Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New TestamentZECHARIAH 9
Whereas the first eight chapters featured the concerns relative to the building of the physical temple, without at all leaving out of sight the far more important matter of the ultimate building of the true temple, the church or kingdom of Christ, at this point in Zechariah, the emphasis shifts almost totally to the true temple to be set up at the first Advent of the Messiah. The overwhelming importance of this section of Zechariah is attested by the repeated references to it throughout the New Testament; and we believe that the only true understanding of the prophecy must be related to those New Testament usages of it. We agree with Hailey that, "It seems wise to build one's interpretation of these chapters around the passages that are quoted by Jesus and the New Testament writers."F1
In passing, we should be conscious of the fact that scholars generally place these chapters (Zech. 9--14) at a later period in the prophet's life; and the destructive critics have employed every device possible in their efforts to deny the unity and integrity of them. Multiple authorships, late dating, early dating, endless and unnecessary emendations, deletions, omissions, rearrangements, substitutions of their own words for the Word of God, etc. etc., until, at last, there remains nothing but a scissors and paste production authored recently and bearing little if any resemblance to the sacred text which has survived more than twenty-five centuries-these are but a few of the devices employed against these chapters. With reference to all such intellectual doodlings with the Word of God, we categorically reject them as worthless. We are indebted to Robert C. Dentan, himself a liberal scholar, for his frank admission of what all such criticisms actually are:
"It is only fair to the general reader to state that any decision relative either to unity of authorship or date ... is based upon subjective considerations."F2
And what are "subjective considerations"? They are imaginative dreams, guesses, intuitions and suppositions, unsupported by any hard evidence of any kind. We pray that we may not seem presumptuous when we affirm that our guesses are as good as theirs; and that says nothing of the a priori intention of destroying the credibility of Sacred Scriptures which often lies behind some of the guesses.
NEW TESTAMENT LIGHT ON ZECH. 9
Zech. 9:1-7. Alexander the Great provided the fulfillment of the prophecy here regarding those Palestinian nations which were traditional enemies of God's people. It was this great world ruler who made the Greek language the official vehicle of communication for the whole ancient world. Because of this, the New Testament was written in Greek. The providence of God is surely seen in this. Significantly, Alexander himself claimed that by means of a dream the God of the Jews had commanded him to launch his world conquest. (See Josephus, Ant. XI, viii, 3.) The relationship of these verses to the Messianic kingdom is therefore quite pronounced.
Zech. 9:8. In this, an exemption is promised for "my house," meaning God's people; and it came to pass when Alexander bowed himself down before the High Priest in Jerusalem and bestowed many favors upon Jerusalem.
Zech. 9:9-10. Without exception, the four Gospels presented this as a prophecy of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus Christ into the city of Jerusalem on Sunday of the Passion week. The cutting off of the chariot, the battle bow, and the horse were prophecies of the rejection by Christ's church of the instruments of warfare as a means of advancing the truth. The mention of both Ephraim and Jerusalem indicated the unity of all Israel "in Christ." There is no indication in this that God would restore the destroyed kingdom of Ephraim.
Zech. 9:11. The mention of the "blood of the covenant" as the basis of setting free the prisoners is without any doubt a reference to "the blood of the New Covenant" (Matthew 26:28), the setting free of the prisoners being certainly the forgiveness of sinners' sins (Luke 4:18). In this context, it must be remembered that Jesus never got anybody out of jail, not even his cousin, John the Baptist; and forgiveness was not a feature of the old covenant.
Zech. 9:12. "Prisoners of hope" has reference to those who patiently waited for the kingdom of God. Paul spoke of himself in this terminology, "Hope of Israel, for which I am bound with this chain" (Acts 28:20); and in Gal. 3:23, he wrote:
Before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law (that is, prisoners), shut up unto the faith which should afterward be revealed. This is exactly the metaphor Zechariah used in Zech. 9:12; and, although Paul did not quote this passage, he was surely familiar with it.
Zech. 9:13. The bow, the arrow, and the sword appearing here and in Zech. 9:14 are a metaphor of spiritual power, exactly the same metaphor Paul used in his "whole armour of God" passage in Eph. 6. It could have been suggested by these words in Zechariah.
