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Bible Commentaries

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible
Zechariah 12

 

 

Introduction

The Eschatological Vision -YHWH Will Establish and Defend Jerusalem and Judah, and It Will Produce a Fountain For Sin and Uncleanness - And Then Will Come The End When God Will Triumph (12-14)

ANALYSIS OF THE FOURTH SECTION.

A prominent feature of this final section (Zechariah 12:1 to Zechariah 14:21) is the use of ‘it will come about’ and ‘in that day’. These occur as follows;

· ‘And it will come about in that day ---’ (Zechariah 12:3; Zechariah 12:9; Zechariah 13:2; Zechariah 13:4; Zechariah 14:6; Zechariah 14:8; Zechariah 14:13).,

· ‘In that day ---’ (Zechariah 12:4; Zechariah 12:6; Zechariah 12:8; Zechariah 12:11; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:9; Zechariah 14:20-21).

· ‘It will come about’ (Zechariah 13:3; Zechariah 13:8; Zechariah 14:16).

· ‘Behold a day of YHWH comes’ (Zechariah 14:1).

This emphasises that this section is about a future which is yet some way ahead. It will be noted that it follows the passage in which all God’s plans have been thwarted because the people have listened to false shepherds. Thus His promises previously given have been thrust into the future as far as their complete fulfilment is concerned. And their fulfilment will only take place because of the direct intervention of the Great Creator. His great and final plan can be delayed but it cannot be thwarted.

In this section there are no clear linguistic dividers, and we are therefore left to divide the section on the basis of the contents. This might be seen to be as follows:

a Jerusalem is to be a cup of reeling for the nations (Zechariah 12:1-9).

b God will pour out blessing on His people and they will look on the one whom they had treated as a false prophet (Me Whom they pierced) and repent and He will open up a fountain for sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 12:10 to Zechariah 13:1).

c The punishment that will fall on false prophets (Zechariah 13:2-6).

b God’s Shepherd will be smitten and appropriate punishment will follow but it will result in the refining of His people so that they say ‘YHWH is my God’ (Zechariah 13:7-9).

a Jerusalem is to be the source of salvation for the nations (Zechariah 14:1-21).

Note that in ‘a’ Jerusalem is a problem for the nations but in the parallel Jerusalem becomes the source of salvation for the nations. In ‘b’ God’s prophet has been pierced, resulting in repentance and cleansing, and in the parallel God’s Shepherd is smitten, resulting in refinement. Centrally in ‘c’ the kind of false prophecy that has opposed Zechariah is exposed.


Verse 1

The Burden Of The Word Of YHWH (Zechariah 12:1 a).

Zechariah 12:1

‘The burden of the word of YHWH concerning Israel.’

Compare for this idea Zechariah 9:1; Malachi 1:1. It is interesting that the proclamation of what YHWH will do is described as ‘concerningIsrael’. Yet the detail following is concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Here ‘Israel’ is thus used to indicate the whole nation. The divisions (Zechariah 11:14) have been removed. Clearly God is ‘about to act’. (To Zechariah the words ‘Israel’, Ephraim’, ‘Joseph’, ‘Judah’ are to some extent interchangeable, all referring to the people of God).

But what was Israel? We must recognise that it was not just a nation comprising direct descendants of the twelve Patriarchs.Indeed it never was. They were probably always in the minority. It was a conglomerate nation. Probably the larger part of ‘Israel’ in Egypt consisted of the descendants of the ‘households’ of the patriarchs (Exodus 1:1) which would have included many servants and slaves from different races and backgrounds.

Then at the Exodus especially and specifically (Exodus 12:38; Exodus 12:48), and all through her history, peoples of many nations were adopted into Israel and became ‘true Israelites’ on the basis of the covenant with YHWH, tracing their ‘descent’ back to the patriarchs. Thus Uriah the Hittite was almost certainly ‘a true Israelite’ (2 Samuel 11:3 onwards). Indeed anyone who was willing to enter into that covenant could do so by renouncing their gods and submitting to the God of Israel. Israel was a composite nation but its people in fact soon found themselves looking back by adoption to their ‘descent’ from the patriarchs.

