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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Zechariah 10

 

 

Verses 1-7

CRITICAL NOTES.] Idol worshippers brought their judgments now; they must call upon Jehovah. Ask] He will give rain: i.e. all temporal and spiritual blessings. Clouds] Lightnings, precursors of rain. Showers] Lit. rain of heavy rain: i.e. plentiful (Job ). Grass] for cattle, and corn for man. 2 Idols] Lit. the teraphim, household and oracular gods, thought to give prosperity (cf. Gen 31:19). Diviners] Soothsayers brought misery through vain and deceitful prophecy. Therefore] Because they trusted idols and soothsayers. They went] Lit. to break up, pull up the pegs, and take down the tent; hence wander into exile. Troubled] Oppressed, because no shepherd] no king, to defend them.

Zec . Punished] Lit. visited the goats] in evil, but his flock] for good, and made them courageous as a war-horse; a horse chosen by the commander-in-chief to ride at the head of his army.

Zec . Out] Thrice repeated, for emphasis. Judah no more subject to foreigners; from them were to come rulers described as corner]-stones, upon which the building firmly rests (Psa 108:11). Nail] The large ornamental pin, fixed in the wall, to suspend valuable furniture (Jud 4:21; Isa 22:23). The battle-bow] Military force, and weapons in general.

Zec .] For such heroic conflict will they be fitted by the help of Jehovah, that the enemy will be put to shame before them. The riders of the horses are mentioned for the purpose of individualizing the enemy, because the principal strength of the Asiatic rulers consisted in cavalry (cf. Dan 2:40) [Keil].

Zec . Judah] will share as well as Ephraim. Bring] and replace them happily and securely, as of old.

Zec . Ephraim] addressed in remainder of chapter, had not participated much in restoration. They, like Judah, would become heroes. Rejoice] i.e. fight like a mighty man exulting in joy (cf. Psa 78:65-66). Children] should see the joy, which would be lasting and complete.

HOMILETICS

GOD THE AUTHOR OF SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS.—Zec

At the close of the preceding chapter God had promised abundance of temporal and spiritual good. Here directions are given to obtain that good. Idolatry had brought judgments, but Jehovah will pour out blessings upon them.

I. All spiritual blessings come from God. Rain is the symbol of God's spiritual gifts.

1. The idols of the heathen cannot bestow them. The gods in the temple and the deities in the house are vanity and lies.

2. The laws of nature cannot bestow them. There are "diviners" in the present day who "have told false dreams"—who have forgotten that God sits in the heavens, and rules the clouds; what he visits the earth to water and fructify it. There is neither showers nor sunshine in the natural world without him—no personal prosperity, progress, and fruit, in the Divine life without the influence of his Spirit. Nor can any portion of the soil of the world—"the desolate heritages" of heathenism, with all the tillage that missionary labour can bestow upon them, be rendered productive of the "fruits of righteousness," except as God is pleased to shed down the same gracious influence—"pouring water on the thirsty, and floods on the dry ground" [Ward-law]. "Is there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers?" "Thou visitest the earth," &c. (Psa ).

II. Prayer is the appointed means for securing these spiritual blessings. "Ask ye of the Lord." Men of science exalt the laws of nature, and despise prayer. Natural philosophers may combine and direct the forces of nature, but God does not. "Without a disturbance of natural law quite as serious as the stoppage of an eclipse, or the rolling the St. Lawrence up the Falls of Niagara, no act of humiliation, individual or national, could call one shower from heaven" [Tyndall]. But the prophet directs the people to God, when the heavens withhold their dew, and assures them that if they ask they shall obtain. "The Lord shall make bright clouds," &c.

1. Blessings in rich abundance. "And give them showers of rain." Enough for man and beast, "to every one grass in the field"—to every one that asks will he give, "as the showers upon the grass."

2. Blessings in due season. The early rain in spring, to water the seed sown; "the latter rain" in autumn, to ripen the corn. We must pray in due seasons, and look for spiritual prosperity with the same intense anxiety as the Jews did for rain twice a year. "I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, and I will send grass in thy field for thy cattle" (Deu ).

