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Zec 6:1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains [were] mountains of brass.
Ver. 1. And I turned, and lift up mine eyes ] i.e. I passed on to another vision; and I lifted up the eyes of my mind, higher to heaven, saith Jerome, to receive a further revelation from God. And whereas he saith, I turned, he declareth, that God from on every side giveth his Church clear testimonies of his care of her so that she will give heed unto them, and lift up her eyes.
There came four chariots out ] i.e. Four squadrons of angels, God’s warriors, and ministers of his manifold decrees, which are here set forth by the name of brazen mountains, see Zechariah 1:8 , See Trapp on " Zec 1:8 " Chariots the angels are called in many places, 2Ki 2:11 ; 2Ki 6:17 Habakkuk 3:8 , but especially Psalms 68:17 . The chariots of God (in the Hebrew it is chariot, in the singular, to note the joint service of all the angels) are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels (of cheerful ones, so the Septuagint: ευθυμουντων , of such as serve the Lord readily and freely, with joy and tranquillity, and so do quiet his spirit, as it is said here, Zechariah 6:8 , give him full satisfaction). The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the holy place; that is, the angels by their swiftness and warlike prowess make Zion, the Church, as dreadful to all her enemies (did not one of them so to Sennacherib?) as those angels made Sinai, at the delivery of the law, which was given in fire, Deuteronomy 33:2 . God rideth upon the heavens for Israel’s help, i.e. upon the angels. Heb. the word rendered angels, in the above cited Psalms 68:17 (and so the Chaldee plainly expresseth it), is by some (who derive it from Shaan, to sharpen) referred to chariots; to note a kind of chariots armed with sharp hooks, used in wars, as many humane writers record. And so it maketh something to the confirmation of this interpretation, concerning angels, rather than the four monarchies. But the angel himself is our best interpreter, Zechariah 6:5 , where, being asked by Zechariah what these chariots were? he answereth, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth, for a plain periphrase of the angels, Zechariah 1:10 . See Trapp on " Zec 1:10 "
From between two mountains ] Tanquam e carceribus, as designed by God’s all-disposing providence and power, and ready pressed at his appointment and pleasure to run their race, do their office, execute God’s judgments, which are both unsearchable and inevitable; and this the poets hammered at in their ineluctabile Fatum, unescapable destiny, as they called it. God’s decrees lie hidden under mountains of brass, as it were, till they come to execution; they run as a river underground, till they break out and show themselves. When he hath once signified his will then we understand it, which before lay hidden from us; that is, when these chariots come out from between the mountains of brass, when the event declareth what was the immutable decree of God. Hence the Psalmist, "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep"; this for the decree. And for the execution, "Thou preservest man and beast," Psa 36:6 but by such means and in such manner as to thee seemeth best. It is our part to say Amen to his Amen, and to put our Fiat and Placet to his. "The will of the Lord be done," said those primitive Christians, Acts 21:14 "Here am I, send me," Isaiah 6:8 .
Zec 6:2 In the first chariot [were] red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;
Ver. 2. In the first chariot were red horses, &c. ] These various colours seem to set forth the various administrations of the angels, deputed to various employments. The black colour betokeneth sorrowful occurrences and revolutions. The white, joyful. The red, bloody. The grizzled, various and mixed matters, partly joyful and partly sorrowful. But I easily subscribe to him that said, We must be content to be ignorant of the full meaning of this vision. Tanta est profunditas Christianarnm literarum, saith Austin so great is the depth of divine learning that there is no fathoming of it. Prophecy is pictured like a matron, with her eyes covered, for the diffculty. For which cause Paulinus Nolanus would never be drawn to write commentaries; and Psellus in Thedoret asketh pardon for expounding the Canticles of Solomon.
Zec 6:4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What [are] these, my lord?
Ver. 4. What are these, my lord? ] Difficulty doth but whet desire in heroic spirits; the harder the vision the more earnest was the prophet’s inquisition: he was restless till better resolved; and therefore applieth himself again to his angel tutor, rather than Tutelar, whom, for honour’s sake, he called My lord; See Trapp on " Zec 4:5 " and take notice of the truth of St Peter’s assertion concerning the prophetic scrutiny, 1Pe 1:11 with greatest sagacity and sedulity.
