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The Prophet is here commissioned by the Lord to give many rich and precious promises concerning Jerusalem. The Lord will restore her waste places.
Again the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, 2. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion. With great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. 3 Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called, a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, The holy mountain. 4 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. 6 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts. 7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; 8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.
In offering my Commentary on this Chapter, I am very ready to allow all that former commentators have advanced in their referring what is here said of the prosperous state of Jerusalem, to the old Jerusalem, in the literal sense, as being very different after the people returned from the Babylonish captivity to what it was before. But I still think that far other, and far greater blessings are intended to be set forth, by the different things mentioned in this string of rich promises, than a mere respect to temporal enjoyments can justify. I shall take the freedom therefore with the Reader, while I look up for grace from the Lord to keep me from error, to observe, with great humbleness of spirit, that this Chapter will be very sweet, and very precious, if we read it spiritually, and read it with an eye to the days of the gospel. In this view, I beg the Reader to remark with me, how blessedly it opens. Thus saith the Lord of hosts. I admire the frequency of this expression. Surely it conveys, in the most blessed manner, the graciousness of the Lord. And when the Lord adds, that he was jealous for Zion with great jealously; may we not, after considering for how long a period He, whose goings forth had been of old from everlasting, had been longing for the time of his manifesting himself to Israel; may we not, I say, without violence to the expression, figure to ourselves the Lord Jesus Christ looking now with holy earnestness to the time as approaching? The Prophet Joel expresseth somewhat of the same kind. Then will the Lord (saith he) be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Joel 2:18 . And observe what follows. Thus saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And how is the Lord returned, but by tabernacling in our flesh? Surely this is the only return that could now fully delight the heart of Jesus, or satisfy the wants of the Church? This would be indeed to make Jerusalem's name the city of truth; when Jesus, the husband of his Church and people, gave his spouse his own name, who is himself the way, and the truth, and the life! John 14:1 . And this would be, under the presence of the Lord Jesus, to make the aged resting on their staffs from the blessed influence of grace, long known, and long enjoyed, from the Spirit of their Lord; and the young rejoicing in the streets of the Lord's holy mountain, under the awakenings of his love, when betimes brought into a saving acquaintance with the Lord God of their salvation. But, if we read those scriptures without an eye to gospel days, and the presence of Jesus, I cannot conceive that no real joy could be proposed from beholding aged sinners dwelling in the streets of the old Jerusalem, unawakened, unregenerated, and hastening to their graves in the same state as when they were born; nor boys and girls playing in the mere pastimes of thoughtlessness and childhood, without God, and without Christ in the world! If the Reader will turn to Jeremiah 31:11-17 he will find a parallel passage, and proved to refer to the days of Christ's manifestation in the flesh, by a portion of it so explained. Matthew 2:17-18 . I will not detain the Reader by enlarging on the many blessed things of a like nature contained in these verses, for the subject itself is endless. And indeed I hope, from the mere hints here given of explaining the subject spiritually, his own mind, under divine teaching, will be led to make many similar observations to those I have offered. Let me only add a thought on the graciousness of expression, in the Lord's taking off the thoughts of the people from the marvellous nature of those mercies, to the consideration of the greatness of his power, by whom these events were to be accomplished. His ability, and his love, and his covenant promises, become the full security of his people. It is this which brings his redeemed both from East and West, not Babylon, for this lay north, and the greater part of the people were returned. And in the days of Zechariah the western world had none of the children of Israel in it; and as for the Gentile Church, it was as yet unknown. So that every part of this blessed scripture concurs to point to the gospel days of the Lord Jesus, as the time spoken, and the blessings in it spiritually. For then it was the promise was to be fulfilled, when from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Lord said his name should be great among the Gentiles. Malachi 1:11 ; Hosea 2:23 ; Luke 13:29 .
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. 10 For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men everyone against his neighbour. 11 But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the Lord of hosts, 12 For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew: and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel: so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. 14 For thus saith the Lord of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord of hosts, and I repented not: 15 So again have I thought in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not. 16 These are the things, that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour: execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: 17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour: and love no false oath: for all these are thing's that I hate, saith the Lord.
