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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 9

Simeon's Horae HomileticaeHorae Homileticae

Verse 9


Zechariah 9:9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

THERE is scarcely any circumstance relating to the life and death of Christ which was not made a subject of prophecy many hundred years before he came into the world. Even things the most improbable in themselves were predicted, that by their accomplishment the truth of his divine mission might be more fully manifest. That the words before us do indeed relate to him, is certain; because the voice of inspiration assures us that they were fulfilled when he entered into Jerusalem riding on the foal of an ass. In discoursing on them we shall consider,


The description here given of Jesus—

In his office he is the “King of Zion”—

[The whole universe is under his dominion, seeing that he is “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” But he is in a more eminent manner King of Zion, because all the members of Zion are his subjects willingly and by an unfeigned surrender of themselves to him. They gladly receive his laws; and he constantly affords them his protection. As the Church in the wilderness was under a visible theocracy, so is the Church in all ages, and every individual in the Church, really, though invisibly, under the care and government of Jesus [Note: Ephesians 1:22.].]

In his character he is the best of princes—

He is just—
[His justice appears in every law which he has enacted, and his righteousness in every part of his administration. There are indeed many things in his government, which we are not at present able to account for; but the day of judgment will clear up all the present obscurities, and manifest, that every the minutest occurrence was ordered by him with unerring wisdom, goodness, and truth. It will then be seen that “righteousness was at all times the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins [Note: Isaiah 11:5.].”]

He is powerful—
[Earthly kings may be just, yet not be able to screen their subjects from the injustice of others. But Jesus “has salvation” in his hand for all those who call upon him. Does sin oppress us? he can deliver us both from its guilt and power. Does Satan assault and buffet us? “His grace shall he sufficient” for the weakest of his people. Does “the fear of death keep us in bondage?” He can make us triumphant both in the prospect of it now, and in a happy resurrection at the last day.]

He is lowly—
[Great power and dignity are too often the means of engendering pride in our hearts. The kings of the earth would think it a degradation to converse familiarly with their meanest subjects; but our Almighty Monarch possesses a lowliness of mind, which makes him accessible to every subject in his dominions. There is not any moment when we may not enter into his presence, nor any complaint which we may not pour into his bosom. His ear is ever open to hear, and his hand ever stretched out to relieve, his needy suppliants. The same lowliness which induced him, at his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to ride upon a young ass, with no other furniture than the clothes of his poor disciples, when he might as easily have commanded all the pomp and splendour of an earthly monarch, still actuates him in his exalted state. There is no office to which he will not condescend for the benefit of those who wait upon him.]
From this description of Jesus we may well be prepared to hear,


The exhortation to rejoice in his advent—

The advent of such a prince is a proper ground of joy for all people—
[When first he came in the flesh, the event was announced by angels as glad-tidings of great joy to all people. And all the multitudes who surrounded him at the time referred to in the text, were penetrated with the liveliest joy. And is there not now as much cause for joy as on either of those occasions? Are not the great ends of his advent better understood now than at his incarnation? and the nature of his kingdom more clearly seen than at the time of his triumphant entry into Jerusalem? Surely then our joy should far surpass all that could be experienced at those seasons. How should poor captives now rejoice to hear that there is one proclaiming liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound! If an earthly king were coming not only to redress all the grievances of his people, but to relieve all their wants, and enrich them with all that their hearts could desire, would not all exult and leap for joy? Would not every one be impatient to see him, and to receive his benefits? Why then should not all rejoice in the advent of Him, who is come to bind up the broken-hearted, and to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness?]
But the “daughters of Zion” in particular should rejoice in this event—
[The daughters of Zion are the true members of the church, who have been begotten by the Word and Spirit of God. These are addressed by the prophet, and are bidden to exult and “shout” for joy. Well does the prophet select them as the persons to whom he should direct his exhortation. “Let them give thanks whom the Lord hath redeemed.” They know the glorious character of their prince. They have found both his laws and government to be “holy and just and good.” They have experienced his power to save, “to save to the uttermost those that call upon him.” They have continual proofs of his lowliness, being admitted daily to the most intimate fellowship with him. Should not they then rejoice? “Surely the very stones would cry out against them it they held their peace.” “Behold” then, believers, your King, even he whom you have chosen to reign over you, is come. He now waits for you. “Arise, lo! he calleth you.” Go, enter into his presence-chamber, and receive the blessings which he is come to bestow.]