Zec 6:5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These [are] the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
Ver. 5. These are the four spirits of the heavens ] Angels are spirits, Hebrews 1:7 ; Hebrews 1:14 , and spirits of heaven, Mat 24:36 Galatians 1:8 , resembling their creator, as Children do their Father (hence they are called sons of God, Job 1:6 ; Job 38:7 ), both in their substance, which is incorporeal, and in their excellent properties, life and immortality, blessedness and glory; a part whereof is their just lordship and command over inferior creatures. For like as ministering spirits they stand before the Lord of the whole earth, who sends them out at his pleasure, to serve his providence; so, they have, as his agents and instruments, no small stroke in the ordering and managing of natural and civil affairs, as may be seen in the first of Ezekiel. The wheels, that is, the events of things, have eyes, that is, something that might show the reason of their turnings, if we could see it. And they are stirred but as the living creatures, that is, the angels, stirred them; and both the wheels and living creatures were acted and guided by God’s Spirit as the principal and supreme cause of all, the Lord of the whole earth, as he is here called.
That stand before, &c. ] As waiting his commands, and ready to run on his errand, Mat 18:10 Daniel 7:10 . Jacob at Bethel saw them, 1. Ascending, sc. to contemplate and praise God, and to minister to him. 2. Descending, sc. to execute God’s will upon men, for mercy, or for judgment, Psalms 103:20 . For which purpose, Ezekiel tells us that they have four faces, to look every way, when as God’s watchmen they stand sentinel in heaven’s turret. And that the sole of their feet is like the sole of calves’ feet, round, and ready to go either forward or backward with greatest facility; that as they see every way, so they are apt to go every way for the dispensing of God’s benefits, and executing of his chastisements toward the elect, and vengeance on the reprobates, 2 Samuel 24:17 2 Kings 19:35 Genesis 19:1 ; Gen 19:11 Acts 12:23 Revelation 16:12 ; Revelation 16:16 . All this they do justly, diligently, and purely, with faith in receiving God’s commands, Revelation 15:6 , clothed in pure white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. Let us labour to obey God, as angels do; else we may be angels for gifts, and yet go to hell.
Zec 6:6 The black horses which [are] therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.
Ver. 6. The black horses which are therein, &c. ] These angels are appointed to several countries. The black horses to Babylon (which lay north from Judea) to inflict vengeance. The white horses are sent with them, to deliver the Church out of Babylon; and to bring their brethren for an offering unto the Lord, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts to God’s holy mountain Jerusalem, Isaiah 66:20 .
And the grizzled go forth toward the south country ] To show that the punishments of Egypt and Arabia (which lay southward from Judea) should be somewhat mixed and mitigated; they should be in better case than Babylon; yet not so good as that the Jews should dream of a happy estate in those countries; but rather repair to Judea, and there keep them; since those that are out of God’s precincts are out of his protection, Psalms 91:9-19.91.12 .
Zec 6:7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.
Ver. 7. And the bay went forth, &c. ] Junius reads it, And the strong, or confirmed ones; that is, the angels, armed with power and authority from God for the execution of his will: Isaiah 10:34 "Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one," that is, by an angel. 2 Thessalonians 1:7 , they are called the angels of God’s power; and elsewhere, principalities and powers.
And sought to go, that they might walk to and fro through the earth ] Not only toward the south, as Zechariah 6:6 . This doth not teach that the angels are more careful of this world than God is, of whom they desired it. But first, that they can do nothing without commission from him Secondly, that they are ever ready to offer their service and to yield obedience, upon the least intimation of the Divine pleasure.
Zec 6:8 Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.
Ver. 8. Then cried he upon me ] That I might the better observe it, since he spake it with such great vehemence.
Have pacified my spirit ] i.e. Perfecerunt voluntatem meam, as the Chaldee here hath it, they have done my work thoroughly, to my great contentment. When the Church’s enemies are slaughtered God inviteth the birds and beasts to a feast, as it were for joy; and taketh as much delight in their just punishment as any man can do in a cup of generous wine; whence it is called the wine of God’s wrath, Revelation 14:10 ; see Deuteronomy 28:63 .