Zech. 9:15. This is counted a very difficult passage by most students of the place. The first part, about God's defending his people, is clear. The protection of God is guaranteed to his faithful followers. Matt. 18:20 carries exactly the same promise to Christians. However that about "drinking and making a noise as through wine" (ASV), is very difficult. Although most versions and translations soften the passage by changing the words, as in our version, the actual meaning of the place is, "They will drink blood like wine and be filled with it like the corners of the altar."F3 This simply cannot mean that the returnees would celebrate victories over their enemies by such godless behavior. The law of God specifically forbade the drinking of blood, as does the New Testament. So what is meant? Here is where Jesus found a testimony of himself; and this is exactly the metaphor he used in John 6:53ff. The passage is inapplicable to the Old Testament dispensation and is applicable only as a metaphor in the New Testament dispensation. Jesus said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves."
These specific citations make it absolutely certain that the times of the Messiah, that is, presently, in the church and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, are the times and conditions spoken of by the prophet in this 9th chapter.
The burden of the word of Jehovah upon the land of Hadrach, and Damascus [shall be] its resting-place (for the eye of man and of all the tribes of Israel is toward Jehovah);
The burden of the word of Jehovah
We receive this and the rest of Zechariah as the Word of God properly associated with Zechariah. All of the questions and speculations have not challenged the essential truth, stated by Galley, that, It is not impossible that Zechariah wrote the materials in Zech. 9--14.F4
The change in style with this verse, which has been noted by so many, is a natural result of a change in subject matter. A pronouncement against the nations is the theme here. Nobody expects the second movement of a symphony to be in the same style as the first.
The Jerusalem Bible, New English Bible, and other translations substitute oracle for this word; but, The word `oracle' does not capture the full sense of the original.F5 Thus, the use of oracle here is misleading and incorrect. Burden occurs again in Zech. 12:1 and at the beginning of Malachi, but nowhere else in the Bible. The word is definitely part of the word of Jehovah, and is not a further title.F6
Upon the land of Hadrach
As the text plainly indicates, Hadrach is a comprehensive name including a number of places mentioned afterward. The word literally means `enclosed,' and is a symbolic name for Syria.F7 This is not contradicted by the fact that there actually was such a place.
"The important stele of Zakir, king of Hamath, discovered in 1903 at Aris southwest of Aleppo in northern Syria, and published by the discoverer H. Pognon in 1907, identifies Hazrek (the Biblical Hadrach) as the capital city of Lu'ash, a north Syrian principality southwest of Aleppo, and north of Hamath on the Orontes river."F8
Interestingly enough, the Jewish Rabbis considered the name Hadrach to be Messianic in its implications.F9
And Damascus shall be its resting place
means that the greater part of the load, or burden of God's wrath, would fall upon Damascus, the capital of Syria, and one of the principal enemies of the Jews throughout their history. This use of the term burden also suggests that the load was heavy for the prophet also and that he took little delight in announcing the judgments about to fall upon the greater part of the civilized world as he knew it. Also, it is quite clear that the burden carried many predictions that were far from being understood by the prophet himself. It appears that Zech. 9:15, especially, is an example of that.
For the eye of man and of all the tribes of Israel is toward Jehovah
We believe that the alternative reading of this passage as given in the margin of ASV should be adopted here. To interpret the meaning as it stands, we would have the thought that,
"When all civilized man at that time, as well as all the tribes of Israel, were fastening their gaze intently upon Alexander the Great and his phenomenal conquests, they were actually fastening their eyes upon the Lord, for Alexander was simply God's servant of judgment and chastisement."F10
It appears to us, however, that "the eye" of either the tribes of Israel, or the whole civilized world, was not on God at all, except in the sense proposed by Unger; and, that what is meant is that, "Jehovah has an eye upon men, and upon the tribes of Israel," as rendered in the margin. If this latter reading is correct, it shows the universality of God's concern with humanity, not Israel alone, but all men being subject to his judgment. The balance of the passage harmonizes with this understanding of it.
and Hamath, also, which bordereth thereon; Tyre and Sidon, because they are very wise.
