Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
STRUGGLE WITH THE
TURNS TO THE
1. day of the Lord--in which He shall vindicate His justice by
punishing the wicked and then saving His elect people
(Joe 2:31; 3:14;
Mal 4:1, 5).
thy spoil . . . divided in the midst of thee--by the
foe; secure of victory, they shall not divide the spoil taken from thee
in their camp outside, but "in the midst" of the city itself.
2. gather all nations, &c.--The prophecy seems literal (compare
If Antichrist be the leader of the nations, it seems inconsistent with
the statement that he will at this time be sitting in the temple as God
thus Antichrist outside would be made to besiege Antichrist within the
city. But difficulties do not set aside revelations: the event will
clear up seeming difficulties. Compare the complicated movements,
half . . . the residue--In
Zec 13:8, 9,
it is "two-thirds" that perish, and "the third" escapes. There,
however, it is "in all the land"; here it is "half of the
city." Two-thirds of the "whole people" perish, one-third
survives. One-half of the citizens are led captive, the residue
are not cut off. Perhaps, too, we ought to translate, "a (not 'the')
3. Then--In Jerusalem's extremity.
as . . . in . . . day of battle--as when Jehovah fought for Israel
against the Egyptians at the Red Sea
(Ex 14:14; 15:3).
As He then made a way through the divided sea, so will He now divide in
two "the Mount of Olives"
4. The object of the cleaving of the mount in two by a fissure or
valley (a prolongation of the valley of Jehoshaphat, and extending from
Jerusalem on the west towards Jordan, eastward) is to open a way of
escape to the besieged (compare
Joe 3:12, 14).
Half the divided mount is thereby forced northward, half southward; the
valley running between. The place of His departure at His ascension
shall be the place of His return: and the "manner" of His return also
shall be similar
He shall probably "come from the east"
He so made His triumphal entry into the city from the Mount of Olives
from the east
This was the scene of His agony: so it shall be the scene of His glory.
with Eze 43:2,
"from the way of the east."
5. ye shall flee to the valley--rather "through
the valley," as in
The valley made by the cleaving asunder of the Mount of Olives
is designed to be their way of escape, not their place of refuge
is on the side of English Version. If it be translated so, it
will mean, Ye shall flee "to" the valley, not to hide there, but as the
passage through which an escape may be effected. The same divinely sent
earthquake which swallows up the foe, opens out a way of escape to
God's people. The earthquake in Uzziah's days is mentioned
as a recognized epoch in Jewish history. Compare also
perhaps the same year that Jehovah held His heavenly court and gave
commission to Isaiah for the Jews, an earthquake in the physical world,
as often happens
marked momentous movements in the unseen spiritual world.
of the mountains--rather, "of My mountains," namely, Zion and
Moriah, peculiarly sacred to Jehovah
[MOORE]. Or, the mountains formed
by My cleaving Olivet into two [MAURER].
Azal--the name of a place near a gate east of the city. The
Hebrew means "adjoining"
[HENDERSON]. Others give the meaning,
"departed," "ceased." The valley reaches up to the city gates, so as to
enable the fleeing citizens to betake themselves immediately to it on
leaving the city.
Lord my God . . . with thee--The mention of the "Lord
my God" leads the prophet to pass suddenly to a direct address to
Jehovah. It is as if "lifting up his head"
he suddenly sees in vision the Lord coming, and joyfully exclaims, "All
the saints with Thee!" So
saints--holy angels escorting the returning King
(Mt 24:30, 31;
and redeemed men
1Th 3:13; 4:14).
Compare the similar mention of the "saints" and "angels" at His coming
(De 32:2, 3;
PHILLIPS thinks Azal is Ascalon on the
Mediterranean. An earthquake beneath Messiah's tread will divide Syria,
making from Jerusalem to Azal a valley which will admit the ocean
waters from the west to the Dead Sea. The waters will rush down the
valley of Arabah, the old bed of the Jordan, clear away the sand-drift
of four thousand years, and cause the commerce of Petra and Tyre to
center in the holy city. The Dead Sea rising above its shores will
overflow by the valley of Edom, completing the straits of Azal into the
Red Sea. Thus will be formed the great pool of Jerusalem (compare
&c.; Joe 3:18).
Euphrates will be the north boundary, and the Red Sea the south.
