Zechariah Chapter 9
Verses 9:1 – 14:21: Employing the phrase “in that day,” Zechariah places primary focus in his final two undated oracles on:
- The downfall of the nation;
- The salvation of Israel; and
- The establishment of the Messiah as king.
The first oracle (9:1 – 11:17) deals with the first and third features and ends with prophecies of the rejection of Christ at His first coming. The second oracle (12:1 – 14:21), deals with the second and third culminating with the kingdom of Messiah Christ.
Verses 9:1-8: This oracle features a series of judgments announced against the nations surrounding Israel (verses 1-7), with deliverance promised for His people (verse 8). Most understand this to be a prophecy of the famous Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great’s victories, given approximately 200 years before he marched through Palestine.
He provides an analogy of Christ returning to judge the nations and save Israel at the end of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21).
Zechariah 9:1 “The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus [shall be] the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, [shall be] toward the LORD.”
“Burden”: A heavy, burdensome message (i.e., oracle). The prediction of a threatening event, in this case the judgment of the nations.
“Hadrach”: The location is uncertain. Possibly it is ancient Hatarika, a city mentioned in the annals of Assyrian Kings, in the vicinity of Hamath. The old Jewish tradition made it a compound name, “Had” meaning sharp and “rach” meaning soft. The sharp/soft land could be a reference to the dual Medo-Persian kingdom.
Media was thought to be the sharp side because of its powerful conquerors like Cyrus, and Persia the soft side because of it debauchery. The cities (in verses 1 and 2), were major cities under Medo-Persian power.
“Damascus”: This city was to be the main target of the judgment of God through Alexander upon the capital of Syria, one of Israel’s worst enemies (from ca. 900 – 722 B.C.).
“The eyes of man … shall be toward the Lord”: These Phoenician cities on the Mediterranean coast were known for their skill and wisdom (Ezek. 28:12-15), and Satanic influence (Ezek. 28:11-19).
There is no other mention, in the Bible of Hadrach, but Assyrian inscriptions tell us there was just such a city near Damascus. This is speaking of the wrath of God coming on Hadrach and Damascus. It seems at the time it comes; the believing world have their eyes on the LORD.
Zechariah 9:2 “And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise.”
“And Hamath also shall border thereby”: By the land of Hadrach, or by Damascus; and that it was near Damascus is clear (from Isaiah 10:9), it is called Hamath the great (in Amos 6:2), and according to Jerom, is the same with Antioch, which he says was so called by some.
And the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel (on Numbers 13:21), renders Hamath by Antioch: and, if so, here was the Lord’s rest likewise. Here the Gospel was preached, and many converted, and a church, consisting of Jews and Gentiles, was formed. And here the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).
“Tyrus and Zidon”: These were famous cities of Phoenicia; upon the borders of these our Lord himself was (Matthew 15:21). Of the conversion of the inhabitants of these places the psalmist prophecies (Psalm 45:12). Here likewise the Lord had his resting place; we read of the disciples here (Acts 21:3).
“Though it be very wise”: Particularly Tyre (Tyrus), which was famous for wisdom (Ezekiel 28:3), which the Lord confounded by the preaching of the Gospel, and by the foolishness of that saved them that believe. Kimchi refers this to the times of the Messiah. His note is, she shall not trust in her wisdom in the time of the Messiah: so Ben Melech.
This Hamath was very near Damascus. It would be punished along with Damascus and Hadrach. Tyre was under siege 7 months by Alexander the Great. It really never was rebuilt. There were tens of thousands killed in the siege, and the women and children were carried into slavery. Zidon was destroyed too. They were known as being very wise.
Verses 3-4: “Tyrus” (Known as Tyre). This city was occupying an island one-half mile off-shore, and thought itself to be invincible (Isa. 23:1-4). With walls 150 foot high in some places, it was such an impregnable city that the Assyrian Shalmaneser besieged it for 5 years and failed to conquer it.