[Are there any who feel no disposition to rejoice in this event? Alas! too many, like Herod and the Pharisees, cannot join in the general chorus. Let them not, however, imagine themselves related to the church of God: they are daughters of the world, but not daughters of Zion; nor need they have any other evidence of their alienation from God, than their want of joy in the Lord. How base is their ingratitude! that the Lord of glory should come down from heaven for them, and they have no hearts to welcome his arrival: that they should be gratified with the company of an earthly friend, and have no delight in communion with Jesus. Surely if they were to have all the curses of God’s law inflicted on them, who served not the Lord with joyfulness and gladness of heart on account of the temporal benefits bestowed upon them [Note: Deuteronomy 28:45; Deuteronomy 28:47.], they must have a far heavier condemnation, who so despise the condescension and love of our incarnate God. Mark then the alternative to which ye are reduced; ye must begin now that joy in the Lord which ye shall possess for ever, or, by continuing insensible of his mercy, continue destitute of any interest in it to all eternity. Choose ye now whether ye will have life or death: remember, however necessary it may be at other times to weep for your sins, it is to joy that we now invite you; not to carnal joy, but to that which is spiritual and heavenly. We unite with the Apostle in saying, “Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again, I say, Rejoice.” Methinks such an exhortation should not be slighted, especially when your present joy is to be a certain prelude to eternal happiness: but if ye will still despise the mercies of your God, behold this King cometh shortly to judge the world; behold he cometh riding upon the heavens with myriads of the heavenly host: know too that he is just and powerful; but his justice will condemn, and his power punish you. Go to him then in this day of salvation, welcome him in this the accepted time; so shall you, at his second coming, behold his face with joy, and join the choir of heaven in everlasting hallelujahs.]

Verse 12


Zechariah 9:12. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.

IF the declarations of God be humiliating, and the denunciations of his vengeance awful, we must acknowledge that his invitations and promises afford us all the encouragement we can desire; inasmuch as they are addressed to persons in those very circumstances wherein we are. Nor should we be averse to confess the truth of our state, when we see what provision God has made for our happiness and salvation. The words before us lead us to consider,


The persons addressed—

All men, as sinners, are condemned by the law of God, and may therefore be considered as prisoners arrested by divine justice, and sentenced to eternal death. But they who hear the Gospel are “prisoners of hope:”


Though they be prisoners, yet they have a hope—

[Those, who have died in their sins, are utterly without hope, being reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day. But as long as we continue in the world, we need not to despair. The invitations of the Gospel are sent to us; nor can any thing but an obstinate rejection of divine mercy cut us off from the blessings of salvation. Though we are condemned, and are every hour in danger of having the sentence executed upon us, yet there is a way opened for us to escape, and we may obtain mercy even at the eleventh hour.]


There is however but one hope, unto which all are shut up [Note: Galatians 3:23.]—

[Christ is set before us as the way, the truth, and the life; nor is there any other name given under heaven whereby we can be saved. We are all enclosed as the prophets of Baal: and the order is given, Go in and slay [Note: 2 Kings 10:18-25.]: but Christ says, “1 am the door [Note: John 10:9.];” and if we will flee out at that door, we shall live; if not, we shall perish in our sins. Christ came on purpose to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound: to them that are sitting in the prison-house, lie says, Go forth, and shew yourselves [Note: Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 49:9; Isaiah 61:1.]. But if we spend our time in devising other methods of escape besides that which he has provided, the hour appointed for execution will come, and we shall suffer the punishment which our sins have merited.]

