Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
FOES IN THE
BLESSING ON THE
1. bring again the captivity--that is, reverse it. The Jews restrict
this to the return from Babylon. Christians refer it to the coming of
Christ. But the prophet comprises the whole redemption, beginning from
the return out of Babylon, then continued from the first advent of
Christ down to the last day (His second advent), when God will restore
His Church to perfect felicity [CALVIN].
2. Parallel to
Zec 14:2, 3, 4,
where the "Mount of Olives" answers to the "Valley of Jehoshaphat"
here. The latter is called "the valley of blessing" (Berachah)
It lies between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives and has the Kedron
flowing through it. As Jehoshaphat overthrew the confederate foes of
Judah, namely, Ammon, Moab, &c.
in this valley, so God was to overthrow the Tyrians, Zidonians,
Philistines, Edom, and Egypt, with a similar utter overthrow
(Joe 3:4, 19).
This has been long ago fulfilled; but the ultimate event shadowed forth
herein is still future, when God shall specially interpose to destroy
Jerusalem's last foes, of whom Tyre, Zidon, Edom, Egypt, and Philistia
are the types. As "Jehoshaphat" means "the judgment of Jehovah," the
valley of Jehoshaphat may be used as a general term for the
theater of God's final judgments on Israel's foes, with an allusion to
the judgment inflicted on them by Jehoshaphat. The definite mention of
the Mount of Olives in
and the fact that this was the scene of the ascension, makes it likely
the same shall be the scene of Christ's coming again: compare "this
same Jesus . . . shall so come in like manner as ye
have seen Him go into heaven"
all nations--namely, which have maltreated Judah.
plead with them--
my heritage Israel--
Implying that the source of Judah's redemption is God's free love,
wherewith He chose Israel as His peculiar heritage, and at the
same time assuring them, when desponding because of trials, that He
would plead their cause as His own, and as if He were injured in their
3. cast lots for my people--that is, divided among themselves My
people as their captives by lot. Compare as to the distribution of
captives by lot
given a boy for . . . harlot--Instead of paying a harlot for her
prostitution in money, they gave her a Jewish captive boy as a slave.
girl for wine--So valueless did they regard a Jewish girl that they
would sell her for a draught of wine.
4. what have ye to do with me--Ye have no connection with Me (that
is, with My people: God identifying Himself with Israel); I
(that is, My people) have given you no cause of quarrel, why then do ye trouble Me
(that is, My people)?
(Compare the same phrase,
Tyre . . . Zidon . . . Palestine--
(Am 1:6, 9).
if ye recompense me--If ye injure Me (My people), in revenge for fancied wrongs
I will requite you in your own coin swiftly and speedily.
5. my silver . . . my gold--that is, the gold and silver of My people.
The Philistines and Arabians had carried off all the treasures of King
(2Ch 21:16, 17).
2Ki 12:18; 14:14,
for the spoiling of the treasures of the temple and the king's palace
in Judah by Syria. It was customary among the heathen to hang up in the
idol temples some of the spoils of war as presents to their gods.
6. Grecians--literally, "Javanites," that is, the Ionians, a Greek
colony on the coast of Asia Minor who were the first Greeks known to the
Jews. The Greeks themselves, however, in their original descent came
(Ge 10:2, 4).
Probably the germ of Greek civilization in part came through the Jewish
slaves imported into Greece from Phœnicia by traffickers.
mentions Javan and Tyre as trading in the persons of men.
far from their border--far from Judea; so that the captive Jews were
cut off from all hope of return.
7. raise them--that is, I will rouse them. Neither sea nor distance
will prevent My bringing them back. Alexander, and his successors,
restored to liberty many Jews in bondage in Greece
Antiquities, 13.5; Wars of the Jews, 3.9,2].
8. sell them to . . . Sabeans--The Persian Artaxerxes
Mnemon and Darius Ochus, and chiefly the Greek Alexander, reduced the
Phœnician and Philistine powers. Thirty thousand Tyrians after
the capture of Tyre by the last conqueror, and multitudes of
Philistines on the taking of Gaza, were sold as slaves. The Jews are
here said to do that which the God of Judah does in vindication of
their wrong, namely, sell the Phœnicians who sold them, to a
people "far off," as was Greece, whither the Jews had been sold. The
Sabeans at the most remote extremity of Arabia Felix are referred to
9. The nations hostile to Israel are summoned by Jehovah to "come up"
(this phrase is used because Jerusalem was on a hill) against
Jerusalem, not that they may destroy it, but to be destroyed by the Lord
Zec 12:2-9; 14:2, 3).
Prepare war--literally, sanctify war: because the heathen
always began war with religious ceremonies. The very phrase used of
Babylon's preparations against Jerusalem
is now used of the final foes of Jerusalem. As Babylon was then desired
by God to advance against her for her destruction, so now all her foes,
of whom Babylon was the type, are desired to advance against her for
their own destruction.