Nebuchadnezzar tried for 13 years unsuccessfully. But Alexander, God’s judgment instrument, using the rubble of the mainland city destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, built a causeway out to the island and destroyed it in 7 months.
Zechariah 9:3 “And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets.”
Tyre was built upon a rock, and was a strong fortress itself, from whence it had its name. And, besides its natural defense, it had a wall one hundred and fifty feet high, and its breadth was answerable to its height.
But yet, as it could not defend itself against Alexander the great, who took it. So neither against the Gospel of Christ, which found its way into it, and was mighty to pull down strong holds in a spiritual sense.
The riches of these cities, especially Tyre, are often made mention of. They were famous for their wealth, being places of great trade and merchandise (see Isa. 23:2). All which were to be holiness to the Lord. And for the sufficient feeding and durable clothing of them that dwell before him (Isaiah 23:18).
Tyre was extended out into the water from the mainland. They built a land bridge to the mainland and it grew to be a half mile in width, by debris and sand sticking to it. They had built a fortification wall 150 feet high. All of this did not save them. They were eventually taken. They had been very wealthy from their trade, and they even hired soldiers to fight for them.
Zechariah 9:4 “Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.”
Or “inherit her”, or “them”, as the Septuagint render the words. When, being converted, she would become the Lord’s inheritance and possession, and her riches should be devoted to his service.
“And he will smite her power in the sea”: For Tyre was situated in the sea, at the entry of it, and was strong in it (Ezek. 26:17).
Kimchi interprets this of her humiliation and subjection in the days of the Messiah. And in a spiritual sense it has been verified in such who have been spoiled of their carnal strength, in which they trusted, and have laid down their weapons, and have submitted to the scepter of Christ.
“And she shall be devoured with fire”: With the spirit of judgment, and of burning, which purges and removes the filth of sin. And with the fire of the word, which burns up and consumes its lusts. And with the flames of divine love, which make souls as a whole burnt offering to the Lord.
This was literally accomplished in the burning of Tyre by Alexander, who injected fear and dread in cities near it.
There is no fortification strong enough, when the judgment of God is upon you. She had a vast fleet that were trade vessels. These are destroyed, as well as the city being destroyed. Alexander burned the city to the ground. She would never be the great city of trade again. We dealt more fully with this in the book of Ezekiel.
Shalmaneser sieged Tyre for 5 years unsuccessfully. Nebuchadnezzar for 13 years. In only 7 months Alexander made a giant mound from the main inland to the island of Tyre, breached the walls and killed thousands of defenders. The rest such as women and children were sold into slavery.
Verses 5-6: The cities of Philistia were terrified at the swiftness with which Alexander the Great’s army was able to conquer Tyre. Then Alexander marched south, conquering all these Philistine cities and killing their national pride.
Zechariah 9:5 “Ashkelon shall see [it], and fear; Gaza also [shall see it], and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.”
As Kimchi explains it, when Ashkelon shall see that Tyre humbles herself and submits, she shall humble herself and submit also. And the sense may be, that the inhabitants of Ashkelon, seeing that Tyre, with all her wisdom and strong reasoning, could not stand before the power of the Gospel, but submitted and embraced the Christian religion, were induced, through the efficacy of divine grace, to do the same. And certain it is that this place became Christian.
“Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful”: This was a city of Palestine, near to Ashkelon. They are mentioned together (Judges 1:18). The Gentile inhabitants of this place, when they saw the progress the Gospel made in Tyre, Zidon, and Ashkelon, were grieved at it, but many among them submitted to it.
Very likely Philip the evangelist first preached the Gospel here (see Acts 8:26). There was a Christian bishop of this place in the Nicene council and others after.
“And Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed”: This was also one of the five lordships of the Philistines (Joshua 13:3). Which, being near to Tyre, had its dependence on that, expecting it could never be taken. But when they saw that it was taken by Alexander, it was ashamed of its vain expectation, hope, and confidence.
