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ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 14
The destruction of Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:1,Zechariah 14:2. The coming of Christ, the graces of his kingdom, and the restoration of Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:3-38.14.11. The plague of Jerusalem’s enemies, Zechariah 14:12-38.14.15. The remnant shall turn to the Lord, Zechariah 14:16-38.14.19. The holiness of all that belongeth to them, Zechariah 14:20,Zechariah 14:21.
Behold: here are things of very great importance, and of very mysterious nature, proposed by the Lord to us, and therefore we are called upon to attend to them.
The day of the Lord, the day which the Lord hath appointed for punishing the sins of his ancient people, day of his sacrifice, Zephaniah 1:8, of vengeance, Joel 2:1,Joel 2:2.
Cometh; hasteth, or will soon overtake you, O sinful, unthankful, bloody Jews, who first despised and next murdered the Messiah!
Thy spoil, all thou hast, O Jerusalem, shall become a prey to thine enemy.
Shall be divided in the midst of thee: thy conquering enemies shall be such absolute masters of thee, that in greatest security they shall divide among themselves what they take from thee, in the very place where they take it: Jerusalem is their own, and all in it, and where they find their own they will take it; so they reckon.
For: this gives not the reason why, but introduceth an account how, this thing shall be done.
I will gather: God will summon and bring together his army. They do it themselves by their own counsels, for their own works and ends; God also hath his work for them to do, and by his counsel and at his call they shall come.
All nations; the Romans, with the power of their empire, which at that time had the rule over all the known world, or over all the Nations of that part of the world.
Against Jerusalem to battle; to make war with the Jews, which lasted some years, and cost many thousand lives, and ended at last as our prophet foretold.
The city shall be taken, by assault and force, whereby all lay at mercy of the soldiers, who showed little to those who first refused the mercy of their God, and, justly given up by God to their own blind, obstinate wills, refused the mercy of their enemy also.
The houses rifled; all houses pillaged, and all in them Worth taking was taken away.
The women ravished; wives, widows, and virgins barbarously violated.
Half of the city; a certain part for uncertain, or, in common speech, many; were it one half precisely it would be but a sixth part of what were before the wars; two-thirds being cut off, as Zechariah 13:8, and one-third remaining, of which one half is for captivity.
The residue of the people; that small number of the Jews which fled to Pella, and who were spared by Titus.
Shall not be cut off from the city; literally, were not forbidden to dwell in or about the city; mystically, were not cut off from the church, nor ceased to be a church; this the more likely, for Titus utterly ruined the city.
Then, after that he hath sufficiently punished Jerusalem and the rest of the Jews,
shall the Lord go forth, out of his holy place, (spoken after the manner of men,) as a warrior prepared for battle.
Fight against those nations, which had sacked Jerusalem, and oppressed his people.
As when he fought in the day of battle; as in any of those days past, when God fought for his people and gave them great victories.
Zechariah 14:3, the Lord is said to dome forth to fight for his people, this 4th verse tells us where he will take his post, or make a stand, viz. on Mount Olivet, which for its situation, in its height, and nearness to Jerusalem and the temple, might appear a convenient post for succours to post themselves on. God (speaking after the manner of men) promiseth succours to his church, and assureth her of his nearness to her, and of the prospect he hath over all that is about her, or in her; that she might be encouraged to wait on God, who is so near to her.
Before Jerusalem on the east; a geographical description of the situation of this mountain with respect to Jerusalem.
Shall cleave in the midst thereof; as if it were sensible of the majesty of God, who stands upon it: this cleaves, Sinai melted, at the presence of the God of the whole earth.
A very great valley; the consequent of this dividing of the mountain, a mighty valley appears running straight from east to west; so there should be plain and easy access from the place of the feet of the Lord unto Jerusalem.
