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Judgment on Israel’s Enemies


An Oracle.

The word of the L ord is against the land of Hadrach

and will rest upon Damascus.

For to the L ord belongs the capital of Aram,

as do all the tribes of Israel;


Hamath also, which borders on it,

Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.


Tyre has built itself a rampart,

and heaped up silver like dust,

and gold like the dirt of the streets.


But now, the Lord will strip it of its possessions

and hurl its wealth into the sea,

and it shall be devoured by fire.



Ashkelon shall see it and be afraid;

Gaza too, and shall writhe in anguish;

Ekron also, because its hopes are withered.

The king shall perish from Gaza;

Ashkelon shall be uninhabited;


a mongrel people shall settle in Ashdod,

and I will make an end of the pride of Philistia.


I will take away its blood from its mouth,

and its abominations from between its teeth;

it too shall be a remnant for our God;

it shall be like a clan in Judah,

and Ekron shall be like the Jebusites.


Then I will encamp at my house as a guard,

so that no one shall march to and fro;

no oppressor shall again overrun them,

for now I have seen with my own eyes.


The Coming Ruler of God’s People


Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!

Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!

Lo, your king comes to you;

triumphant and victorious is he,

humble and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim

and the war-horse from Jerusalem;

and the battle bow shall be cut off,

and he shall command peace to the nations;

his dominion shall be from sea to sea,

and from the River to the ends of the earth.



As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,

I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.


Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;

today I declare that I will restore to you double.


For I have bent Judah as my bow;

I have made Ephraim its arrow.

I will arouse your sons, O Zion,

against your sons, O Greece,

and wield you like a warrior’s sword.



Then the L ord will appear over them,

and his arrow go forth like lightning;

the Lord G od will sound the trumpet

and march forth in the whirlwinds of the south.


The L ord of hosts will protect them,

and they shall devour and tread down the slingers;

they shall drink their blood like wine,

and be full like a bowl,

drenched like the corners of the altar.



On that day the L ord their God will save them

for they are the flock of his people;

for like the jewels of a crown

they shall shine on his land.


For what goodness and beauty are his!

Grain shall make the young men flourish,

and new wine the young women.


Here he applies his former doctrine to its right use, so that the faithful might emerge from their sorrow, and come to that joy which he had before encouraged them to entertain. He then addresses Jerusalem, as though he had said, “There is no reason for thee to torment thyself with perplexed and anxious thoughts, for I will accomplish what I have promised — that I would become a deliverer to my people.” For this doubt might have occurred to them — “Why does he exhort us to rejoice, while the Church of God is still in part captive, and while those who have returned to their country are miserably and cruelly harassed by their enemies?” To this objection Zechariah answers in the person of God — that God would be able to deliver them, though they were sunk in the deepest gulf. We hence see how this verse harmonises with the other verses: he had before spoken of the happy state of the Church under Christ as its king; but as the condition of the people then was very hard and miserable, he adds, that deliverance was to be expected from God.

But we must observe, that a pronoun feminine is here used, when he says, even thou, or, thou also. Both the Latins and Greeks have been deceived by the ambiguity of the language used, 108108     Rather by following the Septuagint who changed the person of the verb “[ἐξαπέστειλας], though hast sent forth.” The pronoun “[συ], thou,” in Greek, has no gender, as in Hebrew. It was in this way that Theodoret, Cyril, and Augustine were led astray as to the sense of this passage. The Targum retains the reading of the Hebrew. — Ed. and have thought that the words are addressed to Christ, as though he was to draw his captives from a deep pit; but God here addresses his Church, as though he had said, “Hear thou.” And the particle גם, gam, is emphatical, meaning this — “I see that I do not prevail much with you, for ye are in a manner overwhelmed by your calamities, and no hope refreshes you, as you think yourselves visited, as it were, with a thousand deaths; but still, though a mass of evils disheartens you, or at least so far oppresses you as to render inefficacious what I say — though, in short, ye be of all men the most miserable, I will yet redeem your captives.” But God addresses the whole Church, as in many other places under the character of a wife.

He says, By the blood of thy covenant. This seems not to belong properly to the Church, for there is no other author of the covenant but God himself; but the relation, we know, between God and his people, as to the covenant, is mutual. It is God’s covenant, because it flows from him; it is the covenant of the Church, because it is made for its sake, and laid up as it were in its bosom. And the truth penetrated more fully into the hearts of the godly, when they heard that it was not only a divine covenant, but that it was also the covenant of the people themselves: Then by the blood of thy covenant, etc. Some refer this, but very unwisely, to circumcision, for the Prophet no doubt had regard to the sacrifices. It was then the same as though he had said — “Why do ye offer victims daily in the temple? If ye think that you thus worship God, it is a very gross and insane superstition. Call then to mind the end designed, or the model given you from above; for God has already promised that he will be propitious to you, by expiating your sins by the only true sacrifice: And for this end offer your sacrifices, and that blood will bring expiation with it. Now since God has not in vain appointed your sacrifices, and ye observe them not in vain, no doubt the benefit will come at length to light, for I have sent forth thy captives. For God does not reconcile himself to men, that he may destroy or reduce them to nothing, or that he may suffer them to pine away and die; for why does God pardon men, but that he may deliver them from destruction?” 109109     “The words,” says Newcome, “allude to the Jewish custom of ratifying covenants by the blood of victims.” It was called “thy” covenant, because it was a covenant made with the daughter of Sion. The meaning is, “the covenant ratified with thee by blood,” that is, of victims. see Exodus 24:6-8. The [ב] here means for, or on account of. The verse may be thus rendered —
   As to thee also, on account of the blood of thy covenant
Have I sent forth thy prisoners
From a pit without water in it.

   It was thought by Drusius and Newcome that the deliverance of the people from Babylon is here referred to, which is the most probable opinion, as the next verse seems to have been addressed to them. But Marckius and Henderson agree with Calvin, that the past tense is used for the future. — Ed.

We now perceive why the Prophet thus speaks of the blood of the covenant in connection with the salvation of the whole people. “Ye daily offer victims,” he says, “and the blood is poured on the altar: God has not appointed this in vain.” Now since God receives you into favor, that ye may be safe, he will therefore deliver the captives of his Church; I will send forth, he says, or, have sent forth thy captives: for he expresses here in the past tense what he would do in future.

I will send forth thy captives from the pit in which there is no water. He means a deep gulf, where thirst itself would destroy miserable men without being drawn forth by a power from above. In short, he means, first, that the Jews were sunk in the deep; and secondly, that thirst would consume them, so that death was nigh at hand, except they were miraculously delivered by God: but he reminds them, that no impediment would prevent God from raising them to light from the deepest darkness. We then see that this was added, that the Jews might learn to struggle against all things that might strengthen unbelief, and feel assured that they would be preserved safe, for it is God’s peculiar work to raise the dead. This is the meaning. He now adds —

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