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Verses 4-6

Zechariah 7:4-6. Then came the word of the Lord unto me When these men had proposed their case, and were expecting the priests’ answer, God commissioned his prophet to give them the answer contained in the subsequent part of this and in the following chapter; saying, Speak unto all the people of the land Let all the people in general, and not only those who have proposed the question, know what I am now about to say to thee, in answer to it. When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month “The Jews not only observed those fasts which were instituted by God himself, but likewise added others, in commemoration of great calamities. The exiled Jews instituted four of these fasts; one in the fourth month, (June 17,) in commemoration of the breach of the wall, mentioned Jeremiah 52:7; one in the fifth month, (July 4,) in commemoration of the burning of the temple, Jeremiah 52:12; one in the seventh month, (September 3,) for the murdering of Gedaliah, Jeremiah 41:2; and one in the tenth month, (December 4,) in commemoration of the beginning of the siege, 2 Kings 25:1. These fasts were observed, not only in their captivity, but likewise in Judea, between the reigns of Cyrus and Darius the son of Hystaspes; the Jews therefore, as we have remarked, particularly inquired concerning the observation of the fast on account of the burning of the temple, because that temple was now rebuilding; for they might doubt whether it was not improper to retain it any longer, as the reason had ceased which gave rise to it; or, whether the commemoration of past calamities was not of great utility to the morals of mankind.” See Grotius, and Calmet’s Dictionary on the word FASTS. Did ye fast at all unto me Blayney renders it, Did ye fast any fastings of mine? Or, Did ye fast my fastings, mine? When ye fasted, were those fastings observed as mine, my ordinances? No: you did not fast with an intention to obey me, or from religious motives, and with sincere purposes of repentance and reformation. You lamented more the losses, inconveniences, and miseries you suffered, than the sinfulness of your conduct which brought these calamities upon you. And when ye did eat, did ye not eat for yourselves? Did you not seek your own pleasure and convenience, and not my glory? I was as little regarded by you in your fasts as in your feasts.

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