Ralph L. Smith writes: "The first part of the book of Zechariah (chaps. 1-8) is well dated. The first date is 'the eighth month of the second year of Darius' (1:1) which would be October, 520 B.C. This is the only place among the seven dates given in Haggai and Zechariah 1-8, where the day of the month is omitted. The Syriac version supplies the day by adding the phrase 'in the first day of the month,' which may or may not be correct. At any rate, 'the eighth month of the second year of Darius' puts the beginning of Zechariah's ministry one month before Haggai delivered his last two oracles (cf. Hag 2:18, 20). The second date in Zechariah is 'the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius' (1:7). This date corresponds to February 15, 519 B.C. This second date seems to suggest that Zechariah saw his eight visions in one night. But Rex Mason, following W. A. M. Beuken and P. R. Ackroyd, notes that the verse (1:7) is editorial and in the third person, whereas most of the vision accounts that follow are in the first person. . . . The third and last date in Zechariah is in 7:1, 'in the fourth year of King Darius, in the fourth day of the ninth month which is Chislev.' Our equivalent would be December 7, 518 B.C. This verse too is editorial and introduces Zechariah's ethical and eschatological oracles aout the true meaning of fasting (chaps. 7-8). Chaps. 7 and 8 seem to be made up of a number of short sayings introduced by 'thus says Yahweh' (7:9; 8:1, 4, 7, 9, 14, 18, 20). These sayings probably were delivered over a period of several months or even years." (Micah-Malachi, p. 169)
J. Alberto Soggin writes: "Zechariah's preaching relates to the new situation which has been created following the victory of Darius and the collapse of the messianic dreams of Judah. Its aim is to demonstrate that the unexpected turn of events did not in the least compromise the realization of the divine plans. Despite everything, the end-time was near and the kingdom was at hand. So the work on the rebuilding of the temple continued, through all kinds of difficulties, until one day the Persian governor (satrap) of Syria came to Jerusalem for an inspection. He believed, probably on the basis of tendentious information similar to that which had been received by the Persian authorities some years before, that the messianic hopes of Israel and the rebuilding of the temple posed a danger to the solidarity of the empire (Ezra 5). There are some scholars (cf. Pfeiffer, Introduction, 603 n. 26) who have thought that hopes to this effect will have been cherished at least among some groups and that 6.9-15 refers to them; moreover, the prophet will have protested against such tendencies in 4.6-10. In any case, the inhabitants of Jerusalem succeeded in demonstrating their innocence, producing as one of their arguments the fact that it had been Cyrus himself who had authorized the rebuilding of the temple. A full authority to proceed was followed by an edict in which Darius I confirmed the validity of the decree of Cyrus, also ordaining that sacrifices were to be offered in the temple for himself and his house (Ezra 5.3-6.18). This is probably the origin of the practice attested in late Judaism before the destruction of the temple of offering a periodic sacrifice for the emperor. To be on the safe side, the Davidic descendant Zerubbabel was removed from the governorship: he disappears from the scene in mysterious circumstances and the last visions of Zechariah no longer mention him. As we shall see later, however, there is a passage that probably shows traces of a revision which removes the mention of Zerubbabel from the text." (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 330)
David L. Petersen writes: "Zechariah 9-14 has been dated by biblical scholars to widely varying settings, from the pre-exilic to the Greco Roman periods. Several recent studies have suggested the fifth-fourth centuries B.C. as the most likely context. This was a time when the stability, even the identity of the Judahite community was at issue. The problems of the community were so severe thta the authors of 9-14 thought it necessary for Yahweh to intervene directly." (Harper's Bible Commentary, p. 747)
Jay G. Williams writes: "As has already been said, the last five chapters are highly enigmatic and difficult to interpret and thereofre will be reviewed very briefly. Chs. 9:1-11:3 contain a series of oracles which, though not all written at one time or for one situation, are difficult to separate one from another. Ch. 9:9 is significant for it pictures the Messiah as entering Jerusalem 'on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.' This was taken to be a prediction of Jesus by Matthew, who pictures him as riding on two animals at once! (21:1-7) Zechariah, himself, probably meant that the Messiah would ride on a pure-bred ass." (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 259)
Carroll Stuhlmueller writes: "Chapters 9-14 are further subdivided into two major sections (9-11, 12-14), each of which is introduced by the succinct formula, massa, 'a burden.' The original portion of the first section included 9:1-8,11-17; 10:3b-12; 11:4-16; the other verses comprising chs. 9-11 would have been added at the same time that chs. 12-14 were joined and the entire ensemble of chs. 1-14 put together. The first massa is usually dated very soon after the invasion of Alexander the Great (332); its general attitude is favorable toward the foreigner. In the second, a violent antagonism has built up toward non-Jewish culture. A dependency upon Jl places it after that book. The latest dependency upon Jl places it after that book. The latest date for this second section would be 200, because Jesus ben Sira, author of the Book of Sirach, explicitly mentions 'the twelve minor prophets,' as though this part of sacred Scriptures were complete (Sir 49:10). Scholars are rejecting the opinion of K. Marti, W. Nowack, and B. Duhm that chs. 9-14 originated during the Maccabean period (167-134)." (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, vol. 1, p. 391)
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