c. 520 b.c.
Zechariah prophesied to the people of Judah soon after they had returned from exile in Babylon. Several years earlier, in 539 b.c., Cyrus the Great, who had united the Persians and the Medes under his rule, conquered Babylon and absorbed its territory into his empire. A year later he permitted the people of Judah to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. He and his son Cambyses extended the Persian Empire until it stretched from Egypt and Lydia to the borders of India.