3. Blessings indicated by visible signs. Rain, with its harbingers or accompaniments, will be given. "The Lord shall make bright clouds." Clouds, as precursors of the showers, to encourage; or clouds which terrify, shall be turned into rain to bless them. "He maketh lightnings into rain" (cf. Psa ; Jer 51:16). Clouds shall be filled with showers, and distilled as the dew upon the land. "As one shower is unburdened another shall be brewed" [Trapp]. Forerunners and proofs of Divine goodness shall abound on every hand. "He made a decree for the rain (regulating its time, place, and quantity), and a way (through the clouds) for the lightning of the thunder" (Job 28:26).

"Who sets the bright procession on its way,

And marshals all the order of the year" [Lange].

THE MISERY OF FORSAKING GOD AND CONSULTING FALSE ORACLES.—Zec

The Jews are here warned not to imitate the conduct of their forefathers in consulting idols, and forsaking Jehovah, who hindered Divine blessings, and brought human miseries. The warning is needed now. If man rejects the true, he will choose the false. His moral convictions, dependent condition, and exposure to danger, make him dissatisfied, and impel him to trust in superior power. Learn the folly of trusting to idols.

I. This course will disappoint. Men who renounce trust in God, and embrace false ways in hope of prosperity, will be disappointed.

1. Idols reveal nothing to be relied upon. "The idols have spoken vanity." The idols which men consult in distress, promise what they never perform. All the vanities of the heathen put together cannot give rain (Jer ).

2. Diviners lead astray. They put their own lies into their lips, and clothed them with God's authority. They pretended to see what they saw not. "The diviners have seen a lie." They uttered false prophecies, "told false dreams." False in matter, because opposed to God's word, false in event, because they were not fulfilled. "Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you," &c. (Jer ).

II. This course will lead to bitterness of mind. "They comfort in vain." If the voice of God, uttered with every degree of evidence and affection, be disregarded, and men have recourse to necromancy, the result will be vanity and vexation of spirit. All who, like Saul, seek an answer from diviners, will find them deceptive. "Ye are forgers of lies (stitchers up of falsehood), ye are all physicians of no value" (of nothingness, idol physicians, Zec ), Job 13:4.

III. This course will expose to great danger. "They went their way." They were not only disappointed and vexed, but they lost God's protection, and were left a prey to every injury. As sheep without a shepherd, they were troubled, scattered, and led into captivity. They had no king to rule over them, no priest to intercede for them, and no shepherd to care for them. This is the condition of all who forsake God, and refuse the salvation and tender care of the Good Shepherd. "My flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth; and none did search or seek after them."

DIVINE VISITATIONS.—Zec

Against the shepherds, the leaders or chiefs of the nation, God's anger was kindled. He "punished (lit. visited) the goats," but Judah was "his flock," whom he visited in mercy. Hence—

I. The rulers are punished. As shepherds they should have been concerned for the flock. But they neglected, starved, and scattered the sheep. As goats they were guilty of mischief, the emblem of wantonness and offensive lust. God will ever make a distinction between the goats and the sheep, and those who are first in crime will be first in punishment.

II. The people are blessed. Judah is the flock of God, and must be tenderly watched and fed. God would employ, govern, and defend them against their enemies, as a rider doth "his goodly horse in the battle." Learn the advantages of serving God, and the necessity of turning from idols. He will visit the ungodly in anger, but his people in love. The goats will be rejected, and the sheep saved (Mat ). "I will judge between cattle and cattle, between rams and he-goats."

HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Zec .

1. The blessing needed. "Rain," all natural, temporal, and spiritual influences, to ripen the fruits of the earth, advance the nation in morality, and bless the Church with fertility.

2. The way to get it. "Ask ye of the Lord rain." Idols cannot send it, and man cannot create it Hence, it is fitting to feel dependence, and give it expression in prayer. This is good for ourselves, and the only efficient method to secure Divine operations in our favour. Elias, a notable example (Jas ).