This pattern continued after the Exile, although not without tight restriction. It continued later, when the witness of ‘Israel’, scattered among the nations, impressed many Gentiles who were convinced by their teaching about the One God and were appreciative of their high moral code. Many of these became ‘proselytes’, entering into the covenant by being circumcised and where possible offering sacrifice, (and at some stage a ceremonial washing was introduced) and theoretically at least were then regarded as full Israelites, although with certain restrictions. Intermarriage and time would soon see them incorporated more directly. Some of them became respected Rabbis. Others, not willing to be circumcised, but desirous of worshipping the God of Israel and being part of the community of God, were called God-fearers. But in their case the Jews did not see them as becoming full members of Israel.

Furthermore under John Hyrcanus the remnant of Edom were forced to be circumcised and become Jews, and the same happened to the Gentile inhabitants of Galilee. It is quite clear then that to speak of Israel as the descendants of Abraham is in the main wishful thinking. Those who actually considered that they could prove that they were true descendants of Abraham actually saw themselves as superior.

And according to the New Testament from the moment that the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost the ‘true Jews’, who believed in the Messiah, formed the new Israel, and many were gathered in to that true Israel from around the world, for the new church was indeed declared to be ‘the Israel of God’ (Galatians 6:16), the converted Gentiles being grafted into the true people of God (Romans 11:17-28; compare Ephesians 2:11-22; 1 Peter 2:5-9). But the difference was that this was now on the basis that the Messiah had come, had been crucified as an offering for sin, and had risen again. Here were the new Jerusalem, the new people of God.

Indeed this was what the argument about circumcision in the church was all about. Could Christians become members of the true Israel without being circumcised? (Acts 15:5). Paul strongly argued that circumcision was no longer necessary, and that what mattered was circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:29; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11; Ephesisans Zechariah 2:11-13), for they were circumcised with the circumcision of Christ (Colossians 2:11), and were thus true Israelites. And this in the end became the established norm, confirmed officially by the Apostles (Acts 15:6-21) through the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28-29).

Thus the firm teaching of the early church and of the New Testament is that Christians on receiving the Spirit and being baptised become full members of the true Israel, inheriting all the promises of God made to Israel (Ephesians 2:11-19; Galatians 3:7; Galatians 3:28-29 with Galatians 6:16). They were ‘grafted in’.

They also believed that those members of Israel who would not respond to Christ as their Messiah ceased to be members of the true Israel and were cut off (Romans 11:15-24). They were no longer part of the true Israel (Romans 9:6). Eschatalogically the true church of Christ thus become in reality the new Israel, the new Judah, the new Zion, the new Jerusalem as conceived of in the teachings of the prophets.

With these things in mind let us consider the words before us. What is the burden concerning the true Israel?


Verses 1-9

The Future of the House of David and the Dwellers in Jerusalem, the Servant Pierced, the Spirit Poured Out, The Superseding of Prophecy, the Fires of Refinement (Zechariah 12:1 to Zechariah 13:9).

Zechariah’s experiences as previously described have brought home to him that the present time is not going to produce the hoped for golden age of God’s rule. The dream of the eight visions (Zechariah 1:7 to Zechariah 6:15) which had promised so much of a purified Israel over whom would rule the Branch, appears to have turned sour. Instead of an Israel being established over whom the shepherd of Ezekiel is reigning (Ezekiel 37:15-28), it has ended up in the hands of false shepherds (Zechariah 11:4-17). His thoughts may well then have turned to the words of Isaiah depicting the coming Suffering Servant (Isaiah 50:4-9; Isaiah 52:13 to Isaiah 53:12), for having been himself rejected and valued at thirty pieces of silver he foresees the coming of a Great Prophet and Shepherd Who will be in contrast to the false prophets, yet One Who will face rejection and suffering as he has himself.

So he recognises that the future of Jerusalem, as a picture of the people of God, must first be one of woe before God’s glory is revealed. Tragedy must precede triumph.

His depiction of the future of ‘Jerusalem’ is now outlined. It will be noted that it assumes first the coming establishment of Jerusalem as an independent political centre under Nehemiah by the very nature of what is described. Without that it could never have the prominence suggested by this picture. (In Zechariah’s time it was still an unwalled huddle of buildings).

It then briefly recognises its chequered future. And finally it leads up to its future as the place from which salvation will be made available to the world and to its final experience of the blessing of God (Zechariah 14:3-21). Thus as in much of prophecy it contains a near and a far view. What is prophesied will apply through history but will culminate in the activity of the final days before the final establishment of God’s rule.

