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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Zechariah 2

 

 

Verse 1

I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.

The man with the measuring line.-The city shall be fully restored and enlarged (Zechariah 2:2-5). Recall of the exiles (Zechariah 2:6-7). Yahweh will protect His people, and make their foes a spoil unto them (Zechariah 2:8-9). The nations shall be converted to Yahweh, as the result of His dwelling manifestly amidst His people (Zechariah 2:10-13).

Behold, a man with a measuring line. The same image to represent the same future fact as in Ezek. ; 41:42

. The "man" is Messiah (note, Zechariah 1:8), who, by measuring Jerusalem, is denoted as the Author of its coming restoration. Thus the Jews are encouraged in Zechariah's time to proceed with the building. Still more so shall they be hereby encouraged in the future restoration.


Verse 2

Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.

Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem - (cf. Revelation 11:1; Revelation 21:15-16). The measuring here as in Revelation implies the exactness of the proportions of the city and temple to be restored, and the definite completeness of the numbers both of the literal and of the spiritual Israel.

To see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length - rather, what is to be the due breadth and length.


Verse 3

And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him,

Behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him - the interpreting angel is met by another angel, sent by the measuring Divine Angel to "run" to Zechariah (Zechariah 2:4). Those who perform God's will must not merely creep nor walk, but run with alacrity.

Went forth - namely, from me (Zechariah).

Went out - from the measuring angel.


Verse 4

And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:

And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man - so Zechariah is called, as being still a youth when prophetically inspired (Grotius). Or, he is so called in respect to his ministry or service (cf. Numbers 11:27; Joshua 1:1) (Vatablus). Both ideas are probably included. Young men are, by their youthful energy, fit representatives of the energy which the Lord's service requires, (cf. Acts 5:6; Acts 5:10). Mere physical strength of youth, however, often utterly fails; but spiritual "strength" is ever "renewing" itself, and shall "not faint" in those that "wait upon the Lord" (Isaiah 40:30-31). Naturally, the "angel that talked with" Zechariah, is desired to "speak to" him the further communications to be made from the Divine Being.

Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. So many shall be its inhabitants that all could not be contained within the walls, but shall spread out in the open country around (Esther 9:19); and so secure shall they be, as not to need to shelter themselves and their cattle behind walls. So hereafter, Judea is to be "the land of unwalled villages" (Ezekiel 38:11). Spiritually, now, the Church has extended herself beyond the walls (Ephesians 2:14-15) of Mosaic ordinances, and has spread from cities to country villages, whose inhabitants gave their Latin name (Pagani, from pagus a village) to pagans, as being the last in parting with paganism.


Verse 5

For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.

For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about - (cf. Zechariah 2:4, "Jerusalem shall be ... as towns without walls"). Yet, as a city needs some wall, I, Yahweh, will act as a wall of fire which none durst approach (Zechariah 9:8, I, who am "Salvation" itself, will be thy wall of salvation; Psalms 35:3; Isaiah 26:1).

And will be the glory in the midst of her - not only a defense from foes outside, but a glory within (Isaiah 60:19; Revelation 21:23). The same combination of "glory and defense" is found in Isaiah 4:5, alluding to the pillar of cloud and fire which defended and enlightened Israel in the desert. Compare the "chariots of fire round about Elisha" in Dothan, 2 Kings 6:17. As God is to be her "glory" so shall she be His crown of "glory" (Isaiah 62:3).


Verse 6

Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.

Ho, ho! come forth, and flee from the land of the north - i:e., from Babylon: a type of the various Gentile lands, from which the Jews are to be recalled hereafter; hence, "the four winds of heaven" are specified, implying that they are to return from all quarters (Deuteronomy 28:64; Jeremiah 16:15; Ezekiel 17:21). The reason why they should flee from Babylon is,

(1) Because of the blessings promised to God's people in their own land;

(2) Because of the evils about to fall on their foe (Zechariah 2:7-9). Babylon was soon to fall before Darius, and its inhabitants to endure fearful calamities (Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 50:8; Jeremiah 51:6; Jeremiah 51:45).

Many of the Jews in Zechariah's time had not yet returned to Judea. Their tardiness was owing to

(1) Unbelief; also,

(2) Their land had long lain waste, and was surrounded with bitter foes;

(3) They regarded suspiciously the liberty of return given by Cyrus and Darius, as if these monarchs designed suddenly to crush them;

(4) Their long stay in Babylon had obliterated th e remembrance of their own land;

(5) The wealth and security there contrasted with Judea, where their temple and city were in ruins. All this betrayed foul ingratitude and disregard of God's extraordinary favour, which is infinitely to be preferred to all the wealth of the world (Calvin and Pembellus).

For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord. The reasoning is, I, who scattered you from your land to all quarters, can also gather you again to it.


Verse 7

Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.

Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. Thou, whose only sure dwelling is "Zion," inseparably connected with the temple, art altogether out of thy place in "dwelling with the daughter of Babylon" (i:e., Babylon and her people, Psalms 137:8; Isaiah 50:8).


Verse 8

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you - after restoring the "glory" (Zechariah 2:5; Isaiah 4:5; Romans 9:4) of Yahweh's presence to Jerusalem, He (God the Father) hath commissioned ME (God the Son, Isaiah 48:16, the divine Angel-God thus being at once the Sender and the Sent) to visit in wrath "the nations which spoiled you." Messiah's two-fold office from the Father is

(1) To glorify His Church;

(2) To punish its foes (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

Both offices manifest His glory (Proverbs 16:4).

For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye - namely, of Yahweh's eye (Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalms 17:8; Proverbs 7:2). The pupil, or aperture, through which rays pass to the retina, is the tenderest part of the eye; the member which we most sedulously guard from hurt, as being the dearest of our members; the one which feels most acutely the slightest injury, and the loss of which is irreparable.


Verse 9

For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.

For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them. A mere waive of God's hand can prostrate all foes (cf. Ruth 1:13; Job 20:13; Job 20:21; Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 19:16; Acts 13:11).

And they shall be a spoil to their servants - to the Jews, whom they had once as their slaves (cf. Isaiah 14:2). Since the Jews' state between the return from Babylon and Christ's coming was chequered with much adversity, this prophecy can only have its fulfillment under Christ.

And ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me. Messiah, sanctified and sent by God the Father into the world, is the true Prophet, the Antitype to Zechariah and all the prophets (Isaiah 48:16; Isaiah 61:1; John 10:36).


Verse 10

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.

Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee - primarily at Messiah's first advent (Psalms 40:7; John 1:14; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:16); more fully at His second advent (Isaiah 40:10). So Zechariah 9:9, where see the note (Isaiah 12:6; Ezekiel 37:27; Zephaniah 3:14, from whom Zechariah here derives the language which he stamps afresh with the sanction of inspiration). Meanwhile God dwells spiritually in His people (2 Corinthians 6:16).


Verse 11

And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.

And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day. The result of the Jews' exile in Babylon was that, at their subsequent return, through the diffusion of knowledge of their religion, many Gentiles became proselytes, worshipping in the court of the Gentiles (1 Kings 8:41). Cyrus, Darius, Alexander, Ptolemy, Philadelphus, Augustus, and Tiberius, paid respect to the temple by sending offerings (Grotius). But all this is but a shadow of the future conversion of the Gentiles which shall result from Yahweh in glory dwelling in Jerusalem (Psalms 102:15-16, and the confession, by "every tongue, that Jesus is Lord," will then fully redound "to the glory of God the Father;" Philippians 2:10-11).

Thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee - "unto thee" is here added to the same formula (Zechariah 2:9). Zion first shall "know (generally) that Yahweh of hosts hath sent" Messiah, by the judgments inflicted by Him on her foes. Subsequently, she shall know experimentally the particular sending of Messiah unto her. Yahweh here says, "I will dwell" (Zechariah 2:10), and then that JEHOVAH (Yahweh) of hosts sent Him; therefore Yahweh the Sender and Yahweh the Sent must be One.


Verse 12

And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.

And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land. Lest the joining of the Gentile "nations to Jehovah" (Zechariah 2:11) should lead the Jews to fear that their special relation to Him (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:29; Deuteronomy 32:9) as "His inheritance" should cease, this verse is added, to assure them of His making them so hereafter "again."

And shall choose Jerusalem again. The course of God's grace was interrupted for a time, but His covenant was not set aside; "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:28-29); the "election" was once for all, and therefore shall hold good forever.


Verse 13

Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.

Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord - before Yahweh (Hebrew #3068). Language derived from Habakkuk 2:20. 'Let all, in silent awe and reverence, await the Lord's coming interposition in behalf of His people!' This address is both to the Gentile foes, who prided themselves on their power, as if irresistible, and to the unbelieving Jews, who distrusted God's promises as incredible. Three reasons why they must be silent are implied:

(1) They are but "flesh," weak and ignorant;

(2) He is Yahweh all-wise and all-powerful. He is already "raised up out of His place," and who can stand before Him? (Pembellus) (Psalms 76:8-9).

He is raised up out of his holy habitation - i:e., out of heaven (Deuteronomy 26:15; 2 Chronicles 30:27; Isaiah 63:15), to judge and avenge His people by "punishing the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity" (Isaiah 26:21). Or, "out of his holy" temple, contemptible and incomplete as it looked then, when Zechariah urged them to rebuild it (Calvin). But the call to all to "be silent" is rather when God has come forth from heaven, where He has dwelt so long unseen, and when He is about to inflict vengeance on the foe, before taking up His dwelling in Zion and the temple. However, Psalms 50:1-2 ("Out of Zion God hath shined"), Psalms 50:3 ("Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him," etc.; cf. Habakkuk 2:3, "The vision at the end shall speak, and not lie"), Psalms 50:4 ("He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge his people"), favours Calvin's view. God is now "silent" while the Gentile foe speaks arrogance against His people; but "our God shall come and no longer keep silence;" then in turn must all flesh "be silent" before Him.

Remarks:

(1) The "man" Christ Jesus is the Master Builder of the Church, and shall, with exactest proportions, as the architect with his measuring line in his hand (Zechariah 2:1), at last complete perfectly the spiritual temple of God. The Gospel "line," which now reaches to but a limited extent, shall at last "go out through all the earth" (Psalms 19:4).

(2) Jerusalem, first of all, shall be restored (Zechariah 2:2). It shall then need no wall of stone, for Yahweh shall be "a wall of fire round about" (Zechariah 2:5). Whereas earthly walls, while they defend, straiten a city as to room, Jerusalem shall be extended as freely as if it had no walls, yet shall be as safe as if it had the strongest walls.

(3) While it shall have much of earthly riches and honours, its preeminent glory shall be Yahweh, "the glory in the midst of her." So the Church's true glory is not her gorgeous ceremonial, harmonious music, and showy vestments, but God by His Spirit now dwelling, unseen yet realized, as the glory in the midst of her; and her future glory shall be God manifested visibly as the everlasting light and glory of His redeemed, (Isaiah 60:19; Revelation 21:23).

(4) Angels "run" (Zechariah 2:4) with joyful alacrity to announce the glad tidings of Jerusalem's coming enlargement. Shall not we imitate them in the energetic zeal wherewith we announce to all, so far as our ability extends, that Christ, who is "our peace, hath broken down the middle wall of partition" which heretofore, through "the law of commandments contained in ordinances," limited the extension of the Church (Ephesians 2:14-15).

(5) Yahweh, who scattered His ancient people because of their sins, shall gather them because of His grace and mercies (Zechariah 2:6).

(6) Zion's part, therefore, is to cease to "dwell with the daughter of Babylon" (Zechariah 2:7). Believers are altogether out of their place when they are mixed up with the world, so as to identify themselves with its God-forgetting tastes, pleasures, and pursuits. Our high calling of God is, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).

(7) Messiah fulfils a two-fold mission from the Father (Zechariah 2:8): First, He comes again to glorify His Church; secondly, to "spoil the nations which spoiled" His people (Zechariah 2:8-9), and to make the nations servants to His people, who have hitherto been made to be servants to them. For Yahweh has as tender a concern for the safety of His Church as a man has for guarding from hurt "the apple of his eye." We feel the least touch upon the pupil of the eye, and carefully avoid it: so God regards a wound to His Church as a wound to His own honour in the sorest point, and jealously avenges it. A mere waive of God's "hand" is enough to discomfit utterly all our foes, if we be His people. We are so when the Spirit has taught us that "Yahweh of hosts," the Father, hath "sent" the Son to be the Saviour (John 11:42; John 17:3; John 17:25). Then we may confidently pray (Psalms 17:8), "Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me under the shadow of thy wings."

(8) Unless there be two distinct Yahwehs, the one divine, the other only human, Messiah must be divine. For the one Yahweh is represented (Zechariah 2:10-11) as sending the other, and at the same time the unity of the Sender and the Sent is implied; because He who comes and dwells in Jerusalem names Himself "Yahweh," and at the same time declares that Yahweh hath sent Him.

(9) When Zion shall know that the Father "hath sent" the Son (Zechariah 2:11), then shall also "the world know" that saving truth (John 17:21; John 17:23). The manifestation of the unity of the Church shall be the necessary forerunner of the manifestation of the unity of the glorious Triune God. "Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day" (Zechariah 2:11), when the Lord shall again manifest that He hath "chosen Jerusalem" as "His portion" (Zechariah 2:12). Let us hasten the blessed time, by "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3 ).

(10) Because God seems now to be silent, and not to pronounce the immediate doom of transgressors, the (10) Because God seems now to be silent, and not to pronounce the immediate doom of transgressors, the enemies of the Church speak proudly, and even blasphemously; but God will soon "come, and not keep silence" (Psalms 50:3) any longer. And when once "He is raised up out of His holy habitation," all flesh must "be silent," in reverent awe, "before Him" (Zechariah 2:13). Let us learn to reverence and love Him now betimes, before the day of His wrath is come: so shall we know experimentally the blessedness of all "that put their trust in Him."

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/zechariah-2.html. 1871-8.

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Friday, October 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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