Zec 12:1-14. Jerusalem the
Instrument of Judgment on Her Foes Hereafter; Her Repentance and
1. burden—"weighty prophecy"; fraught
with destruction to Israel's foes; the expression may also refer to the
distresses of Israel implied as about to precede the
for Israel—concerning Israel
stretcheth forth—present; now,
not merely "hath stretched forth," as if God only created and
then left the universe to itself (Joh 5:17). To remove all doubts of unbelief as to
the possibility of Israel's deliverance, God prefaces the prediction by
reminding us of His creative and sustaining power. Compare a similar
preface in Isa 42:5; 43:1; 65:17, 18.
formeth … spirit of man—(Nu
16:22; Heb 12:9).
2. cup of trembling—a cup causing those
who drink it to reel (from a Hebrew root "to reel").
Jerusalem, who drank the "cup of trembling" herself, shall be so to her
foes (Isa 51:17, 22; Jer 13:13). Calvin
with the Septuagint translates, "threshold of
destruction," on which they shall stumble and be crushed when they
attempt to cross it. English Version is better.
both against Judah—The Hebrew
order of words is literally, "And also against Judah shall he (the foe)
be in the siege against Jerusalem"; implying virtually that Judah, as
it shares the invasion along with Jerusalem, so it shall, like the
metropolis, prove a cup of trembling to the invaders. Maurer with Jerome
translates, "Also upon Judah shall be (the cup of trembling); that is,
some Jews forced by the foe shall join in the assault on Jerusalem, and
shall share the overthrow with the besiegers. But Zec 12:6, 7 show that Judah escapes and proves
the scourge of the foe.
3. (Zec 14:4, 6-9, 13). Jerome
states it was a custom in Palestine to test the strength of youths by
their lifting up a massive stone; the phrase, "burden themselves with
it," refers to this custom. Compare Mt 21:44: The Jews "fell" on the rock of offense,
Messiah, and were "broken"; but the rock shall fall on Antichrist, who
"burdens himself with it" by his assault on the restored Jews, and
"grind him to powder."
all … people of …
earth—The Antichristian confederacy against the Jews shall be
4. I will smite … horse—The arm of
attack especially formidable to Judah, who was unprovided with cavalry.
So in the overthrow of Pharaoh (Ex 15:19, 21).
open mine eyes upon … Judah—to
watch over Judah's safety. Heretofore Jehovah seemed to have shut His
eyes, as having no regard for her.
blindness—so as to rush headlong on to
their own ruin (compare Zec 14:12, 13).
5. shall say—when they see the foe
divinely smitten with "madness."
Judah … Jerusalem—here
distinguished as the country and the metropolis. Judah recognizes her
"strength" to be "Jerusalem and its inhabitants" as the instrument, and
"Jehovah of hosts their God" (dwelling especially there) as the author
of all power (Joe 3:16). My
strength is the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who have the Lord their God
as their help. The repulse of the foe by the metropolis shall assure
the Jews of the country that the same divine aid shall save them.
6. On "governors of Judah," see on Zec 9:7.
torch … in a sheaf—Though small,
it shall consume the many foes around. One prophet supplements the
other. Thus Isa 29:1-24; Joe 3:1-21; Zec
12:1-14:21, describe more
Antichrist's army than himself. Daniel represents him as a horn
growing out of the fourth beast or fourth kingdom; St. John, as a
separate beast having an individual existence. Daniel dwells on his
worldly conquests as a king; St. John, more on his spiritual tyranny,
whence he adds a second beast, the false prophet coming in a semblance
of spirituality. What is briefly described by one is more fully
prophesied by the other [Roos].
7. Judah is to be "first saved," because of
her meek acknowledgment of dependence on Jerusalem, subordinate to
tents—shifting and insecure, as
contrasted with the solid fortifications of Judah. But God chooses the
weak to confound the mighty, that all human glorying may be set
8. Jerusalem, however, also shall be specially
strengthened against the foe.
feeble … shall be as David—to
the Jew, the highest type of strength and glory on earth (2Sa 17:8;
18:3; Joe 3:10).
angel of the Lord before them—the
divine angel that went "before them" through the desert, the highest
type of strength and glory in heaven (Ex 23:20; 32:34). "The house of David" is the "prince,"
and his family sprung from David (Eze 45:7, 9). David's house was then in a
comparatively weak state.
9. I will seek to destroy—I will set
Myself with determined earnestness to destroy, etc. (Hag 2:22).
10. Future conversion of the Jews is to flow
from an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Jer
31:9, 31-34; Eze 39:29).
spirit of grace …
supplications—"spirit" is here not the spirit produced, but
THE Holy Spirit producing a
"gracious" disposition, and inclination for
"supplications." Calvin explains
"spirit of grace" as the grace of God itself (whereby He "pours"
out His bowels of mercy), "conjoined with the sense of it in man's
heart." The "spirit of supplications" is the mercury whose rise or fall
is an unerring test of the state of the Church [Moore]. In Hebrew, "grace" and
"supplications" are kindred terms; translate, therefore,
"gracious supplications." The plural implies suppliant
prayers "without ceasing." Herein not merely external help against the
foe, as before, but internal grace is promised subsequently.
look upon me—with profoundly earnest
regard, as the Messiah whom they so long denied.
pierced—implying Messiah's humanity:
as "I will pour … spirit" implies His divinity.
look … mourn—True repentance
arises from the sight by faith of the crucified Saviour. It is the tear
that drops from the eye of faith looking on Him. Terror only produces
remorse. The true penitent weeps over his sins in love to Him who in
love has suffered for them.
me … him—The change of person is
due to Jehovah-Messiah speaking in His own person first, then
the prophet speaking of Him. The Jews, to avoid the conclusion
that He whom they have "pierced" is Jehovah-Messiah, who says, "I will
pour out … spirit," altered "me" into "him," and represent the
"pierced" one to be Messiah Ben (son of) Joseph, who was to suffer in
the battle with Cog, before Messiah Ben David should come to reign. But
Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic oppose this; and the
ancient Jews interpreted it of Messiah. Ps 22:16 also refers to His being "pierced." So
19:37; Re 1:7. The actual
piercing of His side was the culminating point of all their insulting
treatment of Him. The act of the Roman soldier who pierced Him was
their act (Mt 27:25),
and is so accounted here in Zechariah. The Hebrew word is always
used of a literal piercing (so Zec 13:3); not of a metaphorical piercing,
"insulted," as Maurer and other
Rationalists (from the Septuagint) represent.
as one mourneth for … son—(Jer 6:26;
Am 8:10). A proverbial phrase
peculiarly forcible among the Jews, who felt childlessness as a curse
and dishonor. Applied with peculiar propriety to mourning for Messiah,
"the first-born among many brethren" (Ro 8:29).
11. As in Zec 12:10 the bitterness of their mourning is
illustrated by a private case of mourning, so in this verse by a public
one, the greatest recorded in Jewish history, that for the violent
death in battle with Pharaoh-necho of the good King Josiah, whose reign
had been the only gleam of brightness for the period from Hezekiah to
the downfall of the state; lamentations were written by Jeremiah for
the occasion (2Ki 23:29, 30; 2Ch 35:22-27).
Hadad-rimmon—a place or city in the
great plain of Esdraelon, the battlefield of many a conflict, near
Megiddo; called so from the Syrian idol Rimmon. Hadad also was the name
of the sun, a chief god of the Syrians [Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.23].
12-14. A universal and an individual mourning
David … Nathan—representing the
highest and lowest of the royal order. Nathan, not the prophet, but a
younger son of David (2Sa 5:14; Lu 3:31).
apart—Retirement and seclusion are
needful for deep personal religion.
wives apart—Jewish females worship
separately from the males (Ex 15:1, 20).
13. Levi … Shimei—the highest and
lowest of the priestly order (Nu 3:18, 21). Their example and that of the royal
order would of course influence the rest.
14. All … that remain—after the
fiery ordeal, in which two-thirds fall (Zec 13:8, 9).