Ninth to Fourteenth Chapters Are
Written long after the previous portions of the book,
whence arise the various features which have been made grounds for
attacking their authenticity, notwithstanding the testimony of the
Septuagint and of the compilers of the Jewish canon in their
favor. See Introduction.
Alexander's Conquests in
Syria (Zec 9:1-8).
God's People Safe because Her King Cometh
Lowly, but a Saviour (Zec 9:9-10). The Maccabean
Deliverance a Type Thereof (Zec 9:11-17).
1. in … Hadrach—rather,
concerning or against Hadrach (compare Isa 21:13). "Burden" means a prophecy BURDENED with wrath against the guilty.
Maurer, not so well, explains it,
What is taken up and uttered, the utterance, a solemn
Hadrach—a part of Syria, near
Damascus. As the name is not mentioned in ancient histories, it
probably was the less-used name of a region having two names ("Hadrach"
and "Bikathaven," Am 1:5,
Margin); hence it passed into oblivion. An ancient Rabbi Jose is, however, stated to have expressly
mentioned it. An Arab, Jos. Abassi, in 1768 also declared to Michaelis that there was then a town of that
name, and that it was capital of the region Hadrach. The name means
"enclosed" in Syrian, that is, the west interior part of Syria,
enclosed by hills, the Cœlo-Syria of Strabo [Maurer].
Jerome considers Hadrach to be the
metropolis of Cœlo-Syria, as Damascus was of the region about that
city. Hengstenberg regards Hadrach as a
symbolical name of Persia, which Zechariah avoids designating by its
proper name so as not to offend the government under which he lived.
But the context seems to refer to the Syrian region. Gesenius thinks that the name is that of a Syrian
king, which might more easily pass into oblivion than that of a region.
Compare the similar "land of Sihon," Ne 9:22.
Damascus … rest thereof—that is,
the place on which the "burden" of the Lord's wrath shall rest. It
shall permanently settle on it until Syria is utterly prostrate.
Fulfilled under Alexander the Great, who overcame Syria [Curtius, Books 3 and 4].
eyes of man, as of all … Israel …
toward the Lord—The eyes of men in general, and of all Israel
in particular, through consternation at the victorious progress of
Alexander, shall be directed to Jehovah. The Jews, when threatened by
him because of Jaddua the high priest's refusal to swear fealty to him,
prayed earnestly to the Lord, and so were delivered (2Ch 20:12; Ps
23:2). Typical of the effect
of God's judgments hereafter on all men, and especially on the Jews in
turning them to Him. Maurer, Pembellus and others, less probably translate,
"The eyes of the Lord are upon man, as they are upon all Israel,"
namely, to punish the ungodly and to protect His people. He, who has
chastised His people, will not fail to punish men for their sins
severely. The "all," I think, implies that whereas men's attention
generally (whence "man" is the expression) was directed to Jehovah's
judgments, all Israel especially looks to Him.
2. Hamath—a Syrian kingdom with a
capital of the same name, north of Damascus.
shall border thereby—shall be joined
to Damascus in treatment, as it is in position; shall share in the
burden of wrath of which Damascus is the resting-place. Maurer understands "which"; "Hamath, which borders
on Damascus, also shall be the resting-place of Jehovah's wrath"
(the latter words being supplied from Zec 9:1). Riblah, the scene of the Jews'
sufferings from their foe, was there: it therefore shall suffer (2Ki
23:33; 25:6, 7, 20, 21).
Tyrus … Zidon—lying in the
conqueror's way on his march along the Mediterranean to Egypt (compare
23:1-18). Zidon, the older
city, surrendered, and Abdolonymus was made its viceroy.
very wise—in her own eyes. Referring
to Tyre: Zec
9:3 shows wherein her
wisdom consisted, namely, in building a stronghold, and
heaping up gold and silver (Eze 38:3, 5, 12, 17). On Alexander's expressing his wish to
sacrifice in Hercules' temple in New Tyre on the island, she showed her
wisdom in sending a golden crown, and replying that the true and
ancient temple of Hercules was at Old Tyre on the mainland. With all
her wisdom she cannot avert her doom.
