Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
CLEANSING OF THE
PEOPLE OF THE
OFF, EXCEPT A
1. Connected with the close of the twelfth chapter. The mourning
penitents are here comforted.
fountain opened--It has been long opened, but then first it shall be
so "to the house of David," &c. (representing all Israel) after
their long and weary wanderings. Like Hagar in the wilderness they
remain ignorant of the refreshment near them, until God "opens their
It is not the fountain, but their eyes that need to be opened. It shall
be a "fountain" ever flowing; not a laver needing constantly to be
replenished with water, such as stood between the tabernacle and altar
for sin . . . uncleanness--that is, judicial guilt and moral impurity.
Thus justification and sanctification are implied in this verse as both
flowing from the blood of Christ, not from ceremonial sacrifices
Heb 9:13, 14;
Sin in Hebrew is literally a missing the mark or
2. Consequences of pardon; not indolence, but the extirpation of sin.
names of . . . idols--Their very names were not to be mentioned; thus
the Jews, instead of Mephibaal, said Mephibosheth (Bosheth meaning a
out of the land--Judea's two great sins, idolatry and false prophecy,
have long since ceased. But these are types of all sin (for example,
a besetting sin of the Jews now). Idolatry, combined with the "spirit"
of "Satan," is again to be incarnated in "the man of sin," who is to
arise in Judea
and is to be "consumed with the Spirit of the Lord's mouth." Compare as
to Antichrist's papal precursor, "seducing spirits . . .
doctrines of devils," &c.,
the unclean spirit--Hebrew, spirit of uncleanness
opposed to "the Spirit of holiness"
"spirit of error"
One assuming to be divinely inspired, but in league with Satan.
3. The form of phraseology here is drawn from
De 13:6-10; 18:20.
The substantial truth expressed is that false prophecy shall be utterly
abolished. If it were possible for it again to start up, the very
parents of the false prophet would not let parental affection
interfere, but would be the first to thrust him through. Love to Christ
must be paramount to the tenderest of natural ties
Much as the godly love their children, they love God and His honor
4. prophets . . . ashamed--of the false prophecies which they have
uttered in times past, and which the event has confuted.
rough garment--sackcloth. The badge of a prophet
to mark their frugality alike in food and attire
also, to be consonant to the mournful warnings which they delivered. It
is not the dress that is here condemned, but the purpose for which it
was worn, namely, to conceal wolves under sheep's clothing
The monkish hair-shirt of Popery, worn to inspire the multitude with
the impression of superior sanctity, shall be then cast aside.
5, 6. The detection of one of the false prophets dramatically
represented. He is seized by some zealous vindicator of the law, and in
fear cries out, "I am no prophet."
man--that is, one.
taught me to keep cattle--As "keeping cattle" is not the same as
to be "an husbandman," translate rather, "Has used (or 'appropriated')
me as a servant," namely, in husbandry
However, husbandry and keeping cattle might be regarded as jointly the
occupation of the person questioned: then
"herdman," will accord with English Version. A Hebrew
kindred word means "cattle." Both occupations, the respondent replies,
are inconsistent with my being a "prophet."
6. wounds in thine hand--The interrogator still suspects him: "If
so, if you have never pretended to be a prophet, whence come those
wounds?" The Hebrew is literally, "between thine hands." The
hands were naturally held up to ward off the blows, and so were "thrust
"between" the bones of the hand. Stoning was the usual
punishment; "thrusting through" was also a fit retribution on one who
tried to "thrust Israel away" from the Lord
and perfects the type of Messiah, condemned as a false prophet, and
pierced with "wounds between His hands." Thus the transition to the
direct prophecy of Him
is natural, which it would not be if He were not indirectly and in type
wounded in . . . house of my friends--an implied
admission that he had pretended to prophecy, and that his friends had
wounded him for it in zeal for God
The Holy Spirit in Zechariah alludes indirectly to Messiah, the
Antitype, wounded by those whom He came to befriend, who ought to have
been His "friends," who were His kinsmen (compare
as to the false prophet's friends, with
"His friends," Margin, "kinsmen";
the Jews, "of whom as concerning the flesh He came,"
but who wounded Him by the agency of the Romans
7. Expounded by Christ as referring to Himself
(Mt 26:31, 32).
Thus it is a resumption of the prophecy of His betrayal
(Zec 11:4, 10, 13, 14),
and the subsequent punishment of the Jews. It explains the mystery why
He, who came to be a blessing, was cut off while bestowing the
blessing. God regards sin in such a fearful light that He spared not
His own co-equal Son in the one Godhead, when that Son bore the
Awake--Compare a similar address to the sword of justice personified
(Jer 46:6, 7).
For "smite" (imperative),
has "I will smite." The act of the sword, it is thus implied, is
act. So the prophecy in
"Hear ye," is imperative; the fulfilment as declared by Jesus is future
"ye shall hear."
sword--the symbol of judicial power, the highest exercise of which
is to take away the life of the condemned
Not merely a show, or expression, of justice (as Socinians think) is
distinctly implied here, but an actual execution of it on Messiah the
shepherd, the substitute for the sheep, by God as judge. Yet God in
this shows His love as gloriously as His justice. For God calls Messiah
"My shepherd," that is, provided
for sinners by My love to them, and ever the object of My love, though
for their sins
(Isa 42:1; 59:16).
man that is my fellow--literally, "the man of my union." The Hebrew for "man" is "a mighty man," one peculiarly man in his noblest ideal.
"My fellow," that is, "my associate." "My equal"
remarkable admission from a Rationalist). "My nearest kinsman"
(Joh 10:30; 14:10, 11;
sheep shall be scattered--The scattering of Christ's disciples on His
apprehension was the partial fulfilment
a pledge of the dispersion of the Jewish nation (once the Lord's
consequent on their crucifixion of Him. The Jews, though "scattered,"
are still the Lord's "sheep," awaiting their being "gathered" by Him
(Isa 40:9, 11).
I will turn . . . hand upon . . . little ones--that is, I will
interpose in favor of (compare the phrase in a good sense,
"the little ones," namely, the humble followers of Christ from the
Jewish Church, despised by the world: "the poor of the flock"
(Zec 11:7, 11);
comforted after His crucifixion at the resurrection
saved again by a special interposition from the destruction of
Jerusalem, having retired to Pella when Cestius Gallus so unaccountably
withdrew from Jerusalem. Ever since there has been a Jewish "remnant"
of "the little ones . . . according to the election of
grace." The hand of Jehovah was laid in wrath on the Shepherd that His
hand might be turned in grace upon the little ones.
8, 9. Two-thirds of the Jewish nation were to perish in the Roman
wars, and a third to survive. Probably from the context
which has never yet been fulfilled, the destruction of the two-thirds
(literally, "the proportion of two," or "portion of two") and the saving
of the remnant, the one-third, are still future, and to be fulfilled
9. through . . . fire--of trial
1Pe 1:6, 7).
It hence appears that the Jews' conversion is not to precede, but to
follow, their external deliverance by the special interposition of
Jehovah; which latter shall be the main cause of their conversion,
combined with a preparatory inward shedding abroad in their hearts of
the Holy Spirit
and here, "they shall call on My name," in their trouble, which brings
Jehovah to their help
Eze 11:19, 20;