Talmud This Shabbat: The Prophet of Restoration — Zechariah
To date the prophets we have studied have prophesied destruction. The Babylonians are coming. The Assyrians are coming. The locusts are coming. Destruction and exile are coming! All of those prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah, Habakkuk) lived and preached before 721 BCE (Assyria destroys Israel) or 586 BCE (Babylon destroys Judea).
By contrast, our prophet this coming Shabbat, Zechariah, is the first prophet who prophesies restoration.
Zechariah has a tall order. In 538 BCE, Persia conquered Babylon, and Cyrus, the King of Persia, allowed the Jews to go home to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple. Zechariah walks onto the pages of history eighteen years later. It is 520 BCE, and after eighteen years, still no Temple. Instead, demoralization, in-fighting, turf, ego, longing for what once was, fear about what will be. No Temple. Rubble.
Zechariah starts preaching and prophesying. Four years later, the Temple is built.
What was Zechariah’s message? How did he get a depressed and demoralized people dialed in to their future again?
We need to hear what he has to say.
Access the texts here.
See you on Shabbat morning at 8:30. Gann Chapel Livestream.