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Zechariah 9:15

15. The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar.

15. Iehova exercituum proteget eos; et comedent et subjicient lapidibus fundae, (vel, lapides, ut alii vertun,) tanquam a vino, et replebuntur quasi phiala, quasi anguli altaris.


He expresses again the same thing in other words — that God would be like a shadow to his people, so that he would with an extended hand protect them from their enemies. Since the Jews might have justly felt a distrust in their own strength, the Prophet continually teaches them that their safety depended not on earthly aids, but that God alone was sufficient, for he could easily render them safe and secure. He also adds, that there would be to them plenty of bread and wine to satisfy them. He seems here indeed to promise too great an abundance, as by its abuse luxury came, for he says, that they would be satiated and be like the drunken; they shall drink, he says, and shall make a noise as through wine. Certainly those who drink wine moderately, do not make noise, but they are as composed and quiet after dinner as those who fast. Zechariah then seems here to make an unreasonable promise, even that of excess in meat and drink. But we have elsewhere seen that wherever the Holy Spirit promises abundance of good things he does not give loose reigns to men’s lusts, but his object is only to show that God will be so bountiful to his children that they shall stand in need of nothing, that they shall labor under no want. Nay, the affluence of blessings is to try our frugality, for when God pours forth as it were with a liberal hand more than what is needful, he thus tries the temperance of each of us; for when in the enjoyment of great abundance, we of our own accord restrain ourselves, we then really show that we are grateful to God. 113113     Another view is taken of this view. The destruction of enemies, and not abundance of blessings, is what is said to be set forth in this verse, according to the rendering both of the Septuagint and the Targum, followed by Jerome, Kimchi, Drusius, Grotius, Newcome, Blayney, and Henderson. “The bowl or basin,” says Blayney, “and the corners of the altar, all seem to bespeak blood; for the blood of the sacrificed beasts was part of it received in bowls for the purpose of sprinkling, and the rest poured out at the foot of the altar, Leviticus 4:5-7.” Henry states this view as his own, and also mentions that given by Calvin, which both Scott and Adam Clarke have taken.
   The latter part of the verse is rendered by the Septuagint as though the meaning were, that the Jews would offer abundant sacrifices to express their gratitude. “And they shall fill the bowls as well as the altar.” Junius and Tremelius, and Piscator, have rendered the Hebrew according to this meaning, taking the two caphs as signifying both and and, or as well as, “And they shall fill both the bowl and the corners of the altar,” that is, by offering sacrifices in token of their gratitude for victory. But the explanation of Grotius is, “They shall be filled with the blood of their enemies as the corners of the altar are with the blood of victims. Leviticus 4:25; 15:18.

   It is difficult to know which view to take. The authorities, and perhaps the context, are in favor of the revenge that would be taken on the Grecians. In this case the metaphors, as Newcome observes, are taken from beasts of prey, not an uncommon thing in Scripture. See Numbers 23:24. — Ed.

It is indeed true, that cheerfulness for abundance of blessings is allowed us, for it is often said in the law, “Thou shalt rejoice before thy God,” (Deuteronomy 12:18;) but we must bear in mind, that frugal use of blessings is required, in order that the gifts of God may not be converted to a sinful purpose.

Then the Prophet does not here excite or stimulate the Jews to intemperance, that they might fill themselves with too much food, or inebriate themselves with too much wine; but he only promises that there would be no want of either food or drink when God blessed them as in former days. And this seems also to be specified at the end of the verse, when he mentions the horns of the altar. He had previously said, that they would be full as the bowls were; but when he adds, “the horns of the altar,” he no doubt reminds them of temperance, that they were to feast as though they were in God’s presence. They were indeed accustomed to pour out the wine and the oil on the horns of the altar; but, at the same time, since they professed that they offered from their abundance of wine and oil some first-fruits to God, it behaved them to remember that their wine was sacred, that their oil was sacred, as both proceeded from God. The Prophet then declares, that the Jews would be thus enriched and replenished with all good things, and that they were yet to remember, that they were to live as in God’s presence, lest they should by luxury pollute what he had consecrated to a legitimate end. He then adds —

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