7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet: 8 I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow; and behind him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. 9 Then I said, “My lord, what are these?” So the angel who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what they are.” 10 And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro throughout the earth.” 11 So they answered the Angel of the Lord, who stood among the myrtle trees, and said, “We have walked to and fro throughout the earth, and behold, all the earth is resting quietly.”
The eight night visions extend to the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). They have a dual purpose for the immediate generation of Jews in Zechariah’s time and the ultimate kingdom under the Messiah. These visions were not fulfilled in Zechariah’s day. They anticipate the end of the times of the Gentiles and the Second Coming of Christ.
Verses 7-17 set forth the first vision. This vision is a message of hope for Israel. Jehovah promises to end Jerusalem’s 70 years of discipline and return its people from Babylon.
On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Shebat [Babylonian for the eleventh month],
The date would be January or February 519 BC, a few months after the Introduction in Zechariah 1:1-6. Zechariah began his ministry in 520 BC.
in the second year of Darius,
This prophecy came in the second regnal year of Darius.
the word of the Lord came
This is a prophetic formula for divine revelation.
to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet:
This prophecy pertains to the destruction of world Gentile powers before the millennial reign of Christ
I saw by night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse,
Note that “I saw” was a vision, not a dream.
The rider on the red horse was the leader of the other horsemen. The word “behold” shows the importance of the red horse rider.
and it stood among the myrtle trees in the hollow [ravine];
The myrtle tree was a fragrant evergreen tree. Jews often used its branches with the Feat of Tabernacles (Neh 8:15).
and behind him were horses: red, sorrel [brown], and white.
The riders behind the red horse rider were a company of three riders. The critical rider was the rider on the red horse.
Verses 9-11 contain the explanation of the vision.
I said, “My lord, what are these?”
Zechariah asks the interpreting angel (not the Angel of the LORD) what the meaning of the riders was. Note Zechariah asked “what,” not why. He wanted to know the meaning and purpose of the horsemen.
So the angel [messenger] who talked with me said to me, “I will show you what they are.”
This interpreting “angel” personally responds to Zechariah with the interpretation of the vision.
And the man who stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are the ones whom the Lord has sent to walk to and fro [patrol] throughout the earth.”
The riders on the other horses than red were dispatched to go throughout the earth. The idea is to reconnoiter the world, not just the Persian empire.
So they answered the Angel of the Lord,
It was the “Angel of the LORD” (the preincarnate Christ) who rode the red horse in verse eight. The other riders now give a report to the Angel of the LORD. Note Zechariah 1:13.
who stood among the myrtle trees [shrubs], and said, “We have walked to and fro throughout the earth,
The scouting patrol reconnoitered throughout the earth and came back with a report to the red horse rider.
and behold, all the earth is resting quietly.”
The peace of the world is probably political peace respite from war. This was disappointing news to the red rider because there was no indication of the end of the times of the Gentiles. The Messianic kingdom was not fulfilled. The nations of the world were at peace from divine discipline (Hag 2:21,22). God is displeased with the Gentile nations at rest while His people are under duress.
God sovereignly deals with the nations of the world in their treatment of Israel.
God will intervene in the Gentile world to bring peace to Israel.