The penultimate book of the OT. Chs. 1–8 are the work of Zechariah, son of Iddo (according to Ezra 5: 1; grandson according to Zech. 1: 1), and describe the harsh conditions of life in Judah after the Return from Exile. He followed Haggai in urging the rebuilding of the Temple (about 518 BCE). There are eight visions in these chapters, linked by the theme of the consecration of Joshua as high priest. The land is to be cleansed of all who do not observe the Law, and the visions promise God’s continuing protection of Jerusalem.
The remaining chapters of Zechariah (cf. Malachi) were added in the 5th and 4th cents. BCE; and the authors seem dissatisfied with the nation’s leadership in their time and use their visions of an apocalyptic character to express hopes that in the end there will be a final vindication for the nation. Gentiles too (cf. Mal. 1:11) will be included in this act of salvation (Zech. 14: 16). Chs. 9–14 are complementary to the first eight chapters for the book is an editorial unity: the ‘eye’ motif occurs in both parts. But the ‘Day of the Lord’ is conceived in cosmic terms, with liturgical anticipations at the annual festival of Booths (14: 16).
Both parts of the book allude to a Messiah; but the final chapter also anticipates a New Jerusalem, which stands high above a flattened landscape (14: 10) and the devastation of a plague; survivors from all the nations will join in festive celebration (14: 16).