Eighth Vision. The Four Chariots.
1. four chariots—symbolizing the various
dispensations of Providence towards the Gentile nations which had been
more or less brought into contact with Judea; especially in punishing
Babylon. Compare Zec 6:8 ("the
north country," that is, Babylon); Zec 1:15; 2:6. The number "four" is specified not
merely in reference to the four quarters of the horizon (implying
universal judgments), but in allusion to the four world
kingdoms of Daniel.
from between two mountains—the valley
of Jehoshaphat, between Moriah and Mount Olivet [Moore]; or the valley between Zion and Moriah, where
the Lord is (Zec 2:10),
and whence He sends forth His ministers of judgment on the heathen
[Maurer]. The temple on Mount Moriah is
the symbol of the theocracy; hence the nearest spot accessible to
chariots in the valley below is the most suitable for a vision
affecting Judah in relation to the Gentile world powers. The chariot is
the symbol of war, and so of judgments.
of brass—the metal among the ancients
representing hard solidity; so the immovable and resistless firmness of
God's people (compare Jer 1:18).
Calvin explains the "two mountains"
thus: The secret purpose of God from eternity does not come forth to
view before the execution, but is hidden and kept back irresistibly
till the fit time, as it were between lofty mountains;
the chariots are the various changes wrought in nations, which,
as swift heralds, announce to us what before we knew not. The "two" may
thus correspond to the number of the "olive trees" (Zec 4:3); the allusion to the "two
mountains" near the temple is not necessarily excluded in this view.
Henderson explains them to be the
Medo-Persian kingdom, represented by the "two horns" (Da 8:3, 4), now employed to execute God's purpose
in punishing the nations; but the prophecy reaches far beyond those
2. red—implying carnage.
black—representing sorrow; also famine
6; compare Zec 1:8).
3. white—implying joy and victory [Calvin].
grizzled—piebald. Implying a
mixed dispensation, partly prosperity, partly adversity. All
four dispensations, though various in character to the Gentile nation,
portended alike good to God's people.
bay—rather, "strong" or "fleet"; so
Vulgate [Gesenius]. The horses
have this epithet, whose part it was to "walk to and fro through the
6:7). However, the
Septuagint and Chaldee agree with English Version
in referring the Hebrew to color, not strength.
4. The prophet humbly and teachably seeks
instruction from God, and therefore seeks not in vain.
5. four spirits of the heavens—heavenly
spirits who "stand before Jehovah" to receive God's commands (Zec 4:14; 1Ki 22:19; Job 2:1; Lu 1:19) in heaven (of which Zion is the
counterpart on earth, see on Zec 6:1), and
proceed with chariot speed (2Ki 6:17; Ps 68:17) to execute them on earth in its four
various quarters (Ps 104:4; Heb 1:7, 14) [Pembellus]. Or, the secret impulses of God which
emanate from His counsel and providence; the prophet implies that all
the revolutions in the world are from the Spirit of God and are as it
were, His messengers or spirits [Calvin].
6. north country—Babylon (see on Jer 1:14). The north is the quarter specified in
particular whence Judah and Israel are hereafter to return to their own
land (Zec 2:6; Jer 3:18). "The black horses" go to Babylon,
primarily to represent the awful desolation with which Darius visited
it in the fifth year of his reign (two years after this prophecy) for
revolting [Henderson]. The "white" go
after the "black" horses to the same country; two sets being
sent to it because of its greater cruelty and guilt in respect to
Judea. The white represent Darius triumphant subjugation of it [Moore]. Rather, I think, the white are sent to
victoriously subdue Medo-Persia, the second world kingdom, lying in the
same quarter as Babylon, namely, north.
grizzled … toward the south—that
is, to Egypt, the other great foe of God's people. It, being a part of
the Græco-Macedonian kingdom, stands for the whole of it, the
third world kingdom.
7. bay—rather, the "fleet" (or
"strong"). As the "red" are not otherwise mentioned, the epithet
"fleet" (as the Hebrew for "bay" ought to be translated) in
Zec 6:3 seems to apply to all four, and
here especially to the "red." Their office is to complete hereafter the
work already in part executed by the previous three who have stilled
Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Græco-Macedonia; namely, to punish
finally the last great foe of Israel, the final form assumed by the
fourth world kingdom, Rome, which is to continue down to the second
advent of Christ. Hence they "walk to and fro through the earth,"
counterworking Satan's "going to and fro in the earth" (Job
1:7; 2Th 2:8, 9; 1Ti 4:1), in
connection with the last awful development of the fourth world kingdom.