Half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south; as if it knew how to comply with the design of God, and withdraw on each hand far enough out of the way, and be no hinderance to the intended relief of the church. So I judge (if these things were not by vision represented to the prophet, which I will not avow, though I may think so) the prophet doth parabolically set forth the future preservation and deliverance of the church of Christ: and suppose we then what wonderful effects the presence of God wrought of old whenever he appeared to rescue his people; how mountains fled, or melted, or sunk into plains, or, as here is said, divided, and made a deep and large valley, i.e. how every obstacle removed, that the relief might be sure and easy; so shall it be with the church of Christ, the gospel Jerusalem, in all times of its troubles; and though Jewish Jerusalem, that ancient city, be ruined, never to be built, yet a more excellent city, the Christian Jerusalem, shall be built, guarded, rescued, and never ruined; for the feet of the Lord shall stand so near to her, as Olivet to Jerusalem, and the way plain and easy before him on purpose to save her. In this manner I understand somewhat of the text, but I cannot suit it with particular accommodation of the events here mentioned, if I look on it as a prediction of what shall be done according to the letter, or be matter of history. Nor do I meet with any that do tell me any such thing hath been done between the time of Zechariah’s prophesying and Titus wasting and sacking Jerusalem, nor shall any such thing ever be if material Jerusalem never be built.
And ye, you that are members of the church, and whom God doth in wonderful power and majesty come to save,
shall flee; filled with apprehensions of such strange things, and troubled at the convulsions and strugglings of nations against God and you, shall, as in a great fear, flee to some place of safety and repose; you will flee the valley itself which God maketh: by terrible things in righteousness doth God answer, and his people tremble before him when he cometh to save them. So here are represented to us a people wonderfully saved, and astonished at the methods of it; God makes valleys in the midst of mountains, and they (for whose good they are made) flee those valleys. So the words were better read; our marginal readings and the Gallic version do so read it.
For, or although, or
valley reach unto Azal, which speaks, say some, a separate place, i.e. provided of God for their safety a Zoar for Lot, or Pella for the citizens of Jerusalem. They shall, as is usual in great frights and consternation of mind, not see how safe they are, or whither to go, but some will run for a while from or beyond their refuge.
As ye fled from before the earthquake: this was some dreadful earthquake, and put the people into a mighty fear, and made them flee in all haste; it is mentioned Amos 1:1; and the prophet tells us, that when God shakes the kingdoms of his enemies, to make a plain and level way for his ransomed ones, it shall make them flee for fear too.
The Lord my God shall come: as thus rendered it gives reason of this commotion of mind and this hasty flight. But it would be plainer if it were, as it may be, I think, read, and, or yet, O Lord my God, come, and bring all the saints with thee. As if it were said, Though it will, O Lord, put us into such fears; yet without such wonderful works we shall not have our hopes, nor see thy salvation; therefore, O Lord my God, come, and bring thy saints, holy ones, angels, with thee: and so will this be like that of St. John, Revelation 22:20, shutting up the visions of the new heaven and the new earth, and the appendages of them, with,
Come, Lord Jesus.
In that day; whilst God is fighting with the enemies of his church, the nations that fought against Jerusalem.
The light; good estate, peace, and welfare.
Shall not be clear; unmixed good, all light, it will not be so well with the church.
Nor dark; not so sad as all darkness, there shall be a temper of both, some peace with some trouble; some prosperity with some adversity; some mercy in midst of judgment to allay the bitterness of judgment, and some judgment with our mercies to allay their sweetness.
It shall be one day; one continued day, no setting of the sun to make it quite night; God will always act in order to the full salvation of his spiritual Jerusalem.
Known unto the Lord; the Lord knows when it shall begin, how long last, and how and when it shall (not as other days, end in a night, but) end in glorious light; till then it is enough for us that our God knows this day that is mixed of trouble and of peace.
At evening time, when other days end,
it shall be light; this shall be all light and glory, Isaiah 58:8; Psalms 97:11.
In that day; when the gospel shall be preached, and the days of dark ceremonies among the Jews, and darker ignorance and idolatry among the heathen, shall end.
Living waters; not only such as springs and fountains afford, living waters in opposition to standing, muddy, and dead waters; but such as give life, Ezekiel 47:1,Ezekiel 47:6,Ezekiel 47:7; the quickening, saving truths of the gospel, with all its ordinances in purity.