3. The time in which we should seek it. We should ask in seasons when it is required for the refreshment and beautifying of the earth. Prayer may be out of season as well as in season. "Ask of the Lord rain. We should ask it in a higher sense—ask the outpouring of God's Spirit—for the revival and growth of religion and its appropriate fruits in our own souls; for its revival in our Churches, and for its progressive influence and productiveness throughout the world" [Wardlaw].

Zec . Idol confidences.

1. Vanity;

2. False;

3. Comfortless; and

4. Misleading. "Diviners have seen a lie. Unbelief has recourse to a crowd of superstitious devices, and by their folly and impotence is put to shame. Faith, on the contrary, turns to prayer, and through it works wonders" [Lange].

Zec . Against the shepherds. The sins of the civil and ecclesiastical rulers affecting the nation (cf. Pro 28:2). "Thus, saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds: and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock." Goodly horse. Judah's might was not in himself; but in God's hands, he had might like, and above, the might of this world [Pusey]. This may in part be understood of the Maccabees' victories; but principally of the Apostles, those white horses, upon which they rode through the world, conquering and to conquer (Rev 6:2) [Trapp].

HOMILETICS

THE DELIVERANCE AND ESTABLISHMENT OF GOD'S PEOPLE.—Zec

God confirms his mercies to Judah and Israel, enlarges the former predictions, and assures the triumph, restitution, and defence of his people.

I. God will deliver them from their enemies. Foreign or native oppressors—the sinful leaders of the flock, or the inveterate foe of the nation, would be visited with punishment. Often at the worst, things turn for the better. Whatever troubles, his people—they are his flock—will not be cast off; but delivered, "For the Lord of Hosts hath visited his flock."

II. God will equip them for self-defence. Though exposed to danger, yet God will furnish them with everything necessary to defend themselves, and prevail over their enemies. Governors of their own shall be raised up to unite and help them. No foreign aid will be required. The corner-stone, the nail, and the battle-bow, all strength would be inherent, though given by God. "Their nobles shall be from themselves, and their governor shall go forth from the midst of them."

III. God will give them victory over their enemies. The timid sheep became strong as the battle-horse. From a peaceful people sprung heroes, mighty men, to deliver from oppressors. The victory of the Maccabees typifies the triumph of Christ over anti-Christian powers.

1. This victory will be complete. "Their enemies" will be trampled down as mire in the streets, foul and worthless. As Jehovah's war-horse they will overcome and confound the cavalry of the foe. "The riders on horses shall be confounded."

2. This victory will be through Divine aid. "They shall fight because the Lord is with them." Courage is not our own. All might comes from God, and against his power nothing can prevail. Mere human strength is perfect weakness, but God strengthens in Christ (Php ). Feeble humanity rises into prowess and majesty when made mighty in all (kinds of) might (Col 1:11).

IV. God will restore them to ancient privileges. Most commentators take Zec as alluding to the ten tribes. Judah and Israel are distinctly mentioned. A more complete restoration than a few from Babylon. A greater deliverance than the Maccabean is promised.

1. The tribes of Israel will be united together. The house of Joseph will share the salvation, and all Judah together will be strengthened. The children of God, scattered abroad, shall be incorporated; Jew and Gentile shall become one fold.

2. The land will be restored to them. "I will bring them again to place them." Privileges lost through sin will be restored when God turns to his people.

3. Security will be given them. God will place them; make them dwell securely as in olden time. They shall be treated as if they had never been cast off. "I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings" (Eze ; cf. Job 42:12).

V. God will cause others to participate in their privileges. Ephraim and their sons would not be forgotten, though hitherto not partaking largely of the blessings of restoration.

1. In the strength of conflict. "They of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man."

2. In the joy of victory. "And their heart shall rejoice." God's presence will be their strength and song. From generation to generation, mercy will be enjoyed in renewed performance of the promise. "Yea, their children shall see it, and be glad."