These words merely broaden the area under the judgment of God, including areas not particularly identified with Syria. This led some to suppose that Hadrach symbolized "the land of Israel," that is, Palestine. It is reasonable to suppose that all of the places mentioned here were included symbolically in "Hadrach." Perhaps the best view is that of Keil who saw in "Hadrach" a symbolical reference to, "The Medo-Persian Empire."F11 Certainly, it was that empire, as the fourth head of the great Scarlet Beast (Rev. 13), that fell under God's judgment with the rise of Alexander, his empire being the fifth head of the same entity.
Verses 3, 4
And Tyre did build herself a stronghold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will dispossess her, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.
The prophet of God here announced particularly the destruction of Tyre, long considered to be impregnable. This announcement came not long after the foundation of the 2nd temple had been completed; and there is no use to suppose a date some centuries afterward in order to nullify this classical example of predictive prophecy. The prophet who prophesied the triumphal entry of Christ in the most remarkable detail would have had no trouble at all foretelling the rise of Alexander the Great who would destroy Tyre such a long time after the prophecy was given. After all, he was not the only prophet of God who foretold that event, for Ezek. 26:7-14 also foretold it. Significantly, Ezekiel predicted the siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar, which indeed occurred; but he did not destroy the place, Therefore, Ezekiel again prophesied the destruction of Tyre, saying, "They shall bring thee down to the pit; and thou shalt die the death of them that are slain in the depth of the seas." (Ezekiel 28:8). The complete fulfillment of this prophecy against Tyre was so remarkable that we include here a summary of it.
Founded between 1500 and 1400 B.C., this city had enjoyed power and prosperity for centuries when Zechariah proclaimed its downfall. It was the shipping and commerce center for the eastern Mediterranean world. They were friendly to king Solomon and aided in the building of the first temple. It was the pride and arrogance of the city that led to their destruction.
Tyre and Sidon
These are usually mentioned together, because Tyre was, at first, a colony founded by Sidon. It was strongly situated on an island off the coast some 35 miles north of Mount Carmel. Herodotus placed the founding of the city at 2700 B:C.;F12 and that could possibly be correct, as the later date (1500-1400) is based upon the omission of the city's name from only one inscription where it would presumably have been included if it existed; but that is rather weak evidence.F13
Built herself a stronghold
Baldwin identified this as a breakwater 820 yards long and nine yards thick.F14 There were doubtless other fortifications also. The city successfully endured a number of sieges: In the 7th century, both Shalmanezer IV and Ashurbanipal tried in vain to take it; and in the 6th century, it successfully resisted a 13-year siege by Nebuchadnezzar.F15 Thus, it must have appeared to be a very rash prophecy indeed that spoke of destroying the power of Tyre in the sea. But never was a prophecy more exactly fulfilled.
Alexander the Great took the part of Tyre that was situated on the mainland; and then, using the totality of that destroyed city as the material, he constructed a mole 200 feet wide, literally casting Tyre, all of it, into the sea, and connecting the mainland with the proud island off shore. After a siege of some seven months, it fell; Alexander executed 10,000 of the citizens and sold 30,000 into slavery.F16
They are very wise
As Keil aptly remarked:
"The wisdom through which Tyre acquired such might and such riches would be of no help to it; for it was the wisdom of this world which ascribes to itself the glory due to God, and only nourishes the pride out of which it sprang."F17
Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also, and shall be sore pained; and Ekron, for her expectation shall be put to shame; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
The campaign of Alexander the Great in subduing all of this portion of the Medo-Persian Empire precisely fulfilled all of the prophecies here against the various cities mentioned. The example afforded by Gaza illustrates all of them:
"When Gaza fell, following a two months siege, ten thousand of its inhabitants were killed; and the rest were sold to the slave merchants who followed in the wake of Alexander's armies. Their "king" was tied with two thongs through his feet to Alexander's chariot and dragged through the city in one of the young conqueror's characteristic fits of revenge against one who resisted his forward march."F18
And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
Bastard shall dwell in Ashdod
This expression is supposed to mean that, Ashdod will have a mixed population,F19 an especially undesirable result in the eyes of the Jews.
