Continuation of the Subject in the Seventh
Chapter. After urging them to obedience by the fate of their
fathers, he urges them to it by promises of coming prosperity.
2. jealous for Zion—(Zec 1:14).
with great fury—against her
3. I am returned—that is, I am
determined to return. My decree to that effect is gone forth.
Jerusalem … city of truth—that
is, faithful to her God, who is the God of truth (Isa 1:21,
26; Joh 17:17). Never yet
fully fulfilled, therefore still to be so.
the mountain of the Lord—(Isa 2:2, 3).
holy mountain—(Jer 31:23).
4. So tranquil and prosperous shall the nation
be that wars shall no longer prematurely cut off the people: men and
women shall reach advanced ages. The promise of long life was esteemed
one of the greatest blessings in the Jewish theocracy with its temporal
rewards of obedience (Ex 20:12; De 4:40). Hence this is a leading feature in
millennial blessedness (Isa 65:20, 22).
for very age—literally, "for multitude
5. boys and girls playing—implying
security and a numerous progeny, accounted a leading blessing among the
Jews. Contrast Jer 6:11; 9:21.
6. However impossible these things just
promised by Me seem to you, they are not so with God. The "remnant"
that had returned from the captivity, beholding the city desolate and
the walls and houses in ruins, could hardly believe what God promised.
The expression "remnant" glances at their ingratitude in rating so low
God's power, though they had experienced it so "marvellously" displayed
in their restoration. A great source of unbelief is, men "limit" God's
power by their own (Ps 78:19, 20, 41).
these days—"of small things" (Zec 4:10), when such great things promised
seemed incredible. Maurer, after Jerome, translates, "in those days";
that is, if the thing which I promised to do in those days,
seems "marvellous," &c.
7. save my people from … east …
west—that is, from every region (compare Ps 50:1; the "West" is literally, "the going
down of the sun") to which they are scattered; they are now found
especially in countries west of Jerusalem. The dispersion under
Nebuchadnezzar was only to the east, namely, to Babylonia. The
restoration, including a spiritual return to God (Zec 8:8), here foretold, must therefore be still
future (Isa 11:11, 12; 43:5, 6; Eze 37:21; Am 9:14,
15; also Zec
13:9; Jer 30:22; 31:1, 33).
8. in truth—in good faith, both on their
side and Mine: God being faithful to His everlasting covenant and
enabling them by His Spirit to be faithful to Him.
9-13. All adversities formerly attended them
when neglecting to build the temple: but now God promises all
blessings, as an encouragement to energy in the work.
hands … strong—be of courageous
16:21), not merely in
building, but in general, as having such bright prospects (Zec 8:13, &c.).
these days—the time that had elapsed
between the prophet's having spoken "these words" and the time (Zec 8:10; compare Hag 2:15-19) when they set about in earnest
restoring the temple.
the prophets—Haggai and Zechariah
himself (Ezr 5:1, 2).
The same prophets who promised prosperity at the foundation of the
temple, now promised still greater blessings hereafter.
10. before these days—before the time in
which ye again proceeded with the building of the temple (Zec 8:9), namely, at the time that the temple
no hire for man … beast—that is,
no produce of the field to repay the labor of man and beast on it
(Hag 1:6, 9, 10; 2:16).
neither … peace to him that went out or
came in—(2Ch 15:5). No
one could in safety do his business at home or abroad, in the city or
in the country, whether going or returning.
because of the affliction—so sorely
pressed were they by the foe outside. Maurer translates, "Because of the foe"
every one against …
neighbour—There was internal discord, as well as foes from
11. "But now that the temple has been built, I
will not do as I had formerly done to those who returned from Babylon"
[Jerome]. Henceforth I will bless
12. seed … prosperous—that is,
shall not fair to yield abundantly (Ho 2:21, 22; Hag 2:19). Contrast with this verse Hag 1:6,
dew—especially beneficial in hot
countries where rain is rare.
13. a curse—As the heathen have made you
another name for "a curse," wishing to their foes as bad a lot as yours
24:9; 29:18); so your name
shall be a formula of blessing, so that men shall say to their friend,
May thy lot be as happy as that of Judah (Ge 48:20). Including also the idea of the Jews
being a source of blessing to the Gentile nations (Mic 5:7; Zep
3:20). The distinct mention
of "Judah" and "Israel" proves that the prophecy has not yet had its
full accomplishment, as Israel (the ten tribes) has never yet
been restored, though individuals of Israel returned with
14. I thought—I determined.
you—that is, your fathers, with whom
ye are one; the Jewish Church of all ages being regarded as an organic
whole (compare Hag 2:5; Mt 23:31, 32).
repented not—I changed not My purpose,
because they changed not their mind (2Ch 36:16). With the froward God shows Himself
18:26). If the threatened
punishment has been so unchangeably inflicted, much more will God
surely give the promised blessing, which is so much more consonant to
His nature (Jer 31:28).