Shall go out, spread themselves or flow down as currents from good springs,
from Jerusalem; the church of Christ, the true Jerusalem.
Toward the former sea, or eastern sea, so far eastward as the sea will give leave; and who knows that sea?
Toward the hinder sea, or western sea. Synecdochically it is both east, west, north, and south: so from Jerusalem, i.e. the church. the doctrine of the gospel is preached abroad, and runs down as doth living water.
In summer and in winter shall it be; perpetually, without intermission or interruption, these waters should never dry away, nor ever lose their healing virtue.
The Lord; God, Father, Son, and Spirit,
Shall be King; acknowledged to be, men shall confess, that as he only is, so he ought to be owned, only true God, and King of his church.
Over all the earth; over the heathen. the Gentiles or Roman empire, as well as once over the Jewish state.
In that day of deposing idols, and advancing the true God, all his churches shall east off idolatry, and agree in worshipping one God, in one way of spiritual worship and hearty obedience.
All the land; the whole land of Judea, here, is type of the whole earth, seat of the catholic church, filled with the knowledge of God. and abounding in multitudes of converts.
Shall be turned as a plain; all high, uneven places, all high thoughts and imaginations, all rocky and barren ground, changed into fruitful vineyards. So the church of Christ shall be fruitful, humble, and lovely. as pastures rich in sheep, and rich for sheep.
From Geba, the north boundary of the land, to Rimmon, the south boundary of Judea.
Jerusalem; which taken here not literally, but mystically, is the church of Christ in gospel days; and by the repair of all parts of this Jerusalem, as were described, is shadowed out the full and complete building of the church on all sides, north, south, west, and east.
It shall be lifted up; raised out of the dust and rubbish to which enemies had brought her, through God’s permission; but never should be able to keep her in that low state, since God was resolved to raise her.
And inhabited in her place: still it is emblematical of the Christian church.
Benjamin’s gate north-east,
Hananeel’s tower south, wine-presses north; that is, in brief, completely round the city.
Men, i.e. many for number, or eminent for worth,
shall dwell in it: as it was type, this was verified, say some, when in league with Bacchides and succeeding kings. But in the antitype, to which Zechariah looks, it is now, as it hath been, fulfilled, and more fully shall be, when the fulness of the Gentiles cometh in.
There shall be no more utter destruction; there may be afflictions and troubles, but no utter wasting of Jerusalem; the gates of hell shall not prevail.
But Jerusalem, the antitype, the gospel church,
shall be safely inhabited; not secure from troubles, but secure enough from total destruction.
That have fought against; maliciously to destroy, and waste, and extirpate Jerusalem; the ringleaders, especially such as Antiochus, Herod, &c.
Their flesh shall consume away; when they are fat, fleshy, and strong, their flesh or strength shall utterly perish.
While they stand on their feet; either in arms ready to fight, or so suddenly they shall not have time to sit down; a very sudden death is threatened to them.
Their eyes shall consume away in their holes; a dreadful and exemplary blindness shall seize them.
Their tongue shall consume away in their mouth; in which member, by strange judgments on them, some persecutors also have felt God’s hand.
In that day; when God punisheth those that invaded and wasted Jerusalem, his church.
A great tumult; confusion, vexation, and inclination to turn all upside down.
From the Lord; from the just displeasure of God, and in revenge on them for troubling his people.
Shall be among them, the bloody, cruel, and insatiable enemies of Jerusalem.
His hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour; from murmurs and grudgings one against another, they shall at last run into civil wars, and fight one with another, and so destroy themselves, and revenge Jerusalem. As they did, Judges 7:22; Judges 9:23.
Judah; the Jews, and particularly those of the tribe of Judah, and possibly Judas Maccabeus might be intended too, as those who in that day were valiant warriors, and successful: against the church’s enemies. And many such have been among the Christians too since those days.
Shall fight, with courage, good conduct, and success.
At Jerusalem; both in the land of Judea, and also at Jerusalem.
The wealth of all the heathen; the nations round about them, who having by foreign war peeled and robbed many nations, had brought it herod, and now God gave it to the Jews; and in like manner have many Christians spoiled those that spoiled them.
