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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Zechariah 2

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. II.

God, in the care of Jerusalem, sendeth to measure it. The redemption of Zion. The promise of God's presence.

Before Christ 519.

THIS chapter contains the substance of a third vision. In conformity to what was said, chap. Zechariah 1:16 a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem; a man, or an angel, appears with a measuring line in his hand, going, as he says, to take the dimensions of Jerusalem, in order to its being rebuilt according to its former extent, which was afterwards done by Nehemiah. This is accompanied with a message delivered to the prophet, shewing the great increase of her population and wealth; her perfect security under the divine protection; the recal of her exiles from the north country, and the punishment of those who had oppressed them; the return of God's presence to dwell in her; and the conversion of many heathen nations; and lastly, the reinstatement of Judah and Jerusalem in the full possession of all their ancient privileges.


Verse 3

Zechariah 2:3. The angel that talked with me Many interpreters have thought, that the angel who talked with Zechariah, and interpreted to him, was no other than Jehovah himself, the second person in the blessed Trinity. In examining some passages which follow, I think it will appear to be without sufficient foundation. In the mean time, let me observe, that here he is not only called simply AN ANGEL, (that is, a ministering spirit, as the apostle to the Hebrews explains the term, expressly contrasting it with the Son; Hebrews 1:14.) but he is addressed by the other angel, not, I think, as a superior, but as a fellow servant, to whom he delivers orders, as from a common master. See the Reflections.


Verse 4

Zechariah 2:4. Jerusalem shall be inhabited Houbigant renders this, Jerusalem, without a wall, shall be inhabited for the multitude, &c. And he supposes the prophesy to refer to the new Jerusalem spoken of Revelation 21:2 to which alone he thinks the following verse can be applied; rendering the latter part, And within her a pillar of light. Most of the commentators suppose this to refer to a future state of the church.


Verse 6

Zechariah 2:6. From the land of the north That is to say, From Babylon. See Zechariah 2:7. Instead of, I have spread, Houbigant reads, I will spread, or disseminate you, &c. foretelling the future freedom of the Jews, and the emancipation from captivity and all its evils.


Verse 8

Zechariah 2:8. After the glory hath he sent me He that dwelleth in the glory, or the pillar of light, hath sent me. The latter part of the verse is emphatically expressive of the tender care and paternal regard which God hath for those who love him. As the sight of the eye is, by God's care and wise providence, fenced about and guarded from harm by the eye-lids, and by its deep situation, no wonder that this admirable provision for the safety of so valuable an organ is considered, both here and in other parts of Scripture, as an emblem of the divine protection: see Psalms 17:8 and Deuteronomy 32:10. This care of providence for the defence and preservation of the eyesight is most elegantly described by Cicero in his second book De Nat. Deorum, and well deserves reading.


Verse 9

Zechariah 2:9. I will shake mine hand upon them I will extend mine hand against them. Houbigant.


Verse 10-11

Zechariah 2:10-11.— Hitherto nothing has appeared to indicate the angel to be more than what the name usually imports, an ordinary messenger of God's will, and the agent of his providence. Nor will it, I think, appear otherwise from what follows in there two verses, if we attend to the proper distinction between what the angel speaks in his own person, and what he delivers as the immediate words of God. He first begins to exhort in his own person, "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Sion, for Jehovah hath said;" he then repeats as the words of Jehovah, "Behold, I am coming, and I will dwell in the midst of thee; and many nations shall be joined unto Jehovah in that day, and shall become a people unto me; and I will dwell in the midst of thee." Having thus finished what Jehovah had spoken, he adds from himself, "Then," when these things come to pass, "thou shalt know that Jehovah of Hosts hath sent me unto thee;" as Zechariah 2:9. In my Reflections, however, I have considered the words in the common sense, that the reader may judge for himself.


Verse 11

Zechariah 2:11. And many nations, &c.— We do not know of any cities, provinces, or nations, which have forsaken their own religion to embrace that of the Jews; but we see a great part of the world joining themselves to, and adoring the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian religion is extending itself universally, as well through the old as the new world. The next verse must unquestionably refer to the future restoration of the Jews; and when the prophet says in the 13th, Be silent, &c. he considers Christ as acting in heaven; and at the same time prophesies, that he will hereafter exert himself in his holy habitation, to convert, by some wonderful miracles, the Jews and all nations to his faith. See the note on Habakkuk 2:20. The author of 1 Maccabees 1:3 says finely, that all the earth was quiet before Alexander. This prince imposed silence upon all the world.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The prophet had declared, that a line should be stretched forth upon Jerusalem, and now in vision it is done. And more seems intended than the mere rebuilding of this city, even the erection of that glorious church which the Redeemer of men should, in the fulness of time, come to establish in the earth.