Zec 6:9 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Ver. 9. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying ]. This second part of the chapter is not a vision, but a sermon, or a historical prediction of what was really to be done. For as God’s Spirit was quieted, and, as it were, comforted, by the angels’ faithful execution of their offices; so he seeks, by this prophecy, to quiet and comfort the spirits of his people the Jews, that were returned out of Babylon. For these finding themselves beset with enemies and exigencies, might possibly despair of ever seeing the accomplishment of those promises and prophecies of the kingdom restored to the house of David, and of the great glory of the second temple above the first. To keep up their hearts, therefore, is this declaration made them of the kingdom and priesthood of Christ, under the typical coronation of Joshua the high priest.
Zec 6:10 Take of [them of] the captivity, [even] of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;
Ver. 10. Take of them of the captivity ] i.e. Of the returned captives,
even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah ] Men famous in the congregation, men of renown, Numbers 16:2 . That these four mentioned here (taking in Josiah, who is also called Hen, Zec 6:14 ), were ambassadors from the godly Jews in Babylon, and brought their gifts, as Junius thinketh, I cannot affirm; but that they were the same with Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as the Jews and Jerome tell us, I do not believe. Josiah seemeth to be the host to the other three; as Gaius was to St Paul, and other good people; though some think, rather, he was either treasurer for the temple, or else a goldsmith, and one that could make crowns. Calvin conjectures from Zechariah 6:14 (where it is said, that the crown shall be to these men for a memorial), that being men of authority, they were deeply guilty of infidelity and impatience, because they saw not a present performance of the promises; they were discontented themselves, and discouraged others, "Ye have need of patience," saith the apostle to those short spirited Hebrews, Hebrews 10:36 , who found it more easy to suffer evil than to wait for the promised good.
And come thou the same day ] Either the same day these men came from Babylon, or the selfsame day that the Lord spake to the prophet, is he commanded to go, not to put it off a day longer; for the people needed a speedy and hasty comfort. No sooner had God prepared the people, but the thing was done suddenly, as 2 Chronicles 29:36 . No sooner were they ripe, but he was ready. He is a God of judgment, a wise God, that knows when to deal forth his favours; as till then he waits to be gracious, Isaiah 30:18 . His fingers itch to be doing good in his good pleasure to Zion; as the mother’s breasts ache when now it is time the child had suck. He exalteth the lowly, he filleth the hungry with good things. When once David is poor and needy God will make no tarriance, Psalms 40:17 ; when his soul is even as a weaned child, then he shall have the kingdom, Psalms 131:2 .
Zec 6:11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set [them] upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;
Ver. 11. Make crowns ] Two, saith Piscator; one of gold, for the kingly dignity, another of silver, for the priesthood. Three, saith a Lapide, who makes it a type, as of Christ’s threefold office, so of the Pope’s triple crown; which latter relates rather to Pride’s picture drawn by the old Romans, with three crowns on her head: on the first whereof was inscribed Transcendo; I pass on, on the second Non obedio; I disobey, the third Perturbo. I throw into confusion, Danaeus thinks it likely, by Zechariah 6:14 , that here were four crowns made, according to the number of the four persons here mentioned, that brought in the gold and silver. Ribera will have it to be all but one crown made of both metals, and called crowns for the greatness of it; as wisdoms, for singular wisdom, Pro 1:20 marg; Behemoth, beasts, for a huge beast, Job 40:15 . The verb singular, tihieh, Zechariah 6:14 , seems most to favour this conceit of his. But in Hebrew the singular is often put for the plural (Chald. vertit Facies coronam magnam ).
Zec 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name [is] The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
Ver. 12. And spake unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying ] That is, confidently and constantly affirm and aver it; that, notwithstanding all unlikelihood and unbelief on the people’s part, Almighty God will surely bring it to pass; this heap of words importeth so much; for "do ye think the Scripture speaketh in vain?" saith St James, not without some holy indignation, James 4:5 .