And so the inhabitants of this place, when the Gospel came to it, were “ashamed of the house of their confidence”. As the Targum paraphrases the words; the confidence they had in their idols, and in the works of their own hands; and were also “ashamed because of their iniquities”, as the Arabic version renders them.
Being convinced of them, and humbled for them, and to go themselves to Christ for salvation from them. It is probable, that Philip preached the Gospel here, seeing it was not far from Azotus or Ashdod, next mentioned. Where Philip is heard of after the baptism of the eunuch.
And if Ekron is the same with Caesarea, that was called Strato’s tower, as say the Jews. And which also Jerom observes. Some say are the same it is certain that Philip was there (Acts 8:40).
There were several Christian bishops of this place in later times.
“And the king shall perish from Gaza”: Some understand this of Batis, who was governor of Gaza, when it was taken by Alexander. Who was fastened to a chariot, and dragged about the city, as Curtius relates. But this man was not a king, but governor of the city under one.
I rather think the idol Marnes, which signifies “the lord of man”, and was worshipped in this place, is here meant. Which when it became Christian was destroyed, and a Christian church built in the room of it, as is reported by Jerom.
“And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited”: By Heathens, but by Christians.
Tyre was such a great city; it was hard for the neighboring people to believe it had been destroyed. The fact that so great a city and could not withstand the forces against it, struck fear in the hearts of their neighbors. They knew they were not anything like as strong as Tyre. They knew they would be totally destroyed, and they were.
Alexander did not leave one of the natives to serve as king under him in this region. They were destroyed along with their people. In fact, one of the governors, Batis, was dragged to death behind a chariot. They thrust thongs (A narrow strip, as of leather, used for binding or lashing), through the soles of his feet and drug him through the city.
Zechariah 9:6 “And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.”
“And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod”: The “mamzer” was one born unlawfully, whether out of marriage, or in forbidden marriage, or in adultery. Here it is probably, like our “spurious brood”; whether it was so itself or in the eyes of the Ashdodites; whence he adds.
“I will cut off the pride of the Philistines”: Pride would survive the ruin of their country, the capture of their cities, the less of independence. It would not survive the loss of their nationality; for they themselves would not be the same people, who were proud of their long descent and their victories over Israel.
The breaking down of nationalities, which was the policy of Alexander, was an instrument in God’s hands in cutting off their pride.
A “bastard” is considered to be a person who is a product of sex outside marriage. Sometimes in the Scriptures, it can mean a stranger. In the particular use above, it possibly means a race of people with no morals. The Philistines were always against Israel. They were a people who were very proud, but God removed that pride.
The ancient versions such as the LXX, Syriac, Targum and Vulgate render the word in this passage as meaning a “foreigner”. This is describing one whose birth has some blemish connected to it, so that he is “not equal by birth” with the citizens of a city or the inhabitants of a land.
Zechariah 9:7 “And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, [shall be] for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.”
This judgment put an end to idolatry for many Philistines who turned to the God of Israel. In the imagery of this verse, the nation is seen as a man with blood in his mouth (from eating sacrifices to idols), and abominations (the other defiled food of idol worship), which are removed. The picture is of conversion to worship the true God.
“As a Jebusite”: These ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem were conquered by David (2 Sam. 5:6-11), and amalgamated into Israel. So it will be with these Philistines.
They drank blood as part of their heathen worship. The “abominations between his teeth” means that they had been eating things sacrificed to false gods. This speaks of a time, when they will leave this idolatrous lifestyle, and will seek God. Those who do not die in battle, turn to God. They join in with the Israelites, instead of being at odds with them.
A governor in those days, was a ruler over a small group, perhaps, around a thousand. The Jebusites had been the possessors of Zion. Actually, they will become part of Judah, and they will accept the God of Judah. When the apostles went into this area to bring the message of Jesus, many were converted to Christianity.
