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7 In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariaht on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev.u 2 The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreatv the Lordw 3 by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mournx and fast in the fifthy month, as I have done for so many years?”
4 Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: 5 “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fastedz and mourned in the fifth and seventha months for the past seventy years,b was it really for me that you fasted? 6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?c 7 Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophetsd when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at reste and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothillsf were settled?’ ”g
8 And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: 9 “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice;h show mercy and compassion to one another.i 10 Do not oppress the widowj or the fatherless, the foreignerk or the poor.l Do not plot evil against each other.’m
11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornlyn they turned their backso and covered their ears.p 12 They made their hearts as hard as flintq and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets.r So the Lord Almighty was very angry.s
13 “ ‘When I called, they did not listen;t so when they called, I would not listen,’u says the Lord Almighty.v 14 ‘I scatteredw them with a whirlwindx among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it.y This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.z’ ”
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