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Restoration of Judah and Israel


Ask rain from the L ord

in the season of the spring rain,

from the L ord who makes the storm clouds,

who gives showers of rain to you,

the vegetation in the field to everyone.


For the teraphim utter nonsense,

and the diviners see lies;

the dreamers tell false dreams,

and give empty consolation.

Therefore the people wander like sheep;

they suffer for lack of a shepherd.



My anger is hot against the shepherds,

and I will punish the leaders;

for the L ord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah,

and will make them like his proud war-horse.


Out of them shall come the cornerstone,

out of them the tent peg,

out of them the battle bow,

out of them every commander.


Together they shall be like warriors in battle,

trampling the foe in the mud of the streets;

they shall fight, for the L ord is with them,

and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.



I will strengthen the house of Judah,

and I will save the house of Joseph.

I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,

and they shall be as though I had not rejected them;

for I am the L ord their God and I will answer them.


Then the people of Ephraim shall become like warriors,

and their hearts shall be glad as with wine.

Their children shall see it and rejoice,

their hearts shall exult in the L ord.



I will signal for them and gather them in,

for I have redeemed them,

and they shall be as numerous as they were before.


Though I scattered them among the nations,

yet in far countries they shall remember me,

and they shall rear their children and return.


I will bring them home from the land of Egypt,

and gather them from Assyria;

I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon,

until there is no room for them.


They shall pass through the sea of distress,

and the waves of the sea shall be struck down,

and all the depths of the Nile dried up.

The pride of Assyria shall be laid low,

and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.


I will make them strong in the L ord,

and they shall walk in his name,

says the L ord.


Zechariah, after having shown that God would be bountiful towards the Jews, so that nothing necessary to render life happy and blessed should be wanting, now reproves them for their unbelief, because they did not expect from the Lord what he was ready fully to bestow on them. As then it depended on them only, that they did not enjoy abundance of all blessings, he charges them with ingratitude: for though he exhorts them to prayer, there is yet an implied reproof. One by merely reading over the words may think that a new subject is here introduced, that the Jews are directed to ask of the Lord what he had previously promised them; but he who will more minutely consider the whole context, will easily find that what I have stated is true — that the Jews are here condemned, and on this account, because they closed the door against God’s favor; for they were straitened in themselves, as all the unbelieving are, who cannot embrace the promises of God; nor is it at all doubtful but that many made great complaints, when they found themselves disappointed of their wishes. They had indeed hoped for a most abundant supply of corn and wine, and had also promised to themselves all kinds of blessings, yet the Lord, as we have seen in the book of Haggai, had begun to withdraw his hand, so that they labored under want of provisions; and when mine and thirst oppressed them, they thought that they had been in a manlier deceived by God. On this ground the Prophet expostulates with them; they thrust from themselves, by their want of faith, the favor which had been prepared for them. We now then understand the Prophet’s meaning.

He bids them to ask rain of Jehovah. They ought indeed to have done this of themselves without being reminded; for though Christ has delivered to his Church a form of prayer, it ought yet to be as it were the dictate of nature to seek of God our daily bread; and it is not without reason that he claims to himself the name of a Father. The Prophet then does here reprove the Jews for their brutal stupidity — that they did not ask rain of the Lord. He adds, at the late season, that is, at spring time; for rains at two seasons were necessary for the corn, after sowing and before harvest, and whenever Scripture speaks of fruitfulness or of a large produce, it mentions rain at these two seasons. Zechariah in this place only refers to the vernal before harvest; for in that hot country the earth wanted new moisture, Ask, he says, rain at the beginning of summer.

Jehovah, he adds, will give it; he will make clouds, or storms, or boisterous winds, as some read; but it is evident from other passages that חזיזים, chezizim, means clouds, which are as it were preparations for rain. 116116     The word in the singular number is found twice, in Job 28:26; 38:25, and rendered “lightning.” Scott, the versifier of the book of Job, renders it “blaze” or “flash of lightning,” deriving it from an Arabic word which means to cut a thing like the jagged edge of a leaf. It is then the zigzag flash of lightning. Marckius renders it here “coruscations;” Dathius and Henderson “lightnings.” To avoid the connection of two words of similar import, the arrangement of the verse may be different, —
   Ask ye from Jehovah rain in the latter season;
Jehovah, who makes the flashes and the rain,
Will a shower give to you,
To every one grass in the field.

   “To you,” [לכם]; so read many MSS., about fifteen, and the Syriac. — Ed.
He then says, that a shower would come with the rain; for some take גשם, gesham, for a shower, that is, heavy rain; but the Prophet introduces here the two words, as though he had said, that the rains would be continued until the ground was saturated and the dryness removed. Some translate, “the rain of a shower,” but this would be too strained. I prefer then this rendering, He will give rain, a shower, that is, abundant rain; to every one grass in the field, that is, so that there may be moisture enough for the ground. In short, he promises a plentiful irrigation, that drought might not deprive them of the hope of food and support. What I have stated will appear more clear from the following verse, for he adds —

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