This Jebusite refers to the Jebusite Araunah, who lived in the midst of the covenant nation (see 2 Sam. 24 and 1 Chron. 21). He sold his threshing floor to David as a site on which to build the future temple, then offered the oxen along with the plow for a burnt offering.
Note: The more immediate reference of the prophecy in this chapter was to Alexander’s march and conquests. But it looked on and merges into a more distant future.
Zechariah 9:8 “And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.”
This is the pledge of God’s protection of Jerusalem from Alexander. It came true when, on his way south, Alexander treated Jerusalem with kindness. After having subjugated Egypt, he returned through Palestine again without doing Israel harm.
“No oppressor shall pass through them any more”: The supernatural and lasting protection here promised must anticipate the Second Advent of Messiah, whose coming is the subject through the rest of this message.
The transition from Alexander to Christ can be understood in this way: If God can use a pagan king to judge the nations and save Israel, how much more will He use His righteous Messiah? So verse 8 bridges to the final judgment and deliverance of Messiah.
Psalms 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
Psalms 46:1 “God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Isaiah 4:5 “And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory [shall be] a defense.”
God will protect those who are living for Him. It matters not, if the army comes through. God is our protection.
Psalms 91:7 “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee.”
“Mine House” is the temple. Jaddua the High Priest of Israel prayed to God when he heard that Alexander was coming. God told him to open the gates and welcome him which is what he did.
When Alexander saw the High Priest dressed in purple and scarlet with a mitre on his head and the golden plate engraved with the name of God on it, he changed his mind about plundering the city. God have given him a vision while sleeping of this priest. He also knew then God would give him victory over the Persians.
“With Mine eyes”. God has seen the affliction of His people and is moved with compassion. He will deliver them from their oppressor, as He did temporarily now, but that will be fully fulfilled in the national deliverance of Israel during the Millennium.
Verses 9-10: The two advents of Christ are here compressed as though they were one as (in Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:16, 21). Actually (verse 9), refers to His first coming and (verse 10), is His second. Old Testament prophets didn’t see the great time period between the two comings. The church age was a “mystery” hidden from them (Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:27).
Zechariah 9:9 “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, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
“King … riding upon an ass”: Unlike Alexander the Great, this King comes riding on a donkey (Jer. 17:25). This was fulfilled at Christ’s triumphal entry (Matt. 21:1-5; John 12:12-16). The Jews should have been looking for someone from the line of David (2 Sam. 7; 1 Chron. 17). Four elements in this verse describe Messiah’s character:
- He is king;
- He is just;
- He brings salvation; and
- He is humble.
The “ass” (donkey), was an animal of “peace.” The kings of the earth come to bring destruction and devastation. Israel’s “King” comes to bring peace. The prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:4-7; Mark 11:7; Luke 19:38; John 12:14-14).
This is speaking of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. At this time, Jesus did not come as conquering King, but as King of Peace. This is their Messiah. Not only should the natural Jew shout at this, but the coming church as well. The fact He was riding on a donkey, spoke of His humbleness.
The fact the donkey was a colt which had never been sat upon, symbolizes the peaceable character of His mission. He was, and is, King of the Jews, as well as Savior of the lost. His name, Jesus, means Savior.
Verses 10-15: Zechariah moves to the Second Advent of Christ and the establishment of His universal kingdom (see notes on 9:9-10; 11:15-16).
Not characterized by bloodshed, Messiah’s rule will be a kingdom of peace in which weapons of warfare will be destroyed or converted to peaceful uses (Isa. 2:4; 9:5-7; 11:1-10; Mica 45:2, 10-15), and peace spreads from the Euphrates River (the terminus of civilization), to the world.
Zechariah 9:10 “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 heathen: and his dominion [shall be] from sea [even] to sea, and from the river [even] to the ends of the earth.”
“Ephraim”: This is another name for Israel, used often in the Old Testament for the northern kingdom and occasionally for the whole nation.
“The river” is referring to the Euphrates.