Thus while we see that all, who need the provisions of the Gospel, are addressed by it, let us consider,


The invitation given them—

Christ is here represented as a strong hold—
[Christ is evidently the person referred to in the whole preceding context. He is that meek but powerful King, who comes to subdue all nations to himself, not by carnal weapons, but by speaking peace to them; and who confirms his kindness towards them by a covenant sealed with his own blood [Note: Zechariah 9:9-11.]. He is represented as a strong hold to which, not the righteous only, but the most ungodly, may run for safety. Here may be some allusion to the cities of refuge to which the manslayer was appointed to flee, and in which he found protection from his blood-thirsty pursuer [Note: Numbers 35:11-12.]. Such a refuge is Christ, an impregnable fortress, which defies the assaults of earth and hell.]

To this we are all invited to turn—
[The Gospel thus exhibits Christ, not as an abstract speculation, but as a remedy which we greatly need: and in exhorting us to “turn to this strong hold,”it recommends us to renounce all false refuges, to regard Christ as our only Saviour, and to seek in him that protection which he alone can afford us. It stretches out the hand to us, as Christ did to Peter, when he was sinking in the waves. It urges us to go without hesitation, and without delay, to him, who alone can deliver us from the wrath to come, and bring us into the liberty of God’s children. To the same effect it speaks in numberless other passages: it calls the thirsty to come for refreshment, the weary to come for rest, and to the dying says, “Look unto Christ and be ye saved.”]
But because even the most needy are apt to turn a deaf ear to the calls of the Gospel, we would direct your attention to,


The promise with which the invitation is enforced—

The terms in which the promise is conveyed, are somewhat obscure—
[The expression of “rendering double”will be best understood by comparing it with other passages of the same kind [Note: Isaiah 40:2; Isaiah 61:7.]. From them its import appears to be, that God will give us blessings in rich abundance; not according to the sufferings we have endured [Note: Psalms 90:15.], but double; not corresponding to the punishment we have deserved, but double; not equal to the blessings enjoyed by our fathers, but double. Or perhaps it may be best explained by the Apostle’s declaration, that God will give us “abundantly, exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think.”Certainly the promise implies, that we shall not only be delivered from prison, but be restored to the favour of our God; not only have our debt discharged, but be enriched with a glorious inheritance.]

The manner in which it is given is peculiarly solemn and energetic—
[God is desirous that we should give implicit credit to his word: hence he speaks as one who would on no account recede from it: he speaks as in the presence of ten thousand witnesses, and pledges all his perfections for the performance of his promise. And as the day of our desponding fears is long remembered by us, and as we, in that day, find a want of all the support which God himself can administer, he dates his promise as made to us in that very day; not at a time when our difficulties were not foreseen, but when they were at the height, and when nothing but the immediate hand of God could deliver us. Yea, God would have us consider the promise as made to us this day, this very day, this very hour, when we most need the application of it to our souls; and, that every individual may take it to himself and rely on it as intended for himself alone, the promise is made particular, while the invitation is general.]


How astonishing are the condescension and compassion of God!

[Behold the Judge offers mercy to the prisoners, and urges them in the most affectionate manner to accept it! Methinks prisoners in general would need no entreaty to leave their dungeons; if their prison doors were open, and their chains were beaten off, they would be glad enough to effect their escape, though at the risk of a severer punishment. Nor would a manslayer need much importunity to enter into the city of refuge, if an armed avenger were closely pursuing him. Yet we slight the invitations of our God, and the security he has provided for us. Well then might he leave us to perish! But behold, he enforces his invitations with the most gracious promises: he engages to exceed our utmost wishes or conceptions. And shall we not admire such transcendent grace? Shall we not adore him for such marvellous loving-kindness? O let every heart glow with love to him, and every tongue declare his praise!]


How reasonable is zeal in the concerns of religion!

