Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Zechariah 7:3

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself? - “In the fifth month,” from the seventh to the tenth day, Jerusalem was in flames, fired by Nebuchadnezzar. “He burnt the house of the Lord, and the king‘s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem and every great man‘s house he burnt with fire”.

Jerome: “Now since it is said that the temple is builded and we see that no cause of sorrow remaineth, answer, we pray, are we to do this or to change our sorrow into joy?”

Separating myself - This seems to be added, to intensify the fast which they had kept. The Nazarite was bound to “separate himself from wine and strong drink” Numbers 6:3, and so, they severed themselves to the Lord, and consecrated themselves to Him (Amos 2:11). These had severed themselves from food, from things pleasant, from pleasure, from sin, it may be, for the day, but not abidingly: they had not given themselves to God.

As I have done these so many years - Literally, “how many.” As if, although they knew that they were seventy years, they could not count them.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
If we truly desire to know the will of God in doubtful matters, we must not only consult his word and ministers, but seek his direction by fervent prayer. Those who would know God's mind should consult God's ministers; and, in doubtful cases, ask advice of those whose special business it is to search the Scriptures. The Jews seemed to question whether they ought to continue their fasts, seeing that the city and temple were likely to be finished. The first answer to their inquiry is a sharp reproof of hypocrisy. These fasts were not acceptable to God, unless observed in a better manner, and to better purpose. There was the form of duty, but no life, or soul, or power in it. Holy exercises are to be done to God, looking to his word as our rule, and his glory as our end, seeking to please him and obtain his favour; but self was the centre of all their actions. And it was not enough to weep on fast days; they should have searched the Scriptures of the prophets, that they might have seen what was the ground of God's controversy with their fathers. Whether people are in prosperity or adversity, they must be called upon to leave their sins, and to do their duty.