Page:A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Jonah.djvu/56

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rate, the latest of Zechariah's prophecies, which is dated in the fourth year of Darius (71), in its tone and content indicates improved conditions. It is evident that, when it was written, the Jews, who had previously been almost entirely confined to Jerusalem, and constantly annoyed, as they went and came, by the "adversary," had begun to occupy the surrounding country and enjoy the fruits of order and security. Cf. 810 ff.. Their ideas had meanwhile changed with their circumstances. They had laid aside, for the time being, their political aspirations,—Zerubbabel is not mentioned,—content that Jerusalem should be, not the capital of a great, independent kingdom, but, as in the visions of the Second Isaiah, a sanctuary for all nations. Cf. 822 f.. Note, too, the emphasis the prophet, in chs. 7 f., lays upon justice, mercy, etc., and the clearness with which he teaches that the practice of these homely virtues is the condition of the continued enjoyment by the individual and the community of the favour of Yahweh.