“Cutting off of the chariot” speaks of no more war. Ephraim, in this particular instance, speaks of the ten tribes of Israel. Jesus is not just King of the Jews but of the entire world.
Rom. 15:12 “And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.”
Ephesians 2:13-15 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us];” “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;”.
In short, from the holy land, which will then be extended to the limits originally promised to the fathers, and which will be the center of Messiah’s blessed rule, His dominion will extend even “unto the ends of the earth”.
Verses 9:11-10:2: “The blood of thy covenant:” God’s covenants are ratified by blood sacrifice, hence, binding (Gen. 15:9-18; Exodus 24:6-8 with Matthew 26:28; 1 Cor. 11:25-26; Hebrews 9:18-22; 1 John 1:7).
Zechariah 9:11 “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein [is] no water.”
“Blood of thy covenant”: Why is Israel to be so blessed? It is not because of her faithfulness through the centuries, but because of God’s unfailing devotion to His covenant of blood made with Abraham (Gen. 15:1-10), which is in force as long as God lives.
“The pit wherein is no water”: Prisoners in ancient times were often kept in dry wells or pits, like Joseph was (Gen. 37:24, 28; Jer. 38:6). The exiles of Israel, pictured as being in a dry well of captivity, suffering, and despair, will be freed because of His unbreakable covenant with them.
They are thus called “prisoners who have the hope” (verse 12), who are to receive “double” blessing (Isa. 61:7).
This is spoken to the natural house of Israel, and is speaking of a blessing in addition to the promise of Messiah. In the 24th chapter of Isaiah, their captivity was spoken of as a pit. This, probably, has to do with them being freed from captivity. It also speaks of a time when they are gathered home to Israel. They have the seal of the everlasting covenant, sealed with the blood of Jesus.
Like Joseph who was thrown into a pit without water, Israel will also live. Eventually, at the Word of God, Israel, like Joseph, shall be freed from the pit and lifted up from a position of humiliation and suffering to become a nation of princes on the earth.
Zechariah 9:12 “Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare [that] I will render double unto thee;”
These promises have accomplishment in the spiritual blessings of the gospel which we enjoy by Jesus Christ. As the deliverance of the Jews was typical of redemption by Christ, so this invitation speaks to all the language of the gospel call.
Sinners are prisoners, but prisoners of hope. Their case is sad, but not desperate; for there is hope in Israel concerning them. Christ is a Strong-hold, a strong Tower, in whom believers are safe from the fear of the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the assaults of spiritual enemies.
To him we must turn with lively faith; to him we must flee, and trust in his name under all trials and sufferings. It is here promised that the Lord would deliver his people. This passage also refers to the apostles and the preachers of the gospel in the early ages. God was evidently with them; his words from their lips pierced the hearts and consciences of the hearers.
They were wondrously defended in persecution, and were filled with the influences of the Holy Spirit. They were saved by the Good Shepherd as his flock, and honored as jewels of his crown. The gifts, graces, and consolations of the Spirit, poured forth on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), and in succeeding times, are represented.
Sharp have been, and still will be, the conflicts of Zion’s sons, but their God will give them success. The more we are employed, and satisfied with his goodness, the more we shall admire the beauty revealed in the Redeemer. Whatever gifts God bestows on us, we must serve him cheerfully with them. And, when refreshed with blessings, we must say, How great is his goodness!
“I will render double unto thee”: A double measure of blessing in compensation for past suffering (Isaiah 40:2; Isaiah 61:7).
This is very much like what happened to Job. After his great trial was over, God poured out a blessing that was twice what he had before the trial.
Job 42:10 “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
This is saying their blessings from God will be a double portion, as Job’s were.
Verses 13-15: Reminiscent of the Exodus (Exodus 19:16-19; Hab. 3:3-15), the Lord will protect and empower them (Isa. 1:11-16; Zech. 12:6, 8). The initial historical fulfillment of this prophecy came when the Maccabees defeated the Greeks (ca. 167 B.C.). The final, complete fulfillment will occur at His Second Advent.
