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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Zechariah 10

 

 

Verse 1

Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.

Call to prayer to Yahweh, as contrasted with the idol-worship which had brought judgments on the princes and people. Blessings promised in answer to prayer:

(1) Their rulers shall be of themselves;

(2) The conquest of their enemies.

(3) The restoration and establishment of both Israel and Judah in their own land in lasting peace and piety.

Ask ye of the Lord rain - on which the abundance of grain promised by the Lord (Zechariah 9:17) depends. Yahweh alone can give it, and will give it on being asked (Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 14:22).

Rain in the time of the latter rain - i:e., the latter rain in its due time-namely, in spring, about February or March (Job ; Joel 2:23 ). The latter rain ripened the grain, as the former rain in October tended to fructify the seed. Including all temporal blessings; these, again, being types of spiritual ones. Though God has begun to bless us, we are not to relax our prayers. The former rain of conversion may have been given, but we must also ask for the latter rain of ripened sanctification. Though at Pentecost there was a former rain on the Jewish Church, a latter rain is still to be looked for when the full harvest of the nation's conversion shall be gathered in to God. The spirit of prayer in the Church is an index at once of her piety and of the spiritual blessings she may expect from God. When the Church is full of prayer, God pours out a full blessing.

So the Lord shall make bright clouds - rather, lightnings, the precursors of rain (Maurer).

And give them showers of rain , [m


Verse 2

For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.

For the idols have spoken vanity - literally, 'the teraphim,' the household gods, consulted in divination (note, Hosea 3:4). Derived by Gesenius from an Arabic root, 'comfort,' indicating them as the givers of comfort. Or an Ethiopian root, 'relics.' They seem to have been of human form, and were consulted for oracular responses. They were a corruption of the pure worship of Yahweh, framed originally by those who, not finding satisfaction in worshipping the unseen God alone, adopted visible symbols and images of Him, which they privately venerated, as the Penates and Lares, or household gods of Rome. Thus, Laban, who worshipped Yahweh, also had teraphim, which Rachel stole away (Genesis 31:19; cf. 1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 19:16). [The word is probably akin to Seraphim, Cherubim, the recognized symbol of God's presence, whence by corruption came the Egyptian Serapis (Genesis 3:24), raapaa' (Hebrew #7495), to heal; the Greek therapeuoo (Greek #2323) may also be compared.] Herein Zechariah shows that the Jews, by their own idolatry, had stayed the grace of God heretofore, which otherwise would have given them all those blessings, temporal and spiritual, which they are now (Zechariah 10:1) urged to "ask" for.

And the diviners - who gave responses to consulters of the Teraphim: as opposed to Yahweh and His true prophets.

Have seen a lie - pretending to see what they saw not, in giving responses.

They comfort in vain - literally, 'they give vapour [ chebel (Hebrew #2256)] for comfort' - i:e., give comforting promises to consulters, which are sure to come to naught (Job 13:4; Job 16:2; Job 21:34).

Therefore they went their way - i:e., Israel and Judah were led away captive.

As a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd - as sheep wander, and are a prey to every injury, when without a shepherd. So the Jews had been while they were without Yahweh, the true Shepherd; because the false prophets whom they trusted were no shepherds (Ezekiel 34:5). So now they are scattered, while they know not Messiah their Shepherd; typified in the state of the disciples, when they had forsaken Jesus and fled (Matthew 26:56 : cf. Zechariah 13:7).


Verse 3

Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.

Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds - the civil rulers of Israel and Judah, who abetted idolatry.

And I punished - literally, 'visited upon.' The same word, 'visited' [ paaqad (Hebrew #6485)], without the 'upon,' is presently after used in a good sense to heighten the contrast.

The goats - he-goats. As "shepherds" described what they ought to have been, so 'he-goats' describes what they were, the emblem of headstrong wantonness and offensive lust (margin, Isaiah 14:9; Ezekiel 34:17; Daniel 8:5; Matthew 25:33). The he-goats head the flock. They who are first in crime will be first in punishment.

For the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah - in mercy (Luke 1:68).

And hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. In Zechariah 9:13 they were represented under the image of bows and arrows, here under that of their commander-in-chief Yahweh's battle-horse (Song of Solomon 1:9). God can make His people, timid though they be as sheep, courageous as the charger. The general rode on the most beautiful and richly caparisoned, and had his horse tended with the greatest care. Yahweh might cast off the Jews for their vileness, but He regards His election or adoption of them; whence He calls them here "His flock," and therefore saves them.


Verse 4

Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.

Out of him - Judah is to be no more subject to foreigners, but from Judah himself shall come forth his rulers. Out of him - Judah is to be no more subject to foreigners, but from Judah himself shall come forth his rulers.

The corner - stone, Messiah (Isaiah 28:16). [ Pinaah (Hebrew #6438), a corner, from paanaah (Hebrew #6437), to turn.] "Corners" simply express governors (margin, 1 Samuel 14:38; margin, Isaiah 19:13; Numbers 24:17). The Maccabees, Judah's governors, and deliverers from Antiochus the oppressor, are primarily meant; but Messiah is the antitype. Messiah supports and binds together the Church, Jews and Gentiles.

Out of him the nail - (Judges 4:21; Isaiah 22:23). The large peg inside an Oriental tent, on which is hung most of its valuable furniture. On Messiah hang all the glory and hope of His people. The "nail" is a term often used for a "sure abode" (Ezra 9:8).

Out of him the battle-bow - (Zechariah 9:13). Judah shall not need foreign soldiery. Messiah shall be her battle-bow, especially at His second coming (Psalms 45:4-5; Revelation 6:2).

Out of him every oppressor together - rather, in a good sense [ nowgees (Hebrew #5065)], ruler, as the kindred Ethiopic term means. So the same Hebrew is translated "exactor" in Isaiah 60:17 - namely, one who exacts the tribute from the nations made tributary to Judah (Ludovicus de Dieu).


Verse 5

And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.

And the riders on horses shall be confounded - namely, the enemy's horsemen. Though the Jews were forbidden by the law to multiply horses in battle (Deuteronomy 17:16), they themselves figuratively are made Yahweh's war-horse (Zechariah 10:3; Psalms 20:7), and so tread down on foot the foe, with all his cavalry (Ezekiel 38:4; Daniel 11:40). Cavalry was the chief strength of the Syro-Grecian army (1 Maccabees 3:39).


Verse 6

And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.

And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph - i:e., both the kingdom of Judah and Benjamin, and that of the ten tribes. The distinct mention of both Judah and Israel shows that there is yet a more complete restoration than that from Babylon, when Judah alone, and a few Israelites from the other tribes, returned. The Maccabean deliverance is here connected with it, just as the painter groups on the same canvas objects in the foreground and hills far distant; or, as the comparatively near planet and the remote fixed star are seen together in the same firmament. Prophecy ever hastens to the glorious final consummation under Messiah.

And I will bring them again to place them - namely, securely in their own land. The Hebrew verb [ w


Verse 7

And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.

And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man - in the battle with the foe (Zechariah 10:3; Zechariah 10:5).

And their heart shall rejoice - at their victory over the foe.

Yea, their children shall see it, and be glad - who are not yet of age to serve. To teach patient waiting for God's promises. If ye do not at present see the fulfillment, your children shall, and their joy shall be complete.

Their heart shall rejoice in the Lord - the Giver of such a glorious victory.


Verse 8

I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.

I will hiss for them, and gather them. Keepers of bees by a whistle call them together. So Yahweh, by the mere word of His call, shall gather back to Palestine His scattered people (Zechariah 10:10; Isaiah 5:26; Ezekiel 36:11). The multitudes mentioned by Josephus (B. 3, Zechariah 3:2), as peopling Galilee two hundred years after this time, were a pledge of the future more perfect fulfillment of the prophecy.

For I have redeemed them - namely, in my covenant-purpose "I have redeemed them," both temporally and spiritually.

As they have increased - in former times.


Verse 9

And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again.

And I will sow them among the people. Their dispersion was with a special design. Like seed sown far and wide, they shall, when quickened themselves, be the fittest instruments for quickening others (cf. Micah 5:7). The slight hold they have on every soil where they now live, as also the commercial and therefore cosmopolitan character of their pursuits, making a change of residence easy to them, fit them peculiarly for missionary work (Moore). The wide dispersion of the Jews just before Christ's coming prepared the way similarly for the apostles' preaching in the various Jewish synagogues throughout the world; everywhere some of the Old Testament seed, previously sown, was ready to germinate when the New Testament light and heat were brought to bear on it by Gospel preachers. Thus the way was opened for entrance among the Gentiles. "I will sow" or "scatter them" [ 'ezraa`eem (Hebrew #2232)] is the Hebrew future, said of that which has been done, is being done, and may be done afterward (Maurer). (Compare Hosea 2:23.)

And they shall remember me in far countries - (Deuteronomy 30:1; 2 Chronicles 6:37). Implying the Jews' return to a right mind in "all the nations" where they are scattered simultaneously. Compare Luke 15:17-18, with Psalms 22:27, "All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord," preceded by "all ye the seed of Jacob, and glorify Him, and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel;" also Psalms 102:13-15.

And they shall live - in spiritual and political life.


Verse 10

I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.

I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria - the former the first, the latter among the last of Israel's oppressors (or representing the four great world-kingdoms, of which it was the first): types of the present universal dispersion, Egypt being south, Assyria north-opposite ends of the compass. Maurer conjectures that many Israelites fled to "Egypt" on the invasion of Tiglath-pileser. But Isaiah 11:11, and this passage, rather accord with the view of the future restoration.

And I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon. The whole of the Holy Land is described by two of its boundaries, the eastern ("Gilead," beyond Jordan) and the northern ("Lebanon").

And place shall not be found for them - i:e., there shall not be room enough for them, through their numbers (Isaiah 49:20; Isaiah 54:3).


Verse 11

And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away.

And he shall pass through the sea with affliction. - Personifying the "sea:" He shall afflict the sea - i:e., He shall cause it to cease to be an obstacle to Israel's return to Palestine (Isaiah 11:15-16). The Vulgate translates [ tsaaraah (Hebrew #6869)], 'the strait of the sea.' Maurer takes the Hebrew word as a verb, 'He shall cleave and smite,' etc. The English version is the best (Psalms 114:3). As Yahweh smote the Red Sea, to make a passage for His people (Exodus 14:16; Exodus 14:21), so hereafter shall He make a way through every obstacle which opposes Israel's restoration.

And all the deeps of the river shall dry up - the Nile (Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5) or the Euphrates. Thus the Red Sea and the Euphrates, in the former part of the verse, answer to "Assyria" and "Egypt" in the latter. Many think that the ten tribes are mainly located in Affghanistan, Malabar, and Abyssinia, countries whence in one case the return to Palestine would be across the Euphrates, in the other across the Nile.

And the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart - (Ezekiel 30:13).


Verse 12

And I will strengthen them in the LORD and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.

And I will strengthen them in the Lord - (Hosea 1:7). I, the Father, will strengthen them in the name - i:e., the manifested power of the Lord Messiah, the Son of God.

And they shall walk up and down in his name - i:e., live everywhere and continually under His protection, and according to His will (Genesis 5:22; Psalms 20:1; Psalms 20:7; Micah 4:5).

Remarks:

(1) Prayer is the appointed mean of bringing down "showers" both of temporal and spiritual blessings (Zechariah 10:1). The fact of the divine promise does not preclude the need of prayer for its fulfillment, but is to be the stimulus and encouragement to prayer.

(2) Our prayers are then to be the most earnest when the time appointed for the blessing draws nigh. "The time of the latter rain" may have come, yet we must ask for it. The former rains of the Spirit at Pentecost are a token of assurance that the Lord will give a still more copious effusion of the Spirit in the latter days of the Church.

(3) Men's own sins, rather than any external difficulty, stay the course of heavenly blessing. So long as they seek "comfort" anywhere else than in God, they seek "in vain" (Zechariah 10:2). The Jews, who were once the Lord's flock, have, through their rejection of Messiah, become as sheep having "no shepherd." Such too are all of every nation who, whether in words or in heart and life, refuse the salvation and loving care offered by the Good Shepherd.

(4) When the Lord visits His people in mercy He visits the ungodly in anger. He shall make an everlasting distinction between the "goats" and the sheep (Zechariah 10:3). Those who have been leaders in sin shall be foremost in suffering.

(5) Though the people of God be naturally timid as sheep, God can make them bold as the "battle horse" (Zechariah 10:3). It was out of unwarlike Judah that the Lord raised up the heroic Maccabees to deliver His people from the cruel oppressor Antiochus. Above all, it was from the little Bethlehem of Judah that Messiah, the chief cornerstone of the Church, the nail of a sure habitation to the people of God, and the battle-bow against their enemies, "came forth" (Zechariah 10:4). He will destroy at last the final anti-Christian foe of the Church. When the Lord is with us we are sure to "fight" successfully against every spiritual foe (Zechariah 10:5); because greater is He that is with us than all who are against us.

(6) God has "mercy" in store for Israel and Judah, and "they shall be as though He had not cast them off" (Zechariah 10:6), because of His everlasting love, as being "the Lord their God." Though the Jews of our day may not see it, yet "their children shall see it and be glad" (Zechariah 10:7). Therefore, God's promises are to be patiently waited for until God's good time. The scattered people of the covenant shall yet "remember" God "in the far countries" where they are scattered, and then shall be restored again to the land of their fathers. No obstacle can impede their return when God shall will it (Zechariah 10:11). "Sea" and "river" alike must make a way for them, as in the days of old (Zechariah 10:11). God the Father will strengthen them in Yahweh-Jesus: and in "the might of His name shall they walk up and down" (Zechariah 10:12).

(7) This last blessing belongs also in its fullest sense to the spiritual Israel-all true believers. They walk not in their own strength. But Yahweh the Father, who is here distinguished from Yahweh the Son (Zechariah 10:12). expressly promises to "strengthen them with all might, according to His glorious power" (Colossians 1:11), through "Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith" (Ephesians 3:16-17), so that "they can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth" them (Philippians 4:13). Let our resolve be, whatever others do, "we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever" (Micah 4:5).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/zechariah-10.html. 1871-8.

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