The prophecy is necessarily given in symbolic terminology, for the background necessary to present it as it is presented in the New Testament was absent. The prophet spoke, in terms that he knew, of what was in fact beyond his comprehension. How could he visualise a world wide church? Rather he saw in Jerusalem as representing God’s gathered people what we think of as ‘God’s church’ as surrounded by the world. And we should note that at that time it was God’s church, His ‘congregation’. He could only necessarily speak in limited terms, for the full plan of God would have been incomprehensible, both to him and to the people. But he knew the central facts, that there would be suffering before triumph, that in the end the people of God would achieve victory, security and safety and that the King would come who would establish the reign of God.

But what does the word ‘Jerusalem’ represent in these eschatological prophecies? In the near view it is the city, but it is the city seen as being the centre of the people of God. As we have seen earlier it is the city as representing the people of God (Zechariah 2:7). When men gathered against ‘Jerusalem’ they were gathering against all who then represented God, those who had, as it were, come together to re-establish the Kingly Rule of God. Thus it is not just the city as it was in itself that is in mind, for that constantly comes under the condemnation of the prophets. It is rather the idea behind it, the idea of the ideal Jerusalem as being the gathering place of God’s people. It is Jerusalem as the ideal centre of the true worship of God (compare Isaiah 2:2-3), with ‘those who dwell in it’ being seen as representing all who worship and obey Him truly.

It is the place from which, through its people, God’s truth will go to the world (Micah 4:2; Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 62:1). It is the place from which God will ‘roar’ and utter His voice when He brings judgment on the nations (Joel 3:16; Micah 1:2). It replaces the ark of the covenant as the throne of God (Jeremiah 3:16-17), until that throne is raised to Heaven at the resurrection of Christ. It is the place from which God Himself will establish His reign (Isaiah 24:23). So, linked with Jerusalem are thoughts which far transcend it, so that in the end it is itself transcended.

That this is so in Zechariah comes out in what we saw earlier, that ‘Zion’, which was often synonymous with Jerusalem, which was partly built on Mount Zion, could also be used as a description of the people of God far away from Jerusalem (Zechariah 2:7). It was clear then that the people represented the city even when far away. In other words in a very real sense Jerusalem, Zion, is ‘the people of God’ wherever they are.

That there is this difference is again emphasised in Zechariah 12:6 where he says, ‘Jerusalem will yet dwell in her own place, even Jerusalem.’ Here the first ‘Jerusalem’ initially represents His people as the true worshippers of God, wherever they are, who have been away, but will now return home. And they are necessarily a symbolic people, for none who had actually dwelt in Jerusalem would by then necessarily be alive. Thus he is not thinking here of just anyone who lives in Jerusalem. He is thinking of the true, returned people of God, the Jerusalem who return to Jerusalem.

These distinctions are stressed and amplified in the New Testament where the heavenly aspect of Jerusalem is stressed. For Paul distinguishes the Jerusalem ‘which is in bondage’, the earthly city, from the Jerusalem ‘which is above’ (Galatians 4:25-26), the heavenly Jerusalem, when pointing out that Christians are the ‘children of promise’ (Galatians 4:28). They are the true Jerusalem. And Hebrews speaks of ‘Mount Zion’ as being ‘the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem’ (Hebrews 12:22). This leads on to the vision of the new Jerusalem, whose source is from Heaven, in ‘the new earth’ (Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:10) and again represents the whole people of God. So in all this it is the idea that is behind Jerusalem that is prevalent, not the city of Jerusalem itself. (Compare the similar use in many references in Isaiah where there is the Jerusalem/Zion which is the city of God in contrast with ‘the world city’, the future glorious Jerusalem, which has eternal connections and will be part of the everlasting kingdom. See Isaiah 1:27; Isaiah 4:3-5; Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 18:7; Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 26:1-4; Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 30:19; Isaiah 33:5; Isaiah 33:20; Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 46:13; Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 59:20; Isaiah 60:14; Isaiah 61:3; Isaiah 62:1; Isaiah 62:11; Isaiah 65:18-19; Isaiah 66:10; Isaiah 66:13; Isaiah 66:20).

And once we come to the New Testament Jerusalem is not so much a city as an idea, an idea closely aligned with the idea of the people of God. The old earthly Jerusalem has to be destroyed, and the real Jerusalem is the heavenly one with which His people are connected (Galatians 4:25-26). And that is what Zechariah has in mind when he thinks of ‘Jerusalem’.

