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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Zechariah 14

 

 


Verses 1-21


The Judgment of the Heathen. Exaltation of Jerusalem

This chapter has the appearance of a late work. It has all the general characteristics of the style of literature known to students in the book of Enoch, and popular in the Jewish church about the beginning of the Christian era. The terrible punishment of the heathen (Zechariah 14:12), and the ceremonial purity of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:20-21), are typical of the narrower phases of late Judaism.

1, 2. Jerusalem again assaulted and taken.

3-7. The Lord descends to the help of Jerusalem, and strange phenomena follow.

8-21. Then comes the Messianic age; the face of nature is changed; the heathen are subdued; Jerusalem, restored, becomes the centre of worship, and all therein are consecrated to the Lord.

1. Lo! a day is coming by the instrumentality of the Lord, i.e. a judgment day. Thy spoil] The city is taken and sacked.

2. Cp. Joshua 3:2.

3. Shall the Lord go forth] An apocalyptic vision, common to later Jewish literature.

4. An earthquake heralds the presence of the Lord, cleaving the Mount of Olives in two parts: cp. Isaiah 29:6; Ezekiel 38:19, Ezekiel 38:20.

5. To the valley of the mountains] RV 'by the valley of my mountains.' This text is obscure. Would they flee if God came to help them? Azal] RV 'Azel,' has been identified with Bethezel (Micah 1:11), but this is doubtful. Others make the word an adverb, 'very near.' The earthquake] not mentioned in the historical books, but in Amos 1:1. Josephus describes some of its results ('Ant.'

9. 10. 4).

6. The light shall not be clear, nor dark] i.e. a murky day. Cp. the effect of modern volcanic eruptions. Others render, 'in that day there shall be neither heat nor cold nor frost.'

7. One day] i.e. a unique day. At evening time] When one would expect the deep darkness to settle down, it will grow clear. The calamities will have an end.

8. Now begin the blessings of the Messianic kingdom. Living waters] flowing perennially, an inestimable blessing in parched Eastern lands: cp. Isaiah 35:7; Revelation 22:1. Former.. hinder] RV' eastern.. western,' i.e. Dead Sea.. Mediterranean.

9. The universality of Messiah's kingdom: the Lord shall be one, and his name one' (RV).

10. As a plain] RV' as the Arabah,' i.e. the great plain which stretched from the borders of Palestine to the Red Sea.

Geba] marked the limit of northern Judah (2 Kings 23:8). Rimmon] a city in the extreme S. on the borders of Edom. And it] RV 'and she,' i.e. Jerusalem. Inhabited] RV 'shall dwell.' The idea is that even the surrounding country would be depressed in order that Jerusalem might be more conspicuous. Benjamin's gate] on the NW. of the city The first gate (some render the 'oldest' gate) and the corner gate were probably in the E. The tower of Hananeel] RV 'Hananel,' was part of the Temple castle in the extreme NE. The site of the king's winepresses is unknown.

11. Utter destruction] RV 'curse,' or 'ban.' Jerusalem had hitherto seemed under a curse. Now all this would pass away.

12. The ban in most awful form would turn rather upon the nations who assail Jerusalem. Such hatred of the heathen is characteristic of Jewish apocalypse, and arose in great measure from the cruelties and indignities suffered by the Jews in post-exilic times.

13, 14. A panic will fall on the enemies of Jerusalem, and all their spoil will be left a prey to the Jews. But many think that these two vv. should stand nearer the beginning of the chapter If we take Zechariah 14:15 after Zechariah 14:12 a much better sense is secured.

16. Some take this v. as pointing to a late date, when the Jews of the dispersion went up to the feasts: cp. the Pilgrim Psalms, especially Psalms 122. The feast of tabernacles] was especially a thanksgiving for the harvest. So the nations which do not keep that feast at Jerusalem will be punished by lack of rain (Zechariah 14:17), and consequent failure of harvest.

18. That have no rain] RV 'neither shall it be upon them.' Both phrases are unintelligible. They are due to an attempt to account for the word not, which is omitted in LXX. Omitting it the v. runs simply: 'and if the family of Egypt go not up and come not, on them shall be the plague,' etc. Egypt is not dependent on rain. Her punishment will therefore be plague.

20. Bells] here only in OT. HOLINESS] RV 'HOLY.' Pots] This seems to refer to the ash-pans used for receiving the ashes off the altar: cp. Exodus 27:3; Exodus 38:3; 1 Kings 7:40, 1 Kings 7:45. These will be as holy as the bowls, probably the golden basins used to hold the sacred blood of the sacrifices in the Temple: cp. Nehemiah 7:70; 1 Kings 7:50; Jeremiah 52:19.

21. Everything in Jerusalem will be specially consecrated to the Lord. The idea of ceremonial and outward holiness is usually considered a feature of later Judaism. On the abuse of this idea, cp. Matthew 23:25.

The Canaanite] RV 'a Canaanite,' RM 'trafficker,' i.e. any person who is there simply to make money by trading rather than to worship: cp. Matthew 21:12-14.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 14:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/zechariah-14.html. 1909.

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Sunday, November 29th, 2020
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