Twenty-five miles north and twenty-five miles south of Jerusalem will
form one side of the fifty miles square of the Lord's Holy Oblation
There are seven spaces of fifty miles each from Jerusalem northward to
the Euphrates, and five spaces of fifty miles each southward to the Red
Sea. Thus there are thirteen equal distances on the breadth of the
future promised land, one for the oblation and twelve for the tribes,
That the Euphrates north, Mediterranean west, the Nile and Red Sea
south, are to be the future boundaries of the holy land, which will
include Syria and Arabia, is favored by
all which was partially realized in Solomon's reign, shall be
antitypically so hereafter. The theory, if true, will clear away many
difficulties in the way of the literal interpretation of this chapter and
6. light . . . not . . . clear . . .
dark--JEROME, Chaldee, Syriac, and
Septuagint translate, "There shall not be light, but cold and
ice"; that is, a day full of horror
But the Hebrew for "clear" does not mean "cold," but "precious,"
CALVIN translates, "The light shall not be clear,
but dark" (literally, "condensation," that is, thick mist); like
a dark day in which you can hardly distinguish between day and night.
English Version accords with
"There shall not be altogether light nor altogether darkness," but an
intermediate condition in which sorrows shall be mingled with joys.
7. one day--a day altogether unique, different from all others
[MAURER]. Compare "one," that is, unique
explains, "One continuous day, without night"
(Re 22:5; 21:25);
the millennial period
known to . . . Lord--This truth restrains man's curiosity and teaches
us to wait the Lord's own time
not day, nor night--answering to "not . . . clear nor
. . . dark"
not altogether daylight, yet not the darkness of night.
at evening . . . shall be light--Towards the close of this
twilight-like time of calamity, "light" shall spring up
(Ps 97:11; 112:4;
Isa 30:26; 60:19, 20).
8. living waters--
former sea--that is, the front, or east, which Orientalists face
in taking the points of the compass; the Dead Sea.
hinder sea--the west or Mediterranean.
summer . . . winter--neither dried up by heat, nor frozen by cold;
9. king over all . . . earth--
implies that this is to be the consequence of Israel being again
recognized by God as His own people
one Lord . . . name one--Not that He is not so
already, but He shall then be recognized by all unanimously as
"One." Now there are "gods many and lords many." Then Jehovah alone
shall be worshipped. The manifestation of the unity of the
Godhead shall be simultaneous with that of the unity of the Church.
Believers are one in spirit already, even as God is one
But externally there are sad divisions. Not until these disappear,
shall God reveal fully His unity to the world
(Joh 17:21, 23).
Then shall there be "a pure language, that all may call upon the name
of the Lord with one consent"
The Son too shall at last give up His mediatorial kingdom to the
Father, when the purposes for which it was established shall have been
accomplished, "that God may be all in all"
10. turned--or, "changed round about": literally, "to make a circuit."
The whole hilly land round Jerusalem, which would prevent the free
passage of the living waters, shall be changed so as to be "as a
(or the) plain"
from Geba to Rimmon--Geba
in Benjamin, the north border of Judah. Rimmon, in Simeon
the south border of Judah; not the Rimmon northeast of Michmash.
"The plain from Geba to Rimmon" (that is, from one boundary to
the other) is the Arabah or plain of the Jordan, extending from the Sea
of Tiberias to the Elanitic Gulf of the Red Sea.
it shall be lifted up--namely, Jerusalem shall be exalted, the hills
all round being lowered
inhabited in her place--
from Benjamin's gate--leading to the territory of Benjamin. The same
as Ephraim's gate, the north boundary of the city
the first gate--west of the city
[GROTIUS]. "The place of," &c.
implies that the gate itself was then not in existence. "The old gate"
the corner gate--east of the city
[GROTIUS]. Or the "corner" joining
the north and west parts of the wall
"corners" refers to the towers there built (compare
tower of Hananeel--south of the city, near the sheep gate
(Ne 3:1; 12:39;
In the interior of the city, at Zion [GROTIUS].
11. no more utter destruction--
Literally, "no more curse"
for there will be no more sin. Temporal blessings and spiritual
prosperity shall go together in the millennium: long life
(Isa 54:14; 60:18).
Judgment, as usual, begins at the house of God, but then falls fatally
on Antichrist, whereon the Church obtains perfect liberty. The last day
will end everything evil
12. Punishment on the foe, the last Antichristian confederacy
(Isa 59:18; 66:24;
A living death: the corruption
of death combined in ghastly union with the conscious sensibility of
life. Sin will be felt by the sinner in all its loathsomeness,
inseparably clinging to him as a festering, putrid body.