3. The heathen historian, Diodorus Siculus [17.40], confirms this. "Tyre had
the greatest confidence owing to her insular position and
fortifications, and the abundant stores she had prepared." New Tyre was
on an island seven hundred paces from the shore. As Isaiah's and
Ezekiel's (Eze 27:1-36) prophecies were directed against Old
Tyre on the mainland and were fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar, so
Zechariah's are against New Tyre, which was made seemingly impregnable
by a double wall one hundred fifty feet high, as well as the sea on all
4. (Eze 26:4, 12; 27:27).
cast her out—Hebrew,
"dispossess her," that is, will cast her inhabitants into exile [Grotius]. Alexander, though without a navy, by
incredible labor constructed a mole of the ruins of Old Tyre
(fulfilling Eze 26:4-12, &c., by "scraping her dust from
her," and "laying her stones, timber, and dust in the midst of the
water"), from the shore to the island, and, after a seven months'
siege, took the city by storm, slew with the sword about eight
thousand, enslaved thirteen thousand, crucified two thousand, and set
the city on "fire," as here foretold [Curtius, Book 4].
smite her power in the sea—situated
though she be in the sea, and so seeming impregnable (compare
28:2, "I sit in the seat of
God, in the midst of the sea"). "Her power" includes not only
her fortifications, but her fleet, all of which Alexander sank in
the sea before her very walls [Curtius, Book 4]. Eze 26:17 corresponds, "How art thou destroyed
which wast strong in the sea!"
5. Ashkelon, &c.—Gath alone is
omitted, perhaps as being somewhat inland, and so out of the route of
the advancing conqueror.
Ekron … expectation …
ashamed—Ekron, the farthest north of the Philistine cities,
had expected Tyre would withstand Alexander, and so check his
progress southward through Philistia to Egypt. This hope being
confounded ("put to shame"), Ekron shall "fear."
king shall perish from Gaza—Its
government shall be overthrown. In literal fulfilment of this prophecy,
after a two month's siege, Gaza was taken by Alexander, ten thousand of
its inhabitants slain, and the rest sold as slaves. Betis the satrap,
or petty "king," was bound to a chariot by thongs thrust through the
soles of his feet, and dragged round the city.
6. bastard—not the rightful heir; vile
and low men, such as are bastards (De 23:2) [Grotius]. An alien; so the Septuagint;
implying the desolation of the region wherein men shall not settle, but
sojourn in only as aliens passing through [Calvin].
7. take … his blood out of …
mouth—Blood was forbidden as food (Ge 9:4; Le
abominations—things sacrificed to
idols and then partaken of by the worshippers (Nu 25:2; Ac
15:29). The sense is, "I will
cause the Philistines to cease from the worship of idols."
even he shall be for our
God—"even he," like Hamath, Damascus, Tyre, &c., which,
these words imply, shall also be converted to God (Isa 56:3, "son of the stranger joined himself to
the Lord") [Rosenmuller]. The "even,"
however, may mean, Besides the Hebrews, "even" the Philistine
shall worship Jehovah (so Isa 56:8)
he shall be as a governor in Judah—On
the conversion of the Philistine prince, he shall have the same dignity
"in Judah as a governor"; there shall be no distinction [Henderson]. The Philistine princes with their
respective states shall equally belong to the Jews' communion, as
if they were among the "governors" of states "in Judah" [Maurer].
