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Bible Commentaries

Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Zechariah 9

Verse 12


‘Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.’

Zechariah 9:12

The prophet is speaking to those who are emphatically called ‘Christ’s prisoners,’ those for whom, by His kingly power, He has gone up on high, and given to them repentance, that He might make them spiritual captives.

I. No words could be framed more appropriate, or expressive of souls under spiritual distress, than those which the prophet here uses: ‘prisoners of hope.’—Why does the believer’s soul feel so fast bound and so miserable? He was not always so; but he has felt so ever since he began to hope, ever since a nobler and a loftier feeling came into his mind. From that hour, when the love of God first awoke in his soul, he has longed to go forth into a wider field than he can ever compass, and to expatiate on the image and the work and the glory of his God. Therefore, because his desires are so large, his soul feels so imprisoned. ‘Hope’ has made this world feel so narrow, his body so cumbersome, those sins so heavy, and that nature such a great hindrance.

II. The prisoners of hope should ‘turn to the stronghold,’ keep close to the Lord Jesus.—Pass your waiting time inside the fortress of Jesus. Let Him be your tower for ever, and in that stronghold He will bury your fears and keep your joys.

III. God Himself has graciously added the reason of the confidence of those who have by His grace exchanged the prison for the stronghold.—‘Even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.’ It appears evident that in these words God is continuing the address which He was making in the preceding verse, and that He speaks to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is part of the engagement which the Father has made to the Son. When Christ sees of the travail of His soul He is satisfied, as when one delights in a purchase, and thinks that the price was not to be compared with the value received.

—Rev. Jas. Vaughan.


‘The phrase, “Prisoners of Hope,” is a parable of life. We are all hemmed in by innumerable limitations—we need but to stretch out our hands to feel the walls of the prison. In the matter of intellect it is so; though now and again, inflated by the pride of present attainments, we are as children gathering pebbles on the shore whilst the vast ocean of truth rolls on untouched. We are also prisoners morally—attainment lags tamely behind aspiration; and finally, we are prisoners spiritually, for even a child can ask us questions about God which we cannot answer. The illusiveness of life is part of the discipline of life. We are prisoners of hope, and where there is hope everything is possible, even though it be hoping against hope. Hope turns the prison into a palace.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Zechariah 9". Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.