Contemporary of Haggai. Haggai was born in Judah before the exile, while Zechariah was born in Babylon after the exile, he was the grandson of Iddo, who had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon (Neh 12:4, 16). thus Zechariah was much younger than Haggai
Like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Zechariah is born in a priestly family (Neh 12:4)and later was called by God as a prophet
Zechariah was a popular name, at lease 30 Zechariah in OT
Chapter 1 to 8 falls in the same time frame with the book of Haggai (520 BC – 518 BC)
The rebuild of the second temple resumed in 520 BC and completed in 516 BC
Chapter 9 – 14 are undated. Some says Zechariah record these chapters between 480 BC – 470 BC, during the reign of Persian King Xerxes (486 BC – 464 BC), whom made Esther queen of Persia.
Cyrus the Great decreed that the Jews could return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple (Ezra 1:2-4; Isa 44:28)
Only 50,000 Jews returned, including Haggai and Zechariah under the leadership of Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest (Ezra 2)
Levitical sacrifices were soon re instituted on a rebuilt altar of burnt offering (Ezra 3:1-6)
On the second year of return, the foundation of the temple was laid (Ezra 3:8-13;5:16)
However external oppression and internal depression halted the rebuilding of the temple for about 16 years of spiritual apathy till the rule of the Persian King Darius (522-486BC)
In the 2nd year of Darius (520BC), God raised up Haggai to encourage the Jews in rebuilding (Ezra 5:1-2; Haggai 1:1)
Haggai preached 4 sermons in 4 months, two months later Zechariah began his prophetic ministry, encouraging the people to spiritual renewal and motivating them to rebuild the temple by revealing to them God’s plans for Israel’s future.
With this encouragement, the temple rebuild was completed in 515 BC (Ezra 6:16), four years after Haggai started his sermons.
Haggai had been preaching for two months, and the work on the temple had already started, when Zechariah began his ministry.
The backdrop of the book is rebuilding the temple.
This book is messianic prophecies, mentioning many details of the life and work of Christ.
It is the most messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological of all the writings in OT
NT writers quoted or alluded to this book 41 times
Ch 1-8 were written to encourage the remnant while they were rebuilding the temple
Ch 1 – 6 consist of 8 visions
The Horses Among the Myrtle Trees 1:7-17
The Four Horns and Four Craftsmen 1:18-21
The Man with the Measuring Line 2:1-13
The Cleansing of Joshua, the High Priest 3:1-10
The Golden Lampstand and Olive Trees 4:1-14
The Flying Scroll 5:1-4
The Woman in the Basket 5:5-11
The Four Chariots 6:1-8
Ch 7-8 consist of 4 messages
Rebuke of Hypocrisy 7:4-7
Repent of Disobedience 7:8-14
Restoration of Israel 8:1-7
Rejoice in Israel’s Future 8:18-23
Ch 9-14 consist of 2 burdens (Oracles). These chapters were written after the completion of the temple to anticipate Israel’s coming Messiah.