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English Bible Dictionary

Zechariah the Prophet

 

The eleventh in order of the twelve minor prophets. He is called in his prophecy the son of Berechiah and the grandson of Iddo, whereas in the book of Ezra, (Ezra 5:1; 6:14) he is said to have been the son of Iddo. It is natural to suppose as the prophet himself mentions his father's name, whereas the book of Ezra mentions only Iddo, that Berechiah had died early, and that there was now no intervening link between the grandfather and the grandson. Zechariah, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel before him, was priest as well as prophet. He seems to have entered upon his office while yet young, (Zechariah 2:4) and must have been born in Babylon whence he returned with the first caravan of exiles under Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. It was in the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, that he first publicly discharged his office. In this he acted in concert with Haggai. Both prophets had the same great object before them; both directed all their energies to the building of the second temple. To their influence we find the rebuilding of the temple in a great measure ascribed. If the later Jewish accounts may be trusted, Zechariah, as well as Haggai, was a member of the Great Synagogue. The genuine writings of Zechariah help us but little in our estimate of his character. Some faint traces, however, we may observe in them, of his education in Babylon. He leans avowedly on the authority of the older prophets, and copies their expressions. Jeremiah especially seems to have been his favorite; and hence the Jewish saying that "the spirit of Jeremiah dwelt in Zechariah." But in what may be called the peculiarities of his prophecy, he approaches more nearly to Ezekiel and Daniel. Like them he delights in visions; like them he uses symbols and allegories rather than the bold figures and metaphors which lend so much force and beauty to the writings of the earlier prophets. Generally speaking, Zechariah's style is pure, and remarkably free from Chaldaisms.

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Zechariah.

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