Zechariah or Zecharya means ""Yahweh remembers" or "Renowned/Remembered of/is the LORD". He was a person in the Old Testament and Jewish Tanakhm and is the author of the Book of Zechariah. He was the son of Barachias, son of Addo, a Prophet who rose in Israel in the eighth month of the seventh year of the reign of King Darius, 520 B.C. (Zechariah 1:1) just two months after Aggeus began to prophesy (Agg., i, 1). The urgings of the two Prophets brought about the building of the second temple (Ezra 5 and 6). Addo was one of the chief priests who, in the first year of the reign of Cyrus 538 B.C., returned with Zorobabel from captivity (Nehemiah 12:4).
History of the Book
The time of part first is the second and fourth years of the reign of Darius in Babylon (520 and 522 B.C.). The time of part second is probably toward the end of the reign of Darius or the beginning of that of Xerxes (485 B.C.). The place of the entire prophecy is Jerusalem. The occasion of the first part is to bring about the building of the second Temple; that of the second part is perhaps the approach of the Prophet's death.
(1) He was a prophet of the two-tribe kingdom of Judah, and the eleventh of the twelve minor prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of priestly extraction. He describes himself (1:1) as "the son of Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo," who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from their Babylonian exile. He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).
His book consists of two distinct parts, (1) chapters 1 to 8, inclusive, and (2) 9 to the end. It begins with a preface (1:1-6), which recalls the nation's past history, for the purpose of presenting a solemn warning to the present generation. Then follows a series of eight visions (1:7-6:8), succeeding one another in one night, which may be regarded as a symbolical history of Israel, intended to furnish consolation to the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds. The symbolical action, the crowning of Joshua (6:9-15), describes how the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of God's Messiah.
Almost two years after the eight visions, (Chapters 7 and 8), the people ask the priests and Prophets if it be required still to keep the fasts of the exile. Zacharias makes answer as revealed to him; they should fast from evil, show mercy, soften their hard hearts; abstinence from fraud and not from food is the service Yahweh demands. As a motive for this true service of God, he pictures to them the glories and the joys of the rebuilt Jerusalem (vii, 1-9). The Prophet ends with a Messianic prediction of the gathering of the nations to Jerusalem (viii, 20-23).
Zacharias is contained in the canons of both Palestine and Alexandria; Jews and all Christians accept it as inspired. The book is found among the Minor Prophets in all the canonical lists down to those of Trent and the Vatican.
Zechariah in the New Testament
The New Testament writes often refer to the prophecies of the Book of Zacharias as fulfilled. Matthew 11:5 says that in the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the details were brought to pass that Zacharias 9:9 had predicted; and John 12:15 bears like witness. Although, in 27:9, Matthew makes mention of Jeremias only-yet he refers to the fulfilment of two prophecies, that of Jeremias 32:6-9 about the purchase of the potter's field and that of Zacharias 11:12-13 about the thirty pieces of silver, the price set upon the type of the Messias. John 19:37 sees in the Crucifixion a fulfilling of Zacharias's words, "they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced" 12:10. Matthew 26:31 thinks that the Prophet 13:7 foretold the scattering of the Lord's disciples.