GOD THE AUTHOR OF POLITICAL BLESSINGS.—Zec

God is the King of kings, and Lord of lords. He only can give magistrates and legislators who are "for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the praise of them that do well." They are not created by the institutions nor the politics of the state. "The powers that be are ordained of God."

I. Men who are the corner-stones, the ground of support to the state. Princes are often called "the chief (corners, marg.) of the people" (1Sa : cf. Isa 19:13; Isa 28:16).

II. Men who are the nails, the strength of the state. They unite discordant parties, as nails fasten different timbers. On them rest the responsibilities of government, and the security of the whole fabric. Rulers and officers in the Church should strengthen and hold it together. On them hang all the implements of evangelical warfare, which should be ready for use. "I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house" (Isa ).

III. Men who are the battle-bow, the defence of the state. Armour in general, for personal and national conflict—men to wield it with skill and success come from him.

IV. Men who govern, the rulers of the state. "And from him every oppressor together," i.e. in a good sense, every ruler who exacts tribute from nations subject to Judah. Thus the state is built up and defended by God. Legislation without him is insecure. He must be trusted for every politician that founds and fastens the empire together—thanked for every ruler that crushes oppression. All valour and success, all ornaments and defence, are from him. "The Lord is Governor among the nations."

THE RELIGION OF JOY.—Zec

Through communicated and accompanying might of Jehovah, Ephraim would be a man of valour and strength against every foe. The exulting joy with which they would be filled would impart energy of heart and hand. In proportion to the amount, the variety, and long-continuance of their outcast condition, of depression and humiliation, of scorn and reproach, of personal and social oppression; and of all, as the effect and indication of what was worse than them all—Divine desertion—the hidings of God's countenance, his frown, his wrath—should be the joy of Jehovah's return and blessing [Wardlaw].

I. Joyful religion in its source. Its source is secret and hidden from the world.

1. It is in God. They shall "rejoice in the Lord"—not in his gifts, health, abundance, and honour—but in God himself. In his favour and friendship, in his Word and service.

2. It springs from the heart. "Their heart shall rejoice." Not from outward circumstances, but from pardoned sin and peace with God. This fountain of living waters is within a man. "A good man shall be satisfied from himself."

II. Joyful religion in its degree. "Their heart shall rejoice as through wine." Wine is called by Plato, "the mitigator of human sorrows." The figure denotes exuberant joy, joy beyond a natural degree (cf. Psa ; Psa 104:15). By a bold figure wine is said to "cheer God" himself (Jud 9:13. Hence as cordials are seasonable in the hour of need; so joy buries sorrow, and makes us forget past evils. "Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more."

III. Joyful religion in its influence. This fountain is never sealed.

1. It conduces to health. Diseases of the mind produce diseases of the body; a fretful repining spirit will waste away the vigour and beauty of the constitution. "Let thy mind's sweetness," says Geo. Herbert, "have its operation upon thy body, clothes, and habitation." "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken."

2. It promotes activity. Happy Christians are strong and active Christians. Ancient nations drank wine before battle. Those who drink of this joy will be heroes in life. "Neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

3. It influences others. Children see and neighbours feel it. "I am sure my father's religion is true," said one, "because it makes him happy." "The beams of joy," says Fuller, "are made better by reflection." Yet some are strangers to this joy. Their religion is morbid and melancholy—"the religion of the sorrowful," misrepresenting the bright religion of Jesus. Seek to rejoice in God, and to rejoice always. "Delight thyself in the Lord."

HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES

Zec . Mighty men or warriors of the Gospel.

1. Their valour. The figure is general, indicating triumphant progress against all enemies, and thorough and shameful discomfiture. It was in looking forward to the success of his Apostles—so rapid, so signal—that our Lord said, "I beheld Satan fall, as lightning from heaven." The comparison is simple. "As mighty men." They shall triumph over the enemies of their cause as completely as the most victorious general over his enemies. The causes and the weapons are widely different; so is the spirit in which the war is conducted, and the results to those taken captive by the conquerors [Ward-law].