16, 17. The promised blessings are connected
with obedience. God's covenanted grace will lead those truly blessed by
it to holiness, not licentiousness.
truth to … neighbour—not that
the truth should not be spoken to foreigners too; but He makes it an
aggravation of their sin, that they spared not even their brethren.
Besides, and above all outward ordinances (Zec 7:3), God requires truth and justice.
judgment of … peace—Equitable
decisions tend to allay feuds and produce peace.
gates—the place where courts of
judicature in the East were held.
17. all these … I hate—therefore
ye too ought to hate them. Religion consists in conformity to God's
nature, that we should love what God loves and hate what God hates.
18, 19. The prophet answers the query (Zec 7:3) as to the fast in the fifth
month, by a reply applying to all their fasts: these are to be turned
into days of rejoicing. So Jesus replied to His disciples when
similarly consulting Him as to why fasting was not imposed by Him, as
it was by John the Baptist. When the Sun of righteousness shines, tears
are dried up (Mt 9:15). So
hereafter (Isa 35:10).
19. fast of … fourth month—On the
fourth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign, on the ninth
day, Jerusalem was taken (Jer 39:2; 52:6, 7). It was therefore made a fast day.
fifth … seventh—(See on Zec 7:3; Zec 7:5).
tenth—On the tenth month and tenth
day, in the ninth year of Zedekiah, the siege began (Jer 52:4).
therefore love the truth—or,
"only love." English Version is better. God's blessing
covenanted to Israel is not made to depend on Israel's goodness: but
Israel's goodness should follow as the consequence of God's gracious
promises (Zec 8:16, 17; Zec 7:9, 10). God will bless, but not those who
harden themselves in sin.
20. (Isa 2:3; Mic 4:2).
Thus saith the Lord of hosts—a preface
needed to assure the Jews, now disheartened by the perils surrounding
them, and by the humble aspect of the temple. "Unlikely as what follows
may seem to you, Jehovah of hosts, boundless in resources,
saith it, therefore it shall be so." Just before Christ's
coming, a feeling grew up among the heathen of the unsatisfactoriness
of their systems of religion and philosophy; this disposed them
favorably towards the religion of the Jew, so that proselytes embraced
the worship of Jehovah from various parts of Asia; these again were
predisposed to embrace Christianity when it was preached to them (Ac 2:9-12,
41). But the full
accomplishment of the conversion of the Gentiles foretold here is
reserved till "Jerusalem" (Zec 8:22)
becomes the center of Christianized Jewry (Ro 11:12, 15).
21. Let us … I—manifesting zeal
and love: converted themselves, they seek the conversion of others
(So 1:4). To exhortation in general
("Let us go"), they add individual example ("I will go"). Or,
the change from plural to singular implies that the
general consent in religious earnestness leads each
individual to decide for God.
go speedily—literally, "go, going";
implying intense earnestness.
pray—Hebrew, "entreat the face"
7:2); entreat His favor and
22. many … strong nations … in
Jerusalem—In contrast to the few and weak Jews now building
the temple and city, then such shall be their influence that many
and strong nations shall come to worship Jehovah their God in
Jerusalem (Isa 60:3; 66:23).
23. ten—a definite number for an
indefinite. So in Le 22:26; Nu 14:22.
of all languages of the nations—that
is, of nations of all languages (compare Isa 66:18; Re 7:9).
take hold of the skirt—a gesture of
suppliant entreaty as to a superior. Compare Isa 3:6; 4:1, on a different occasion. The
Gentiles shall eagerly seek to share the religious privileges of the
Jew. The skirt with a fringe and blue ribbon upon it (Nu 15:38; De
22:12) was a distinguishing
badge of a Jew.
God is with you—the effect produced on
unbelievers in entering the assemblies of the Church (1Co 14:25). But primarily, that produced on the
nations in witnessing the deliverance of the Jews by Cyrus. Finally,
that to be produced on the nations by the future grand interposition of
Messiah in behalf of His people.