Behold the man whose name is The Branch ] The man Christ Jesus, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, Romans 1:3 ; and as a Branch grew out of his roots, Isaiah 11:1 . See Trapp on " Zec 3:4 " Joshua, that he might not be exalted above measure with the abundance of this new honour, or think of himself more highly than he ought to think, 2 Corinthians 12:7 Romans 12:3 , is given to understand that he is crowned for no other cause than this, that the Jews might understand that there should One arise that should be both a king and a priest also for ever, after the order of Melchisedec; and his name should be the Branch, not only because when he was a child he grew in age and in wisdom, and in grace with God and men (which is Vatablus’ reason), but because he is the root, fountain, and foundation of all the faithful, who do grow up and increase in him, with the increase of God: hence it followeth,
He shall grow up out of his place, and shall build the temple of God ] That is, the Church, which at all times hath been gathered together by Christ, through the preaching of the gospel.
And he shall grow up out of his place ] Or he (the Branch) shall branch up de sub se, from under himself; he shall be born of himself, as it were, of poor parentage; for this Branch grew out of the root of Jesse, when that goodly family was sunk so low, as from David the king to Joseph the carpenter. He that writeth the life of King Edward VI saith of his tutors, Dr Cox and Mr John Cheek, that they were men of mean birth; but so well esteemed for virtue and learning, that they might well be said to be born of themselves (Sir John Heywood).
And he shall build the temple of the Lord ] i.e. The spiritual temple, that temple, the Church, the glory whereof was far greater than the glory of the former, Haggai 2:9 . See Trapp on " Hag 2:9 " And this he should do in the quality of a king, and with royal magnificence. "Ye also, as lively stones, elect and precious, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood," &c., 1 Peter 2:5 .
Zec 6:13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
Ver. 13. Even he shall build the temple of the Lord ] The same again, for greater assurance; as Pharaoh’s dream was doubled. Or, Even he shall build it, that is, he shall both begin and finish it (it is the same word again, but in the future tense). Christ is called the author and finisher of our faith, Hebrews 12:2 .
And he shall bear the glory ] Jesus shall, not thou, Joshua (in Greek Jesus), though now thou bear the crown. All thy glory is but figurative of his. Thus saith the Lord, Remove the diadem (or mitre), take off the crown: this shall not be the same. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is, and I will give it him, that is, Christ, the king and priest of his Church. Particularly for his kingly office, he shall sit and rule upon his throne, as a sovereign Lord of all. And for his priestly office,
He shall be a priest upon his throne likewise ] For the Church also hath her throne and jurisdiction, though distinct and severed from the civil.
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both ] i.e. There shall be no clashing between these two offices in Christ; as there was sometimes between the kings and the priests of former ages, but they should, as it were, take sweet counsel together for the good of the Church; Christ having purchased all peace to his people by his priesthood, and maintaining and defending it by his kingdom.
Zec 6:14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.
Ver. 14. And the crowns shall be to Helem … for a memorial] Or monument of their incredulity, saith Calvin, and for their full conviction. See Trapp on " Zec 6:10 " Or their liberality, say others, and peradventure with some inscription or remembrance of their names (here recorded) for honour’s sake. But best of all those that say these duties were for a memorial in the temple of the Messiah that was shortly to be expected, and was presently promised. The poor Jews at this day are said to have a crown hanging in their synagogues, against the coming of their long-looked-for Messiah. And that he comes not all this while they say it is for their sins, which are many and bony, or mighty ( σοφον φαρμακον ). But now seeing he stays so long, he shall be, say they, a forerunner of the end of the world, and shall gather by his power all nations into one fold, according to that which here followeth.
Zec 6:15 And they [that are] far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And [this] shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Ver. 15. And they that are far off ] This was fulfilled in the conversion of the Gentiles, who, together with the Christian Jews, grew up into a holy temple in the Lord, Ephesians 2:19 , &c. It was also in some sense fulfilled in Cyrus, Darius, Artaxerxes, Herod, who were at great charge for the temple work. See Ezra 7:15-15.7.16 , the king and his council, the Babylonians and Jews, make a contribution to the work.
And ye shall know ] sc. By the event, and by your own experience.
If you will diligently obey the voice ] That is, If by faith ye receive Christ held forth in the promise: and then persist in the obedience of faith unto the end.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 6". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany