1When Darius had been the emperor for almost four years, on December 7, Yahweh gave me another message.
2The people of Bethel city sent two men, Sharezer and Regem-Melech, along with some other men, to the temple of Yahweh, the Commander of the armies of angels, to request that Yahweh bless them.
3They also asked the priests at Yahweh's temple and the prophets this question: “For many years, during the fifth month and during the seventh month of each year, we have mourned and ◄fasted/abstained from eating food►. Should we continue to do that?”
4Then the Commander of the armies of angels gave me a message.
5He said, “Tell RHQ the priests and all the other people of Judah that during the past 70 years, when they mourned and fasted during the fifth and seventh months of each year, it was not really RHQ me, Yahweh, whom they were honoring.
6And when they ate and drank, it was really RHQ to benefit themselves.
7That is certainly RHQ what I continually told the former prophets to proclaim to the people, when Jerusalem and the nearby towns were prosperous and filled with people, and people also lived in the desert area to the south and in the foothills to the west.”
8Yahweh gave another message to me, saying
9“ Tell the people that this is what the Commander of the armies of angels says: ‘Do what is just/right, and act kindly and mercifully toward each other.
10Do not ◄oppress/treat cruelly► widows or orphans or foreigners or poor people. Do not even think about doing evil to anyone else.’ ”
11But the people refused to pay attention to what Yahweh said. They turned their backs to him, and put their hands over their ears in order to not hear what he said.
12They were very stubborn IDM, and they would not listen to the laws that God gave to Moses or the messages that the Commander of the armies of angels told his Spirit to give to the prophets who were now dead. So the Commander of the armies of angels was very angry.
13The Commander of the armies of angels says, “When I called/spoke to the people, they would not listen. So when they called/prayed to me, I did not listen.
14And I caused them to be scattered among many nations, where they were strangers. It was as though MET a whirlwind picked them up and carried them away from their country. The country/land that they were forced to leave was ruined, with the result that no one could live there or even travel through it. It was previously a delightful land, but they caused it to become ◄desolate/like a desert►.”