Zeal is approved in every thing, but in that which most of all deserves it. But would any one ask a defeated army, why they fled with haste to an impregnable fortress? Surely, it is no less absurd to condemn the prisoners of hope for any earnestness they may manifest in turning to their strong hold. Coldness in such circumstances is the most deplorable infatuation. Let all then exert themselves to the utmost of their power. Let them never regard the scoffs of those who are in love with their chains, and regardless of the salvation offered them. But let them strive, as men wrestling for the mastery, and run as those that are determined to win the prize.]


How great is the danger of delay!

[Now we are prisoners of hope! but soon we may be in that prison from whence there is no escape, and into which not one ray of hope can ever enter. Shall we not then turn, while the strong hold is open to us? Shall we stay till the gate is shut; and thus, instead of obtaining double mercies, procure to ourselves an aggravated condemnation? Today God invites and promises; to-morrow may terminate our day of grace. Let us then no longer delay; but “today, while it is called to-day, let us hear his voice,” and “flee for refuge to the hope set before us.”]

Verse 17


Zechariah 9:17. How great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty!

THE glory of Christ is manifested throughout all the Holy Scriptures. This is attested both by the Apostles and by our Lord himself [Note: Acts 10:43.Luke 24:27; Luke 24:27. John 5:39.]. In the New Testament he shines like the sun in an unclouded atmosphere: in the Old, though generally veiled, he often bursts forth as from behind a cloud with astonishing beauty and splendour. Such a view of him is exhibited in the chapter now before us [Note: After foretelling the preservation of the Jews amidst the destruction of surrounding nations, the prophet called their attention to Christ, as their lowly but triumphant king (ver. 9.), who should redeem them by his blood (ver. 11.), be a strong hold to all who should turn unto him (ver. 12.), and save them with an everlasting salvation, (ver. 16.)]: nor could the prophet himself forbear exclaiming with wonder and admiration, “How great is his goodness!”&c.

We cannot have our minds more delightfully occupied than in contemplating,


The goodness of our Lord—

In the context he is set forth as the God of providence and grace: and, in order to behold his goodness, we must view him in both respects:


As the God of providence—

[As all things wove created, so are they upheld and governed by him. To him we owe the preservation of our corporeal and intellectual powers. We are continually fed by his bounty, and protected by his arm. The meanest creature in the universe has abundant reason to adore him. His own people in particular may discern unnumbered instances of his goodness in his dispensations towards them. His most afflictive as well as his more pleasing dispensations afford them much occasion for gratitude and thanksgiving [Note: Psalms 119:75.].]


As a God of grace—

[Jesus is the one fountain of spiritual blessings to his Church [Note: Ephesians 1:22.]. Neither Prophets nor Apostles had any grace but from him [Note: John 1:16.]. To him we must ascribe every good disposition that is in our hearts [Note: Philippians 2:13.Hebrews 12:2; Hebrews 12:2.]. What reason then have his faithful followers to bless his name! How thankful should they be that he called them by his grace! That he so distinguished them, not only from the fallen angels, but from multitudes of the human race! With what gratitude should they acknowledge his continued kindness! Though they have often turned back from him, he has not cast them off. Yea, rather, he has “healed their backslidings and loved them freely.” Surely, every blessing they receive, and every victory they gain, should fill them with admiring thoughts of his goodness [Note: 2 Corinthians 2:14.]. Let every soul then comply with that injunction of the Psalmist [Note: Psalms 145:7.]—. And, like him, repeat the wish, which a sense of his mercies must inspire [Note: Psalms 107:8; Psalms 107:15; Psalms 107:21; Psalms 107:31.]—.]