Ekron as a Jebusite—The Jebusites, the
original inhabitants of Jerusalem, who, when subjugated by David, were
incorporated with the Jews (2Sa 24:16,
&c.), and enjoyed their privileges: but in a subordinate position
civilly (1Ki 9:20, 21). The Jebusites' condition under Solomon
being that of bond-servants and tributaries, Calvin explains the verse differently: "I will
rescue the Jew from the teeth of the Philistine foe (image from
wild beasts rending their prey with their teeth), who would have
devoured him, as he would devour blood or flesh of his
abominable sacrifices to idols: and even he, the
seemingly ignoble remnant of the Jews, shall be sacred to our
God (consecrated by His favor); and though so long bereft of
dignity, I will make them to be as governors ruling others, and
Ekron shall be a tributary bond-servant as the Jebusite? Thus the
antithesis is between the Jew that remaineth (the elect remnant)
and the Ekronite.
8. encamp about—(Ps 34:7).
mine house—namely, the Jewish people
3:7; Ho 8:1) [Maurer]. Or, the temple: reassuring the Jews
engaged in building, who might otherwise fear their work would be
undone by the conqueror [Moore]. The
Jews were, in agreement with this prophecy, uninjured by Alexander,
though he punished the Samaritans. Typical of their final deliverance
from every foe.
passeth by …
returneth—Alexander, when advancing against Jerusalem, was
arrested by a dream, so that neither in "passing by" to Egypt, nor in
"returning," did he injure the Jews, but conferred on them great
no oppressor … pass through … any
more—The prophet passes from the immediate future to the
final deliverance to come (Isa 60:18; Eze 28:24).
seen with mine eyes—namely, how
Jerusalem has been oppressed by her foes [Rosenmuller] (Ex 3:7; 2:25). God is said now to have
seen, because He now begins to bring the foe to judgment, and
manifests to the world His sense of His people's wrongs.
9. From the coming of the Grecian conqueror,
Zechariah makes a sudden transition, by the prophetical law of
suggestion, to the coming of King Messiah, a very different
daughter of Zion—The theocratic people
is called to "rejoice" at the coming of her King (Ps 2:11).
unto thee—He comes not for His own
gain or pleasure, as earthly kings come, but for the sake of His
Church: especially for the Jews' sake, at His second coming (Ro 11:26).
he is just—righteous: an
attribute constantly given to Messiah (Isa 45:21; 53:11; Jer
23:5, 6) in connection with
salvation. He does not merely pardon by conniving at sin, but He
justifies by becoming the Lord our righteousness fulfiller, so
that not merely mercy, but justice, requires the justification of the
sinner who by faith becomes one with Christ. God's justice is not set
aside by the sinner's salvation, but is magnified and made honorable by
42:1, 21). His future
reign "in righteousness," also, is especially referred to (Isa 32:1).
having salvation—not passively, as
some interpret it, "saved," which the context, referring to a "king"
coming to reign, forbids; also the old versions, the Septuagint,
Syriac, and Vulgate, give Saviour. The Hebrew
is reflexive in sense, "showing Himself a Saviour; … having
salvation in Himself" for us. Endowed with a salvation which He bestows
as a king. Compare Margin, "saving Himself." Compare Mt 1:21, in the Greek,
"Himself shall save His people"; that is, not by any other, but
by Himself shall He save [Pearson On
the Creed]. His "having salvation" for others manifested that He
had in Himself that righteousness which was indispensable for the
justification of the unrighteous (1Co 1:30; 2Co 5:21; 1Jo
2:1). This contrasts
beautifully with the haughty Grecian conqueror who came to destroy,
whereas Messiah came to save. Still, Messiah shall come to take "just"
vengeance on His foes, previous to His reign of peace (Mal 4:1, 2).
lowly—mild, gentle: corresponding to
His "riding on an ass" (not a despised animal, as with us; nor a badge
of humiliation, for princes in the East rode on asses, as well as low
persons, Jud 5:10),
that is, coming as "Prince of peace" (Zec 9:10; Isa
9:6); the "horse," on the
contrary is the emblem of war, and shall therefore be "cut off."
