God is to be sought unto, and not idols. As he visited his people for sin, so he will save and restore them, when penitent.
Before Christ 517.
THIS chapter is a continuation of the prophesy begun in the preceding one, and goes on with a representation of the future prosperities of Judah and Israel in consequence of the recovery of God's favour; their military strength and victories; their complete and safe return into their own land, and their flourishing re-establishment in it.
Zechariah 10:1. Ask ye of the Lord, &c.— They asked of the Lord, &c. so the Lord gave them thunders and large showers, and every one had a green and flourishing field. This verse certainly ought not to have been separated from the foregoing, as it accounts for the joyous and plentiful harvests there spoken of, by attributing them to the seasonable showers vouchsafed by God in regard of the people having addressed their supplications to him; as, on the contrary, in the two next verses, their past misfortunes are expressly ascribed to their having had recourse to idols, which could not hear nor help them.
Zechariah 10:3. The goats— This should be rendered the he-goats, the chiefs and leaders of the flock, metaphorically put for the principal persons in a state. See Jeremiah 50:8; Jeremiah 50:46.
Against the shepherds— Or, the wicked priests, who purchased the priesthood for money. The next clause may be rendered, And I executed judgment upon the leaders; but the Lord of Hosts hath looked upon, &c. See Isaiah 14:9.
As his goodly horse in the battle— See Job's fine description of the war-horse, ch. Job 39:19-25 whose courage and strength are there displayed as setting forth the glorious perfections of his Maker. Such, it is said, God would make the house of Judah to be, furnished with every requisite for obtaining military success.
Zechariah 10:4. Out of him— Out of it: that is, out of the house of Judah.
The corner— Or, chief. A community is often represented as an edifice or building; and the corresponding parts expressed by the same name. Hence as the largest stones or timbers are used in the angles to bind together and strengthen the sides of the building, which meet therein as in a common centre; so the angle or corner metaphorically denotes the chief personage in a community, on whom its strength and security principally depends.
The nail— יתד iethed, is properly a nail or pin used to fasten the timbers or parts of a building together; and may therefore serve to denote the officers next in command under the chief, by whose means the common soldiers are united, kept steady, and in regular order. Bishop Lowth has two excellent notes on Isaiah 22:23-24 in which are stated the use and importance of nails, spikes, or wooden pins, and their application to denote persons eminent in station and power. Such a nail or pin was Eliakim to be, the support of his family and friends; and such had Shebna been; but he, it is said, Isaiah 22:25 was to be removed, cut down, and to fall, so as to involve in his ruin all that depended on him. In one of these notes the Bishop cites Ezra 9:8. "Grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place." That is, says the Bishop, as the margin of our English Bible explains it, "a constant and sure abode." But might it not rather mean, "a person of wisdom and authority to conduct and steady them, and on whom they might lean for support, after that God had brought them once more to his holy place?"
The battle-bow— This, I think, can only mean the archers in an army.
Every oppressor together— This should be rendered all that draw near together. In the house or building, these words would denote the stones of common use placed contiguous or in close order one by another. Correspondently in the army must be meant the close embodied phalanx, or main body of men of war advancing on together in regular order to meet the enemy.
Zechariah 10:5. Which tread down, &c.— Treading down the mire of the streets in battle, when they fight; because, &c.
The riders on horses— The people of Gog and Magog are said to be riders on horses, Ezekiel 38:15. See ch. Zechariah 12:4.
Zechariah 10:8. I will hiss for them— I will whistle for them, or give them the signal.
Zechariah 10:9. And I will sow them, &c.— When or though I have dispersed them among the nations, yet shall they remember me in far countries; and their children shall live and shall return. Houbigant. All this pertains to the last restoration of the Jews, which is adumbrated by the return of the Israelites from Egypt into Canaan. See Isaiah 11:11. Certain it is, says Bishop Chandler, that Israel's coming out of Egypt is often mentioned by the prophets, and always as the highest instance of God's interposition for their preservation. They also foretel other future deliverances, like that of Egypt, with a mighty hand and a stretched out arm, in the words of returning out of Egypt, because that was known to be a pattern of all miraculous escapes, for weighty ends of divine Providence. I will bring them again out of the land of Egypt, saith God; which could not be meant of the remnant after Nebuchadnezzar's desolation, that fled into Egypt, who were all to perish there, according to the prophesy of Jeremiah; but of the whole body of the Jews, who were to return from a captivity like that of Egypt, and in as wonderful a manner; and therefore Zechariah, keeping the figure of Egypt in view, speaks as if the Red Sea were to be again dried up for their passage: And he [Israel] shall pass through the sea with affliction; or, as the LXX read, the neck or strait of the Red Sea, &c. The expression occurs in Psalms 68:22 and in this proverbial sense St. Matthew seems to use the words, Matthew 2:15. Out of Egypt have I called my Son. See Chandler's defence, p. 217.
