Malachi 1: The last OT prophet (unless, of course, you use a different bible than the ESV)

The people of Judah kept complaining that God didn’t love them enough–after all It had sent them into exile and life was fucking hard.  Malachi had these words from God for the people of Judah:

You think I don’t love you?! Nah, man. Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated. You think you  have it bad. Have y’all looked at what’s been going down in Edom lately? Yet you don’t hear those survivors complaining. No! They just go about trying to rebuild. But I don’t even like those fuckers! So I’ll just keep smiting them! But y’all in Judah, now. Your star could be ascending again, if only you’d stop fucking up so bad. Like with your shitty priests and their shitty food offerings. I mean, I have clearly stated in my various laws, that I will only accept the finest of first-fruits and the finest of animals for offerings. But is that what y’all are offering up? Sheol, no! You keep sacrificing bruised fruits and vegetables and sickly, scrawny goats and sheep. And you wonder why shit’s bad for you! If you want shit to get better, you better start offering up that good shit you keep for yourself! I am God, after all!

Zechariah 14: This is how the world will end

God says that one of these days, all the nations of the world will unite in battle against Jerusalem. The city will fall on the first attack. It will be plundered and all the women raped and half the people will be sent into exile. But then on the second attack, God will enter the battle and defeat the enemies by causing them to rot. Like their eyes and their tongues will rot like the Nazis who looked in the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones! It will stand on the Mount of Olives and that mountain will split into and everyone will flee in terror! And then, it will always be spring and summer and always twilight! And two rivers will begin flowing from Jerusalem in different directions, like it’s the continental divide! And the only mountain will be the one Jerusalem is on! Everything else will be flat! And all the riches of the world will flow into Jerusalem! It will be the richest place on earth! And God will live there and be king of the world! And anyone who doesn’t worship It will suffer drought and starvation! And bells will all chime hymns! Everything will be great!

 

(So ends Zechariah. There is only one more Old Testament book left!)

Zechariah 13: When Judah’s first

When Judah becomes the center of the world, the untouchable bastion of God–after the 2/3 of people who God doesn’t like are finally smited by It–well, in that day, there will be no more idol worship. Everyone will worship God. And there will be no more prophets. Anyone who claims to be a prophet will be lying! And will deserve immediate and painful death. Stone them! In fact, at that time, if someone does have visions, they will lie about them and keep them secret. Because in that day, God will punish any religious leader that tries to lead people from the one true path, as dictated by It.

Zechariah 12: Next time’ll be different

Zechariah told everyone that God told him that next time some other country tried to fuck with Judah or tried to besiege Jerusalem, things would go down different, yo. Next time, God would make all the enemy horses blind. Next time, God would make sure all the Jews received salvation first. All the other nations would be second. Or third. Or destroyed. And then, all the Jews will be really sad that their ancestors ever cheated on God or did It dirt, and everyone will go into mourning– the king and all his wives, the priests and all their wives, and every tribal leader and all their wives, etc. will seclude themselves with their families and mourn.

Zechariah 11: Role playing

God had Zechariah do some role playing as a shepherd. It instructed Zechariah to buy some sheep destined for the butcher. So Zech did, and he had two crooks used to tend the sheep, one named Favor and one named Union–he didn’t have a lot of friends. Zechariah was a good shepherd and his flock prospered and this pissed the other shepherds off. So he was like, Fuck this noise, and broke the staff named Favor and demanded his wages. This freaked everybody out and they were all like, He must talk to God or something. Then Zechariah threw his wages to the potter, like God told him to do, and broke his other staff, Union, which he told everyone symbolized the broken union between Judah and Israel. Then he went around singing about Woe to bad shepherds and how God was going to burn all the trees, from the cedars to the oaks.

Zechariah 8: Taking my baby back

God told Zechariah, I’m taking Judah and Israel back. I love them both, like, so much that I’m jealous if any other god even looks at either of them. I’ve totally forgiven them for cheating on me with all those other gods and for not doing the things I told them to do. And I proved my point–I destroyed both of them like I said I would. So all my people will return from exile, and Jerusalem will again be a prosperous city, with old people sitting on stoops complaining about the weather and children playing in the streets. Be sure to tell everyone that if they want their nation to be my baby for now and forever–for ever ever–then all they got to do is not cheat on me and to follow my rules and be merciful and just and honest. That’s not so hard, right? And if they do these things, I’ll be their forever God and will protect them from any other nation that wants to hurt them.

Zechariah 7: Justice and Mercy

Early in King Darius’s reign, the people of Bethel sent representatives to the Temple to find out, now that the exile was ending, if the mournful fasts they periodically held were still necessary.  God’s response was, Uh, yeah! Then It told Zechariah to remind everyone why they had been sent into exile in the first place. So Zechariah said, Hey, don’t you remember that God got pissed and let Its people be defeated and scattered because we didn’t obey It? And all It wanted was for us to treat each other with justice and fairness; to be merciful and forgiving; and to not oppress needy people, like single women and their children, immigrants, or poor people. But we didn’t, and we were punished.

Zechariah 6: Dre-e-e-ams, dreams, dreams, dreams

Zechariah dreamed of four chariots, one drawn by red horses, one drawn by black horses, one drawn by dappled horses. His angel told him they represented the four winds patrolling the earth.

When some exiles returned from Babylon, God told Zechariah to take three of them–Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah–to Zephaniah’s house and there to take their gold and silver to make a crown for the high priest Joshua because God loved him so much because he was making sure the Temple got rebuilt.