Notes & Commentary:
Casleu, in our November or December. (Calmet)
And. Septuagint from; (St. Jerome) or, "to Bethel sent Sarasar and Arbesesar, the king, and his men, to render
the face of the Lord propitious." (Haydock) --- These were Persian governors under Darius, (St. Jerome) or Cutheans, (Theodoret)
or Jews, at a distance from the temple, though in the country. (Menochius) ---But they seem rather to be some who had not
The fifth month. They fasted on the tenth day of the fifth month; because on that day the temple was burnt. Therefore
they inquire whether they are to continue that fast after the temple is rebuilt. See this query answered [in] ver. 19 of the
following chapter. (Challoner) --- The third of the seventh month (ver. 5) was also a fast, on account of the death of Godolias,
(Calmet) during the captivity, 4 Kings xxv. 8, 25. (Worthington) --- Septuagint, "Has the sanctification entered hither in
the fifth month, as they (or I) have done?" &c. (Haydock) --- Fasting and lamentation are styled sanctification,
because they promote it; curatos quoque sanctificat; (St. Jerome) if the proper conditions be observed. (Haydock)
Years, from the ruin of the temple till the fourth of Darius. --- Unto me? Did you grieve for the injury done
to me; or was your sorrow caused by your own losses? The prophet gives not a direct answer; but sufficiently shews that exterior
works of themselves are of little value. Whether the Jews entered into his sentiments or not, they still observe these fasts,
though he said they should be changed into days of rejoicing, chap. viii. 19. (Calmet) --- The fast was good, but imperfect,
wanting works of charity. (St. Gregory) (Worthington)
Yourselves, to gratify the senses more than from necessity, and without doing it for God's glory. (Haydock)
Prophets. He alludes to Isaias lviii. 3. See also Jeremias xiv. 12., and Joel ii. 12. The Jews were always too much
attached to the letter, without minding the spirit of the law, being zealous for corporal rather than for spiritual works.
--- South. Several of these cities were occupied by the Idumeans. --- Plain, or Sephala, which afterwards became
flourishing and populous. (Calmet)
Judgment. Avoid sinning, when you fast. (Worthington)
Devise. Septuagint, "wickedly remember in your hearts each one the evil of his brother." (Haydock)
Depart, so to leave the burden on their partner. (Hebrew) (Calmet) --- Literally, "giving way;" recedentem.
Pope Sixtus V, recedentes. Septuagint, "they gave a contemptuous back," (Haydock) like a slave, whom the whip cannot
As, &c. Hebrew, "of Samir;" a stone used to polish jewels. Septuagint, "disobedient."
So shall. It seems the past time would be preferable; as Theodoret, St. Cyril, &c., understand it. (Calmet) ---
Yet the Jews, whom the prophet addressed, were also reprehensible; and they or their posterity felt the effects of God's indignation,
when he scattered them throughout the world, as we see at present. Septuagint have the future; but Protestants the past tense,
"they cried," &c. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The people inquire concerning fasting: they are admonished
to fast from sin.
1 And *it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word
of the Lord came to Zacharias, in the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Casleu.
2 When Sarasar, and Rogommelech, and the men that were with him, sent to
the house of God, to entreat the face of the Lord:
3 To speak to the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the
prophets, saying: Must I weep in the fifth month, or must I sanctify myself, as I have now done for many years?
4 And the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying:
5 Speak to all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying: *When
you fasted, and mourned in the fifth and the seventh month for these seventy years, did you keep a fast unto me?
6 And when you did eat and drink, did you not eat for yourselves, and drink
7 Are not these the words which the Lord spoke by the hand of the former
prophets, when Jerusalem as yet was inhabited, and was wealthy, both itself and the cities round about it, and there were
inhabitants towards the south, and in the plain:
8 And the word of the Lord came to Zacharias, saying:
9 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: *Judge ye true judgment, and shew
ye mercy, and compassion, every man to his brother.
10 *And oppress not the widow, and the fatherless, and the stranger, and
the poor: and let not a man devise evil in his heart against his brother.
11 But they would not hearken, and they turned away the shoulder to depart:
and they stopped their ears, not to hear.
12 And they made their heart as the adamant stone, lest they should hear
the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts sent in his spirit by the hand of the former prophets: so a great indignation
came from the Lord of hosts.
13 And it came to pass that as he spoke, and they heard not: so shall they
cry, and I will not hear, saith the Lord of hosts.
14 And I dispersed them throughout all kingdoms, which they knew not: and
the land was left desolate behind them, so that no man passed through or returned: and they changed the delightful land into
1: Year of the World 3487.
5: Isaias lviii. 5.
9: Micheas vi. 8.; Matthew xxiii. 23.
10: Exodus xxii. 22.; Isaias i. 23.; Jeremias v. 28.