The Maccabean triumph is only a pledge and a preview of final triumph over all enemies.
Judah is the drawn bow, Ephraim is the arrow and Zion the sword in the Hand of Jehovah, by means of which the foe is thoroughly subjugated.
Zechariah 9:13 “When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.”
“When I have bent Judah for me”: By whom are meant the apostles, who were mostly Jews, and whose ministrations were made use of as a bow with arrows, to strike the hearts of men, and bring them into subjection to Christ. They were a bow of the Lord’s bending and preparing, and which abode in strength, being made strong and effectual through the hands of the mighty God of Jacob:
“Filled the bow with Ephraim”: or rather, “filled Ephraim with the bow”. Filled his hand with it; meaning, that some out of the ten tribes, as were the apostles, should be employed in drawing the bow of the Gospel, and shooting its arrows, the doctrines of it. Which are comparable to them for swiftness, suddenness, and secrecy, and for their piercing and penetrating nature.
“And raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece”: That is, persons of the land of Judea, as such the apostles were, and who belonged to Zion the church of Christ. Who were raised up, qualified, and sent forth by him into the Gentile world, with weapons of warfare, not carnal, but spiritual.
Against the Gentiles in general, and the wise men of Greece, as at Athens. In particular, to confound some, and to conquer others, and bring them to the obedience of Christ. Some understand this of the Maccabees raised up against Antiochus, and the Greeks that possessed the kingdom of Syria.
“And made thee as the sword of a mighty man”: That is, made the Gospel in the hands of the church, and of her sons, as a sword in the hand of a mighty man, by whom execution is done with it. This is the sword of the Spirit, even the word of God; and is sharp and cutting, and is the power of God unto salvation. As it is girt upon the thigh, and is in the hands of Christ the most Mighty.
And as it is accompanied with the Spirit of God, and of power.
This is showing that Jesus Christ is victorious over Satan, sin and death. The world is defeated by the king of peace, Jesus Christ. They are a powerful nation because they have God on their side.
The wars of the Jews against Greece, under the heroic leadership of the Maccabees, were occasioned by the attempt to overturn the Jewish religion and substitute in its place Grecian customs. Those wars were essentially religious in their character.
The Maccabean heroes went forth to the contest with the full conviction that the cause in which they were engaged was the cause of God, and that the Lord was with them in all their various difficulties and trials.
In the glowing language of the prophet (in verse 14), Jehovah was seen over them, and His arrow went forth as the lightning. Yea, the Lord Jehovah blew with the trumpet, for He was the real Captain of His host, and the war waged by the Jews was in defense of His truth.
The defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiochus Epiphanes was a Greek king of the Seleucid Empire from 175 BC until his death in 164 B.C.), and his successors at the hands of a comparative few Jews to which this passage may primarily refer, foreshadows the final conflict with world power.
And the judgments to be inflicted on the confederated armies who shall be gathered against Jerusalem, not only directly by the hand of God, but also in the hand of Israel, who shall be made strong in Jehovah.
Zechariah 9:14 “And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.”
His apostles and ministers: or, “shall appear to them”; and be seen by them, as he was in the days of his flesh. They saw his person, his miracles, his sorrows, and sufferings. They saw him after his resurrection, and some have seen him since his ascension, with the eyes of their bodies, as well as with the eyes of their understandings.
And so were fit to be witnesses of him: or, “the Lord shall appear over them”, or “upon them”. He was seen over, and above them, when he ascended up to heaven; and upon them, by the descent of his Spirit on them at the day of Pentecost, and in other miraculous gifts bestowed upon them.
“And his arrow shall go forth as the lightning”: Meaning the Gospel, and the swift progress of it, as well as the light it communicates, and the glory that goes along with it, and the efficacy of it.
“And the Lord God shall blow the trumpet”: Of the Gospel, so called. In allusion to the jubilee trumpet, which proclaimed liberty to servants, and restoration of inheritances.
