Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Written long after the previous portions of the book, whence arise the
various features which have been made grounds for attacking their
authenticity, notwithstanding the testimony of the Septuagint and
of the compilers of the Jewish canon in their favor.
LOWLY, BUT A
1. in . . . Hadrach--rather, concerning or
against Hadrach (compare
"Burden" means a prophecy BURDENED with
wrath against the guilty. MAURER, not so well,
explains it, What is taken up and uttered, the utterance, a solemn
Hadrach--a part of Syria, near Damascus. As the name is not mentioned
in ancient histories, it probably was the less-used name of a region
having two names ("Hadrach" and "Bikathaven,"
Margin); hence it passed into oblivion. An ancient
is, however, stated to have expressly mentioned it. An Arab, Jos.
Abassi, in 1768 also declared to
that there was then a town of that name, and that it was capital of the
region Hadrach. The name means "enclosed" in Syrian, that is, the west
interior part of Syria, enclosed by hills, the Cœlo-Syria of
considers Hadrach to be the metropolis of Cœlo-Syria, as Damascus
was of the region about that city.
regards Hadrach as a symbolical name of Persia, which Zechariah avoids
designating by its proper name so as not to offend the government under
which he lived. But the context seems to refer to the Syrian region.
thinks that the name is that of a Syrian king, which might more easily
pass into oblivion than that of a region. Compare the similar "land of
Damascus . . . rest thereof--that is, the place on
which the "burden" of the Lord's wrath shall rest. It shall permanently
settle on it until Syria is utterly prostrate. Fulfilled under
Alexander the Great, who overcame Syria
[CURTIUS, Books 3 and 4].
eyes of man, as of all . . . Israel . . . toward the Lord--The eyes of
men in general, and of all Israel in particular, through consternation
at the victorious progress of Alexander, shall be directed to Jehovah.
The Jews, when threatened by him because of Jaddua the high priest's
refusal to swear fealty to him, prayed earnestly to the Lord, and so
Typical of the effect of God's judgments hereafter on all men, and
especially on the Jews in turning them to Him. MAURER, PEMBELLUS and others, less
probably translate, "The eyes of the Lord are upon man, as they are
upon all Israel," namely, to punish the ungodly and to protect His
people. He, who has chastised His people, will not fail to punish men
for their sins severely. The "all," I think, implies that whereas men's
attention generally (whence "man" is the expression) was directed to
Jehovah's judgments, all Israel especially looks to Him.
2. Hamath--a Syrian kingdom with a capital of the same name, north of
shall border thereby--shall be joined to Damascus in treatment, as it
is in position; shall share in the burden of wrath of which Damascus is
the resting-place. MAURER understands "which"; "Hamath, which borders on
Damascus, also shall be the resting-place of Jehovah's wrath" (the
latter words being supplied from
Riblah, the scene of the Jews' sufferings from their foe, was there: it
therefore shall suffer
(2Ki 23:33; 25:6, 7, 20, 21).
Tyrus . . . Zidon--lying in the conqueror's way on his march along the
Mediterranean to Egypt (compare
Zidon, the older city, surrendered, and Abdolonymus was made its
very wise--in her own eyes. Referring to Tyre:
shows wherein her wisdom consisted, namely, in building a
stronghold, and heaping up gold and silver
(Eze 38:3, 5, 12, 17).
On Alexander's expressing his wish to sacrifice in Hercules' temple in
New Tyre on the island, she showed her wisdom in sending a golden
crown, and replying that the true and ancient temple of Hercules was at
Old Tyre on the mainland. With all her wisdom she cannot avert her
3. The heathen historian, DIODORUS
SICULUS [17.40], confirms this.
"Tyre had the greatest confidence owing to her insular position and
fortifications, and the abundant stores she had prepared." New Tyre was
on an island seven hundred paces from the shore. As Isaiah's and
prophecies were directed against Old Tyre on the mainland and were
fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar, so Zechariah's are against New Tyre, which
was made seemingly impregnable by a double wall one hundred fifty feet
high, as well as the sea on all sides.
