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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Zechariah 11:2

Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, Because the glorious trees have been destroyed; Wail, O oaks of Bashan, For the impenetrable forest has come down.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Howl, fir tree - This seems to point out the fall and destruction of all the mighty men.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/zechariah-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Howl, O cypress, for the cedar is fallen - Jerusalem or the temple having been likened to Lebanon and its cedars, the prophet carries on the image, speaking of the priests princes and people, under the title of firs, cypresses and oaks, trees inferior, but magnificent. He shows that it is imagery, by ascribing to them the feelings of people. The more glorious and stately, “the cedars,” were destroyed. Woe then to the rest, “the cypress;” as our Lord says, “If they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done, in the dry?” Luke 23:31, and Peter, “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 1 Peter 4:18.

For the defensed forest is come down - That which was closed and inaccessible to the enemy. All which was high and lifted up was brought low, “came down,” even to the ground.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/zechariah-11.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Wail, O fir tree, for the cedar is fallen, because the goodly ones are destroyed: wail, O ye oaks of Bashan, for the strong forest is come down. A voice of the wailing of the shepherds! for their glory is destroyed: a voice of the roaring of young lions! for the pride of the Jordan is laid waste."

Zechariah 11:3 "explains Zechariah 11:2. The cedars, firs, and oaks are the false shepherds of Israel, "the goodly ones" who possessed the wealth and glory of Israel and whom Jesus himself spoke of in the parable as "rich, clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every day" (Luke 16:19). None of the secular kings of surrounding nations appears here in any sense.

These verses have the effect of introducing, not merely the certainty of Israel's destruction, but also the reason for it, namely, their evil "shepherds" or leaders. "Thus Zechariah builds up in picture form the vision of total irresistible catastrophe."[9] These verses (Zechariah 11:1-3) are actually a prelude to the entire judgment revealed in Zechariah 11. The theme is that of disaster falling upon the false shepherds of Israel. We may forget about some alleged picture of the destruction of Syria and Egypt (Mitchell), the fall of leaders of the nations that had oppressed the Jews (Gailey). "The prophet is looking to the complete destruction of the Jewish economy."[10] "Thus the devastation of Lebanon is a figurative representation of the destruction of the Israelitish kingdom."[11]

The theme of the dramatic judgment having been announced, the prophet himself is instructed to act out the part of the Good Shepherd in the tale of horrors leading up to the catastrophe. "He is to feed the flock whose buyers slay them and hold themselves guiltless."[12] The prophet goes forward here, not performing those actions for himself but for Another, doing things, which in truth, "Neither Zechariah nor any other prophet ever did, but only God through his Son."[13]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/zechariah-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen,.... By which are designed the princes, nobles, and magistrates of the land: so the Targum interprets them of kings and princes; see Nahum 2:3,

because all the mighty are spoiled; which is an explanation of the figurative expressions in the former clause, and in the following; and designs rich men, as the Targum paraphrases it, who at this time would be spoiled of their wealth and substance.

Howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; which the Targum interprets of governors of provinces; and men of power and authority are doubtless intended; see Isaiah 2:13,

for the forest of the vintage is come down; or rather, "the fortified forest"; meaning the city of Jerusalem, which was a fortified place, and like a forest full of trees, for number of inhabitants, but now cut down and destroyed; see Isaiah 10:16.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/zechariah-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Wail, b fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are laid waste: wail, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the c vintage is come down.

(b) Showing that if the strong men were destroyed, the weaker were not able to resist.

(c) Seeing that Lebanon was destroyed, which was the strongest fortress, the weaker places could not hope to hold out.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/zechariah-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

cedar — if even the cedars (the highest in the state) are not spared, how much less the fir trees (the lowest)!

forest of … vintage — As the vines are stripped of their grapes in the vintage (compare Joel 3:13), so the forest of Lebanon “is come down,” stripped of all its beauty. Rather, “the fortified” or “inaccessible forest” [Maurer]; that is, Jerusalem dense with houses as a thick forest is with trees, and “fortified” with a wall around. Compare Micah 3:12, where its desolate state is described as a forest.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/zechariah-11.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.

Fir-tree — Houses and towns built with firs.

The cedar — Much less shall ye escape.

Ye Oaks — Used in that country for building palaces, cities, towns, and fortresses.

The forest — Jerusalem, compared to a forest, in regard of the many and tall houses in it. In short, all are called to cry, for the miseries that will come upon all.

Come down — Is laid desolate.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/zechariah-11.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

He then adds, Howl thou, fir-tree, for the cedar has fallen. No doubt the Prophet by naming Lebanon, mentioning a part for the whole, meant the whole of Judea: and it appears evident from the context that the most remarkable places are here mentioned; but yet the Prophet’s design was to show, that God would punish the whole people, so as not to spare Jerusalem or any other place. And then by the fir-trees and cedars he meant whatever then excelled in Judea or in other places; and for this reason he compares them to the cedars of Lebanon, as though he had said, “There is no reason for the fir-trees to regard themselves as beyond the reach of danger; for if he spares not the cedars what will become of the fir-trees, which possess no such stateliness and grandeur?”

