The book of Zechariah begins with a title verse providing information concerning the date, authorship, and source of the revelation. It states that the prophecy occurred in the eighth month of the second year of Darius (vs 1). The biblical material likely dates the prophetic message according to the regnal year of the Persian king because there was no king in Judah during that time. Judah had been conquered by Babylon, which in turn had been taken over by Persia (Daniel 5:30-31).
The term prophet [“nābî” in Hebrew] means “proclaimer” or “forth-teller.” It describes someone who received a call from God to be God’s spokesman. A prophet was God’s emissary. He had a particular calling to see or hear what God was saying, live it out in his life, and proclaim it to the people roundabout. That means the prophet could not speak from his authority and was not free to say what he pleased. Rather, he was to discern what God thought about a given situation, what His attitude was toward the people’s behavior in the past, what He required of them in the present, and how He would act in their favor in the future.
Zechariah 2 contains the prophet’s third vision followed by words of exhortation. In his vision, Zechariah sees a surveyor who is about to mark out Jerusalem’s boundaries in preparation for rebuilding the city’s walls. However, an angel tells the surveyor not to measure the city because in the future it will not need any walls since the LORD will protect it.
After the vision, Zechariah urges the Judeans still in Babylonia to leave immediately because the LORD will judge Babylonia and the other nations that oppressed His covenant people. The prophet also informs the Judeans that one day the LORD will restore them to their homeland and dwell among them. At that time, other people groups will accept the LORD as their God, but the Judeans will still occupy a prominent position. The chapter’s outline is as follows: