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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Zechariah 9

 

 

Verses 1-17


Judgments on the Nations. The Prince of Peace

1-8. A judgment is about to fall on Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, Sidon, and the cities of the Philistines. A remnant from Philistia will acknowledge God. God will encamp around His sanctuary.

9, 10. The coming of Messiah and His kingdom of peace.

11-17. Hope for Israel. God will enable her to contend successfully with Greece. He will aid and bless her.

1. Burden] oracle, or prophecy: see Jeremiah 23:33-40. In the land] RV 'upon the land.'

Hadrach] not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. On the Assyrian tablets it is associated with Damascus, and must have been somewhere in that quarter, in the valley of the Orontes. The various places mentioned follow the course pursued by Alexander the Great in his campaign in 332 b.c., viz. through Syria, Phœnicia, and Philistia. The rest thereof] RV 'its' (the prophecy's) 'resting-place.' When the eyes of man, etc.] better, 'for the Lord hath an eye upon man (i.e. the heathen) and all the tribes of Israel.' If the prophecy belongs to the beginning of the 2nd cent. b.c. (see Intro.), then the reference is to the kingdom of the Seleucidæ, in whose territories lay all the places mentioned.

2. Hamath] a city in the valley of the Orontes, in Upper Syria. It was renamed Epiphaneia by Antiochus Epiphanes. Shall border thereby] RV 'which bordereth thereon.' Tyre (Tyrus) and Sidon were famous cites on the coast of Syria, inhabited by the Phœnicians, who were renowned, like their descendants the Carthaginians, for their cunning. Though it be very wise] RV 'she is very wise.' This false wisdom of the world God will visit in judgment.

4. In the sea] i.e destroy her commerce.

5. Ashkelon, etc.] cities of the Philistines. After taking Tyre, Alexander marched down the coast to these cities. He captured Gaza after a two months' siege. For her expectation shall be ashamed] i.e. her pride will be humbled.

6. A bastard] probably a son of a mixed race. The idea evidently is that the city would be depopulated by war, and aliens would be installed by the conquerors.

7. This mixed race will be purified from their idolatry. The second half of this v. might be rendered as follows: 'But there shall be a remnant (i.e. of the Philistines) for our God, and one shall be as a chief in Judah, and Ekron (shall be) as a Jebusite.' Jebusite] The Jebusites were the ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem. The word is used for 'a native of Jerusalem.'

8. Because of the army] RM 'for a guard or garrison.' Because of him, etc.] RV 'that none pass through or return.' Oppressor] better, perhaps, 'invader'; the reference is either to Alexander or some similar conqueror. Have I seen with mine eyes] viz. the iniquity of the oppressing heathen.

9. The advent of the Prince of Peace, a striking contrast to a ravaging warrior like Alexander the Great, who visited the surrounding nations with fire and sword. Just, and having salvation] better, '(declared to be) righteous and victorious.' Riding upon an ass] the symbol, not of lowliness, but of peace, as the horse was of war: cp. Matthew 21, etc.

10. The chariot.. the horse.. the battle bow] These too-familiar objects will have no place in Messiah's kingdom. He shall speak peace unto the nations. From sea even to sea] from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean.

From the river] the Euphrates.

11. To the Jews in exile specially does the message of peace come. By that well-known relationship (covenant) with God, sealed by the blood of sacrifices, making them His own adopted people, He will restore them all to their own city (Jerusalem). By the blood of thy covenant] the blood sprinkled in the sacrifices whereby the covenant was ratified: cp. Exodus 24:8. Pit] an empty cistern: cp. Genesis 37:22.

12. Strong hold] probably Jerusalem.

Prisoners of hope] i.e. the Jews, who by their covenant with God had a sure hope of deliverance. Double] cp. Isaiah 61:7 evidently a reference to restoration from exile.

13. The prophet again plunges into a vision of war. The vision is figurative; God is to use Judah as a bow, and fit Ephraim as an arrow to the bow. Some who assign this prophecy to an early date believe that the words against thy sons, O Greece, may be a gloss of a later scribe.

Greece] Heb. Javan, so called from Javan, a son of Japheth, the supposed ancestor of the Europeans: cp. Genesis 10:2, Genesis 10:4. According to Sayce, the word 'Javan' (to indicate 'Greeks') is found in various forms on the monuments both of Egypt and Assyria from a very early date, and is the same word as 'Ionian' ( Iαοâ). The thought of Greece as a power hostile to Judaism would hardly be possible prior to the Macedonian invasion of Alexander in the 4th cent. b.c. From that age onward, even in Jerusalem itself, the great struggle went on between Judaism and the invading influence of Greek culture. This struggle was specially keen, at the beginning of the 2nd cent. b.c. From a Jewish standpoint the Maccabæan wars were really between Jews and Greeks: cp. Jeremiah 51:20.

14, 15. And subdue with sling stones] RV 'and shall tread down the sling stones'; but the text is obscure. It is a vision of war as a storm in which God is the moving Power: cp. Habakkuk 3 Psalms 29.

15b. By a slight change in the Heb. text we might render, 'And they shall drink blood like wine, and they shall be filled (with it) like bowls, and as the corners of the altar (are filled with the blood of the sacrifices).'

16, 17. God will save Israel in honour and prosperity. His goodness] RM 'prosperity.' The pronoun is uncertain, but the reference is to Israel.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 9:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/zechariah-9.html. 1909.

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