God's Christ.
Chapters 7 and 8, delivered two years later, are an answer to the question whether the days of mourning for the destruction of the city should be any longer kept, and an encouraging address to the people, assuring them of God's presence and blessing.
The second part of the book (ch. 9-14) bears no date. It is probable that a considerable interval separates it from the first part.
It consists of two burdens.
The first burden (ch. 9-11) gives an outline of the course of God's providential dealings with his people down to the time of the Advent.
The second burden (ch. 12-14) points out the glories that await Israel in "the latter day", the final conflict and triumph of God's kingdom.
The son or grandson of Jehoiada, the high priest in the times of Ahaziah and Joash. After the death of Jehoiada he boldly condemned both the king and the people for their rebellion against God (2 Chronicles 24:20), which so stirred up their resentment against him that at the king's commandment they stoned him with stones, and he died "in the court of the house of the Lord" (24:21). Christ alludes to this deed of murder in Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51. (See ZACHARIAS .)
A prophet, who had "understanding in the seeing of God," in the time of Uzziah, who was much indebted to him for his wise counsel (2 Chronicles 26:5).
Besides these, there is a large number of persons mentioned in Scripture bearing this name of whom nothing is known.
One of the chiefs of the tribe of Reuben (1 Chronicles 5:7).
One of the porters of the tabernacle (1 Chronicles 9:21).
1 Chronicles 9:37.
A Levite who assisted at the bringing up of the ark from the house of Obededom (1 Chronicles 15:20-24).
A Kohathite Levite (1 Chronicles 24:25).
A Merarite Levite (1 Chronicles 27:21).
The father of Iddo (1 Chronicles 27:21).
One who assisted in teaching the law to the people in the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:7).
A Levite of the sons of Asaph (2 Chronicles 20:14).
One of Jehoshaphat's sons (2 Chronicles 21:2).
The father of Abijah, who was the mother of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29:1).
One of the sons of Asaph (2 Chronicles 29:13).
One of the "rulers of the house of God" (2 Chronicles 35:8).
A chief of the people in the time of Ezra, who consulted him about the return from captivity (Ezra 8:16); probably the same as mentioned in Nehemiah 8:4,
The book of Zechariah, in its existing form, consists of three principal parts, vis.
1. The first of these divisions is allowed by the critics to be the genuine work of Zechariah the son of Iddo. It consists, first, of a short introduction or preface in which the prophet announces his commission; then of a series of visions, descriptive of all those hopes and anticipations of which the building of the temple was the pledge and sure foundation and finally of a discourse, delivered two years later, in reply to questions respecting the observance of certain established fasts.
2. The remainder of the book consists of two sections of about equal length, chs. 9-11 and 12-14, each of which has an inscription.
(1) In the first section he threatens Damascus and the seacoast of Palestine with misfortune, but declares that Jerusalem shall be protected.
(2) The second section is entitled "The burden of the word of Jehovah for Israel." But Israel is here used of the nation at large, not of Israel as distinct from Judah. Indeed the prophecy which follows concerns Judah and Jerusalem, in this the prophet beholds the near approach of troublous times, when Jerusalem should be hard pressed by enemies. But in that day Jehovah shall come to save them an all the nations which gather themselves against Jerusalem shall be destroyed. Many modern critics maintain that the later chapters, from the ninth to the fourteenth, were written by some other prophet, who lived before the exile. The prophecy closes with a grand and stirring picture. All nations are gathered together against Jerusalem, and seem already sure of their prey. Half of their cruel work has been accomplished, when Jehovah himself appears on behalf of his people. He goes forth to war against the adversaries of his people. He establishes his kingdom over all the earth. All nations that are still left shall come up to Jerusalem, as the great centre of religious worship, and the city; from that day forward shall be a holy city. Such is, briefly, an outline of the second portion of that book which is commonly known as the Prophecy of Zechariah.
Integrity . -
Mede was the first to call this in question. The probability that the later chapters, from the ninth to the fourteenth, were by some other prophet seems first to have been suggested to him by the citation in St. Matthew. He rests his opinion partly on the authority of St. Matthew and partly-on the contents of the later chapters, which he considers require a date earlier than the exile. Archbishop Newcombe went further. He insisted on the great dissimilarity of style as well as subject between the earlier and later chapters and he was the first who advocated the theory that the last six chapters of Zechariah are the work of two distinct prophets.