The pride of the Philistines
Their pagan religion was the principal pride of that people; and it appears to be that in particular that Zechariah had in mind here. See under next verse.
And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth; and he also shall be a remnant for our God; and he shall be as a chieftain in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.
The strange contrast between God's taking the blood out of the mouths of the Philistines here, and his promise that his own children should "drink blood like wine" (verse 15) points toward the vast gulf between paganism and Christianity. The reason the ancient pagans drank blood (of their enemies) was that they might inherit the bold, warlike qualities and strength of their enemies. Christians, in the most startling metaphor of the New Testament, drink the blood of Christ that they might have eternal life (John 6:53). It is impossible to deny the connection in these references.
I will take away. blood ... abominations ..
means that God will destroy their paganism
He shall be a remnant
means that descendants of the Philistines shall become Christians. Did it occur? Indeed, yes. Philip the evangelist preached in all of these cities, Ashdod (Azotus) being specifically mentioned (Acts 8:40).
As a chieftain in Judah. as a Jebusite ..
The Jebusites were the early inhabitants of Jerusalem, who were not destroyed, but gradually absorbed by their Hebrew conquerors.F20 This is the last mention of the Philistines in the Old Testament; the modern name Palestine is derived from their name.F21
From this verse, it is clear that Zechariah prophesied, not the extermination of these people, but their amalgamation into "Israel."
The whole paragraph (Zechariah 9:1-7) is a brilliant prophecy of the campaign of Alexander the Great that led to the subjugation of this entire area. That the prophecy was in fact uttered centuries before its final fulfillment would appear to be absolutely certain, that being the principal reason, no doubt, that the Jews preserved and honored the prophecy as "the Word of God." The popular notion among critics to the effect that some joker perpetrated a fraud upon history by passing off an account of some previous event as a "prophecy" is impossible of acceptance on any intelligent basis. Where is there an example of such a thing in the total history of the human race? It simply could not be done, either then, or now, or at any other time.
And now, we turn to the text for a prophecy of the sparing of Jerusalem by Alexander.
And I will encamp about my house against the army, that none pass through or return; and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.
This prophecy was necessitated by the fact of a great world revolution taking place under Alexander the Great. The Medo-Persian power would vanish; but this prophecy assured God's people that world changes would not destroy them:
"`My house' does not refer to the temple, but to Israel, his family. Egypt, Assyria, Chaldea, and Persia had all oppressed them ... and now Alexander the Great; but Jehovah would encamp about his people and through them fulfil his purpose. No more would such nations pass through to thwart his purpose; it would be fulfilled in the Messiah."F22
An immediate fulfillment of this promise occurred when "Alexander spared Jerusalem and gave the Jews special favors."F23
These words should not be understood as applicable to the literal city of Jerusalem alone. That city would indeed be destroyed again in 70 A.D., following their rejection of the Messiah; but what was indicated here is that world powers would be effectively restrained through God's power from preventing the achievement of his purpose of redemption for mankind. Nevertheless, the fulfillment in at least a token sense by Alexander's sparing of Jerusalem was significant.
Jerusalem had received an invitation from Alexander during the siege of Tyre requesting their surrender, but refused, which should have resulted (in the light of all indications in Alexander's usual behavior following such refusals) in Jerusalem's total destruction. It did not happen. Instead, the most remarkable events occurred. Josephus' record of them is thus summarized by Deane: (Re: Alexander the Great).
"He was on the way to chastise them following the fall of Gaza, and the beautiful city was already in full view before him as he drew near; but the High Priest Jaddua awaited him at the watch station of Sapha, clad in his robes of gold and purple, and followed by a train of citizens in pure white.
"The conqueror bowed himself in reverence to the Holy Name upon the High Priest's frontlet; and, being asked by Parmenio the reason of his conduct, said that in a dream at Dium, he had seen the God of Jaddua, who encouraged him to pass over into Asia, and promised him success.