We now then perceive the Prophet’s meaning as to the trees: but he includes, as I have said, under one kind, whatever was valuable in Judea; and this we learn more clearly from what follows: for he adds, Fallen have, or laid waste have been, the strong (130) Some read in the neuter gender, “Laid waste have been splendid things;” but I am inclined to regard persons as intended. The Prophet then now simply declares, that the vengeance of God was nigh all the great ones, whom dignity sheltered, so that they thought themselves in no danger. And for the same purpose he adds, Howl, ye oaks of Bashan. He joins, as we see, Bashan to Lebanon; there is then no reason for allegorising only one of the words, when they are both connected. And he says, For fallen has the fortified forest. Either this may be applied to Lebanon, or the Prophet may be viewed as saying in general, that there was no place so difficult of access, which would not be penetrated into, when the Lord should give liberty to enemies to destroy all things. Though then the density of trees protected these mountains, yet the Prophet says that nothing would obstruct God’s vengeance from penetrating into the inmost recesses of strongholds.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/zechariah-11.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE LESSONS OF CALAMITY

‘Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen.’

Zechariah 11:2

Such words are universally applicable whenever calamity falls on those better or more exalted than ourselves; and such calamity may serve as a warning, teaching us to expect our own share of trouble.

I. If our blessed Saviour Himself be the first cedar tree on which we gaze, the cedar tree ‘smitten of God and afflicted,’ we may set in contrast the holiness and the suffering of the Mediator.—The holiness such that ‘He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth’; the suffering such that ‘His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’ What must sin be, what is hatefulness in God’s sight, if it were punished thus fearfully in the Person of Christ? Can you think that God will deal lightly with you, though He dealt thus sternly with His well-beloved Son, and that justice will not be rigid in exacting penalties from you, when it would not relax one tittle of its demands, though its Victim were the spotless, yea, even the Divine?

II. Not only was the Captain of our salvation made perfect through suffering, but the same discipline has been employed from the first in regard of all those whom God has conducted to glory.—There has been no more observable feature of the Divine dealings, whether under the patriarchal, legal, or Christian dispensation, than this of the employment of afflictions as an instrument of purification. It has not been found that any amount of piety has secured its possessor against troubles; on the contrary, the evidence has seemed the other way—piety has appeared to expose men to additional and severe trials. The fact is indisputable, that through much tribulation we must enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And we do not see that any fact should be more startling to those who are living without God, and perhaps secretly hoping for immunity at the last. If they survey the dealings of their Maker with this earth, they cannot deny that the cedar has been bent and blighted by the hurricane, while comparatively a scene of calm has been around the fir; and from this they are bound to conclude the great fact of a judgment to come. Surely the blows which descend on the righteous should make the wicked start! As the cedar bends and shakes, the fir tree should tremble. If anything can fill the impenitent with fear it should be the observing how God deals with His own faithful servants. It is probable enough that the wicked may be disposed to congratulate themselves on their superior prosperity—to look with pity, if not with contempt, on the righteous, as ‘the God Whom they serve seems to reward them with nothing but trouble.’ That can only be through want of consideration. Let the wicked but ponder the facts of the case, and there is nothing which should so excite their dread of the future as the present misery which falls to the lot of the good.

—Canon Melvill.


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". Church Pulpit Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/zechariah-11.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Zechariah 11:2 Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.

Ver. 2. Howl, fir tree] That is, ye of lower rank, or ye meaner cities, those daughters of Jerusalem, that felt the Roman’s force; howl, take up a loud outcry, a doleful ditty, after the manner of those that are carried captive by the enemy, Psalms 137:3. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us, qui contumulabant nos, that threw us on heaps (so Tremellius rendereth it, confer Isaiah 25:2), or those that made us howl, ululatores nostri (so Schindler), required of us mirth.

Because all the mighty are spoiled] The magnificos, the men of power, as they are called, Psalms 76:5, stout-hearted and every way able for strength, courage, and riches; which often take away the life of the owners, Proverbs 1:19, and expose them to spoil; as every man desireth to lop the tree that hath thick and large boughs and branches.

Howl, O ye oaks of Bashan] Og’s country, who only remained of the remnant of giants, Deuteronomy 3:11. The Jews fable that he escaped in the flood by riding astride on the ark. By the oaks of his country understand the strong and eminent. The Chaldee rendereth it, Satrapae provinciarum, ye provincial governors.

For the forest of the vintage] Or, the defenced forest, viz. of Lebanon, i.e. Jerusalem, that seemed impregnable, but at length came down, ruit alto a culmine, as a cedar that is felled by a mighty one, Isaiah 10:34. Death hewed its way through a wood or forest of men in a minute of time from the mouth of a murdering piece, or some such warlike engine. When the sword is once sharpened it makes a sore slaughter; "it contemneth the rod," Ezekiel 21:10; q.d. what does this silly rod do here? these lesser and lighter judgments? let me come, I will make work among them; down with these oaks, down with this defenced forest, &c.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/zechariah-11.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Zechariah 11:2

Such words are universally applicable whenever calamity falls on those better or more exalted than ourselves; and such calamity may serve as a warning, teaching us to expect our own share of trouble.