2. The source of their valour. "They shall fight because the Lord is with them." He is the source of all success. Through him they do valiantly; for he it is that treads down their enemies. Not a victory, not a trophy, not a song, without him (Jos ; Neh 4:20). If Mithridates never wanted courage nor counsel, how much more shall the Messiah and his mighty men succeed in their warfare! "The Lord God, he it is that fighteth for you."

Zec . I have mercy upon them. Here is a double cause alleged, of these great and gracious promises; and both excluding works. First, God's mere mercy; secondly, his election of grace; "for I am the Lord, their God. "This latter is the cause of the former; for God chose his people for love, and then loveth them for his choice. The effects of which love are here set down—

1. That he heareth their prayers, "I will hear them."

2. That he re-accepteth and restoreth them in Christ, as if they had never offended against him. "They shall be as though I had not cast them off." That was a cutting speech, and far worse than their captivity, when God not only threatened to cast them out of their country into a strange land, but that there, "he would show them no favour" (Jer ). Here he promiseth to pity them, and then they must think deliverance was at next door [Trapp].

1. The blessings. Strength, "I will strengthen them;" salvation, "I will save;" and restoration, "I will bring them again."

2. The cause of the blessing. God's mercy. "I have mercy upon them." God's unchanging purpose; "they shall be as though I had not cast them off."

3. The consequence of the blessings. "I will hear them." He heard the voice of their distress, as he did in Egypt. But understand their calling upon Jehovah in a state of penitential abasement, confession, and return of heart (cf. Wardlaw). "I will hear," is the fulfilment of a promise repeatedly made to them in former days, and an encouragement in their present dispersed state. Jehovah yet ‘waits to be gracious.' His ear is open to their very first penitential cry; and while his ear will be open (that alone were little) his power will be ready to aid" [Wardlaw].

True conversion.

1. Men turn to God only through Divine mercy.

2. When men repent, and turn to God, they are treated as if they had not been cast off.

3. Humble penitent prayer to God is an evidence of converted men. "Prayer is to religion what thinking is to philosophy. To pray is to make religion" [Novalis].

ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 10

Zec . Ask rain. Men seem practically to have but little remembrance that the mainspring of all mechanism of second causes is in the hands of an invisible Creator; that it is not from what goes on in the hidden laboratories of what they call nature that season succeeds season, and shower and sunshine alternate with so much of beautiful and beneficent order, but that the whole arrangement is momentarily dependent upon the will and energy of that Supreme Being who "sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers" [Melville].

Zec . Shepherds. As hired servants will tend men's sheep no longer than it is profitable to them, so is it with promotion-seeking ministers [Cawdry].

Zec . The administration of government, like a guardianship, ought to be directed to the good of those who confer, and not of those who receive, the trust [Cicero].

Zec . Mighty men. Power is according to quality and not quantity. How much more are men than nations! [Emerson]. Where power is absent we may find the robe of genius, but we miss the throne [Landor].

Zec . "The house of Judah, and the house of Joseph," spoken of in the first of these verses, signify respectively, the two tribes and the ten tribes—unitedly, the whole house of Israel—the posterity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The declaration, "I will save them, and bring them again and place them," cannot refer to the return from Babylon; seeing, in that respect, they had been already "saved," and "brought again," and "placed." And the language is much too strong to have reference to any such remaining partial deliverances and returnings—additions only to that from Babylon—which might take place under the Maccabean princes, or at any period of their history between the prophet's days and the coming of Christ. And if it refers to a period subsequent to the coming of Christ, to what else can the reference be but to their recovery from their present long-continued outcast and scattered condition? [Wardlaw].


Verses 8-12

CRITICAL NOTES.]

Zec . Hiss] Whistle as bee-keepers call back swarms to the hive. The extraordinary increase of Jews after this is a familiar fact of history (cf. Josephus' Wars, Bk. 3 ch. 3. 2).

