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God’s Promises to Zion


The word of the L ord of hosts came to me, saying: 2Thus says the L ord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3Thus says the L ord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the L ord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. 4Thus says the L ord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. 5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. 6Thus says the L ord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the L ord of hosts? 7Thus says the L ord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; 8and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.

9 Thus says the L ord of hosts: Let your hands be strong—you that have recently been hearing these words from the mouths of the prophets who were present when the foundation was laid for the rebuilding of the temple, the house of the L ord of hosts. 10For before those days there were no wages for people or for animals, nor was there any safety from the foe for those who went out or came in, and I set them all against one another. 11But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, says the L ord of hosts. 12For there shall be a sowing of peace; the vine shall yield its fruit, the ground shall give its produce, and the skies shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13Just as you have been a cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you and you shall be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.

14 For thus says the L ord of hosts: Just as I purposed to bring disaster upon you, when your ancestors provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the L ord of hosts, 15so again I have purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; do not be afraid. 16These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace, 17do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, says the L ord.

Joyful Fasting

18 The word of the L ord of hosts came to me, saying: 19Thus says the L ord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be seasons of joy and gladness, and cheerful festivals for the house of Judah: therefore love truth and peace.

Many Peoples Drawn to Jerusalem

20 Thus says the L ord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, the inhabitants of many cities; 21the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Come, let us go to entreat the favor of the L ord, and to seek the L ord of hosts; I myself am going.” 22Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the L ord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the favor of the L ord. 23Thus says the L ord of hosts: In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew, grasping his garment and saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”


The Prophet having taught us that God was reconciled to his people, does now seasonably exhort the Jews to prepare themselves for work and strenuously to exert themselves in erecting the temple, and also in building the city: for as we have stated, many were then become slothful, as they thought that they were soon to be destroyed by their enemies, and that what they built with great labor, toil, and expense, would be presently demolished. Hence it was that sloth had crept in, so that many had left off the building both of the temple and of the city: and we have also seen elsewhere, that they were too intent on building their own houses, and at the same time neglected the temple; for each looked to his own private advantage, and also to his own pleasures. The Prophet Haggai sharply reproved this indifference, (Haggai 1:4;) and the Lord clearly showed that he had punished this their sloth; for they preferred their own houses to the temple, and through want of faith trembled, as though their restoration was a mockery. As then the people by their ingratitude had almost wiped away the recollection of their deliverance, the Prophet Haggai severely reproved them; and Zechariah now touches on the same subject.

Hence he says, that before they had begun the work of building the temple, the land was sterile, as though it was cursed by God, and that they were deprived of their hope, and that whatever they attempted proved useless; but that after they had begun, through the encouragement given them by the Prophets, to take courage to build the temple, things changed for the better, and that openly, so that it was easy to conclude, that God had been previously displeased with them, but that now he was favorable, as all things went on prosperously. This change then was a clear token both of God’s displeasure and of God’s favor; for he had justly chastised his people as long as they were under the influence of unbelief, so as not to proceed with the work of building the temple; and afterwards the favor of God had begun to shine on them, as God gave them abundance of provisions, and proved in various ways that he was now favorable to them. Zechariah therefore mentions these things, that they might proceed more cheerfully with their work, and not provoke God’s wrath, which they had previously found to have been so much to their loss, and that they might seek to enjoy his blessing, which was now so manifest before their eyes. This is the import of the whole.

He says, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Strengthened let be your hands. He exhorts them to perseverance: but as men become weak, and many things occur which enfeeble or break down their courage, he uses the word, strengthen; for it is often necessary to gather new strength, and to confirm a pious resolution. Let us now then learn to apply this doctrine to our own benefit, and let us understand what experience sufficiently teaches us, even this — that our hands, though at first well prepared, are yet soon relaxed, and as it were loosed, and even entirely fail, unless new strength be now and then attained; and that this is effected when we are animated by God’s word, and rise superior to the trials which enfeeble us. And Zechariah will presently inform us whence this strength was to be sought, even from the promises which they had already heard from the Prophets; for he would have in vain exhorted them to persevere, had not the ground of confidence been mentioned. For when God is silent, our minds, though before abundantly ready and willing, must languish, and at length wholly fail.

We then see that there can be no courage in men, unless God supports them by his word, so that they may recover their lost strength and regain their alacrity. Had the Prophet only bidden them to take courage, they might have replied, that there was nothing in their circumstances to encourage them; but when the word of God was set before them, every excuse was taken away; and they were now to gird up the loins, and boldly to fight, inasmuch as God supplied them with weapons.

Be strong, he says, ye who hear in these days these words from the mouth of the Prophets. Though Zechariah is not often concise in his words, but in many parts diffuse, yet he is so here, and the whole verse is very emphatical; for after having said that they were not destitute of God’s promises, he adds, “in these days,” and also “these words.” He intimates that they were not only taught a general truth, that they were to render obedience, but that God himself would be their leader to direct their steps and to show them the way: in a word, he omits nothing to enable them to proceed without difficulty with the work which they had begun. There is then an emphasis intended by the demonstrative, “these,” “these;” for the Prophet intimates that God was continually speaking to them, and that he announced not only a general truth, but specific words, by which they might guide their feet and their hands in every action. And he says, that those words were heard from the mouth of the Prophets, for God intended honor to be done to his servants; and it is, as it has been often stated, a true test of faith, when God descends not himself from heaven, or does not appear to us in a visible form, but makes use of men as his ministers. Yet Zechariah briefly intimates, that the Prophets are not the authors of the promises, which are necessary to raise up, support, and stimulate our minds; for the Lord only employs their service; and this is what he means by the word mouth

He now adds, Who were in that day in which was founded the house of Jehovah, in order to build the temple. Not much time had elapsed since they had begun again to build the temple, and the foundations had been laid; but the work had been discontinued through the unbelief of them all, and also through the private regard of each to his own interest. For as they were in suspense and doubtful, there arose sloth and indifference, and avarice possessed them, so that they despised the temple of God. But he says now that during that short time God often spoke to them by his Prophets with the view of correcting their delay and tardiness, for the Prophet mentions here as it were but one day, for the purpose of expressing how short the time had been. Less excusable then was their sloth, since God daily spoke to them and confirmed by new Prophets what the former ones had said. 8484     The verse may be thus rendered—
   Thus saith Jehovah of hosts,
Strengthened be your hands,
Who hear in these days
Those very words from the mouth of the Prophets,
ye heard in the day of founding the house
Of Jehovah of Hosts, the temple, that it might be built.

   As in a former instance, chapter 2:4, [אלה], repeated, should be rendered “these” and “those.” Blayney borrows after “which” the verb “ye heard,” from the former line; but Henderson considers [דברו] to be understood, “which were spoken.” The former is the most obvious. — Ed.

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