On to Zechariah 7:1-7
v1: The number 4 is emphasized again here – this reminds us that this prophecy has global implications.
v2: Jacob dreamt of a ladder between heaven and earth at a place he called Bethel (Bethel means ‘house of G-d’ – Genesis 28:11-22) G-d’s desire in this dream was that there would be unity between G-d and man. This was fulfilled by Yeshua (John 1:51) The questions asked in the next few verses relate to G-d’s desire for true unity.
· These few men were sent from Bethel to Jerusalem (see biblehub.com for cross referencing. This verse is unclear in the NKJV) as they were concerned about what was going on in the land of Israel.
v3: They (these leaders at Bethel) were hoping that the priests and prophets in Jerusalem would be able to answer their question.
· Jerusalem, as well as the temple, were destroyed in the 5th month (called “Av”) so the ancient sages instituted a fast (Tisha B Av) on the 9th day of Av when the people went into exile in Babylon. For 70 years the people had fasted on this day, but now they wanted to know if they should still fast as they were back in Israel (although the leadership in Bethel were concerned about this fast day, they were not too concerned about rebuilding the temple. It had not yet been rebuilt)
v4: Zechariah gets a word from the L-rd.
v5: Another fast had been instituted by the sages in the seventh month called Tzom Gedaliah (it is a fast just before Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement) Gedaliah was a righteous leader in Jerusalem at the beginning of the Babylonian exile. He was murdered and his death ended Jewish autonomy following the destruction of the first temple.
· G-d wanted to know if those two fasts (instituted by men) had been done as unto Him or if they had been done to please the flesh. Did the people feel good that they were being proactive about something that had happened to them, and had they turned the fasts into something spiritual when in fact they were not spiritual at all?
v6: Deut 8:10 commands us that when we have eaten and are satisfied we are to bless the L-rd. Conversely when we fast it should also be to bless the L-rd.
v7: Everything we do should be done as unto the L-rd. G-d had revealed this to the people, through earlier prophets, and G-d had brought peace to the land so that the people could live in a way to bless the L-rd – but they never truly did.