Furthermore Peter also stresses the spiritual nature of ‘Zion’ when he speaks of the church of God as living stones in the new Temple which is His church, built on the chief cornerstone and note that it is laid ‘in Zion’ (1 Peter 2:4-7 based on Isaiah 28:16).

It is true that the prophets themselves saw their prophecies as necessarily relating to a ‘physical Jerusalem’. To them the people of God and Jerusalem were very much identified. But especially in the case of Isaiah it was very much an eschatological Jerusalem. His descriptions of it far exceed any possible conception of an earthly city. To him Jerusalem/Zion is synonymous with God’s people (‘we, the daughter of Zion’ - Isaiah 1:9); it will be purged by the removal of the filth of the daughter of Zion - Isaiah 4:4; it represents ‘the inhabitants of Jerusalem’ - Isaiah 5:3; Isaiah 8:14; Isaiah 22:21; Isaiah 28:14; Isaiah 30:19; it is to arise and clothe itself in beauty - Isaiah 52:2; it is a place of rejoicing where weeping is heard no more - Isaiah 65:18-19); and it is from Jerusalem/Zion with its exalted, unearthly Temple, that God’s message will go out to the world (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 62:6-7). It is the Jerusalem/Zion which is the city of God in contrast with the world city. It is the future glorious Jerusalem, which has eternal connections and will be part of the everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 1:27; Isaiah 4:3-5; Isaiah 12:6; Isaiah 18:7; Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 26:1-4; Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 30:19; Isaiah 33:5; Isaiah 33:20; Isaiah 35:10; Isaiah 46:13; Isaiah 51:3; Isaiah 51:11; Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 59:20; Isaiah 60:14; Isaiah 61:3; Isaiah 62:1; Isaiah 62:11; Isaiah 65:18-19; Isaiah 66:10; Isaiah 66:13; Isaiah 66:20) .

It was, however, to be expected that the prophets would stop short of making it fully heavenly or seeing in it simply a picture of the people of God as such. They had no concept of Heaven. And they could not even conceive of a people of God not connected with Jerusalem. (It took the early church great searching of heart before they also did so). So as they peered with God’s help into the future, Jerusalem was their conception of the people of God. Surrounded on all sides by a wicked world they were God’s people, ‘Jerusalem’. The prophets had no full or detailed conception of an afterlife, or of a spiritual kingdom, or of living in a heavenly sphere, and did not think in those terms. Even when, rarely, resurrection is mentioned it is closely connected with this earth (Isaiah 26:19). So a Jerusalem purified and made spiritual, a perfected Jerusalem that fulfilled all the hopes of the prophets and the true people of God, was God’s ideal. It represented His true ‘congregation (church)’.

The idea of ‘Jerusalem’ both in the near view and in the far view therefore represented hope, deliverance, the congregation of Israel gathered together, the presence of God with His people, a centre of God’s rule, and the final fulfilment of what God intended His people to be. It was to be the fulfilment of all their expectations. And that was why inevitably it had in the end to become a heavenly city. For no earthly city, populated by earthly people, could achieve those expectations. We can therefore justly take the idea of Jerusalem as Paul did and see it as representing all God’s people wherever they were.

But the prophets could not wholly think like that, for, as mentioned above, there was then little specific detailed conception of an afterlife, or of a world-wide, ‘invisible’ kingdom. So to them it was in Jerusalem that they saw the fulfilment of all their hopes for the future, it represented the people of God surrounded by an antagonistic world, and it resulted in the triumph of God depicted in earthly terms which were never full worked out.

But in the end, the important question is not so much how the prophets saw it as how God intended it to be seen. And there the New Testament position is directly relevant. In the New Testament the idea of Jerusalem is related to what we call ‘Heaven’. Yet even ‘Heaven’, like ‘Jerusalem’ to the prophets, is but a name for the ideal future, the place where God dwells, the future home of His people. It simply recognises that the Jerusalem of the prophetic hopes could not be realised on earth. Thus Revelation finally amplifies it in terms of a ‘new Earth’.

So as we read Zechariah and the prophets we must see Jerusalem sometimes as it was and sometimes in terms of its heavenly ideal, as representing God’s whole people.


