1 In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is aChislev. 2 Now the town of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech and their men to aseek the favor of the Lord, 3 speaking to the apriests who belong to the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, "Shall I weep in the bfifth month and abstain, as I have done these many years?" 4 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, 5 "Say to all the people of the land and to the priests, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months these aseventy years, was it actually for bMe that you fasted? 6 'When you eat and drink, do you not eat for yourselves and do you not drink for yourselves? 7 'Are not these the words which the Lord aproclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and bprosperous along with its cities around it, and the cNegev and the foothills were inhabited?'" 8 Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying, 9 "Thus has the Lord of hosts said, 'aDispense true justice and practice bkindness and compassion each to his brother; 10 and ado not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do bnot devise evil in your hearts against one another.' 11 "But they arefused to pay attention and bturned a stubborn shoulder and cstopped their ears from hearing. 12 "They made their ahearts like bflint so that they could not hear the law and the cwords which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the dformer prophets; therefore great ewrath came from the Lord of hosts. 13 "And just as aHe called and they would not listen, so bthey called and I would not listen," says the Lord of hosts; 14 "but I ascattered them with a bstorm wind among all the nations whom they have not known. Thus the land is cdesolated behind them so that dno one went back and forth, for they emade the pleasant land desolate."