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Zechariah 10:11

11. And 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.

11. Et transibit in mari afflictio, et percutiet in mari fluctus; et arescent omnes profunditates fluminis: et dejicietur superbia Assur, et sceptrum Egypti recedet.


The Prophet confirms what he had said respecting the power of God, which is so great that it can easily and without any effort lay prostrate all the mighty forces of the world. As then the impediments which the Jews observed might have subverted their hope, the Prophet here removes them; he reminds the Jews that God’s power would be far superior to all the impediments which the world could throw in their way. But the expressions are figurative, and allusions are made to the history of the first redemption.

Pass through the sea shall distress. As God formerly gave to his people a passage through the Red Sea, (Exodus 14:21;) so the Prophet now testifies that this power was unchangeable, so that God could easily restore his people, though the sea was to be dried up, and rivers were to be emptied. He says first, Pass shall distress through the sea, that is, spread shall distress, etc., for so the verb עבר, ober, is to be taken here. Pass then shall distress through the sea, 128128     So Pagninus, Drusius, and the Syriac. The Septuagint, the Arabic, the Vulgate, and also Jerome, give a different version — “And he shall pass through the narrow sea,” or, “through the straits of the sea;” and this is the obvious meaning of the Hebrew, which is literally, “and he shall pass through the sea of straitness,” or narrowness, i.e., through the (or a) narrow sea; the allusion is evidently to the Red Sea, which is narrow. Henderson connects [צרה] as a verb with the following line —
   He shall cleave and smite the waves of the sea.

   He derives the peculiar sense of “cleaving” from the Chaldee [צרא]: but this is not necessary, for the other meaning is quite suitable, and countenanced by good authorities. Blayney give this version —

   And some shall pass over the sea to Tyre;

   which is quite without any meaning in this connection, there being nothing in the passage to lead us to Tyre. — Ed.
that is, the Lord will terrify the sea, and so shake it with his power that the waters will obey his command. But he afterwards explains himself in other words, He will smite the waves in the sea. He means that God’s command is sufficient to change the order of nature, so that the waters would immediately disappear at his bidding. He then adds, All the depths of the river shall dry up; some read, “shall be ashamed,” deriving the verb from בוש, bush; but it comes from יבש, ibesh: and this indeed means sometimes to be ashamed, but it means here to dry up. Others regard it as transitive, “The wind shall dry up the depths.” But as to the object of the Prophet, the passive or active sense of the verb is of no moment; for the Prophet no doubt means here, that there would be so much force in the very nod of God as to dry up rivers suddenly, according to what happened to Jordan; which being smitten by the rod of Moses dried up and afforded a passage to the people.

He at length speaks clearly, Cast down shall be the pride of Asshur, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart. In the preceding metaphor Zechariah alludes, as I have said, to the first redemption, as it was usual with all the Prophets to remind the people of the former miracles, that they might expect from the Lord in future what their fathers had witnessed. He now however declares, that God would be the Redeemer of his people, though the Assyrians on one side, and the Egyptians on the other, were to attempt to frustrate his purpose; for they could effect nothing by their obstinacy, as God could easily subdue both. He at last adds —

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