1. The vision that he beholds is a man with a measuring-line in his hand, the same person as before, the Lord Jesus going forth by his word and Spirit to build up the walls of his church, that it may be a glorious church, in doctrine, discipline, and all holy conversation. See the critical notes; where a different sense is given to this passage, with the reasons for it.

2. The prophet, desirous to be informed concerning what he saw, asks, Whither goest thou? and he tells him, to measure Jerusalem, &c. Then going forth, another angel meets him, and desires him to go back and inform the young man, for such, though a prophet, it seems Zechariah was, concerning the meaning of the vision: that Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, intimating its safety, security, and populousness, replenished with men and beasts in multitudes, protected as with a wall of fire, and filled with the glory of the Lord; which, though in a sense literally applicable to that city, may be considered as descriptive of the church of Christ, when all nations should flow into it; safe under the care of Jesus, as if surrounded by a wall of fire, his people shall dwell in peace; and in his ordinances he will manifest to them his presence, and be in the midst of their assemblies their glory and defence.

2nd, Though a general permission had been given to all the Jewish captives to return to their own land, many, discouraged by the difficulties which they apprehended in resettling, and who had perhaps well provided for themselves in the land of their captivity, took no advantage of the proclamation of Cyrus, but sat down content in that strange land. To rebuke their backwardness, and to quicken their return, God sends a summons to them in all places of their dispersion: Ho, ho, come forth. And such is the kind voice of Gospel-grace, when miserable sinners are hugging their chains, and asleep in the prison of their iniquities.

1. They are commanded to flee as for their lives, and escape without delay from the house of their prison, no longer dwelling with the daughter of Babylon, but coming to Zion, now prepared for their reception. Note; All things are ready, if we be ready; Jesus calls; our duty, our interest, is to obey: if we reject his word, and continue willing slaves of sin, our blood will be upon our own heads.

2. Their apprehensions of the difficulties and dangers which they may meet with are silenced: nay, where they were, they would be much more exposed; for thus saith the Lord of Hosts, After the glory promised, and the glorious beginnings that had appeared, hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you, the Chaldeans, to avenge the wrongs that they had suffered from them; for he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye; so tender, so careful, is God of his believing people, and so quick in his resentments of every offence given to them. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, the Babylonians, and they shall be a spoil to their servants, being destroyed by the Persians under Darius, against whom they had revolted; and should the Jews stay there, they would then suffer for their folly. And ye shall know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent me, when the prophesy receives its accomplishment. Note; (1.) The saints of God are dear to him, as if they were his very eyes; and he will suffer no injury to be done to them with impunity. (2.) All Christ's enemies shall fall before him; and he will fully deliver his faithful people: and therein his glory shall appear, and his divine mission be fully evinced.

3rdly, The church and the people of God are called to sing and rejoice on the appearing of the great Redeemer.

1. They shall have his presence in the midst of them. For, lo, I come, not only as incarnate, but in the preaching of his Gospel to the end of time; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord, in his special presence accompanying his ordinances; and thou shalt know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent me unto thee, by experience of his power and grace upon their hearts.

2. Great accessions from all nations shall be made to the church. Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day; the Gentiles being called into the fellowship of the Gospel, and obedient to the faith; and, thus being entitled to all the blessings of the Gospel dispensation, the faithful among them shall in the highest sense be my people, to serve and enjoy me.

3. The Jewish people shall be restored to their own land. The Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again; either they shall be converted and brought into the church, which is the holy land; or, literally, shall at the time of their recovery at last be put in possession of Judaea, rebuild Jerusalem, and, as the followers of Jesus, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

4. Silence is proclaimed through the earth to all flesh. Either they are enjoined to behold with astonishment this wonderful work of the recovery of Israel; or this is addressed to the enemies of God's church and people, who will be confounded and for ever silenced in the dust, when, raised up out of his holy habitation, the Lord shall come to vindicate his people's wrongs, and execute judgment on the ungodly.

See commentary on Zechariah 2:10

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Zechariah 2:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/zechariah-2.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 11th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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