Zec . Sow] broadcast, with a design to multiply (Hos 2:2-5; Jer 31:27). Remember] Return to right mind (cf. Luk 15:17; Psa 22:27). Live] in political and spiritual life.

Zec . Egypt] the house of bondage, and Assyria] the scene of captivity, represent all lands in which they are now scattered. Gilead and Lebanon] Their old dwellings east and west of Jordan. This territory, though fertile and large, should not be able to support them.

Zec . The sea] personified, shall not hinder their return. God will march at their head, trample down all its proud waves, and the depths shall become dry. Assyria's pride] and Egypt's sceptre] (rod of task-master), shall be smitten.

Zec . I] God will strengthen Ephraim. They will walk] in his name, and enjoy his protection; find the past a pledge of the future, and see the Divine perfections more illustrious than ever.

HOMILETICS

THE RESTORATION, SETTLEMENT, AND INCREASE OF GOD'S PEOPLE.—Zec

To remove all doubt concerning the promises just given the restoration is more minutely described.

I. The restoration of God's people. "I will gather them."

1. From different places. From "the land of Egypt," a type of all lands of bondage. "Out of Assyria," a type of all lands of exile. They shall be sought and found in all quarters of the world.

2. By Divine call. "I will hiss for them and gather them." As bee-keepers whistle back the bees to the hive, or as sheep flock together at the well-known call of the shepherd, so God will bring them back to himself and their inheritance. "He will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth; and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly" (Isa ).

3. Without hindrance. (a) Distance shall not keep them back. Out of lands far and near. (b) Distress shall not hinder them. At the Red Sea Israel thought they were lost. The sea of affliction shall be opened up. Its smitten waves shall overwhelm the foe, "for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians" (Exo ); or sink into silence at the command of its Maker and Ruler. "All the deeps of the river shall dry up." (c) Enemies shall not impede them. "The pride of Assyria shall be brought down." The rod of Egypt shall be broken. The wonders of old shall be repeated, and the first deliverance shall be eclipsed by the last.

II. The settlement of God's people. "I will bring them into the land of Gilead" beyond Jordan, the eastern, "and Lebanon," the northern, boundary.

1. Settled them in Divine strength. "I will strengthen them in the Lord." Strengthen them to resist temptation, discharge duty, and endure trial. "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."

2. Settled them in delightful freedom. "I have redeemed them" (Zec ): spiritually and temporally, the type of the true Israel. "I gave Egypt for their ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee."

III. The increase of God's people. "And they shall increase as they have increased."

1. Increase by sowing them in other nations. As seed sown in the ground they were scattered, not merely to spread the knowledge of God, but to be quickened in themselves, and to quicken others. "The word is used of sowing to multiply," says Pusey, "never of mere scattering. A rich harvest was to spring from them." "I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast."

2. Increase with unparalleled degree. "Place shall not be found for them." "A promise of such increase is a promise that includes much more than it expresses. It implies in it all that contributes to such rapid multiplication." "The children of thy bereaved estate shall yet say in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place, that I may dwell."

3. Increase in permanent duration. "They shall live with their children and turn again." The gift would be a continual gift. "They and their children, and their children's children for ever" (Eze ). The blessing would not be transient, but abiding; the chartered privileges would be as before the dispersion. "The promise is unto you and to your children."

HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Zec . Here we seem to have their dispersions, their penitent recognition of God, and their consequent preservation and return [Wardlaw]. Sow them, partly to keep them as winter seed in the ground till the spring-time of their conversion and restitution; and partly making them seed to bring in an increase of the fulness of the Gentiles at their conversion. Further, the Lord promiseth that scattering should not hinder their conversion, for the veil shall be taken away, and they shall remember the Lord, and they and their children being preserved shall return to God [Hutcheson].

They shall remember me—

1. May be applied to the Jews; and

2. to the conversion of sinners. It indicates—

1. That men have forgotten God, wandered into distance from him.

2. That true conversion is a "turning again" to God in humility and duty. A state of unregeneration is one of forgetfulness. Sinners have lost all sense of God's glory, authority, and mercy. The first religious exercise of the mind is reflection, fitly represented in the prodigal when he came to himself. Then a return to God the Father. "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord."