Those creatures which the enemy in the wars made use of against the church, shall by the hand of God be suddenly and strangely either destroyed or made useless, neither fit to annoy the church nor to benefit their owners. As God destroyed much of the cattle of the Egyptians by hail, and murrain, &c.; so now shall it be with the cattle of these persecutors, they shall perish with their masters. The horses, as the horsemen, were drowned in the Red Sea.
Every one that is left; such as escape the stroke, and are by mercy reserved, very many of them, among all the nations, shall consider God’s hand, repent, and submit themselves to his law; they shall, (as many did,) on sight of God’s hand for the church, and against the church’s enemies, convert, become proselytes and Christians.
Shall even go up from year to year to worship: by a ceremonial phrase and usage, which shadowed out a better worship, the prophet foretells, the constant zeal and care the converted Gentiles should have to worship the Lord.
To keep the feast of tabernacles; one solemn festival, by a figure, put for all the days consecrated to God for holy worship, and this perhaps with an eye to Christ’s tabernacling with us, and may point to the Christian sabbath.
Whoso will not come up, if there be any more remiss than they ought herein, and neglect to worship the Lord, even upon them shall be no rain; they shall be punished with want of rain, and with want of the blessings which plentiful and seasonable rain produceth, their land shall be barren.
Egypt should think, though they had no rain, they should not be much losers by that, having the Nile to water their ground and make it fruitful. God by his prophet answers them, they shall fall under penury and famine, the very selfsame punishment which shall fall on other nations, if they neglected his worship. The Lord hath more ways than one to withhold the fruits of the earth, and send famine among people.
And what he saith of Egypt, he saith of all contemners of his law and worship; their sin is the same, their punishment shall be the same, for with God is no respect of persons.
In that day; when the nations are converted to God, as it is Zechariah 14:16.
Shall there be upon the bells of the horses; written as it were on every common thing; such as the bells, bridles. or collars, or stables of horses; in these very things, i.e. the use of them, they should make it appear they were for God and for his worship, wheresoever these things may serve or promote it.
Holiness unto the Lord: this was the inscription on the rich mitre of the Jewish high priest, denoting the great holiness of his office, and how lie was dedicated to God, and that he ought to keep himself holy in all things, especially in things of Divine worship. Now in these days of the gospel, when Gentiles are converted to Christ, made priests unto God, are made holy nations, a royal priesthood, the grace of God shall so abound and prevail, that common, ordinary things in the hands of Christians, much more their persons, shall hear the dedicating inscription of
Holiness to the Lord, and by their study of holiness they shall make good their motto.
The pots; which were used in the kitchens of the temple, for the use of the priest, and were not accounted so sacred as the utensils nearer to the sacrifices and altar.
Shall be like the bowls; which received the blood of the sacrifices, and retained it, until the ministering priest had finished his service, and sprinkled it as commanded: now these, as appropriated to be used nearer to the altar, were more esteemed as more holy; so should holiness in these days spoken of exceed the holiness of those former days.
Every pot; the utensils of private houses shall be so dedicated to God’s service, that without scruple they shall on occasion be used, or might be used, in the worship of God.
In Jerusalem and in Judah; the types, but the gospel church is the antitype; in the times hereof every family shall be a temple in which God shall be worshipped, and their house-pots in the worship of God shall be in extraordinary cases used without scruples.
Holiness unto the Lord of hosts: see Zechariah 14:20.
All they that sacrifice: in allusion to sacrifices, the prophet expresseth all religious affections, practice, and worship, which shall be as pleasing to God as were the sacrifices of his people offered up with Divine warrant and approbation.
Shall come and take of them, freely, without scruple,
and seethe therein; seethe that part of the sacrifice which pertaineth to the priests and to the offerer to feast on, in their house-pots.
There shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts; any of the accursed nation, or one who makes merchandise of religion. In a word, by allusion used here, we understand that time will come, when scrupulous adhering to ceremonies shall not be, as formerly it was, deemed so necessary, so material in the worship; but all shall know that the Lord hath greatest pleasure in upright, hearty, and sincere love and holiness.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 14". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent