The breaking of the staff of favor (Zech 11:10-11:11)

“I took my staff,

Favor.

I broke it.

I annulling the covenant

That I had made

With all the people.

So,

It was annulled

On that day.

The sheep merchants,

Who were watching me,

Knew that it was

The word of Yahweh.”

Zechariah took his staff named favor, grace, or beauty.  Then he broke it.  By this, on that day, he annulled the covenant that had been made with his people.  Meanwhile, the sheep merchants were watching him.  They realized that this was truly the word of Yahweh.

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The vision of the large flying scroll (Zech 5:1-5:2)

“Again,

I looked up.

I saw a flying scroll!

He said to me.

‘What do you see?’

I answered.

‘I see a flying scroll.

Its length is twenty cubits.

Its breadth is ten cubits.’”

Zechariah had his 6th vision.  The angel that he had been speaking to asked him what he saw.  He looked up and saw this large flying scroll, 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, that probably indicated the word of Yahweh.

Do not be like your ancestors (Zech 1:4-1:6)

“Do not be like your ancestors!

The former prophets

Cried out

Against them.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘Return from your evil ways!

Return from your evil deeds!

But they did not hear.

They did not heed me.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Your ancestors,

Where are they?

The prophets,

Do they live forever?

But my words,

My statutes,

That I commanded

My servants,

The prophets,

Did they not overtake

Your ancestors?

Thus,

They repented.

They said.

‘Yahweh of hosts

Has dealt with us

According to our ways,

According to our deeds,

Just as he planned to do.’”

Yahweh, via Zechariah, wanted the people of Israel not to be like their ancestors.  They should return from their evil ways and deeds.  Their ancestors had not listened to the former prophets proclaiming the word of Yahweh.  What happened to their ancestors?  Neither they nor these prophets would live forever.  However, the statutes and commands of Yahweh as pronounced by his servants, the prophets, overtook them.  They repented and agreed that Yahweh had treated them fairly according to their ways and deeds.

Title (Zeph 1:1-1:1)

“The word of Yahweh

That came to Zephaniah,

Son of Cushi,

Son of Gedaliah,

Son of Amariah,

Son of Hezekiah,

In the days

Of King Josiah,

Son of Amon,

Of Judah.”

As with many other prophets, the word of Yahweh came to Zephaniah.  However, there is a long description of his lineage.  He was the son of a Cushi that could mean a Cushite, an Ethiopian, or a dark-skinned person.  There was a Gedaliah who was a governor of Israel after the exile, but the setting is earlier here.  There 9 different people with the name of Amariah mentioned in the biblical literature.  This one could have been the son of King Hezekiah of Judah who ruled from 716-687 BCE.  That is quite possible since Zephaniah was a prophet during the reign of King Josiah (640-609 BCE) who was the son of King Amon (642-640 BCE).  Thus, Zephaniah may have been a prophet with royal blood.

Title (Nah 1:1-1:1)

“An oracle

Concerning Nineveh.

The book of the vision

of Nahum of Elkosh.”

The title of this work indicates that this is an oracle about Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrians, who had destroyed northern Israel, Samaria, in 723 BCE.  Nineveh, on the outskirts of modern day Mosul, Iraq, on the Tigris River, was itself destroyed around 612 BCE.  Nineveh was the same city that Jonah was sent to preach against.  He, however, was successful in that the leaders and inhabitants of Nineveh repented.  Thus, Yahweh did not destroy it then.  This oracle was once again the word of Yahweh.  This book also talked about a vision that Nahum had.  There is no mention of his father, but there is a mention of the place that he is from, Elkosh, a village in Galilee or southwest Judah.

Jonah goes to Nineveh (Jon 3:3-3:3)

“Thus,

Jonah set out for Nineveh.

He went to Nineveh,

According to

The word of Yahweh.

Now Nineveh was

An exceedingly large city.

It would take three days

To walk across it.”

This time the response of Jonah was quite different.  Instead of running away, Jonah went to Nineveh as the word of Yahweh had instructed him.  Next, we have a short description of this Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians, a very large city that would take 3 days to walk across it.  Actually, it was only about 3 miles wide and 1½ miles wide.  It was one of the largest cities in the ancient world until the civil war of 612 BCE, probably with a population of around 120,000 people.  Geographically, Nineveh was on the outskirts of modern day Mosul, Iraq, on the east bank of the Tigris River.