Or to the trumpets made for the congregation of Israel to gather them together, and to express their joy at feasts. Or to the trumpet used to proclaim war, and as an alarm for it. And this was blown by the Lord himself in person when here on earth, and by his ministers in his name.
“And shall go with whirlwinds of the south”: That is, the Lord in the ministration of the Gospel shall go forth with the efficacy and energy of the Spirit. The Spirit is compared to “wind”, because he works in a sovereign way where he listeth, and oftentimes imperceptibly, and ever powerfully.
And to the “south” wind, because that brings warmth, serenity, and calmness, produces rain, and makes fruitful. And he it is which makes the Gospel efficacious (see SOS 4:16).
“The LORD being seen over them” is His presence that is with them. The “lightning that goes forth” speaks of God’s swift judgment. The trumpet is blown of the Lord to gather His people.
Matthew 24:27 “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
1 Thess. 4:16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
The “whirlwinds of the south” is speaking of the wrath of God coming against those who have refused His salvation.
Zechariah 9:15 “The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, [and] make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, [and] as the corners of the altar.”
“Subdue … sling stones”: This may mean the Jews will easily subdue their enemies as David did Goliath (Judges 20:16).
Or better, it could mean they will contemptuously tread on the harmless missiles cast at them by their enemies. This could depict the futility of Armageddon when the armies of the God-hating world gather in Israel and are destroyed by the Messiah (Rev. 16:12-16; 19:11-16).
The bloodshed of the godless will be visible in that day, from one end of the land of Palestine to the other, like blood splattered on the corners of the altar of sacrifice from basins which caught it when the animal was slain (Rev. 14:20).
“Drink … make a noise”: This describes Israel’s excitement and exuberance over their victory.
God’s people will be protected by the LORD. The sling stones seem to be the helpless enemy who is trampled under their feet like stones. They will be like drunken men. This is almost as if they are a sacrifice to God.
The prophet describes the victorious Jews as being filled, like the sacrificial bowls in which the priests were used to, (an established custom or habit), to catch the blood of the victims which were slain. And they would sprinkle with it in the corners of the altar, which expression includes the horns of the altar, that they would sprinkle with the sacrificial blood.
Verses 16-17: Abundant prosperity, such as the world has never seen, results in excessive rejoicing and praise, results for God “saving” His people, Israel (Deut. 33:28; Psalm 4:7-8).
Zechariah 9:16 “And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they [shall be as] the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.”
“And the Lord their God shall save them in that day”: Still all should be God’s doing; they themselves were but as a flock, as sheep among wolves, ready for the slaughter. But they were “the flock, His people,” as He says, “I will increase them like the flock”, men, as the flock of holy things, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts.
So shall the waste cities be filled with flocks, “men”.
Ezek. 36:37-38. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet [for] this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do [it] for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.” “As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.”
As in, “Thou leddest Thy people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron” (Psalm 77:20).
“They shall be as the stones of a crown”: While God’s enemies shall be trampled underfoot, as a common thing which has failed its end, these shall be precious stones. A consecrated jeweled crown or headband of king or priest, “raised aloft,” so that all can see.
“Upon His land”: It was laid down, as the title deed to its whole tenure, “the land is Mine” (Leviticus 25:23), and much more our Christian land, bought and purified by the blood of Christ.
The picture in the 16th verse changes from war and bloodshed to that of the Shepherd and His flock.
In contrast to their enemies who are likened to “sling stones”, which shall then be contemptuously trodden under foot, saved Israel shall be “stones of a crown” lifted on high over His land which reminds us of:
Isa. 62:1-3. “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burns.” “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.” “Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.”
Zechariah 9:17 “For how great [is] his goodness, and how great [is] his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.”
