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Old Testament Prophets

Major Prophets

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:The Old Testament prophet, Zechariah, should not be confused with the father of St. John the Baptist, Zachariah.

The Prophet Zechariah, also Zachary or Zachariah, was a prophet of the postexilic period. He was the writer of the Book of Zechariah. His book is the eleventh of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. He is commemorated on February 8.


Zechariah was of the tribe of Levi and was born in Babylon during the Babylon captivity. He returned from exile to Judea as an old man shortly before the dedication in 515 BC of the rebuilt temple. Zechariah is called the son of Berechiah in his book, (Zechariah 1:1). Therefore, the Prophet Zechariah is sometimes identified with the prophet who was killed between the temple and the altar (Mt. 23:35; Luke 11:51). When the days of his prophesying were ended, Zechariah died in peace and was buried among the graves of other prophets.


The Book of Zechariah contains in its first eight chapters, six chapters of nocturnal visions concerned with the return from exile and two chapters that address the question whether the days of mourning for the destruction of the city should be kept any longer, and an encouraging address to the people, assuring them of God's presence and blessing. In chapters nine through fourteen, the book presents two "oracles" or "burdens", one in chapters nine through eleven that outline the course of God's providential dealings with his people down to the time of the coming of the Messiah, and the other oracle, chapters twelve through fourteen, point out the glories that await Israel in "the latter day", the final conflict and triumph of God's kingdom.

Among scholars, there is controversy concerning the authorship and unity of the book. The Ethiopian Synaxarium relates on Yekatit 15 that Zechariah prophesied the coming of the Lord into Jerusalem, riding upon an ass.


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