(Eze 26:4, 12; 27:27).
cast her out--Hebrew, "dispossess her," that is, will cast her
inhabitants into exile [GROTIUS]. Alexander, though without a navy, by
incredible labor constructed a mole of the ruins of Old Tyre (fulfilling
&c., by "scraping her dust from her," and "laying her stones, timber,
and dust in the midst of the water"), from the shore to the island,
and, after a seven months' siege, took the city by storm, slew with the
sword about eight thousand, enslaved thirteen thousand, crucified two
thousand, and set the city on "fire," as here foretold [CURTIUS, Book 4].
smite her power in the sea--situated though she be in the
sea, and so seeming impregnable (compare
"I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the sea"). "Her
power" includes not only her fortifications, but her fleet, all of
which Alexander sank in the sea before her very walls [CURTIUS, Book 4].
corresponds, "How art thou destroyed which wast strong in the sea!"
5. Ashkelon, &c.--Gath alone is omitted, perhaps as being somewhat
inland, and so out of the route of the advancing conqueror.
Ekron . . . expectation . . . ashamed--Ekron, the farthest north of the
Philistine cities, had expected Tyre would withstand Alexander, and so
check his progress southward through Philistia to Egypt. This hope being
confounded ("put to shame"), Ekron shall "fear."
king shall perish from Gaza--Its government shall be overthrown. In
literal fulfilment of this prophecy, after a two month's siege, Gaza was
taken by Alexander, ten thousand of its inhabitants slain, and the rest
sold as slaves. Betis the satrap, or petty "king," was bound to a
chariot by thongs thrust through the soles of his feet, and dragged
round the city.
6. bastard--not the rightful heir; vile and low men, such as are
[GROTIUS]. An alien; so the
Septuagint; implying the desolation of the region wherein men
shall not settle, but sojourn in only as aliens passing through [CALVIN].
7. take . . . his blood out of . . . mouth--Blood was forbidden as
abominations--things sacrificed to idols and then partaken of by the
The sense is, "I will cause the Philistines to cease from the worship
even he shall be for our God--"even he," like Hamath, Damascus,
Tyre, &c., which, these words imply, shall also be converted to God
"son of the stranger joined himself to the Lord") [ROSENMULLER]. The "even," however, may mean, Besides
the Hebrews, "even" the Philistine shall worship Jehovah (so
he shall be as a governor in Judah--On the conversion of the Philistine
prince, he shall have the same dignity "in Judah as a governor"; there
shall be no distinction [HENDERSON]. The Philistine princes with their
respective states shall equally belong to the Jews' communion, as if they were among the "governors" of states "in Judah"
Ekron as a Jebusite--The Jebusites, the original inhabitants of
Jerusalem, who, when subjugated by David, were incorporated with the
&c.), and enjoyed their privileges: but in a subordinate position
(1Ki 9:20, 21).
The Jebusites' condition under Solomon being that of bond-servants and
tributaries, CALVIN explains the verse
differently: "I will rescue the Jew from the teeth of the
Philistine foe (image from wild beasts rending their prey with their
teeth), who would have devoured him, as he would devour
blood or flesh of his abominable sacrifices to idols: and
even he, the seemingly ignoble remnant of the Jews, shall be
sacred to our God (consecrated by His favor); and though so long
bereft of dignity, I will make them to be as governors ruling
others, and Ekron shall be a tributary bond-servant as the Jebusite?
Thus the antithesis is between the Jew that remaineth (the elect
remnant) and the Ekronite.
8. encamp about--
mine house--namely, the Jewish people
Or, the temple: reassuring the Jews engaged in building, who might
otherwise fear their work would be undone by the conqueror
Jews were, in agreement with this prophecy, uninjured by Alexander,
though he punished the Samaritans. Typical of their final deliverance
from every foe.
passeth by . . . returneth--Alexander, when advancing against
Jerusalem, was arrested by a dream, so that neither in "passing by" to
Egypt, nor in "returning," did he injure the Jews, but conferred on them
no oppressor . . . pass through . . . any more--The prophet passes
from the immediate future to the final deliverance to come
seen with mine eyes--namely, how Jerusalem has been oppressed by her
(Ex 3:7; 2:25).
