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by John Gill
INTRODUCTION TO ZECHARIAH
This book is in the Hebrew copies called "the Book of Zechariah"; in the Vulgate Latin version, "the Prophecy of Zechariah"; and, in the Syriac and Arabic versions, the Prophecy of the Prophet Zechariah. His name, according to Jerom, signifies "the memory of the Lord": but, according to Hillerus a, "the Lord remembers": either us, or his covenant; his promises of grace, and concerning the Messiah, of which there are many in this book. The writer of this prophecy could not be, as some have imagined, Zacharias the father of John the Baptist; since there must be some hundreds of years difference between them; nor the Zacharias, the son of Barachias, slain between the temple and the altar, our Lord speaks of in Matthew 23:35 for though their names agree, yet it does not appear that this prophet was slain by the Jews; indeed the Jewish Targumist, on Lamentations 2:20, speaks of a Zechariah, the son of Iddo, a high priest, slain in the temple; but it could not be this Zechariah, since he was no high priest; Joshua was high priest in his time; nor could he be slain in such a place, seeing the temple and altar were not yet built; nor was this prophet Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, slain in the court of the Lord's house, 2 Chronicles 24:20 for, as their names do not agree, so neither their office, he being a high priest, this a prophet; nor the times in which they lived, Zechariah the son of Jehoiada lived in the times of Joash king of Judah, two or three hundred years before this; but this was one of the captivity of Babylon, and who came up from thence with Zerubbabel,
Nehemiah 12:16 and was contemporary with the Prophet Haggai; so that the time of his prophecy was after the Babylonish captivity, and was delivered to the Jews that were returned from thence; and the design of it is to stir them up to build the temple, and restore the pure worship of God; and to encourage their faith and hope in the expectation of the Messiah; for the book consists of various visions and prophecies relating to him, and to the times of the Gospel; and the visions are, as some Jewish writers b observe, very obscure, and like the visions of Daniel, and difficult of interpretation. There are several passages cited out of this book in the New Testament, as
Zechariah 8:16 in Ephesians 4:25 Zechariah 9:9 in Matthew 21:5 in Matthew 27:9 in John 19:37 in Matthew 26:31
which abundantly confirm the authenticity of it. This prophet seems to have lived and died in Jerusalem; and, according to Pseudo-Epiphanius c, was buried near Haggai the prophet; and with which agree the Cippi Hebraici d, which inform us that Haggai was buried in a cave in the downward slope of the mount of Olives; and at the bottom of that mount was a large statue called the hand of Absalom, near to which was the grave of Zechariah the prophet, in a cave shut up, and over it a beautiful monument of one stone: and Monsieur Thevenot e tells us, that now is shown, near the sepulchres of Absalom and Jehoshaphat, on the descent of the mount of Olives, the sepulchre of the Prophet Zacharias.---It is cut in a diamond point upon the rock, with many pillars about it. Sozomen f the historian, indeed, makes mention of Caphar Zechariah, a village on the borders of Eleutheropolis, a city in Palestine, where it is pretended the body of this prophet was found in the times of Theodosius, to which no credit is to be given; nor is there any dependence to be had on the former accounts.
a Onomastic. Sacr. p. 508, 957, 958. b Aben Ezra & Jarchi in loc. & R. Abendana in Miclol Yophi in loc. & Kimchi in ver. 8. c De Prophet. Vita & Interitu, c. 21. d P. 29. Ed. Hottinger. e Travels, par. 1. B. 2. ch. 37. p. 184. f Hist. Eccles. l. 9. c. 17.
the First Week of Advent