The Structure of Zechariah 8 and Its Meaning

  • Elie Assis


Chapters 1–8 and 9–14 of Zechariah are considered by most scholars today to be two separate prophetic books; only chs. 1–8 are attributed to the post-exilic time of the beginning of the 5th century BCE1 Most scholars believe that Zech 7–8 should be regarded as one unit. This conviction is based mainly on the fact that 8:19 is the prophet’s answer to the people’s question in 7:1–3 as to whether fasting for the destruction of the Temple should be continued even after its construction had begun.2 This approach is based on two main arguments, the first of which is formal, and the second of which concerns content. The formal argument is that 7:1 opens with a new formula that includes a date, as do 1:1 and 1:7. The second argument is that the people’s question to the priests in 7:3 is answered in 8:19. However, these arguments are not decisive. First, the formal opening in 7:1 can relate to ch. 7 alone. Second, of all the diverse material of ch. 8, only one verse (v. 19) relates closely to ch. 7.