"Then, entering Jerusalem, he offered sacrifice in the temple, heard the prophecy of Daniel about himself, and granted certain privileges to Jews throughout his empire. The privileges said to have been conferred were enjoyed under his successors. Alexander had a vast influence in bringing the Jews into closer relationship with the rest of Asia, and so preparing them to fulfil their ultimate destiny as Christians."F24
Verses 9, 10
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
This magnificent prophecy of the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem and the establishment of his universal dominion is one of the greatest in the Old Testament. New Testament references to it are in Matt. 21:1-5; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38 and John 12:12-19. Since it is impossible for the critics to date this "after the event," they attempt to explain it as a reference to something other than the entry of Christ.
"The author, apparently, as soon as Alexander appeared on his horizon, saw in the young Greek, not only the conqueror of Asia, but the forerunner of a ruler who would restore the kingdom of David and make it the admiration of the world!"F25
How preposterous is the notion that Alexander the Great could have suggested Jesus Christ! Christ was humble; Alexander the Great considered himself a god; Christ was just; Alexander the Great filled the world with atrocious deeds; Christ brought salvation; Alexander brought death and destruction. An impassable gulf separates this holy vision of the Saviour from Alexander; and such a comment as that just quoted ranks with that of the critic who affirmed that the prophecy of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem was actually the prophecy of the birth of David, centuries earlier!F26 No limits mark the extent of distortions contrived to deny the Word of God.
Reference is made to the extensive comment in our New Testament series in the four gospels with reference to this prophecy of Zechariah.
I will cut off the chariot. the horse ... the battle bow ..
This refers to the rejection on the part of Christ's followers, of all instruments of physical warfare in their winning of converts to the Christian faith. It definitely does not refer to any period of bringing together both Ephraim and Judah in any recreated secular state of Israel. In the Messianic age, weapons of war will be banished;F27 not from the world but from the Church of Jesus Christ.
Daughter of Zion. daughter of Jerusalem ..
The use of this language is significant. 'Daughter' connotes severed relationships in the Old Testament, as in Isa. 1:8; Jer. 4:31; and in Lam. 2:1. This passage is an exception.F28 We cannot accept the proposition that this passage is an exception. Rather, it is used here to indicate that not the old Jerusalem, but the future Israel of God in Christ will receive the lowly Saviour riding upon an ass. The old, secular, physical Jerusalem never received him.
Some have attempted to interpret the meaning here as an affirmation that the one entering was saved; but Jamieson affirmed that the Hebrew text actually means: Showing himself a Saviour, having in himself salvation for us.F29
This passage must not be limited to any geographical limits. The dominion of Messiah is affirmed in this passage as being worldwide, universal, and "to the uttermost parts of the earth."
As for thee also, because of the blood of thy covenant I have set free thy prisoners from the pit wherein is no water.
The blood of thy covenant
This is one of the most beautiful passages in the Old Testament. Whatever the blood of thy covenant under the law of Moses was, Jesus Christ our Lord told the faithful and righteous remnant of Israel in the city of Jerusalem (his holy apostles), This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). This sheds ample light on this verse. It is a prophecy of the forgiveness of sins under the New Covenant.
I have set free thy prisoners
The freeing of prisoners was an oft-repeated Old Testament promise with reference to the times of the Messiah. In the first sermon Jesus ever preached (Luke 4:18), he mentioned freeing the captives.
From the pit wherein is no water
This is a metaphor of sin; and it is from that pit that Jesus came to deliver mankind. For ages, men have discerned this true meaning of the passage. Adam Clarke called the captives here, those who were under the arrest of God's judgments, the human race fast bound in sin and misery.F30 This is undoubtedly accurate. The aptness of this reference to sin is seen in the fact that, Delivery from a pit in which there was no drinking water was life from death.F31
Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.
See under Zech. 9:12, discussed in the chapter introduction.
I will render double
This speaks of the rich reward of those who suffer shame or hardship for the work of God. Isaiah wrote of the same thing: Instead of your shame, ye shall have double; and instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their portion (Isaiah 61:7).
Prisoners of hope
is a reference to all who wait patiently for the fulfillment of God's purpose in their lives and in the world.
For I have bent Judah for me, I have filled the bow with Ephraim; and I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and will make thee as the sword of a mighty man.
Judah. Ephraim ..
