8 Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.’
Chapter 7:8-14 is a message of repentance. This message focuses on the conduct of the generation before the exile. That generation was a people of the rebellion who rejected God’s messengers outright. Verses 8-10 show the LORD’s desire for Israel. Verses 11-12 demonstrate how they reacted to God’s Word. Verses 13-14 give God’s response.
Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying,
Zechariah received a direct revelation from God.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice,
The Word of God spoken to the preexilic generation was also relevant for Zechariah’s time. The words “true justice” are emphatic, stressing the importance of not only justice but justice that gets to the heart of the problem. God is “true” with the believer, and we need to be faithful to others. It is God’s nature to execute true justice, and it should be the nature of those who believe in Him (Ge 18:25).
Show mercy [steadfast love] and compassion Everyone to his brother.
The word in Hebrew is chesed, which is steadfast love. It also carries the ideas of loyalty, mercy, favor, and kindness. It is the Old Testament word for grace (Ruth 2:20). Like God, Israelites were to treat others with grace.
“Compassion” goes beyond what should be given. Grace and compassion are both giving in their orientation.
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless,
Old Testament social justice warned against oppressing the widow (Isa 1:17; Jer 5:28; 7:6; Amos 4:1).
The alien or the poor.
The widow, the alien, and the poor were weaker members of society.
Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.’
This message not only has to do with overt behavior but also with how people thought toward one another.
God wants His privileges to extend to all.
God is a God of justice (Ge 18:25). That is also how He expects believers to treat one another. True mercy and justice should be exercised toward all but especially toward weaker and more vulnerable people in society. Each person’s wellbeing is important to God and needs to be safeguarded. The principles of God’s government for men are eternal. The principles of God’s Word need to be put into practice unequivocally.
The reason for the unequivocal practice of justice is the inspired Word of God. This passage put the prophets on the same level of authority as Moses. There are no degrees of authority in God’s Word; both the Law and Prophets are on equal footing (2 Ti 3:16-17). This is because the Spirit is the Author of the Bible. Our relation to God demands a proper relation to man.