Zec . Security and happiness under Divine protection.

1. Christian knowledge; a knowledge of God's name revealed to direct and encourage in duty. "The name of Jehovah is a comprehensive expression denoting his glory as manifested in history" (Hengs.)

2. Christian profession. To walk in his name, or maintain a course of life in harmony with God's will and word.

3. Christian freedom. "They shall walk up and down." "The expression seems further to imply a state of felt peace, and freedom, and confidence of safety, and happy social intercommunion, arising from faith in God—from unshaken reliance on his power and wisdom, faithfulness and love" [Wardlaw]. I will strengthen them in the Lord. The very assurance we want in the duties and trials of life. Confidently rely upon it, for it comes from the lips of Faithfulness and Truth. But we may err as to manner of fulfilment; our expectation therefore to be regulated accordingly. Observe, that the fulfilment of the promise will not exempt us from all ground of complaint. It will keep us in work, but not cause us to cease—secures help in conflict, but war lasts for ever. It will also be seasonable. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." Look for grace, not for imaginary but real purposes, not for future but present difficulties, to "help in time of need." These supplies of strength to be sought in God's own way. In the use of appointed means. Foolish to avoid religious exercises, even when not in a proper, spiritual, and lively frame. Then the means most necessary, as fire when we are cold, and excitement when dull [Jay].

Zec . Messianic mercies. Survey the whole promise from ch. Zec 9:11 onwards; there are two leading thoughts developed in it. (a) That those members of the covenant nation who were still scattered among the heathen should be redeemed out of their misery, and gathered together in the kingdom of Messiah. (b) That the Lord would endow all his people with power for the conquest of the heathen. They were both fulfilled in weak commencements only in the times immediately following, and down to the coming of Christ, by the return of many Jews out of captivity and into the land of their fathers, particularly when Galilee was strongly peopled by Israelites; and also by the protection and care which God bestowed upon the people in the contests between the powers of the world for supremacy in Palestine. The principal fulfilment is of a spiritual kind, and was effected through the gathering of Jews into the kingdom of Christ, which commenced in the times of the apostles, and will continue till the remnant of Israel is converted to Christ its Saviour [Keil].

ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 10

Zec . "The house of Judah, and the house of Joseph," spoken of in the first of these verses, signify respectively, the two tribes and the ten tribes—unitedly, the whole house of Israel—the posterity of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The declaration, "I will save them, and bring them again and place them," cannot refer to the return from Babylon; seeing, in that respect, they had been already "saved," and "brought again," and "placed." And the language is much too strong to have reference to any such remaining partial deliverances and returnings—additions only to that from Babylon—which might take place under the Maccabean princes, or at any period of their history between the prophet's days and the coming of Christ. And if it refers to a period subsequent to the coming of Christ, to what else can the reference be but to their recovery from their present long-continued outcast and scattered condition? [Wardlaw].

Zec . The victory described is followed by a large increase of population, not confined to Judah, but also including Israel. Nor is there reason to doubt that the independence achieved by the Maccabees attracted very many of the exiles from the northern kingdom, who forgot the old causes of dissension, and united earnestly in maintaining the re-established national centre in Jerusalem. This fusion at home led to a similar fusion abroad, and wherever Jews were found, who preserved their hereditary faith at all, they still remembered Jehovah as one who had chosen Zion, and considered themselves as constituent parts of one covenant people. So far the predictions of the chapter were fulfilled historically in the period extending from the establishment of Jewish independence to the time of the advent. In the last three verses the prophet describes a far greater, because spiritual, blessing in terms borrowed from the old experience of the people. The drying up of the sea, the humiliation of Assyria, the overthrow of Egypt, simply set forth the removal of all possible obstacles in the way of a spiritual return to God. The Lord will reclaim and bless them by procedures as marvellous as any that ever occurred in their former history [Lange].

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Zechariah 10:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/zechariah-10.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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