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Ask From the LORD
After the promise of blessing is made, the people are told what they can do. What they can do is pray for that blessing because only God can give it. He alone can give rain (Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 14:22; Hosea 6:1-Leviticus :; Joel 2:23; Deuteronomy 11:13-Ezra :; Deuteronomy 32:2).
It is said to the people that they should “ask rain … at the time of the spring rain”. It is asking for a special blessing, even if it is only for a remnant, at the end of the history of God’s people, just before the coming of the Messiah. It is a question of blessing at the appointed time. The blessing will come, but God wants His people to ask for it. By praying for it, they show that they agree with His merciful intentions.
Teraphim Speak Iniquity
Prayer brings blessing (Zechariah 10:1), relying on idols (Zechariah 10:2) brings disappointment and sorrow. What stands in the way of blessing must be removed. The idols, such as the teraphim, the house gods (Genesis 31:19; Judges 17:5; Judges 18:5), and also the gods of other nations, such as the Baal, have caused for example, that God had to withheld the rain to the people in the days of Ahab (1 Kings 16:30-Jonah :; 1 Kings 17:1).
The people resorted to these idols. They were disappointed. Instead of giving, these took from them and made them rudderless. This is the condition of the people when the Lord Jesus comes to them. The people are like a flock that has no shepherd (Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:34; Ezekiel 34:5-Joshua :). In the following verse the LORD promises that He will deliver His flock from the oppression of false shepherds.
“Diviners” are consulted to predict the future. They can be placed among the false prophets, who use “iniquity”, “lie” and “false dreams” (Jeremiah 23:30-Jonah :; Jeremiah 27:9-2 Samuel :). Resorting to diviners for information and guidance is specifically forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:9-2 Chronicles :). God has given His prophets to make His will and the future known through them. He will also ultimately give the true Prophet, the Messiah (Deuteronomy 18:15-Song of Solomon :; John 4:25; John 6:14; Acts 3:22-Isaiah :). Zechariah again uses words from Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jeremiah 27:9; Jeremiah 29:8; Ezekiel 21:29; Ezekiel 22:28).
That they ‘comfort in vain’ is something like ‘giving vapor as comfort’. It means that nothing at all of their comforting promises will come true (Job 21:34). It is hot air, their words evaporate, they dissolve into the void and nothing remains of them.
God’s Anger Against the False Shepherds
“The shepherds”, the religious leaders of God’s people, are deceivers. “The male goats” are the civil leaders and also the people who follow the false shepherds. All these leaders are mercenaries who have no real love for the sheep, but only want to benefit from them (John 10:12; Ezekiel 34:1-2 Samuel :). God will judge them.
God, “the LORD of hosts,” stands up for His defenseless, exploited people. He turns the people that belong to Him, the sheep, into horses (cf. Song of Solomon 1:9). Thus He makes them an instrument in His hand to carry out the judgment on the surrounding people (cf. Zechariah 9:13). It also shows that the power of Judah does not lie within them, but that they are powerful through God. He Who Himself is fearless makes them fearless. He Who Himself has all the power, gives them of His power to fight.
God’s concern for Judah will not be limited to the liberation from the oppression of the evil shepherds. He will also turn Judah into victorious people. This is the meaning of the picture of “His majestic horse in battle”. It is the picture of a beautiful and richly decorated warhorse, like a king is used to ride on. This picture is as characteristic as the description of Judah and Ephraim as a bow and arrow (Zechariah 9:13).
Christ: Cornerstone, Tent Peg, Bow of Battle
“From them” that is from the flock of Judah of the previous verse, “the cornerstone”, “the tent peg” and “the bow of battle” will come. These are three names for the Lord Jesus. The cornerstone is the ruler or leader, that is the Messiah, upon Whom the building of government rests figuratively (Isaiah 28:16; Ephesians 2:20). The tent peg is the peg on which valuable objects are hung. On the Messiah hangs all the glory and hope of His people (Isaiah 22:23-Jeremiah :). The bow of battle shows the Messiah as a Man of war (Exodus 15:3; Psalms 45:4-Deuteronomy :). Earlier the people were called the (battle) bow (Zechariah 9:13). He is the last and greatest of all the rulers who came forth from Judah.
