World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
10. The Lord Will Care for Judah
Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. 2For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. 3Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. 4Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.
5And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded. 6And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them. 7And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord. 8I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased. 9And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again. 10I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them. 11And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away. 12And I will strengthen them in the Lord; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord.
Zec 10:1-12. Prayer and Promise.
Call to prayer to Jehovah, as contrasted with the idol-worship which had brought judgments on the princes and people. Blessings promised in answer to prayer: (1) rulers of themselves; (2) conquest of their enemies; (3) restoration and establishment of both Israel and Judah in their own land in lasting peace and piety.
rain in … time of … latter rain—that is, the latter rain in its due time, namely, in spring, about February or March (Job 29:23; Joe 2:23). The latter rain ripened the grain, as the former rain in October tended to fructify the seed. Including all temporal blessings; these again being types of spiritual ones. Though God has begun to bless us, we are not to relax our prayers. The former rain of conversion may have been given, but we must also ask for the latter rain of ripened sanctification. Though at Pentecost there was a former rain on the Jewish Church, a latter rain is still to be looked for, when the full harvest of the nation's conversion shall be gathered in to God. The spirit of prayer in the Church is an index at once of her piety, and of the spiritual blessings she may expect from God. When the Church is full of prayer, God pours out a full blessing.
bright clouds—rather, "lightnings," the precursors of rain [Maurer].
showers of rain—literally, "rain of heavy rain." In Job 37:6 the same words occur in inverted order [Henderson].
grass—a general term, including both corn for men and grass for cattle.
2. idols—literally, "the teraphim," the household gods, consulted in divination (see on Ho 3:4). Derived by Gesenius from an Arabic root, "comfort," indicating them as the givers of comfort. Or an Ethiopian root, "relics." Herein Zechariah shows that the Jews by their own idolatry had stayed the grace of God heretofore, which otherwise would have given them all those blessings, temporal and spiritual, which they are now (Zec 10:1) urged to "ask" for.
diviners—who gave responses to consulters of the teraphim: opposed to Jehovah and His true prophets.
seen a lie—pretending to see what they saw not in giving responses.
therefore they went their way—that is, Israel and Judah were led away captive.
as a flock … no shepherd—As sheep wander and are a prey to every injury when without a shepherd, so the Jews had been while they were without Jehovah, the true shepherd; for the false prophets whom they trusted were no shepherds (Eze 34:5). So now they are scattered, while they know not Messiah their shepherd; typified in the state of the disciples, when they had forsaken Jesus and fled (Mt 26:56; compare Zec 13:7).
3. against the shepherds—the civil rulers of Israel and Judah who abetted idolatry.
punished—literally, "visited upon." The same word "visited," without the upon, is presently after used in a good sense to heighten the contrast.
goats—he-goats. As "shepherds" described what they ought to have been, so "he-goats" describes what they were, the emblem of headstrong wantonness and offensive lust (Isa 14:9, Margin; Eze 34:17; Da 8:5; Mt 25:33). The he-goats head the flock. They who are first in crime will be first in punishment.
visited—in mercy (Lu 1:68).
as his goodly horse—In Zec 9:13 they were represented under the image of bows and arrows, here under that of their commander-in-chief, Jehovah's battle horse (So 1:9). God can make His people, timid though they be as sheep, courageous as the charger. The general rode on the most beautiful and richly caparisoned, and had his horse tended with the greatest care. Jehovah might cast off the Jews for their vileness, but He regards His election or adoption of them: whence He calls them here "His flock," and therefore saves them.
4. Out of him—Judah is to be no more subject to foreigners, but from itself shall come its rulers.
the corner—stone, Messiah (Isa 28:16). "Corners" simply express governors (1Sa 14:38, Margin; Isa 19:13, Margin). The Maccabees, Judah's governors and deliverers from Antiochus the oppressor, are primarily meant; but Messiah is the Antitype. Messiah supports and binds together the Church, Jews and Gentiles.
every oppressor—rather, in a good sense, ruler, as the kindred Ethiopic term means. So "exactor," in Isa 60:17, namely, one who exacts the tribute from the nations made tributary to Judah [Ludovicus De Dieu].
