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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 13

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



The fountain of purgation for Jerusalem, Zechariah 13:1. The extirpation of idolatry and false prophecy, Zechariah 13:2-6. The death of Christ, and the saving of a third part after a severe trial, Zechariah 13:7-9.

Verse 1

In that day; when the Lamb of God shall be offered up a sacrifice for mankind, and the gospel shall be preached in which the glad tidings of our redemption are published.

A fountain: by water and ceremonial washings was legal pollution in many cases purged away, and much of the legal service stood in divers washings; but all these were shadows and types; here is that they typified, the matchless healing and purging fountain, i.e. the blood of Christ; here is the true Siloam, which never failed to heal any that rightly used it; it is Christ.

Opened: the spouse is to Christ a fountain sealed, but Christ is to sinners a fountain opened: under the law he was as the waters of the temple, for the Jew; but now he is opened to us Gentiles, free to all, and of easy access, and of sovereign virtue to heal.

To the house of David; he was every where nearest to them, and though his own kindred did some of them slight him, and not believe in him, yet some others did, and it may intimate to us the first tender of grace made to his own, to whom he came, though they received him not; or the royal family some of them will be benefited by it, and all of them need it; no outward privilege can secure us against the poison of sin, grace alone, this fountain only, can purge it away in great and noble, or mean and base.

To the inhabitants of Jerusalem; to all the Jews before the Gentiles,

To you first, saith the apostle,

God hath sent his Son; but in that it is opened, it is to us Gentiles also. Jerusalem, as image of the whole church, takes in the Gentiles; so inhabitants of Jerusalem are all to whom the gospel is preached, all penitents.

For sin and for uncleanness; for purging away of all manner of sins and uncleannesses, of which men repent, and from which they depart, according to that Proverbs 20:9; 1 John 1:9.

Verse 2

In that day: see Zechariah 13:1.

I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land; utterly destroy idols and idolatry.

Satan fell from heaven like lightning, as Christ tells us, when the gospel was preached by those he sent; and it is known the birth of Christ silenced the devil, that he could no more give answer to those that inquired at his oracles: the light of the gospel is such, that none of the idols can bear it. The devil put it into the heads of the Romans to keep Christ from being received by public allowance for a God, because he would turn out all the rest of them.

They shall no more be remembered, with veneration, sacrifices, gifts, erecting of temples, depending on or consulting with them; they shall be remembered and abhorred, whereas before they were remembered and adored.

The prophets; either those that, being priests to idols, did consult with them, and pretend to foretell future events; or more likely the false prophets among the Jews, who are prophets as idols are gods.

The unclean spirit, i.e. the devil, which sets the false prophets on work. Christ cast many out of persons possessed, and by his doctrine still doth east out Satan.

Verse 3

When any shall yet prophesy; whosoever he be that shall pretend hereafter to prophesy through the instigation of that unclean spirit, for it can be from no other, when the Lord shall have fully revealed his mind to us.

His father and his mother that begat him; his dearest friends, they who are by nature/nearest to him, who begat him.

Shall say unto him; shall discourse to him, and inform him what the law of Moses directeth in this case.

Thou shalt not live; which I take to be not the sentence condemnatory, for, being private persons, they could not condemn him; but it is a repetition of the law which saith such shall not live, and then it amounts to this: A false prophet ought not to live, Deuteronomy 13:6,Deuteronomy 13:8; what then dost thou do to break this law, and endanger thy life? Their oughtest to die for this by the law. The father and mother thus should admonish and show the matter of law and danger, but not judicially pass sentence, and determine what shall be done.

Thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord; thou fallest under that law, Deuteronomy 13:6.

Shall thrust him through; or, wound, chastise with stripes that may leave their marks behind them; or rather, shall sharply reprove him, and with cutting words terrify him from the like practice. You read of words that are piercing words, Proverbs 12:18, words that run through as a sword; and the Chaldee paraphrast on this of our prophet allows the father and mother to deal sharply with their son, they shall rebuke cuttingly. Besides, if it were to be understood of killing, the law directs to stone such a one, Deuteronomy 13:10, not to run him through with lance or sword.