“For how great is his goodness?”: Not of the land of Judea, as Kimchi; nor of the doctrine of the law, as the Targum; nor of the people of the Jews; but of the Messiah. And designs not his essential nor his providential goodness; but his goodness as Mediator. Which he has in his heart, and has shown unto his people, in being their surety, and becoming their Savior.
In assuming their nature; bearing their sins, and obeying and suffering in their room and stead. And also that which he has in his hands for them, and communicates to them; his fullness of grace. All those spiritual blessings that are in him; the large measures of grace given at conversion; and the numerous instances of his goodness afterwards. Yea, it includes glory, as well as grace.
“And how great is his beauty?” not as God, nor as man, but as Mediator. As beheld in the covenant and promises in the Gospel and in the truths and in the ordinances of it.
“Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids”: By “young men” are meant the same as in (1 John 2:14), believers in Christ. Who are lively, warm, and zealous for Christ, his cause and interest. Who are active, diligent, and industrious in the discharge of duty; and are strong in Christ, and in his grace. And particularly in the grace of faith, and quit themselves like men.
And by “maids” or “virgins” are meant the same. So called because of their chaste adherence to Christ; for their beauty, comeliness, and attire; and for their purity of divine worship and conversation. And the Gospel is intended by “corn” and “new wine”; which is compared to “corn”, in opposition to the chaff of human doctrines.
And because it contains Christ the bread of life, and is nourishing and comfortable. And to “new wine”, not because it is a novel doctrine, for it is the everlasting Gospel ordained before the world was. But because, under the Gospel dispensation, to which this prophecy refers, it is newly and more clearly revealed (see Zech. 9:15).
The effect of which is, that it makes saints “cheerful”, fills them with joy and spiritual mirth, for it is a joyful sound. Or, “shall make fruitful”; it causes them to grow and increase, and makes them fruitful in every good word and work.
Or, “shall make them speak” eloquently; or cause them to put forth the fruit of their lips, in giving thanks to God for the abundance of grace bestowed upon them. Or, “shall” make “them sing”, as others; in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
This new wine may be interpreted of the gifts and graces bestowed in great plenty on the day of Pentecost. Both on sons and daughters, on servants and handmaids, whereby they prophesied, and saw visions (Acts 2:16 see Ephesians 5:18).
Psalms 31:19 “[Oh] how great [is] thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; [which] thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!”
“Corn and wine” symbolize plenty.
The mention of young men and maidens heighten the picture of prosperity given by the prophet. And is in some respects a parallel to the prophetic description of the prosperity of the land and people, where the streets of Jerusalem are spoken of as being again “full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof” (chapter 8 verse 5).
Zechariah Chapter 9 Questions
1. Where was Hadrach located?
2. What happens to them and Damascus?
3. At this time, the believing world have their eyes on __________.
4. Tyre was under siege ____ months by Alexander the Great.
5. What happened to the women and children of Tyre?
6. How was Tyre connected to the mainland?
7. How tall was the wall fortification they had built?
8. Where had they gotten their wealth from?
9. They had a vast fleet of ________ _________.
10. How did Alexander destroy Tyre?
11. What did the fall of Tyre do to her neighbors?
12. How did Alexander treat the governors of this land?
13. What is a “bastard”?
14. What is meant, in this particular Scripture, by this statement?
15. As part of their heathen worship, they _________ _____.
16. What did the “abominations between his teeth” mean?
17. Verse 7 speaks of what time?
18. How many did a governor rule over?
19. Where had the Jebusites possessed?
20. What Scripture shows supernatural protection in the midst of war?
21. Who is verse 9 speaking of?
22. What did Him riding on a donkey tell us?
23. What did the fact that the donkey was a colt tell us of?
24. “Cutting off the chariot” means what?
25. In Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the ________ of ________.
26. Where, in Isaiah, was their captivity spoken of as a pit?
27. What and whom was Jesus victorious over?
28. What does the “lightning that goes forth” speak of?
29. Who defends God’s people?
30. Who are the flock of His people?
31. What is the “ensign” of verse 16?