The use of these words that stand for the pre-exilic kingdoms of northern and southern Israel should not be understood as a promise of God that the old secular states of Israel would again appear and be reunited under a Davidic ruler. Such a gross misunderstanding is refuted by everything in the Bible. What is meant is that the times of the Messiah are in view and that the prophecy continues to apply primarily to those days of Christ. The mention of Ephraim and Judah reveal that all the fleshly descendants of Abraham from both the old kingdoms, that is, all of them who were part of the righteous remnant, ,will in those days become followers of Jesus Christ.
Despite the overwhelming impact of these verses being focused on Messianic times, there would also be partial and token fulfillment in the fortunes of the secular Israel. As Higginson put it:
"The prediction was largely fulfilled during the Maccabean struggle for independence from Syrian overlords in 165 B.C .... It also prefigures the warfare between the hosts of God and his foes."F32
We agree perfectly with this except, we see the burden of the prophecy as primarily applicable to the world-struggle of God's people throughout history as the primary focus instead of the secondary. It should be remembered that the weapons of carnal warfare have already been "cut off"; and in this verse God's people themselves become the "bow and arrow" and the mighty sword of the Lord. This forbids any complete identification of the passage with the Maccabean struggle. "The marvelous pictures that follow are too rich and glorious to be limited to the Maccabean days."F33
The language of this prophecy is too strong to point out the only trifling advantage which the Maccabees gained over Antiochus, who was of Macedonian descent.F34
The big thing in the passage is the identification of Greece as the fifth head of the seven headed scarlet beast of Rev. 13. In the rise of Alexander, Zechariah had already prophesied God's protection of Jerusalem, which occurred as promised, but here is the signal that the fifth head will be no different from any of the others. They will persecute and destroy (to the extent of their ability) the people of God. This of course took place under the Seleucids, the portion of "Greece" that pertained to Palestine. The Maccabean conflict is identified with that period.
The appearance of the word "Greece" in this verse, one of the clearest and most certain examples of predictive prophecy in the Bible, has sent the critical community into an uproar seeking some way to deny it. Some have screamed "interpolation," as the best defense when everything else fails; but as Dentan admitted, "The phrase has been regarded by a number of commentators as a gloss; this conclusion, however, is extremely improbable."F35 There are no textual problems with the passage; it clearly is part of the sacred text; and the only basis of getting it out is "by ruling out prediction as impossible."F36
"We have here a definite prophecy later than Daniel, fitting in with his temporal prophecy, expanding part of it, and reaching on beyond the time of Antiochus... yet nothing in the history of the world was any more contradictory to what in human sight was possible .... There was not a little cloud, like a man's hand, when Zechariah thus absolutely foretold the conflict and its issue."F37
Verses 14, 15
And Jehovah shall be seen over them; and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord Jehovah will blow the trumpet, and will go with whirlwinds of the south. Jehovah of hosts will defend them; and they shall devour, and shall tread down the sling-stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, like the corners of the altar.
This whole passage is a prophecy spoken in the terminology of carnal warfare; but the prophecy pertains absolutely to the victory of God's people in the spiritual sector. See the application of this as a remarkable prophecy of the Lord's Supper in the chapter introduction. We do not believe that the proper way to understand this is by changing the meaning of the text which speaks of "Drinking blood, etc," as in our version and many others. Matthew Henry rendered like it is, "They shall drink blood and make a noise as through wine."F38 Leupold concurred in this, adding that, "we have a metaphor."F39 As far as we can determine, the only metaphor connected with drinking blood that refers to Christianity points to John 6:53.
This bold application of practically all of this chapter to the triumph of Christianity under the Lord Jesus Christ must certainly have gone beyond what was in the mind of Zechariah; but we are totally convinced that the limitation of "God's Word" as spoken through any prophet to the limits of what we may subjectively suppose was in the prophet's mind is wrong. We do not believe that Amos had the slightest idea of what he prophesied when he foretold the darkening of the sky at the Crucifixion, nor that Caiaphas had any proper notion at all of what he prophesied in John 11:49-52. The apostle Peter elaborated this principle in 1 Pet. 1:10,12; and we are willing to receive that inspired testimony. And besides all that, there is inherent in all of the Word that God gave, a strength, quality, meaning, and validity far and beyond what may be demanded by the context.