Verse 4

It shall come to pass; by this means it will come to pass, such sharp reproofs, such impartial threats, such convincing arguments, will have a good effect.

The prophets shall be ashamed; these prophets will see their error, and be ashamed, and give over what they blush at, and is their shame.

Neither shall they wear a rough garment: such garments the true prophets were wont to wear, and these cheats had used them for a cover to their juggling hypocrisy; but when thoroughly convinced, none shall need pull, they will themselves cast off those garments.

To deceive; by first seeming to be more holy and strict than they are; and next, on such ill-grounded opinion of the holiness of their persons, draw them into their opinions, religion, and practice. It is an excellent work of the grace of God to recover deceivers, and to make them turn off the deceiver, and deal plainly and faithfully with others and themselves.

Verse 5

This verse is this reclaimed man’s recantation, or renunciation of his former course, and his solemn promise to take up his own calling, and become a plain honest man, and live upon his labour, to which he was trained up from his youth, and is sorry he ever left it.

Verse 6

This verse continueth the account of the reclaimed prophet, and supposeth, what is usual, that some will inquire what was the meaning of the marks or impressions on his hands, whether they were not such as appropriated him to an idol, or declared him a professed diviner.

Then he shall answer, plainly and fully, Not such as you imagine, but

those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends; the scars of the wounds my stubbornness deserved, and the love of my friends gave me under a severe discipline, to recover me from mining myself and others by impostures and lies.

Verse 7

Many words are spent by interpreters to show what they think to be the connexion of the words; it is easier to say what are the contents and design of them. It is possible they are subjoined to the former to vindicate Christ from the suspicion of an impostor, though he was wounded, for this his Father did foretell by Zechariah four hundred and ninety years, more or less, beforehand, so that these wounds are not marks of an impostor, but testimonies of his truth, and that he is the Messiah.

Awake: it is God commission, or rather prediction, the imperative put for the future.

O sword; i.e. afflictions, persecutions, and the cross.

Against my shepherd; who is my faithful Shepherd, and will lay down his life for my sheep; who became man, that he might be my servant and die.

My fellow, or my equal, who was ever with me, and my delights, Proverbs 8:30. Man my fellow speaks Christ man with us and God with his Father, God-man in one person. Smite the shepherd; this great and good Shepherd shall be smitten, i.e. die for my sheep, and before he dieth shall suffer much for them.

The sheep shall be scattered; as affrighted, destitute of one to look after them, and which must be partakers in sufferings with their Shepherd.

I will turn mine hand: God will, say some, turn his hand against the little ones, smite them too; but others say this turning the hand is in favour, and for protection; it is a hand turned over them, as if he would keep the blow off them, while others, fitter to bear it, do suffer.

Upon the little ones; new, and therefore weak converts and disciples.

Verse 8

This verse may be a prediction of the great slaughter Titus made among the Jews, and also an emblem of the multitudes of them that perish, and paucity of them that are saved.

In all the land of Judea, or the whole world.

Two parts; not precisely two, but, more largely, the greater part by far.

Shall be cut off and die, a temporal death, by the sword of Titus, or an eternal death under unbelief and rejecting Christ.

But the third, i.e. a remnant, the lesser part, yet as many as are chosen, shall be left therein; shall escape or be preserved and saved.

Verse 9

I will bring the third part through the fire; that part that is preserved shall be brought into afflictions, hot as fire.

And will refine them as silver is refined; these afflictions shall purify them, and so better them, as silver and gold are bettered by the furnace, made fitter to be vessels of honour.

They shall call on my name; pray to me, and own me for their God.

I will hear; I will answer them, and own them for my people, my purified people, &c.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 13". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/zechariah-13.html. 1685.
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