The Lord is going on through these verses, as in the former, in the same strain of grace and love, to encourage the people with his assurances of favour. I beg the Reader to attend to what is here said by a gracious Lord, with an eye to the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and sure I am he will find abundant blessedness in the view. The peace here promised, is, peace in the blood of the cross. Before the soul is brought savingly acquainted with this, there can be no real peace to him that goes out, or to him that cometh in. But, when the curse of the fall is taken away by the redemption in Christ Jesus, then is the believer blessed, both in basket and in store. Then, to use the figurative language of this scripture in a spiritual sense, the vine of ordinances, and the increase of bread, even the bread of life, and the dew of heaven, in all the covenant blessings of the promises, will be poured out. And then all the fruits of the Spirit will be manifest in the life and conversation of the redeemed; and all the blessed effects here spoken of, speaking truth to his neighbour, and executing judgment, will follow. Oh! the glorious consequences of the coming of the Lord Jesus, in the hearts of those who live under his gracious influences!
And the word of the Lord of hosts came unto me, saying, (19) Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.
Here is another testimony to the spiritual sense of this sweet Chapter. It was one of the uniform characters of Christ's reign upon earth, that his Church should hold a perpetual feast. Isaiah 25:6-9 . And spiritually considered, it is always so. For when the believer is most exercised with difficulties, then it is the consolations of Jesus most abound. Yea, the very tear of grace is a tear of holy joy. Reader, do not forget what the Apostle saith. Romans 14:17 .
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people and the inhabitants of many cities: 21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. 22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. 23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
There never was a period, but in the days of the Lord Jesus Christ, when those events took place. But during our Lord's continuance in the flesh, we find numberless instances of many, who like the Greeks which came up to the feast, desired to see Jesus. John 12:20-21 . And immediately after the descent of the Holy Ghost, how general then the enquiry. But, I cannot but think, that what is said in the last verse of this Chapter, yet remains to be fulfilled. And I as humbly conceive, that the call and conversion of God's ancient people the Jews, will be, as is here said, brought about by a wonderful power in one and the same time. Reader! do observe, that the great event here spoken of, and promised, is to be out of all languages of the nations. Now it is more than probable, that the dispersed of Israel are among nations with whom the natives of Europe have no knowledge or communion. And how then by human means, as instruments in the Lord's hands, will the gospel be conveyed to them? Besides, the promise is, that the Lord will set his hand again the second time, to recover the remnant of his people. What is meant by the second time, but in allusion to Egypt as the first wonderful deliverance the Lord wrought, in a public, open display of his sovereign power. See Isaiah 11:11 with Isaiah 19:18 to the end. While therefore it becomes a duty, and a privilege, in the instance of all that love the prosperity of Zion, to adopt every proper means, as instruments in the Lord's hands, for calling home our elder brother, the Jews, to the knowledge and enjoyment of the Lord Jesus Christ, and his salvation; it should seem very clear, that the Lord himself will accomplish this great work before the latter day glory, by stirring up in the minds of his redeemed the awakening cry here expressed, by the sweet influences of His Holy Spirit. For if out of all the languages of the nations, ten men shall thus express themselves, certain it is, that none but the Lord himself can bring such a wonderful event to pass in one and the same hour. Lord! I would say, hasten the blessed promise, and in thine own good time do good unto Zion; build thou the walls of Jerusalem! Psalms 51:18 :
Who that reads a Chapter, full of such exceeding great and precious promises as this is, but must rejoice for the consolation. Precious Lord Jesus! I would pray for grace to be looking unto thee for all, and eyeing thee in all. For it is in thee, and for thee, and solely on thy account, all that is here said of the joy of Jerusalem is founded. Thou art the cause of all; the one source and fountain of all, and the sum and substance to every individual in the enjoyment of all. By thy great undertaking, in thy person, offices, and character, thou hast accomplished all the grand purposes of redemption. And hence thy Jerusalem, thine holy mountain, shall rejoice in thee. Young men and maidens, old men and children, all find their felicity in thee, and thou art not only the purchaser and giver of their mercies, but thou thyself art their portion forever! Lord! hasten the many blessed promises here given, and yet to be fulfilled! All thy redeemed upon earth long to see the day of thy coming. And the souls of thy redeemed under the altar of heaven, are still sending forth the cry, Lord, how long! Oh! for our Jesus to come forth in the sovereignty of his grace and power, conquering and to conquer; subduing his people to the sceptre of his grace, and calling his redeemed out of all languages of the nations; that that wonderful event may soon be accomplished, when numbers in one and the same time shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, squint, we will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you of a truth. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Zechariah 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12