Zechariah: Will the Real Zechariah Please Stand Up?
For the first eight chapters of his book, Zechariah is on Team Haggai, rallying support for the high priest and the government. The last six chapters—not so much. The Z-man goes off on an epic rant against the powers that be with a couple of cryptic oracles that really bake interpreters’ noodles.
What’s up with that?
Many scholars believe that the book actually reflects the work of two or even three different prophets, if not more. Thanks to historic archaeological discoveries, biblical scholars are now able to tell them apart by their full names: First Zechariah, Second Zechariah and Third Zechariah. After the fall of Babylon, Judah was under the authority of the Persian Empire. The Persian ruler mentioned in Zechariah 1:1, Darius, is the father of King Xerxes of 300 fame.
Some commentators believe that chapters 9 through 14 were originally part of another prophetic book. The raging clue: the New Testament book of Matthew 27:9 quotes Zechariah 11:12-13 but attributes the quote to Jeremiah. Oops.
Zechariah means “God has remembered,” but the big thing he remembers in this book is that his people have always been disobedient schmucks. They may be returning to Jerusalem after decades of exile in Babylonia, but Zechariah turns this into a guilt trip.