Zechariah 10:10. And place shall not be found for them— And it shall not suffice them. Houbigant.
Zechariah 10:11. And he shall pass, &c.— Some render these words, And when they shall be in straits or under difficulties, in passing over the sea, or river [Euphrates]; then they shall smite the waves in Euphrates, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, God is now returning in mercy to Israel; and therefore,
1. They are directed to apply to him for the rain in its season, on which the fruitfulness of their land depended. In Judaea the rain fell periodically; the former rain in autumn, about seed-time, the latter in March, April, and May; from which time to September they had scarcely any; and if these failed, the harvest necessarily suffered. Now God promises to hear their prayers, to send his clouds, and by watering their lands seasonably, to give them plenty of the fruits of the earth. The common blessings of Providence are to be humbly sought, nor looked upon as things of course, but as rich gifts of grace; and this may be referred mystically to the influences of God's Spirit, by which alone our souls can be quickened to bring forth fruit unto God; and therefore we must ask this holy spirit from God in ceaseless and importunate prayer.
2. None of the idols of the heathen, or those which their fathers worshipped, could give rain; their false prophets and diviners, who pretended to consult them, and return answers from them as oracular, were liars; they told false dreams, and comforted in vain; following these wicked shepherds, they had gone astray as a flock; and for this their shepherds, who had deluded them, were cut off in anger and none left; and the goats, the princes and priests, who, instead of going before the flock aright, misled and misused them, God had punished severely. By these examples they should therefore be warned, and cease from idolatry, worshipping and serving God alone. Especially,
3. Seeing that God had now done such great things for them, visiting them with his favour as his flock recovered from their dispersion and captivity; and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle, beautiful, strong, and formidable. Out of him went forth the corner, he laid the foundation of their restoration; out of him the nail, which fastened them together; out of him the battle-bow, all their military power was derived from him; out of him every oppressor, or exactor; either those enemies who had oppressed them did it by his permission; or the word may be taken in a correspondence with the rest, that all the might they had, or should be endued with, to make any of the neighbouring nations tributary to them, must be from his gift alone. See the critical notes. In my Reflections, I take the words in their common sense.
Some apply this to the Messiah, the corner-stone, the nail fastened in a sure place, the battle-bow to subdue all the enemies of his believing people.
2nd, The promises contained in the latter part of this chapter certainly look farther than the establishment of Israel after their first captivity; and appertain to the Gospel-church in general, or rather have special reference to the Jewish people in the last days, when they shall be turned to the Lord.
1. Consider them as applicable to the Israel of God in general. Because the Lord is with them, with the preachers of his Gospel, and the faithful in Christ Jesus; they shall be as mighty men, strengthened by grace to fight the Lord's battles against all their enemies, within and without, and the strongest shall fall before them. If they cleave by faith perseveringly to Jesus, they shall be saved through the mercy of God, and live safely and comfortably in the church of Christ below, being rescued from the bondage of corruption. They shall be branches of the true olive, and God will be their covenant God, ready to hear and answer all their prayers. He will fill them with spiritual joy, as men rejoice through new wine; and their blessings shall descend to children's children, who shall behold their fathers' mercies. The Gospel of Christ, as the shepherd's whistle, shall gather the faithful who yield to be saved by grace, out of all lands, from the captivity of sin, much more burdensome than that of Egypt or Assyria; for Jesus shall redeem those who fly to him for salvation from every enemy, through the virtue of his precious blood; and great shall be their multitude, far exceeding that of Israel, when increased as the sand of the sea-shore, see Hosea 1:10. God will sow them among the people, as his precious seed in all lands, and the most distant countries shall remember him, and, turning to the Lord and perseveringly giving him their hearts, shall live with their children the life of grace and glory. They shall possess the good land where all spiritual blessings abound, and place shall scarcely be found for the multitude of converts, and not one of them shall be left, righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters the sea. He will open a way for the faithful through all their difficulties, and cause their strongest and most inveterate foes to fall before them. In the Lord is their strength, therefore they must prevail, and they shall walk up and down in his name, going forth in his might, and making mention of his righteousness only, walking with God by faith, and holding that divine communion with him, which the world knows nothing of.
2. These promises may also be particularly applied to Israel, when they shall be recovered in the latter days from their present dispersion; when they will receive the true Messiah as their only Saviour, who will convert their hearts to himself, increasing them more than ever; will strengthen them against all their enemies, and probably make them his chief instruments in the ruin of the anti-christian foe; after whose fall, it is supposed by many of the best interpreters, they will dwell long and happily in their own land of Judea; and, being now become the people of Jesus, shall glory in his name as much as they have before blasphemed it.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Zechariah 10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Easter