Their "fleetness" is needed to counteract his restless activity; their
red color implies the final great carnage (Eze
39:1-29; Re 19:17, 18, 21).
8. north … quieted … my
spirit—that is, caused My anger to rest (Jud 8:3, Margin; Ec 10:4;
Eze 5:13; 16:42). Babylon
alone of the four great world kingdoms had in Zechariah's time been
finally punished; therefore, in its case alone does God now say His
anger is satisfied; the others had as yet to expiate their sin; the
fourth has still to do so.
Ninth Vision. The Crowning of
The double crown is placed on Joshua's head,
symbolizing that the true priesthood and the kingdom shall be conferred
on the one Messiah. Compare Heb 6:20; 7:1-21, on Melchisedek, who similarly combined
the kingdom and priesthood as type of Messiah.
10. Take of them of the
captivity—Take silver and gold (Zec 6:11) from them. The three named came
from Babylon (where some of the exiled Jews still were left) to present
gifts of silver and gold towards the building of the temple. But in
6:11, 14, "crowns" are
directed to be made of them, then to be set on Joshua's head, and to be
deposited in the temple as a memorial of the donors, until Messiah
Heldai—meaning "robust." Called
Tobijah—that is, "the goodness of
Jedaiah—that is, "God knows."
which are come from Babylon—This
clause in the Hebrew comes after "Josiah son of Zephaniah."
Therefore, Moore thinks Josiah as well
as the three "came from Babylon." But as he has a "house" at Jerusalem,
he is plainly a resident, not a visitor. Therefore English
Version is right; or Maurer, "Josiah
son of Zephaniah, to whom they are come (as guests) from
the same day—No time was to be lost to
mark the significancy of their coming from afar to offer gifts to the
temple, typifying, in the double crown made of their gifts and set on
Joshua's head, the gathering in of Israel's outcasts to Messiah
hereafter, who shall then be recognized as the true king and
11. The high priest wore a crown above the
miter (Zec 3:5; Le 8:9). Messiah shall wear many crowns,
one surmounting the other (Re 19:12).
It was a thing before unknown in the Levitical priesthood that the same
person should wear at once the crown of a king and that of a high
priest (Ps 110:4; Heb 5:10). Messiah shall be revealed fully in
this twofold dignity when He shall "restore the kingdom to Israel"
12. Behold, the man—namely, shall arise.
Pilate unconsciously spake God's will concerning Him, "Behold
the man" (Joh 19:5).
The sense here is, "Behold in Joshua a remarkable shadowing forth of
Messiah." It is not for his own sake that the crown is placed on him,
but as type of Messiah about to be at once king and priest. Joshua
could not individually be crowned king, not being of the royal line of
David, but only in his representative character.
Branch—(See on Zec
3:8; Isa 4:2; Jer 23:5; 33:15).
he shall grow up out of his
place—retaining the image of a "Branch"; "He shall sprout up
from His place," that is, the place peculiar to Him: not merely from
Beth-lehem or Nazareth, but by His own power, without man's aid, in His
miraculous conception [Henderson]; a
sense brought out in the original, "from under Himself," or "from (of)
Himself" [Calvin]. Moore makes it refer to His growing lowly in His
place of obscurity, "as a tender plant and a root out of a dry
ground" (Isa 53:2),
for thirty years unknown except as the son of a carpenter. Maurer translates, "Under Him there shall be growth
(in the Church)." English Version accords better with the
Hebrew (compare Ex 10:23).
The idea in a Branch is that Christ's glory is growing, not yet fully
manifested as a full-grown tree. Therefore men reject Him now.
build the temple—The promise of the
future true building of the spiritual temple by Messiah (Mt 16:18; 1Co 3:17; 2Co 6:16; Eph 2:20-22; Heb 3:3) is an earnest to assure the Jews,
that the material temple will be built by Joshua and Zerubbabel, in
spite of all seeming obstacles. It also raises their thoughts beyond
the material to the spiritual temple, and also to the future glorious
temple, to be reared in Israel under Messiah's superintendence (Eze
40:1-43:27). The repetition
of the same clause (Zec 6:13)
gives emphasis to the statement as to Messiah's work.
13. bear the glory—that is, wear the
insignia of the kingly glory, "the crowns" (Ps
21:5; 102:16; Isa 52:13).