"Paul paraphrased passages without regard to their original context, or meaning ... It is as though the words of Scripture convey a convincing power within themselves apart from their original context."F40
All that we have seen of Sacred Scripture in a lifetime of study confirms Batey's view as absolutely correct.
And Jehovah their God will save them in that day as the flock of his people; for [they shall be as] the stones of a crown, lifted on high over his land.
"Difficult as these words are in Hebrew, the thought is clear. God will make His people glorious."F41
God will save them in that day
This has reference to the forgiveness of sins in the dispensation of Christ under the terms of the New Covenant. The BIG DEAL that God has for his children is not that of conquest over their physical enemies, but the salvation of their souls! Unfortunately the secular Israel simply never caught on to this. They did not want salvation when Jesus came; they wanted a conquering general on a white horse who would chase the Romans out of the country and restore their scandalous state.
For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the virgins.
The thought continued here from previous verses in the paragraph pertains to the blessings "in Christ" during the new dispensation for the new Israel of God; and, as frequently in the prophets, the blessings are promised in agricultural terms.
The goodness, mercy, beauty, and providence of God are glorious subjects; and those who love God will find many, even countless, occasions to praise him for all that he is to the redeemed.
Footnotes for Zechariah 9
1: Homer Hailey, Commentary on the Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1972), p. 366.
2: Robert C. Dentan, Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 171 (New York City: Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 1090.
3: Hinckley G. Mitchell, International Critical Commentary (London: T and T Clark, 1912), p. 206.
4: James H. Gailey, Layman's Bible Commentary, Vol. 15 (Richmand, Virginia: John Knox Press, 1962), p. 98.
5: Joyce G. Baldwin, Tyndale Commentaries, Vol. 24 (London: Tyndale Commentaries, 1972), p. 158.
6: R. E. Higginson, The New Bible Commentary, Revised (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), p. 795.
7: Clinton R. Gill, Minor Prophets, Zechariah (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1971), p. 325.
8: Merrill F. Unger, Archeology and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1954), p. 150.
9: R. E. Higginson, op. cit., p. 795.
10: Merrill F. Unger, Zechariah (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), p. 153.
11: C. F. Keil, Commentary on Old Testament, Vol. 10 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), p. 325.
12: The New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962), p. 1302.
14: Joyce G. Baldwin, op. cit., p. 160.
15: Encyclopaedia Britannica (Chicago: Wm. Benton, Publisher, 1961), Vol. 22., p. 653.
17: C. F. Keil, op. cit., p. 327.
18: Clinton R. Gill, op. cit., p. 326.
19: Joyce G. Baldwin, op. cit., p. 161.
20: Hinckley G. Mitchell, op. cit., p. 269.
21: David J. Ellis, The New Layman's Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1979), p. 1040.
22: Homer Hailey, Minor Prophets (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1972), p. 370.
23: R. E. Higginson, The New Bible Commentary, Revised (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970), p. 795.
24: W. J. Deane, Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 14, Zechariah (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 91.
25: Hinckley G. Mitchell, op. cit., p. 276.
26: Rolland E. Wolfe, The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. VI (New York City: Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 931.
27: R. E. Higginson, op. cit., p. 795.
28: David J. Ellis, op. cit., p. 1040.
29: Robert Jamieson, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1961), p. 858.
30: Adam Clarke, Commentary, Vol. IV (London: T and T Clark, 1837), p. 787.
31: Joyce G. Baldwin, op. cit., p. 178.
32: R. E. Higginson, op. cit., p. 797.
33: H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Zechariah (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), p. 183.
34: Adam Clarke, op. cit., p. 787.
35: Robert C. Dentan, op. cit., p. 1097.
36: R. E. Higginson, op. cit., p. 797.
37: Albert Barnes, Notes on the Minor Prophets, Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1953), p. 409.
38: Matthew Henry, Commentary, Zechariah, p. 1447.
39: H. C. Leupold, op. cit., p. 186.
40: Richard A. Batey, Letter of Paul to Romans (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Publishing, 1969), p. 134.
41: Robert C. Dentan, op. cit., p. 1098.