God is said now to have seen, because He now begins to
bring the foe to judgment, and manifests to the world His sense of His
9. From the coming of the Grecian conqueror, Zechariah makes a sudden
transition, by the prophetical law of suggestion, to the coming of King
Messiah, a very different character.
daughter of Zion--The theocratic people is called to "rejoice" at the
coming of her King
unto thee--He comes not for His own gain or pleasure, as earthly kings
come, but for the sake of His Church: especially for the Jews' sake, at
His second coming
he is just--righteous: an attribute constantly given to Messiah
(Isa 45:21; 53:11;
Jer 23:5, 6)
in connection with salvation. He does not merely pardon by
conniving at sin, but He justifies by becoming the Lord our
righteousness fulfiller, so that not merely mercy, but justice,
requires the justification of the sinner who by faith becomes one with
Christ. God's justice is not set aside by the sinner's salvation, but
is magnified and made honorable by it
(Isa 42:1, 21).
His future reign "in righteousness," also, is especially referred to
having salvation--not passively, as some interpret it, "saved," which
the context, referring to a "king" coming to reign, forbids; also the
old versions, the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, give
Saviour. The Hebrew is reflexive in sense, "showing Himself a
Saviour; . . . having salvation in Himself" for us. Endowed with a
salvation which He bestows as a king. Compare Margin, "saving Himself."
in the Greek, "Himself shall save His people"; that is,
not by any other, but by Himself shall He save [PEARSON On the Creed]. His "having salvation" for
others manifested that He had in Himself that righteousness which was
indispensable for the justification of the unrighteous
This contrasts beautifully with the haughty Grecian conqueror who came
to destroy, whereas Messiah came to save. Still, Messiah shall come to
take "just" vengeance on His foes, previous to His reign of peace
(Mal 4:1, 2).
lowly--mild, gentle: corresponding to His "riding on an ass" (not a
despised animal, as with us; nor a badge of humiliation, for princes in
the East rode on asses, as well as low persons,
that is, coming as "Prince of peace"
the "horse," on the contrary is the emblem of war, and shall
therefore be "cut off." Perhaps the Hebrew includes both the
"lowliness" of His outward state (which applies to His first
coming) and His "meekness" of disposition, as
quotes it (compare
which applies to both His comings. Both adapt Him for loving sympathy
with us men; and at the same time are the ground of His coming
colt--untamed, "whereon yet never man sat"
The symbol of a triumphant conqueror and judge
(Jud 5:10; 10:4; 12:14).
foal of an ass--literally, "asses": in Hebrew idiom, the
indefinite plural for singular (so
"mountains of Ararat," for one of the mountains). The dam
accompanied the colt
The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at His first coming is a pledge of
the full accomplishment of this prophecy at His second coming. It
shall be "the day of the Lord"
as that first Palm Sunday was. The Jews shall then
say, what some of them said then, "Blessed is He that cometh in
the name of the Lord" (compare
with Mt 23:39);
also "Hosanna," or "Save now, I beseech thee." "Palms," the emblem of
triumph, shall then also be in the hands of His people (compare
with Re 7:9, 10).
Then also, as on His former entry, shall be the feast of tabernacles
(at which they used to draw water from Siloam, quoting
with Zec 14:16.
Ephraim . . . Jerusalem--the ten tribes, and Judah and Benjamin; both
alike to be restored hereafter.
speak peace--command it authoritatively.
dominion . . . from sea . . . river
. . . ends of . . . earth--fulfilling
and Ps 72:8.
"Sea . . . sea," are the Red Sea and Mediterranean. The
"river" is the Euphrates. Jerusalem and the Holy Land, extended to the
limits promised to Abraham, are to be the center of His future
dominion; whence it will extend to the remotest parts of the earth.
11. As for thee also--that is, the daughter of Zion," or "Jerusalem"
the theocracy. The "thee also," in contradistinction to Messiah
spoken of in
implies that besides cutting off the battle-bow and extending
MESSIAH'S "dominion to the ends of the earth," God
would also deliver for her her exiled people from
their foreign captivity.
by the blood of thy covenant--that is, according to the covenant
vouchsafed to thee on Sinai, and ratified by the blood of sacrifices
pit wherein . . . no water--Dungeons were often pits without water,
miry at the bottom, such as Jeremiah sank in when confined
An image of the misery of the Jewish exiles in Egypt, Greece, &c.,
under the successors of Alexander, especially under Antiochus
Epiphanes, who robbed and profaned the temple, slew thousands, and
enslaved more. God delivered them by the Maccabees. A type of the
future deliverance from their last great persecutor hereafter
(Isa 51:14; 60:1).