10. Beat your ploughshares into swords--As the foes are desired to
"beat their ploughshares into swords, and
their pruning hooks into spears," that so they may perish in their
unhallowed attack on Judah and Jerusalem, so these latter, and the
nations converted to God by them, after the overthrow of the
antichristian confederacy, shall, on the contrary, "beat their
swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks,"
when under Messiah's coming reign there shall be war no more
let the weak say, I am strong--So universal shall be the rage of
Israel's foes for invading her, that even the weak among them will
fancy themselves strong enough to join the invading forces. Age and
infirmity were ordinarily made valid excuses for exemption from service,
but so mad shall be the fury of the world against God's people, that
even the feeble will not desire to be exempted (compare
11. Assemble--"Hasten" [MAURER].
thither--to the valley of Jehoshaphat.
thy mighty ones--the warriors who fancy themselves "mighty
ones," but who are on that very spot to be overthrown by Jehovah
[MAURER]. Compare "the mighty men"
Rather, Joel speaks of God's really "mighty ones" in contrast to the
self-styled "mighty men"
AUBERLEN remarks: One prophet supplements the
other, for they all prophesied only "in part." What was obscure to one
was revealed to the other; what is briefly described by one is more
fully so by another. Daniel calls Antichrist a king, and dwells on his
worldly conquests; John looks more to his spiritual tyranny, for which
reason he adds a second beast, wearing the semblance of spirituality.
Antichrist himself is described by Daniel. Isaiah
describe his army of heathen followers coming up against
Jerusalem, but not Antichrist himself.
judge all the heathen round about--that is, all the nations from all
parts of the earth which have maltreated Israel; not merely, as
HENDERSON supposes, the nations round about Jerusalem (compare
Mic 4:3, 11-13;
Zec 12:9; 14:3-11;
13. Direction to the ministers of vengeance to execute God's
wrath, as the enemy's wickedness is come to its full maturity. God does
not cut off the wicked at once, but waits till their guilt is at its
full (so as to the Amorites' iniquity,
to show forth His own long-suffering, and the justice of their doom who
have so long abused it
(Mt 13:27-30, 38, 40;
For the image of a harvest to be threshed, compare
and a wine-press,
and La 1:15.
14. The prophet in vision seeing the immense array of nations
congregating, exclaims, "Multitudes, multitudes!" a Hebraism for
valley of decision--that is, the valley in which they are to meet their
"determined doom." The same as "the valley of Jehoshaphat," that is,
"the valley of judgment"
"there will I sit to judge," which confirms English Version
rather than Margin, "threshing." The repetition of "valley of
decision" heightens the effect and pronounces the awful
certainty of their doom.
15. (See on
The victories of the Jews over their cruel foe Antiochus, under the
Maccabees, may be a reference of this prophecy; but the ultimate
reference is to the last Antichrist, of whom Antiochus was the type.
Jerusalem being the central seat of the theocracy
it is from thence that Jehovah discomfits the foe.
roar--as a lion
Am 1:2; 3:8).
Compare as to Jehovah's voice thundering,
Hab 3:10, 11.
Lord . . . the hope of his people--or, "their refuge"
17. shall ye know--experimentally by the proofs of favors which I shall
vouchsafe to you. So "know"
dwelling in Zion--as peculiarly your God.
holy . . . no strangers pass through--to attack, or to defile, the holy
(Isa 35:8; 52:1;
Strangers, or Gentiles, shall come to Jerusalem, but it shall be
in order to worship Jehovah there
18. mountains . . . drop . . . wine--figurative for
abundance of vines, which were cultivated in terraces of earth between
the rocks on the sides of the hills of Palestine
hills . . . flow with milk--that is, they shall abound in flocks and
herds yielding milk plentifully, through the richness of the pastures.
waters--the great desideratum for fertility in the parched East
fountain . . . of . . . house of . . . Lord . . . water . . . valley of
Shittim--The blessings, temporal and spiritual, issuing from Jehovah's
house at Jerusalem, shall extend even to Shittim, on the border between
Moab and Israel, beyond Jordan
(Nu 25:1; 33:49;
"Shittim" means "acacias," which grow only in arid regions: implying
that even the arid desert shall be fertilized by the blessing
from Jerusalem. So
describes the waters issuing from the threshold of the house as flowing
into the Dead Sea, and purifying it. Also in
the waters flow on one side into the Mediterranean, on the other side
into the Dead Sea, near which latter Shittim was situated (compare
19. Edom--It was subjugated by David, but revolted under Jehoram
and at every subsequent opportunity tried to injure Judah. Egypt under
Shishak spoiled Jerusalem under Rehoboam of the treasures of the temple
and the king's house; subsequently to the captivity, it inflicted under
the Ptolemies various injuries on Judea. Antiochus spoiled Egypt
Edom was made "desolate" under the Maccabees [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 12.11,12]. The low
condition of the two countries for centuries proves the truth of the
&c.; Jer 49:17;
So shall fare all the foes of Israel, typified by these two
20. dwell for ever--
that is, be established as a flourishing state.
21. cleanse . . . blood . . . not
cleansed--I will purge away from Judah the extreme guilt
(represented by "blood," the shedding of which was the climax of her
which was for long not purged away, but visited with judgments
Messiah saves from guilt, in order to save from punishment