5. riders on horses—namely, the enemy's horsemen. Though the Jews were forbidden by the law to multiply horses in battle (De 17:16), they are made Jehovah's war horse (Zec 10:3; Ps 20:7), and so tread down on foot the foe with all his cavalry (Eze 38:4; Da 11:40). Cavalry was the chief strength of the Syro-Grecian army (1 Maccabees 3:39).
6. Judah … Joseph—that is, the ten tribes. The distinct mention of both Judah and Israel shows that there is yet a more complete restoration than that from Babylon, when Judah alone and a few Israelites from the other tribes returned. The Maccabean deliverance is here connected with it, just as the painter groups on the same canvas objects in the foreground and hills far distant; or as the comparatively near planet and the remote fixed star are seen together in the same firmament. Prophecy ever hastens to the glorious final consummation under Messiah.
bring them again to place them—namely, securely in their own land. The Hebrew verb is compounded of two, "I will bring again," and "I will place them" (Jer 32:37). Maurer, from a different form, translates, "I will make them to dwell."
rejoice—at their victory over the foe.
children shall see it—who are not yet of age to serve. To teach patient waiting for God's promises. If ye do not at present see the fulfilment, your children shall, and their joy shall be complete.
rejoice in the Lord—the Giver of such a glorious victory.
8. hiss for them—Keepers of bees by a whistle call them together. So Jehovah by the mere word of His call shall gather back to Palestine His scattered people (Zec 10:10; Isa 5:26; Eze 36:11). The multitudes mentioned by Josephus [Wars of the Jews, 3:2], as peopling Galilee two hundred years after this time, were a pledge of the future more perfect fulfilment of the prophecy.
for I have redeemed them—namely, in My covenant purpose "redeemed" both temporally and spiritually.
as they have increased—in former times.
9. sow them among … people—Their dispersion was with a special design. Like seed sown far and wide, they shall, when quickened themselves, be the fittest instruments for quickening others (compare Mic 5:7). The slight hold they have on every soil where they now live, as also the commercial and therefore cosmopolitan character of their pursuits, making a change of residence easy to them, fit them peculiarly for missionary work [Moore]. The wide dispersion of the Jews just before Christ's coming prepared the way similarly for the apostles' preaching in the various Jewish synagogues throughout the world; everywhere some of the Old Testament seed previously sown was ready to germinate when the New Testament light and heat were brought to bear on it by Gospel preachers. Thus the way was opened for entrance among the Gentiles. "Will sow" is the Hebrew future, said of that which has been done, is being done, and may be done afterwards [Maurer], (compare Ho 2:23).
shall remember me in far countries—(De 30:1; 2Ch 6:37). Implying the Jews' return to a right mind in "all the nations" where they are scattered simultaneously. Compare Lu 15:17, 18, with Ps 22:27, "All the ends of the world remembering and turning unto the Lord," preceded by the "seed of Jacob … Israel … fearing and glorifying Him"; also Ps 102:13-15.
live—in political and spiritual life.
10. Egypt … Assyria—the former the first, the latter among the last of Israel's oppressors (or representing the four great world kingdoms, of which it was the first): types of the present universal dispersion, Egypt being south, Assyria north, opposite ends of the compass. Maurer conjectures that many Israelites fled to "Egypt" on the invasion of Tiglath-pileser. But Isa 11:11 and this passage rather accord with the view of the future restoration.
Gilead … Lebanon—The whole of the Holy Land is described by two of its boundaries, the eastern ("Gilead" beyond Jordan) and the northern ("Lebanon").
11. pass … sea with affliction—Personifying the "sea"; He shall afflict the sea, that is, cause it to cease to be an obstacle to Israel's return to Palestine (Isa 11:15, 16). Vulgate translates, "The strait of the sea." Maurer, "He shall cleave and smite." English Version is best (Ps 114:3). As Jehovah smote the Red Sea to make a passage for His people (Ex 14:16, 21), so hereafter shall He make a way through every obstacle which opposes Israel's restoration.
sceptre of Egypt … depart—(Eze 30:13).
12. I … strengthen them in … Lord—(Ho 1:7). I, the Father, will strengthen them in the name, that is, the manifested power, of the Lord, Messiah, the Son of God.