Zechariah - Introduction
Zechariah is really two books, not one. In the first, chs. 1–8 , the setting is Jerusalem, beginning life anew after the Exile in Babylon and in the process of reestablishing itself as a living and worshiping city. The second book, chs. 9–14 , takes place much later; the book is in prose and poetry, some perhaps stemming from a time after the Maccabean War, which ended about 160 B.C.E.
Zechariah, in chs. 1–8 , is as anxious as his contemporary, Haggai (see Introduction to Haggai ), to revive the social and religious order of Jerusalem. He states his message partly in oracles (especially in chs. 7–8 ), but mostly in visions of the LORD's purification of Jerusalem (chs. 1–6 ). These highly symbolic visions foreshadow the style that apocalyptic books, such as Daniel and Revelation, would later develop.
Chapters 9–14 , often called Deutero-Zechariah, are so diverse as to defy any unified description. Chapter 11.4–16 recalls the symbolic acts of earlier prophets (compare Jer. 13.1–11; Ezek. 4.1–5.4 ). The battle scene in 14.1–5 has an apocalyptic cast. Other oracles of threat and promise are quite similar to those of earlier prophets. But much of chs. 9–14 is extremely enigmatic.