Confidence for the future (8:1-23)
Zechariah goes on to outline the blessings that will come to Jerusalem when God dwells there. God’s love for Jerusalem was the reason why he punished it so severely. With corresponding zeal he will restore it to a favoured place according to his covenant promises (8:1-3).
In the new community of God’s people, there will be no place for fear or violence. Old and young alike will enjoy lives of freedom and contentment greater than they imagined possible (4-6). Above all, they will enjoy true fellowship with God. After their years of captivity they will now begin to experience the blessings God always intended for them (7-8).
Since the people had restarted work on the temple, conditions in Jerusalem had changed. God removed the afflictions of drought and enemy action that he had used to punish them in the past (9-11). In their place he now gives blessings of agricultural prosperity and peace (12-13). These blessings will continue and will increase, but the people on their part must continue to behave rightly towards God and towards one another (14-17).
In view of all that God will do, the people should not waste time mourning over calamities of the past. Instead they should look confidently to the future and turn their fasts of mourning into feasts of joy (18-19). In contrast to the relatively few Jews who were at that time rebuilding the temple and city, multitudes of Gentiles from far and wide will come to Jerusalem to seek the God of Israel (20-23).