If we have just conceptions of his goodness we shall be more able to behold,


His beauty—

The world behold “no beauty nor comeliness” in the face of Jesus; but the saints of “old saw his glory as the glory of the only-begotten of the Father”—
This we also may see, if we survey him,


In his divine character—

[“We cannot by searching find out the Almighty to perfection.” Little do we know of the greatness of his majesty, or the thunder of his power [Note: Job 26:14.]. We cannot comprehend his unsearchable wisdom, his unspotted holiness, his inviolable truth and faithfulness. We can scarcely form any idea of the inflexibility of his justice, the extent of his mercy, or the heights and depths of his love [Note: Ephesians 3:19.]; We know that Jesus is the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person [Note: Hebrews 1:3.]: but, when we attempt to delineate that image, we only “darken counsel by words without knowledge [Note: Job 38:2.].” His glory is more than the feeble language of mortality can express.]


In his human character—

[Here we look at him, as the Jews at Moses when his face was veiled, and can contemplate him more easily, because he shines with a less radiant lustre. Doubtless while he lay in the manger the virtues of his mind beamed forth in his countenance. Nor is it to be wondered at that the Jewish doctors were so filled with admiration at him while he was yet a child [Note: Luke 2:46-47.]. But principally must we view him during the course of his ministry. What marvellous compassion did he manifest to the souls and bodies of men! Not one applied to him for bodily or spiritual health without obtaining his request. And when many were hardened in their sins he wept over them [Note: Luke 19:41.]; yea, he even pleaded the cause of those who mocked and reviled him on the cross [Note: Luke 23:34.]. His zeal for God was ardent and unremitted. It was “his meat and drink to do the will of his heavenly Father;” nor could any thing for one moment divert or deter him from the prosecution of his work. His meekness, patience, fortitude, were altogether invincible. Whatever was amiable and excellent in man abounded in him [Note: Psalms 45:2.]. He was not merely virtuous, but virtue itself incarnate. Nor, though continually tried in the hottest furnace, was there found in him the smallest imperfection or alloy [Note: John 14:30.].]


In his mediatorial character—

[With what readiness did he become a surety for sinful man [Note: Psalms 40:7-8.]! What astonishing condescension did he manifest in uniting himself to our nature! How cheerfully did he go forth to meet the sufferings that were appointed for him. In the garden and on the cross, when to the eye of sense “his visage was marred more than any man’s,” his beauty was most conspicuous to the eye of faith. His obedience unto death was the fruit of his love, and the price of our redemption. How beautiful is he now in the eyes of those who behold his glory! And how will he “be admired and glorified by all” in the last day! Satan must have blinded us indeed if we be yet insensible to his charms [Note: 2 Corinthians 4:4.]. If we be true believers, he cannot but be precious to our souls [Note: 1 Peter 2:7.].]


To those who have never yet beheld the goodness and beauty of the Lord—

[We speak not now to those who seek his face, and long to enjoy him; for though their sorrow endure for a night, joy will come to them in the morning. But they, who pant not after him, are miserably ignorant of his excellency. Their views of Christ are different from those of the most competent judges [Note: To the Father he is “chosen and precious,” 1 Peter 2:4; to the angels, the subject of their praise, Revelation 5:11-12; to saints of old, an object of great desire, Haggai 2:7. John 8:56; to all pious men at this time, their supreme good, Philippians 3:7-8.], and different from what they will shortly be in the eternal world. Let such persons diligently consider the Saviour’s character, and cry to God for that spirit whose office it is to reveal Christ unto us. Then shall they both see the King in his beauty, and be changed into his image [Note: Isaiah 33:17. 2 Corinthians 3:18.].]


To those whose eyes have been opened to behold him—

[Let your meditations of him be more sweet and frequent. However much you know of him, there are unsearchable depths unfathomed. Let your determination therefore accord with that of David [Note: Psalms 27:4.]—. View him as appointing your trials, and dispensing your mercies. Consider him as the fountain from whence you are to have supplies of grace. Look to him as the example which you are continually to follow. Above all, rely on him as expiating your guilt, and interceding for you. Thus will you glory in him as your “friend and your beloved;” and at last will see him as he is, and be like him for ever.]

Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Zechariah 9". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/zechariah-9.html. 1832.
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