1Sa 14:15, 20).
lay hold . . . on . . . hand of . . .
neighbour--instinctively grasping it, as if thereby to be safer,
but in vain
Rather, in order to assail "his neighbor"
Sin is the cause of all quarrels on earth. It will cause endless
quarrels in hell
(Jas 3:15, 16).
14. Judah . . . fight at Jerusalem--namely, against the foe: not
against Jerusalem, as
MAURER translates in variance with the context. As
to the spoil gained from the foe, compare
Eze 39:10, 17.
15. The plague shall affect the very beasts belonging to the foe. A
typical foretaste of all this befell Antiochus Epiphanes and his host at
(1 Maccabees 13:49; 2 Maccabees 9:5).
16. every one . . . left--
(Isa 66:19, 23).
God will conquer all the foes of the Church. Some He will destroy;
others He will bring into willing subjection.
from year to year--literally, "from the sufficiency of a year in a
feast of tabernacles--The other two great yearly feasts, passover and
pentecost, are not specified, because, their antitypes having come, the
types are done away with. But the feast of tabernacles will be
commemorative of the Jews' sojourn, not merely forty years in the
wilderness, but for almost two thousand years of their dispersion. So it
was kept on their return from the Babylonian dispersion
It was the feast on which Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem
a pledge of His return to His capital to reign (compare
Le 23:34, 39, 40, 42;
Re 7:9; 21:3).
A feast of peculiar joy
The feast on which Jesus gave the invitation to the living waters of
salvation ("Hosanna," save us now, was the cry,
Ps 118:25, 26)
(Joh 7:2, 37).
To the Gentiles, too, it will be significant of perfected salvation
after past wanderings in a moral wilderness, as it originally
commemorated the ingathering of the harvest. The seedtime of tears
shall then have issued in the harvest of joy
"All the nations" could not possibly in person go up to the feast, but
they may do so by representatives.
17. no rain--including every calamity which usually follows in the
East from want of rain, namely, scarcity of provisions, famine,
pestilence, &c. Rain is the symbol also of God's favor
That there shall be unconverted men under the millennium appears from
the outbreak of Gog and Magog at the end of it
but they, like Satan their master, shall be restrained during the
thousand years. Note, too, from this verse that the Gentiles shall
come up to Jerusalem, rather than the Jews go as missionaries to the
may imply the converse.
18. if . . . Egypt go not up--specified as Israel's
ancient foe. If Egypt go not up, and so there be no rain on them (a
judgment which Egypt would condemn, as depending on the Nile's
overflow, not on rain), there shall be the plague
. . . . Because the guilty are not affected by one
judgment, let them not think to escape, for God has other judgments
which shall plague them.
translates, "If Egypt go not up, upon them also there shall be none"
mentions "rain" in Egypt. But it is not their main source of
19. punishment--literally, "sin"; that is, "punishment for sin."
20. shall there be upon the bells--namely, this inscription, "Holiness
to the Lord," the same as was on the miter of the high priest
This implies that all things, even the most common, shall be sacred to
Jehovah, and not merely the things which under the law had peculiar
sanctity attached to them. The "bells" were metal plates hanging from
the necks of horses and camels as ornaments, which tinkled (as
the Hebrew root means) by striking against each other. Bells
attached to horses are found represented on the walls of Sennacherib's
palace at Koyunjik.
pots . . . like . . . bowls--the vessels used for boiling, for
receiving ashes, &c., shall be as holy as the bowls used for catching
the blood of the sacrificial victims
The priesthood of Christ will be explained more fully both by the
Mosaic types and by the New Testament in that temple of which Ezekiel
speaks. Then the Song of Solomon, now obscure, will be understood, for
the marriage feast of the Lamb will be celebrated in heaven
and on earth it will be a Solomonic period, peaceful, glorious, and
nuptial. There will be no king but a prince; the sabbatic period of the
judges will return, but not with the Old Testament, but New Testament
21. every pot--even in private houses, as in the temple, shall be
deemed holy, so universal shall be the consecration of all things and
persons to Jehovah.
take of them--as readily as they would take of the pots of the temple
itself, whatever number they wanted for sacrifice.
no . . . Canaanite--no unclean or ungodly person
(Isa 35:8; 52:1;
Compare as to the final state subsequent to the millennium,
Re 21:27; 22:15.
not so well translates "merchant" here, as in
If a man would have the beginnings of heaven, it must be by absolute
consecration of everything to God on earth. Let his life be a liturgy,
a holy service of acted worship