Verse 10

The Pouring out of the Spirit And The Repentance Brought About By Considering The Pierced One (Zechariah 12:10 to Zechariah 13:1).

Zechariah 12:10

‘And I will pour on the house of David and on the dwellers in Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and of supplication, and they will look to me whom they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for his only son, and will be in bitterness for him as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn.’

From now on in this section all the promises are to the ‘house of David’ and the ‘dwellers in Jerusalem’, and yet in this terminology the whole land is in mind (Zechariah 12:12; Zechariah 13:2; Zechariah 13:8). Once again we recognise that they are a symbolic, representative group representing the people of God as a whole.

This remarkable prophecy of the death of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit, both on members of His own family, ‘the house of David’ (Acts 1:14), and on those appointed to take His message to the world, ‘the dwellers in Jerusalem’, can only fill us with awe and gratitude.

Jesus’ own brothers of the house of David did become true followers of Him. James the Lord’s brother became a prominent leader of the Jerusalem church and His other brothers also proved true to Him. They shared in the outpouring of the Spirit. And the Apostles became dwellers in Jerusalem, going out from there to the world. And they were indeed ‘like David’ both in boldness and in faithfulness.

Firstly the prophecy looks to the ‘piercing’ of One Who was in so close a relationship with God that He can describe it as the piercing of Himself. It is His true Prophet Who is to be pierced. It is His true Shepherd Who is to be smitten (Zechariah 13:7).

‘They will look on me whom they have pierced.’ In one sense they will be piercing God Himself. Yet that the piercing is of a human being comes out in the following phrases where the verse reverts to ‘him’ and describes One Who is mourned like an only son. This can only look back to the suffering Servant described by Isaiah 53 (we have noted earlier in the chapter his knowledge of Isaiah’s work). Here the prophet is thinking of One Who will suffer on behalf of God’s people, will offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin, and will be received by God as the victor. And while the reference to the only son is indirect, it is nevertheless significant. There will be mourning as for an only son. But there is also reference to the house of David which gives the verse Messianic significance. It is the time of the Messiah.

Secondly it looks to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, commencing in the life of Christ (Mark 1:10), continuing in the Upper Room (John 20), and wonderfully revealed to the world in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 2). These events truly changed history and affected the whole world.

‘The Spirit of grace and of supplication.’ This must have in mind Joel 2:28 and Isaiah 44:3-5, and many similar passages, where God’s grace and favour is made known to men in the pouring out of the Spirit, causing them to walk in His ways and to prophesy. It is a picture of fruitfulness and of blessing, using the pouring down of rain as a symbol for the work of the Spirit. But here it goes a step further in recognising the direct connection with the suffering Servant.

‘Grace’. In Psalms 84:11 God’s grace is revealed in the fact that He withholds nothing from those who walk uprightly. All that we receive from God is through His grace, His undeserved favour, and that grace abounds to those who are His.

‘Supplication.’ In Jeremiah 36:7 supplication is directly linked with returning from evil ways. The idea here is of true repentance and submission to God. Thus those who experience this outpouring return to God and receive His favour and His Spirit.

‘Me whom they have pierced.’ The piercing is an indication that we are dealing with a Prophet (Zechariah 13:3). Zechariah 13:3 would suggest that ‘piercing through’ was the recognised punishment for false prophecy. Thus the One Whom God would send was to be treated as a false prophet. The so-called people of God would reject Him and pierce Him, and by doing so they would accuse God Himself of being false. Thus He Himself would be pierced by their action, for the One Whom they rejected would be proclaiming His truth.

But once they had pierced Him there would be many who would be woken to the truth about Him. When the Spirit was poured down on them they would look on what had been done and they would mourn for Him and for their sinfulness.

‘And they shall mourn for him --.’ The theme of mourning is emphatically stressed in these verses in a number of ways and is clearly connected with the pouring out of the Spirit of grace and supplication, demonstrating that their hearts have been changed and that it is a mourning for sin and for the way in which they have offended God. It is the mourning of repentance from that sin and for what they have brought on the suffering Servant, and will result in their benefiting from the fountain for sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1).

‘As one mourns for his only son’. They will recognise that they have done this to One Who should have been as dear as an only son. This is doubly stressed. He will be as dear to them as their firstborn sons.

Zechariah 12:13-14

‘In that day there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddon, and the land shall mourn every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart, the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart, the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart, the family of the Shimeites apart, and their families apart, all the families that remain, every family apart and their wives apart.’

The depth of the mourning for sin is brought out by the continued emphasis. It has been compared with the mourning for a firstborn son, now further comparisons are made.

‘As the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddon.’ This clearly refers to some well known ceremony of mourning. The name Hadad-rimmon suggests connection with fertility rites, for Hadad is the god of storm (compare Baal) and Rimmon is similarly the chief god of Damascus (2 Kings 5:18). Such rites would include mourning as the dead deity was sought in order to bring him back to life for the renewal of the seasons (compare weeping for Tammuz in Ezekiel 8:14). Rites like these would often continue through the centuries long after their main meaning was forgotten.

But it is mentioned, not to approve of the rites, but as a prime example of open and deep mourning which all would recognise. There may be some connection with the death of Josiah, the last great and favoured descendant of David to do what was right in the eyes of Yahweh. This took place in the valley of Megiddo, and may well have been remembered by appropriating such rites.

The mourning will be deep and personal for each family will be apart, and wives apart from their men. Prominent in the mourning will be the royal family and the priests. David, the head of the royal house, is mentioned and especially David’s son Nathan (2 Samuel 5:14; 1 Chronicles 3:5; Luke 3:31), and Levi the head of the priestly tribe, and especially the Shimeites (see Numbers 3:18; Numbers 3:21). Then the remainder of the people. The mourning will go right from the top to the bottom. It is noteworthy that the natural descent of Jesus and His family from David was through Nathan (Luke 3:31).

So the mourning for sin will reach to all parts of Israel, including members of the Messiah’s own family.

Zechariah 13:1

‘In that day there will be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the dwellers in Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.’

The result of the piercing of the Messianic Servant will be the opening of a fountain for sin and uncleanness both for His own family and household and for those who ‘dwell in Jerusalem’, that is those whose hearts are true towards the God of Jerusalem.

The idea of a fountain for the removal of sin is not found elsewhere in the Old Testament. Elsewhere the idea of the fountain is as a fountain of life, or of living waters, which symbolise life through the Holy Spirit (Psalms 36:9; Proverbs 13:14; Isaiah 41:18; Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13; Joel 3:18).

But in mind here are almost certainly the words of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 36:24-29. ‘I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean. From all your filthiness and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart also I will give you and a new Spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you --- and I will save you from all your uncleannesses.’ The deep mourning and repentance of sin in Zechariah 12:10-12 opens the way for God’s Spirit to work within them, and indeed shows that He has already begun to work within them. That work produces new life and results in the removal of sin and uncleanness through the waters from God’s fountain.

But sprinkled water as in Ezekiel is water that has been treated with the ashes of a heifer - Numbers 19:17 (see ‘the waters of expiation’ - Numbers 8:7) and thus cleanses through its sacrificial qualities. That is why it is ‘clean’ water. Thus this ‘fountain opened for sin--’ must be seen as connected with the piercing of the true Prophet with His shedding of blood interpreted sacrificially as in Isaiah 53, compare possibly Isaiah 52:15.

The idea of sin being washed away by water is rare in the Old Testament. The ritual washings did not cleanse. They were only preparatory. When they were used men would ‘notbe clean until the evening’. Something further was necessary. When David speaks of being washed from sin he parallels it with being purged with hyssop. His emphasis is on being cleansed through sacrifice, and always sprinkling involves sacrificial blood in one way or another.

So the prophet declares that there is coming a day of great repentance for sin resulting from the piercing of the Servant Messiah, a day of great spiritual renewal, and the provision of God’s final answer to the problem of sin and uncleanness.


Verse 10

The True and the False Prophets (Zechariah 12:10 - Zechariah 13:9).

The way in which all this will take effect is now clearly laid out. A contrast is made between:

· The piercing (rejection) of the True Prophet Who is coming when the Spirit is poured out, which will result in repentance and a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 12:10 to Zechariah 13:1).

· The piercing of false prophets because they are false (Zechariah 13:2-3).

· The smiting of the false prophets by those who really prove themselves his friend (Zechariah 13:4-6).

· The smiting of the true Shepherd, with the resultant pouring out of the Spirit, repentance of those who respond, opening up of a fountain for sin and uncleanness, and purifying of God’s people (Zechariah 13:7-9).

 


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Bibliography Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:4". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/zechariah-12.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, May 25th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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