He himself shall bear the glory, not thou, Joshua, though thou
dost bear the crowns. The Church's dignity is in her head alone,
Christ. So Eliakim, type of Messiah, was to have "all the glory of his
father's house hung upon him" (Isa 22:24).
sit—implying security and
priest … throne—(Ge 14:18; Ps 110:4; Heb 5:6, 10; 6:20;
counsel of peace … between …
both—Joshua and Zerubbabel, the religious and civil
authorities co-operating in the temple, typify the peace, or
harmonious union, between both the kingly and priestly offices.
The kingly majesty shall not depress the priestly dignity, nor the
priestly dignity the kingly majesty [Jerome]. The peace of the Church, formerly sought
for in the mutual "counsels" of the kings and the priests, who had been
always distinct, shall be perfectly ensured by the concurrence of the
two offices in the one Messiah, who by His mediatorial priesthood
purchases it, and by His kingly rule maintains it. Vitringa takes "His throne" to be Jehovah the
Father's. Thus it will be, "there shall be … peace between the
Branch and Jehovah" [Ludovicus De Dieu].
The other view is better, namely, "Messiah's throne." As Priest
He expiates sin; as King, extirpates it. "Counsel of peace,"
implies that it is the plan of infinite "wisdom," whence Messiah is
called "Counsellor" (Isa 9:6; Eph 1:8, 11; Heb 6:17). Peace between the kingly and
priestly attributes of Messiah implies the harmonizing of the
conflicting claims of God's justice as a King, and His love as a Father
and Priest. Hence is produced peace to man (Lu
2:14; Ac 10:36; Eph 2:13-17).
It is only by being pardoned through His atonement and ruled by His
laws, that we can find "peace." The royal "throne" was always connected
with the "temple," as is the case in the Apocalypse (Re 7:15), because Christ is to be a king on His
throne and a priest, and because the people, whose "king" the Lord is,
cannot approach Him except by a priestly mediation [Roos]. Jesus shall come to effect, by His presence
(Isa 11:4; Da 7:17), that which in vain is looked for, in
His absence, by other means. He shall exercise His power mediatorially
as priest on His throne (Zec 6:13);
therefore His reign is for a limited period, which it could not be if
it were the final and everlasting state of glory. But being for a
special purpose, to reconcile all things in this world, now disordered
by sin, and so present it to God the Father that He may again for the
first time since the fall come into direct connection with His
creatures; therefore it is limited, forming the dispensation in the
fulness of times (Eph 1:10),
when God shall gather in one all things in Christ, the final end of
which shall be, "God all in all" (1Co 15:24-28).
14. the crowns shall be to Helem … a
memorial—deposited in the temple, to the honor of the donors;
a memorial, too, of the coronation of Joshua, to remind all of Messiah,
the promised antitypical king-priest, soon to come. Helem, the same as
Heldai above. So Hen (that is, "favor") is
another name for Josiah (that is, "God founds") above. The same person
often had two names.
15. they … far off shall …
build—The reason why the crowns were made of gold received
from afar, namely, from the Jews of Babylon, was to typify the
conversion of the Gentiles to Messiah, King of Israel. This, too, was
included in the "peace" spoken of in Zec 6:13 (Ac 2:39; Eph 2:12-17). Primarily, however, the return
of the dispersed Israelites "from afar" (Isa 60:9) to the king of the Jews at Jerusalem is
intended, to be followed, secondly, by the conversion of the Gentiles
from "far off" (Zec 2:11; 8:2-2, 23; Isa
build in the temple—Christ "builds the
temple" (Zec 6:12, 13; Heb 3:3, 4): His people "build in the
temple." Compare Heb 3:2,
"Moses in His house."
ye shall know, &c.—when the event
corresponds to the prediction (Zec 2:9; 4:9).
this shall come to pass, if ye … obey,
&c.—To the Jews of Zechariah's day a stimulus is given to
diligent prosecution of the temple building, the work which it
was meanwhile their duty to fulfil, relying on the hope of the Messiah
afterwards to glorify it. The completion of the temple shall "come to
pass," if ye diligently on your part "obey the Lord." It is not meant
that their unbelief could set aside God's gracious purpose as to
Messiah's coming. But there is, secondarily, meant, that Messiah's
glory as priest-king of Israel shall not be manifested to the Jews till
they turn to Him with obedient penitence. They meanwhile are cast away
"branches" until they be grafted in again on the Branch and their own
olive tree (Zec 3:8; 12:10-12; Mt 23:39; Ro