12. stronghold--in contrast to the "pit"
literally, "a place cut off from access." MAURER thinks, "a height"
An image for the security which the returning Jews shall have in
encamped about His people
(Ps 46:1, 5;
prisoners of hope--that is, who in spite of afflictions
Ps 42:5, 11)
maintain hope in the covenant-keeping God; in contrast to unbelievers,
who say, "There is no hope"
(Jer 2:25; 18:12).
Especially those Jews who believe God's word to Israel
"there is hope in the end, that thy children shall come again to their
own border," and do not say, as in
"Our hope is lost." Primarily, the Jews of Zechariah's time are
encouraged not to be dispirited in building by their trials;
secondarily, the Jews before the coming restoration are encouraged to
look to Messiah for deliverance from their last oppressors.
even to-day--when your circumstances seem so unpromising; in contrast
with the "day of the Lord," when Zion's King shall come to her
I will render double--Great as has been thy adversity, thy prosperity
shall be doubly greater
13. bent Judah--made Judah as it were My bow, and "filled" it "with
Ephraim," as My arrow, wherewith to overcome the successor of the
Grecian Alexander, Antiochus Epiphanes (compare Notes,
1 Maccabees 1:62; 2:41-43),
the oppressor of Judah. Having spoken
of Alexander's victories, after the parenthesis
(Zec 9:9, 10)
as to Messiah the infinitely greater King coming, he passes to the
victories which God would enable Judah to gain over Alexander's
successor, after his temporary oppression of them.
O Zion . . . O Greece--God on one hand addresses Zion, on the other
Greece, showing that He rules all people.
14. Another image: "Jehovah shall be seen (conspicuously manifesting
over them" (that is, in behalf of the Jews and against their
foes), as formerly He appeared in a cloud over the Israelites against
(Ex 14:19, 24).
his arrow . . . as . . . lightning--flashing forth instantaneous
destruction to the foe
blow . . . trumpet--to summon and incite His people to battle for the
destruction of their foe.
go with whirlwinds of the south--that is, go forth in the most furious
storm, such as is one from the south
Alluding, perhaps, to Jehovah's ancient miracles at Sinai coming "from
Teman" ("the south," in the Margin).
15. devour--the flesh of their foes.
drink--the blood of their foes; that is, utterly destroy them. Image
from a sacrifice, wherein part of the flesh was eaten, and the blood
poured in libation (compare
subdue with sling-stones--or, "tread under foot the sling-stones"
hurled by the foe at them; that is, will contemptuously trample on the
hostile missiles which shall fall harmless under their feet (compare
Probably, too, it is implied that their foes are as impotent as
the common stones used in slinging when they have fallen
under foot: in contrast to the people of God
"the (precious) stones of a crown" (compare
English Version is good sense: The Jews shall subdue the foe
at the first onset, with the mere slingers who stood in front
of the line of battle and began the engagement. Though armed with but
sling-stones, like David against Goliath, they shall subdue the foe
noise--the battle shout.
The Spirit of God fills them with triumph
like bowls--the bowls used to receive the blood of the sacrifices.
as . . . corners--or "horns" of the altar, which used to be sprinkled
with blood from the bowls
16. save them . . . as the flock of his people--as the flock of His
people ought to be saved
Here the image of war and bloodshed
is exchanged for the shepherd and flock, as God will give
not only victory, but afterwards safe and lasting peace. In contrast to
the worthless sling-stones trodden under foot stand the (gems)
"stones of the crown
lifted up as an ensign," that all may flock to the Jewish Church
(Isa 11:10, 12; 62:10).
17. his goodness . . . his beauty--the goodness and beauty which
Jehovah-Messiah bestows on His people. Not as
MAURER thinks, the
goodness, &c., of His land or His people
make . . . cheerful--literally, "make it grow."
new wine the maids--supply, "shall make . . . to grow." Corn and
wine abundant indicate peace and plenty. The new wine gladdening the
maids is peculiar to this passage. It confutes those who interdict the
use of wine as food. The Jews, heretofore straitened in provisions
through pressure of the foe, shall now have abundance to cheer, not
merely the old, but even the youths and maidens [CALVIN].