Perhaps the Hebrew includes both the "lowliness" of His
outward state (which applies to His first coming) and His
"meekness" of disposition, as Mt 21:5 quotes it (compare Mt 11:29), which applies to both His comings.
Both adapt Him for loving sympathy with us men; and at the same time
are the ground of His coming manifested exaltation (Joh 5:27; Php
colt—untamed, "whereon yet never man
19:30). The symbol of a
triumphant conqueror and judge (Jud 5:10; 10:4; 12:14).
foal of an ass—literally, "asses": in
Hebrew idiom, the indefinite plural for singular
8:4, "mountains of
Ararat," for one of the mountains). The dam accompanied the colt
21:2). The entry of Jesus
into Jerusalem at His first coming is a pledge of the full
accomplishment of this prophecy at His second coming. It shall be "the
day of the Lord" (Ps 118:24),
as that first Palm Sunday was. The Jews shall then
universally (Ps 118:26)
say, what some of them said then, "Blessed is He that cometh in
the name of the Lord" (compare Mt 21:9, with Mt 23:39); also "Hosanna," or "Save now, I
beseech thee." "Palms," the emblem of triumph, shall then also be in
the hands of His people (compare Joh 12:13, with Re 7:9, 10). Then also, as on His former
entry, shall be the feast of tabernacles (at which they used to draw
water from Siloam, quoting Isa 12:3).
Compare Ps 118:15, with Zec 14:16.
10. (Isa 2:4; Ho 2:18; Mic
Ephraim … Jerusalem—the ten
tribes, and Judah and Benjamin; both alike to be restored
speak peace—command it
dominion … from sea … river …
ends of … earth—fulfilling Ge
15:18; Ex 23:31; and Ps 72:8.
"Sea … sea," are the Red Sea and Mediterranean. The "river" is
the Euphrates. Jerusalem and the Holy Land, extended to the limits
promised to Abraham, are to be the center of His future dominion;
whence it will extend to the remotest parts of the earth.
11. As for thee also—that is, the
daughter of Zion," or "Jerusalem" (Zec 9:9): the theocracy. The "thee also," in
contradistinction to Messiah spoken of in Zec 9:10, implies that besides cutting off the
battle-bow and extending Messiah's
"dominion to the ends of the earth," God would also deliver
for her her exiled people from their foreign
by the blood of thy covenant—that is,
according to the covenant vouchsafed to thee on Sinai, and ratified by
the blood of sacrifices (Ex 24:8; Heb 9:18-20).
pit wherein … no water—Dungeons
were often pits without water, miry at the bottom, such as Jeremiah
sank in when confined (Ge 37:24; Jer 38:6). An image of the misery of the Jewish
exiles in Egypt, Greece, &c., under the successors of Alexander,
especially under Antiochus Epiphanes, who robbed and profaned the
temple, slew thousands, and enslaved more. God delivered them by the
Maccabees. A type of the future deliverance from their last great
persecutor hereafter (Isa 51:14; 60:1).
12. stronghold—in contrast to the "pit"
9:11); literally, "a place
cut off from access." Maurer
thinks, "a height" (Ps 18:33).
An image for the security which the returning Jews shall have in
9:8) encamped about
His people (Ps 46:1, 5;
compare Isa 49:9; Pr 18:10).
prisoners of hope—that is, who in
spite of afflictions (Job 13:15; Ps 42:5, 11) maintain hope in the covenant-keeping
God; in contrast to unbelievers, who say, "There is no hope" (Jer 2:25;
18:12). Especially those
Jews who believe God's word to Israel (Jer 31:17), "there is hope in the end, that thy
children shall come again to their own border," and do not say, as in
37:11, "Our hope is lost."
Primarily, the Jews of Zechariah's time are encouraged not to be
dispirited in building by their trials; secondarily, the Jews before
the coming restoration are encouraged to look to Messiah for
deliverance from their last oppressors.
even to-day—when your circumstances
seem so unpromising; in contrast with the "day of the Lord," when
Zion's King shall come to her deliverance (Zec 9:9).