The Messiah does not come here from heaven, but from Judah, from the people themselves to whom He has come with blessing (Zechariah 10:3). In His Person an awesome power emerges that will crush the enemy. Out of Him come “every ruler” or “every oppressor”. Those who were previously oppressed are now the oppressors of those who used to oppress them (2 Thessalonians 1:6-Judges :). Again, we see that they have the power to oppress the enemy or to rule over them not of their own accord, but from the Lord Jesus, their Messiah.
Mighty Men Through the LORD
She, the flock of Judah, who were first introduced to us as sheep, then as horses, we now see “as mighty men” (Zechariah 10:5). With a large power display they will humiliate the enemies by “treading” them “down in the mire of the streets”. It shows that the enemies are no different than the mire of the street. That God’s people are able to fight and overcome in such a way is because the LORD is “with them” (Joshua 1:5; Jeremiah 1:8). By doing so, they will shame the enemy riders on horses, who think they have the power on their side.
It is clear that this is the second coming of the Lord Jesus (Zechariah 10:6). “Judah” and “Joseph” are the two houses of Israel or the two and ten tribes. They will only be one house again under the Messiah. This will be the result of their calling to Him. He will interrogate them and restore them as if He had not rejected them. He will draw a line through the past and erase it.
Ephraim, that is the house of Joseph, (Zechariah 10:6) will become like a mighty man like Judah and be glad as if from wine (Zechariah 10:7). He will cheerfully fight like a mighty man who is strengthened by wine – wine symbolizes joy. The joy of the LORD is his strength (Nehemiah 8:11). The children see this joy in the fight and become glad as well. They share in the joy, without having to fight. The source and atmosphere of the joy of all is the LORD Himself (cf. Philippians 4:4).
I Will …
In order to remove all doubt about the fulfillment of this promise, the liberation of Ephraim is described in even more detail in this section. Several times in these verses we read the expression “I will”. God says He will do it, so it will happen. Who will be able to thwart it?
The LORD will whistle the people to Himself. The people in scattering will recognize the shepherd’s flute. God redeems to gather His people together. He will also make them as numerous as they have been. He will make good all loss.
He had to “scatter them among the nations” because of their sins. It is remarkable that God says this here in Zechariah after an earlier scattering, that is after the exile in Babylon. This seems to be a new scattering. Perhaps we can think of what happened in the year 70 AD, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. In those distant regions, far away from the promised land, they and their children will repent. This will happen in the future. They will think of Him again (Deuteronomy 30:1-Exodus :; Jeremiah 31:27), and then He will let them return.
All the peoples of Zechariah 10:9 are represented by Egypt, the southern neighbor, and Assyria, the northern neighbor. From all these nations the LORD will bring them into His land. Gilead and Lebanon represent the whole land of Israel on both sides of the Jordan (Jeremiah 50:19; Micah 7:14-Ezra :). Many will be born in Israel, so that the land will become too small (Ezekiel 1:7; Jeremiah 30:19-Proverbs :; Ezekiel 36:11; Isaiah 49:20; Isaiah 54:3). Then the land will have the borders that God promised Abraham and never had (Genesis 15:18).
In Zechariah 10:11 we have a reference to the passage through the Red Sea, the former salvation, as a symbol for the future salvation. By “the sea [of] distress” is meant the sea of nations. In that sea God’s people have been in fear. But the LORD Himself will go through that sea and dry up every obstacle on the way to liberation and the land. He will precipitate the waves that threaten to engulf them and take away the waters of fear.
The people will be strengthened in the LORD (Zechariah 10:12) for their spiritual needs. Their whole life (walk) will be pervaded by the thought of the glory and honor of the LORD (Micah 4:5). Here is the climax. Walking “in His name” can mean that they are His representatives or ambassadors. It can also mean that they will live in accordance with what He has shown of Himself. They will live everywhere and continuously under His protection and according to His will.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Zechariah 10". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany