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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Zechariah 9

 

 

Verse 1

ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 9

Amidst the judgments of the neighbouring nations God will defend his church, Zechariah 9:1-8. Zion is exhorted to rejoice for the coming of Christ, and his peaceable kingdom, Zechariah 9:9-11. God’s promises of victory and defence, Zechariah 9:12-17.

The burden, i.e. the heavy, sad, and grievous, the menacing prediction of future evils coming upon a people; so burden in prophetic style, Isaiah 13:1 15:1 Nahum 1:1 Habakkuk 1:1, signifieth.

The word; in which from God’s own mouth Zechariah threateneth. This might be read in apposition thus, The burden the word, for when the word of the Lord threateneth sad afflictions, they will come as a heavy burden, which they cannot decline without repentance, nor shake off by their own strength.

Of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who determines what he will do against Israel’s enemies, and none can alter his purpose.

In, or, on, against, Heb.,

the land of Hadrach; not Messiah’s land, as some, nor the land of an idol called Hadrach, i.e. the sun, as others, nor yet the land or countries that lie round about Judea, as others, nor yet is Arabia here meant, as others; but it is the name both of a city in Coelosyria, and here signifieth the country also. This town was not far from Damascus, and about twenty-five miles distant from Bostra, a sea town of Phoenicia, which is not far from Byblos, now called Giblee, or Gibelletto, says my author; no further mention is made of it in Scripture. It was likely all enemy to the Jews, and had sinned therein, and now must account for it and be punished.

And Damascus; chief city of that part of Syria; and whether Abel were slain there or not, or whether that murder gave it the name, or whether the etymology be rightly given, (dam, blood, sack, a bag,) I say not; but it was no friend to God’s people, Isa 7, and here it is threatened among other their enemies: the country is intended here as well as the city.

Shall be the rest thereof; this burden shall lie long as well as heavy on Damascus.

When; rather, for, Heb.

The eyes, Heb. eye: as we read it, it is of some difficult interpretation, but more easy if read, as it may be, thus, for unto the Lord is the eye of man, and of the tribes of Israel; i.e. unto the Lord it belongeth in look to, and by his providence to dispose of, all men as well as of Israel, and all men’s appeals in cases of wrong are to Heaven; so they who have been wronged by Syrian injustice look to Heaven for right, and to be avenged, and God will do it.


Verse 2

Hamath; a principal noted town of Syria, once called Epiphania; it was near neighbour to the Jews, for it was a boundary of the Land of Promise.

Shall border thereby; shall be so near to this storm which cometh, that they shall be the. worse for it. The country called by this name, in which Riblah was, and where the barbarous murder of many nobles of the Jews, the murder of Zedekiah’s children, and his eyes were put out; all which cruelty and such-like Hamath must suffer, for now God rides his circuit, and judgeth.

Tyrus; a famous mart as ever the world had, on which Ezekiel bestows his 26th, 27th, and 28th chapters, which see.

Zidon; another mart, and on the same sea, more ancient than Tyrus, and as much an enemy to the Jews; threatened, as here, so by Ezekiel, Eze 28, Tyrus, Ezekiel 28:2, Zidon, Ezekiel 28:21, which see.

Though it be very wise; each of them, i.e. the people, the governors, and counsellors of both these cities are subtle, and think by craft to save themselves, but this shall not be, God derides their wisdom, Ezekiel 28:3.


Verse 3

Tyrus; which was naturally a strong hold, situate on a great rock in the sea.

Did build herself a strong hold; fortified herself mightily, and then thought herself impregnable.

Heaped up silver; gathered treasure, and laid it up, so that there was no end of it.

As the dust: it is a proverbial speech, and speaks the very rich stores of their gold and silver, by which they might buy their peace, or maintain their war. So that here is wisdom, strength, and treasure, the master sinews of war, yet all these cannot profit them in the day of their calamities approaching.


Verse 4

Behold; observe it, for I tell you truth; though strange, it will be so.

The Lord will cast her out; the Lord will do this, he will eject and cast her out of her inheritance, as the word in the Hebrew, and he will inherit her, as the word also bears. God will do both, he will seize into his hand by some or other, and so put them out of all. Her fortifications shall not be able to secure her possession.

He will smite her power in the sea; the Lord declares how he will do what he threatens against Tyre, where their strength lieth; he will break them, take away their shipping, and then both treasures will waste, trade will fail, and auxiliaries will not be gotten.

And she, Tyre, probably Zidon with her,

shall be devoured with fire; that is, by the enemy in the siege, or at the taking of her. All which was done about A.M. 3672, one hundred and eighty-five years after this prophecy, when Alexander the Great mastered Tyre at sea with a fleet of one hundred and ninety or two hundred ships, took the city, slew many thousands of them, and, as Curtius reports, burnt the city.


Verse 5

Ashkelon, threatened by Zephaniah, Zephaniah 2:4, which threat was executed by the Babylonians soon after the Jews’ captivity, when Nebuchadnezzar wasted the seacoast, and besieged and took Tyre; but this threat of Zechariah was fully executed by Alexander the Great, as is most likely.

Shall see it; as cities see the fall of neighbouring cities, they shall have the news of it, and know it; perhaps some Ashkelonites may be there, and see the siege, and tell it.

And fear; as men that have no power to defend themselves, nor means left of fleeing from the enemy.

Gaza; another strong town, a principality of the Philistines, enemy to Israel; which in Nebuchadnezzar’s time suffered with Tyre, Zephaniah 2:4, and shall again so suffer in Alexander’s time, as here foretold.

Be very sorrowful; at the news of Tyre’s fall shall take a fright, and fall into sorrows of a travailing woman, as the word imports.

Ekron, a city famous for idolatry, see Zephaniah 2:4, shall as much fear and grieve as Ashkelon or Gaza.

Her expectation, her hope that Tyre would break Alexander’s power, or hold out against it, and be a refuge to her citizens, who could not hope to withstand the conqueror,

shall be ashamed; turned into shame and confusion.

The king shall perish from Gaza; the government be overthrown; and perhaps this literally was fulfilled when Alexander the Great took Gaza after two months’ siege, and two slight wounds received, and finding Boetis, the king or roitelet, advanced to that dignity by Darius, thought good to put him to a cruel death, as Curtius, l. 4.

Ashkelon shall not be inhabited, i.e. for some years it shall be as waste, or as it was laid by the Babylonian, according to Zephaniah 2:4.


Verse 6

A bastard; some say Alexander the Great was by Olympia’s confession declared to be a bastard, and that he is here pointed at; but I think rather strangers, who have no right of inheritance, yet did dwell here, are meant, called bastards because not the rightful heirs, but intruders.

Ashdod; Azotus, now a strong town, a city of the Philistines, but still of the same temper with the rest against the Jews, and now, as before, Zephaniah 2:4, must suffer with them.

I will cut off the pride of the Philistines, in these strong cities did the Philistines glory, and boast themselves as having been too hard for the Jews, even at their first coming to Canaan, who could not take their cities from them; but now the fatal change is foretold, God will cut off this pride of theirs, as he did in the times of the Grecians, the Seleucidae, and the Maccabees.


Verse 7

I will take away his blood out of his mouth; though proud and warlike nations have delighted to shed blood, nay, (if some judge aright,) to eat the blood of their slain enemies; yet now God will restrain, nay, overthrow their power, and take the prey out of their mouth, they shall neither breathe out slaughter, nor act it with their hands.

And his abominations from between his teeth: this may possibly be explanatory of the former, but I think it rather is meant of their abominable sacrifices which they offered and feasted on: so the word in Deuteronomy 7:26, with Deuteronomy 5:25 1 Kings 11:5,7 2 Kings 23:13; and by Hoses, Hosea 9:10. God will punish for these sins, idolatries, and by his destroying the people and cities of those abominations will remove them for ever.

He that remaineth, even he; the remnant, even that (so it might be read): if so read, it points out that small select number who escape the sword, and are reserved to be for God, to worship, obey, honour, and love him; such a remnant as Isaiah 4:3, or as Isaiah 17:6, or Isaiah 24:6.

Shall be for our God; those few Jews whom God preserved from the rage and cruelty of these bloody idolaters shall be the Lord’s peculiar ones. As a governor, for respect and honour which shall be given to them; it is not said they shall be governors, but they shall be as like governors.

And Ekron as a Jebusite; the city for the people, and this one city and people for all the other: all the Philistines shall be as Jebusites, servants to the people of God, or slain.


Verse 8

I will encamp about; pitch, not the tents of travellers and shepherds. but of an army, God in the midst of his own hosts, and angels among them, guardians, too.

Mine house; this material temple, but as it is an emblem of the church.

Because of the army; of the Persian and Grecian army, whose march lay either through or near to Judea and Jerusalem. Armies are very troublesome, costly, and dangerous in all their marches; the people of God, his city, and temple, shall be as garrisoned and fortified, as if secured by an host; God will have angels pitch their tents round about those that fear the Lord. Judea was a thoroughfare to the Egyptian and Syrian armies, to the Grecian and Persian; an unadvised attempt to stop Pharaoh-necho in his passage through once cost Josiah his life; but God will be a guard to his people, whilst their enemies are moving. All this was accomplished in the times of Alexander and his successors; in midst of those wars, though the Jews suffered somewhat, yet they were mightily defended by their God.

No oppressor shall pass through them any more; as formerly, when they had ingress, egress, regress at their pleasure, as if lords of the soil, and of the people too.

For now have I seen with mine eyes; I ever saw it, but now I manifest that I take notice of it purposely to redress it: I see how vilely they use my people; they shall do so no more. I behold

mischief and spite, to requite it, as Psalms 10:14.


Verse 9

Rejoice greatly: the prophet calls for such a joy as expresseth itself in outward gesture, as indeed the daughters of Zion did in their hosannas, when this had its accomplishment.

Daughter of Zion; Jerusalem’s inhabitants, or the church.

Shout; proclaim aloud your joy at the news I now tell you. Before it was

daughter of Zion, now it is daughter of Jerusalem, both the church and state among the Jews had great cause to triumph at this.

Thy King; the Redeemer, expected, promised Messiah, Son of David, the only restorer of your lapsed state.

Cometh unto thee; Christ cometh to thee, to redeem and save thee; he cometh for thee, as well as to time. He is just; the righteous One, who cometh to fulfil all righteousness, and to be our righteousness.

Having salvation; designs to save, and hath that in his eye, that he can save, it is in his power; he can save us as he did save himself, by raising himself from the dead.

Lowly; low and mean of state, and meek or lowly of mind.

Riding upon an ass; a beast of no state or price, an emblem of his outward state.

And upon a colt the foal of an ass: in this some footsteps of sovereignty appeared in the colt’s taking and bearing him quietly, Luke 19:35.


Verse 10

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim: when the Messiah comes and sets up his kingdom, he will need no external force, he will do that by the power of his Spirit; chariots of war are for other kind of kings and kingdoms, but in promoting of his own kingdom he will make no use of such force.

And the horse from Jerusalem; either literal or typical.

The battle bow; another instrument of war, but not useful to the Prince of peace; neither bow’ nor sword brought salvation to him, nor shall they be mentioned in the day of his conquest.

He shall speak peace unto the heathen; make peace for them, and then publish it to them; that on the cross, this in the gospel; the Gentiles shall through him be reconciled unto God and one another, Ephesians 2:16.

His dominion; how mean soever on the ass, yet he hath a large dominion, is King of the universe.

From sea even to sea; from the Red Sea, and from the Arabian Gulf, to the Syrian Sea.

From the river, Euphrates, utmost bound east,

to the ends of the earth; to the utmost end of Canaan, toward the Mediterranean sea; a type of all the world to be the inheritance of Christ. These things promised here are of a spiritual nature, and are blessings of a spiritual kingdom.


Verse 11

As for thee, O Zion, and Jerusalem, thou Jewish church: these words are Christ’s words to her, not the prophet’s words to Christ, though papists would have it so, to countenance a limbus patrum.

By the blood, by my blood, saith Christ,

of thy covenant, in which thy covenant is confirmed: it is God’s covenant as made by him, it is Zion’s covenant as made for her, it is Christ’s also as made in him.

I have sent forth thy prisoners; I have delivered and released. Cyrus indeed by his edict sent the Jews home, but in this he was Christ’s servant, and Christ was mindful of the covenant, and, to perform this, brought them up.

Out of the pit wherein is no water; Babylon, compared to a pit in which no water was, wherein the Jews must have perished, had not mercy from Christ visited them; here is no limbus patrum, though some say so among the popish commentators.


Verse 12

Turn you: the prophet exhorts the Jews, both those in Babylon still, and those already in Canaan, to hasten up to

the strong hold; to Jerusalem, say some, which had been a strong hold, and which was now to be built again, as the high places of the earth; or to Christ, who is the salvation and high tower of his church.

Ye prisoners of hope; captives in Babylon, yet under a promise from God, and under an edict from Cyrus, that you shall return; this gives you hope, this maketh you prisoners of expectation.

Even today, in this day of lowest distress,

I declare that I will render double unto thee; either more than thy fathers ever received, or double, that is, twice as much, good enjoyed as ever was thy evil suffered, as Isaiah 40:2.

Turn you: the prophet exhorts the Jews, both those in Babylon still, and those already in Canaan, to hasten up to

the strong hold; to Jerusalem, say some, which had been a strong hold, and which was now to be built again, as the high places of the earth; or to Christ, who is the salvation and high tower of his church.

Ye prisoners of hope; captives in Babylon, yet under a promise from God, and under an edict from Cyrus, that you shall return; this gives you hope, this maketh you prisoners of expectation.

Even today, in this day of lowest distress,

I declare that I will render double unto thee; either more than thy fathers ever received, or double, that is, twice as much, good enjoyed as ever was thy evil suffered, as Isaiah 40:2.


Verse 13

When I have bent Judah for me; in the days when Judah shall have recovered strength and courage, and be in my hand as a strong bow, ready bent.

Filled the bow with Ephraim; Ephraim, the remainder of the ten tribes, (which returned with Judah,) shall be for supply of warriors; as the quiver filled is supply of arrows to the bow-man.

And raised up thy sons, O Zion; explicatory to the former.

Against thy sons, O Greece; against the Grecians, or Ionians, the sons of Javan, who had formerly oppressed the Jews, and bought them for slaves, and did again oppress them in the reigns of the Selucidae and the Lagidae, against whom the Jews took arms and courage under the conduct of the Maccabees, to whom Christ made good much of this promise.

And made thee, O Zion, or Jerusalem, you, O Jews,

as the sword of a mighty man; a sharp sword of a mighty man or giant, who cuts down all that stands in his way, as the Maccabees did.


Verse 14

The Lord, the Almighty God, the God of Israel, Lord of hosts,

shall be seen over them; shall manifestly appear for them by his works of power against their enemies.

His arrow; alluding to warriors, that then used the bow: God’s judgments, which slew his church’s enemies, were swift, irresistible, and sudden in striking and killing them.

Shall go forth as the lightning; which breaks forth with violence, and runs from east to west in a moment, which is very terrible many times.

The Lord God; their God, the God of Israel,

shall blow the trumpet, give the alarm to them to provide for the war, sound the call to bring them together, and the march also for their moving, and sound the charge too; God will infuse new courage, and give directions.

And shall go, in the head of them as Captain-general,

with whirlwinds, with fury and strength like that of whirlwinds,

of the south, in which the mightiest whirlwinds are raised; or whirlwinds of Teman: some think the prophet alludes to the tempest about Sinai at the delivery of the law, when all Israel, and Moses too, quaked for fear, Deuteronomy 5:23-25; yea, quaked exceedingly, and desired to see no more such sight.


Verse 15

The Lord of hosts shall defend them; in the most dangerous attempts the Jews, under their captains in the wars against the Grecians, were preserved to a miracle, according to this promise.

They shall devour; a few of them destroy many of their enemies.

Subdue with sling stones: as we read this passage, it seems to refer to the slaughter of Goliath with a sling, by David, a stripling; so weak means, in the hand and trader the blessing of the great God, shall do mighty things: others read the words, they shall subdue the sling-stones, that is, conquer the Grecians, who in their wars used the sling, and that with great dexterity and success.

They shall drink, in their festivals, when they offered sacrifices of thanksgiving for their victories.

Make a noise, shout with shouts of triumph, make a great noise, as through wine; as men do whose hearts are glad with success, and cheered with wine.

They shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar; rather, they shall fill, i.e. with the blood of the sacrifices they offer, both the bowls and corners of the altars, all shall be full of the blood of eucharistical sacrifices.

The Lord of hosts shall defend them; in the most dangerous attempts the Jews, under their captains in the wars against the Grecians, were preserved to a miracle, according to this promise.

They shall devour; a few of them destroy many of their enemies.

Subdue with sling stones: as we read this passage, it seems to refer to the slaughter of Goliath with a sling, by David, a stripling; so weak means, in the hand and trader the blessing of the great God, shall do mighty things: others read the words, they shall subdue the sling-stones, that is, conquer the Grecians, who in their wars used the sling, and that with great dexterity and success.

They shall drink, in their festivals, when they offered sacrifices of thanksgiving for their victories.

Make a noise, shout with shouts of triumph, make a great noise, as through wine; as men do whose hearts are glad with success, and cheered with wine.

They shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar; rather, they shall fill, i.e. with the blood of the sacrifices they offer, both the bowls and corners of the altars, all shall be full of the blood of eucharistical sacrifices.


Verse 16

The Lord their God, as in covenant with them, not only as Lord of hosts by his power, but as their God in mercy and faithfulness,

shall save them, fully deliver them, i.e. the sons of Zion, in that day, in the day of their contest and wars with the sons of Javan,

as the flock of his people; as a shepherd saves his flock, as David saved his.

For they shall be as the stones of a crown; or, seeing that they are precious, and of value with me, as the stones of a royal crown, or as the stones of trophy set up in memory of some noble achievement;

lifted up as an ensign upon his land; which are as an ensign lifted up, to which whoso repair may give thanks and rejoice in their deliverance; a form of which, for aught I know, may follow.


Verse 17

For how great is his goodness! infinite goodness is the fountain of all that good done for this people; the prophet admires it, and suggests what is fit to be done by those that come and view those stones set up for trophies.

How great is his beauty! how wonderful the beauty of Divine Providence in all the great effects of it in Israel’s deliverance and salvation!

Corn shall make the young men cheerful; plentiful harvests shall make the young men cheerful in sowing, reaping, labouring in harvest work, as well as in eating the knits thereof.

And new wine the maids; such plenty of wine, that all, young and old, shall be cheered with it.

And now these are the sweet fruits of temporal salvation, but the fruits of spiritual, shadowed out by these, are much more glorious, refreshing, and worth our praise and wonder.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 9:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/zechariah-9.html. 1685.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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