I will render double—Great as has been
thy adversity, thy prosperity shall be doubly greater (Isa 61:7).
13. bent Judah—made Judah as it were My
bow, and "filled" it "with Ephraim," as My arrow, wherewith to overcome
the successor of the Grecian Alexander, Antiochus Epiphanes (compare
Notes, see on Da 8:9; Da
11:32; 1 Maccabees 1:62; 2:41-43), the oppressor of Judah.
Having spoken (Zec 9:1-8)
of Alexander's victories, after the parenthesis (Zec 9:9, 10) as to Messiah the infinitely
greater King coming, he passes to the victories which God would enable
Judah to gain over Alexander's successor, after his temporary
oppression of them.
O Zion … O Greece—God on one
hand addresses Zion, on the other Greece, showing that He rules all
14. Another image: "Jehovah shall be seen
(conspicuously manifesting His power) over them" (that is, in behalf of
the Jews and against their foes), as formerly He appeared in a cloud
over the Israelites against the Egyptians (Ex 14:19, 24).
his arrow … as …
lightning—flashing forth instantaneous destruction to the foe
blow … trumpet—to summon and
incite His people to battle for the destruction of their foe.
go with whirlwinds of the south—that
is, go forth in the most furious storm, such as is one from the south
21:1). Alluding, perhaps, to
Jehovah's ancient miracles at Sinai coming "from Teman" ("the
south," in the Margin).
15. devour—the flesh of their foes.
drink—the blood of their foes; that
is, utterly destroy them. Image (as Jer 46:10) from a sacrifice, wherein part of the
flesh was eaten, and the blood poured in libation (compare Isa 63:1, &c.).
subdue with sling-stones—or, "tread
under foot the sling-stones" hurled by the foe at them; that is, will
contemptuously trample on the hostile missiles which shall fall
harmless under their feet (compare Job 41:28). Probably, too, it is implied that
their foes are as impotent as the common stones used in
slinging when they have fallen under foot: in contrast to the
people of God (Zec 9:16),
"the (precious) stones of a crown" (compare 1Sa 25:29) [Maurer]. English Version is good sense: The
Jews shall subdue the foe at the first onset, with the mere
slingers who stood in front of the line of battle and began the
engagement. Though armed with but sling-stones, like David against
Goliath, they shall subdue the foe (Jud 20:16; 1Ch 12:2) [Grotius].
noise—the battle shout.
through wine—(Zec 10:7). The Spirit of God fills them with
triumph (Eph 5:18).
like bowls—the bowls used to receive
the blood of the sacrifices.
as … corners—or "horns" of the
altar, which used to be sprinkled with blood from the bowls (Ex 29:12;
16. save them … as the flock of his
people—as the flock of His people ought to be saved (Ps 77:20). Here the image of war and
bloodshed (Zec 9:15) is
exchanged for the shepherd and flock, as God will give
not only victory, but afterwards safe and lasting peace. In contrast to
the worthless sling-stones trodden under foot stand the (gems)
"stones of the crown (Isa 62:3; Mal 3:17), lifted up as an ensign," that all may
flock to the Jewish Church (Isa 11:10, 12; 62:10).
17. his goodness … his beauty—the
goodness and beauty which Jehovah-Messiah bestows on His people. Not as
Maurer thinks, the goodness, &c., of
His land or His people (Ps 31:19; Jer 31:12).
make … cheerful—literally, "make
new wine the maids—supply, "shall make
… to grow." Corn and wine abundant indicate peace
and plenty. The new wine gladdening the maids is peculiar to this
passage. It confutes those who interdict the use of wine as food. The
Jews, heretofore straitened in provisions through pressure of the foe,
shall now have abundance to cheer, not merely the old, but even the
youths and maidens [Calvin].