I. If our blessed Saviour Himself be the first cedar tree on which we gaze, the cedar tree "smitten of God and afflicted," we may set in contrast the holiness and the suffering of the Mediator—the holiness such that "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth;" the suffering such that "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men." What must sin be, what its hatefulness in God's sight, if it were punished thus fearfully in the Person of Christ? Can you think that God will deal lightly with you, though He dealt thus sternly with His well-beloved Son, and that justice will not be rigid in exacting penalties from you, when it would not relax one tittle of its demands, though its Victim were the spotless, yea, even the Divine?

II. Not only was the Captain of our salvation made perfect through suffering, but the same discipline has been employed from the first in regard of all those whom God has conducted to glory. There has been no more observable feature of the Divine dealings, whether under the patriarchal, legal, or Christian dispensation, than this of the employment of afflictions as an instrument of purification. It has not been found that any amount of piety has secured its possessor against troubles; on the contrary, the evidence has seemed the other way—piety has appeared to expose men to additional and severe trials. The fact is indisputable, that through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of heaven. And we do not see that any fact should be more startling to those who are living without God, and perhaps secretly hoping for immunity at the last. If they survey the dealings of their Maker with this earth, they cannot deny that the cedar has been bent and blighted by the hurricane, while comparatively a scene of calm has been around the fir; and from this they are bound to conclude the great fact of a judgment to come. Surely the blows which descend on the righteous should make the wicked start! As the cedar bends and shakes, the fir tree should tremble. If anything can fill the impenitent with fear it should be the observing how God deals with His own faithful servants. It is probable enough that the wicked may be disposed to congratulate themselves on their superior prosperity—to look with pity, if not with contempt, on the righteous, as "the God whom they serve seems to reward them with nothing but trouble." That can only be through want of consideration. Let the wicked but ponder the facts of the case, and there is nothing which should so excite their dread of the future as the present misery which falls to the lot of the good.

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1,688.

References: Zechariah 11:2.—J. Hiles Hitchens, Christian World Pulpit, vol. v., p. 136; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 272. Zech 11—Expositor, 3rd series, vol. iv., p. 306.




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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/zechariah-11.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Zechariah 11:2. Howl, fir-tree O fir-tree; because the cedar is fallen, because, &c. Howl, O ye oaks of Bashan, because the defenced forest is overthrown. Houbigant. When any apologue or fable became celebrated for the art and beauty of its composition, or for some extraordinary efficacy in its application, it was soon converted and worn into a proverb. We have a fine instance of this in the message of Jehovah to Amaziah, 2 Kings 14:9-10 where we see plainly that Jotham's satiric apologue of the thistle and cedar was then become a proverb. Of the like kind is this of the prophet, Howl, O fir-tree, &c. to denote the danger of the lower people, when their superiors cannot withstand the tempest. See Div. Leg. b. 4: sect. 4.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/zechariah-11.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Howl, fir tree; either mean men, or houses and towns built with firs.

For the cedar is fallen; the greater and better escape not, much less shall the meaner and worse.

Because the mighty is spoiled; howl because the mighty men, cities, fortresses, and munitions are taken, sacked, and ruined; or else held by enemies, which is worse, and of defences and safety to us, are become our greatest annoyances and dangers.

Oaks of Bashan; oaks either literally, as they were used in that country, for building palaces, cities, towns, and fortresses; or else figuratively, the great men of that country, a land very fruitful and pleasant, of which Nahum 1:4.

The forest of the vintage; either all strong places which were for guarding and defending the vineyards; or Jerusalem itself, compared to a forest in regard of the many and tall houses in it; this best pleaseth most interpreters. In short, all are called to weep, and cry, and howl for the miseries that will come upon all sorts, high and low, on-them and theirs.

Is come down; is laid desolate.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/zechariah-11.html. 1685.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Likewise the cypress (juniper, pine) and oaks of Bashan should wail because they too would perish in the coming devastation. Bashan was famous for its oak forests (cf. Isaiah 2:13; Ezekiel 27:6). Earlier Zechariah combined Lebanon and Bashan to indicate the whole land ( Zechariah 10:10). All these trees suggest the people of the land as well as the land itself. A judgment that would affect the whole land of Palestine and all its people, including its rulers, is in view.

"Perhaps next in prominence to shepherd as metaphor for king is that of a plant, especially a tree [cf. Judges 9:7-15; Isaiah 10:33-34; Ezekiel 31:3-18; Daniel 4:10; Daniel 4:23]." [Note: Merrill, p285.]

The cedar tree, in particular, is a metaphor for a king (cf. 2 Kings 14:9; Isaiah 14:8; Ezekiel 17:3; Amos 2:9).


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/zechariah-11.html. 2012.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Fir and oak may signify the cities and towns of the Jews. --- Fenced. Septuagint, "well planted;" (Calmet) or "forest, planted all at once." (Haydock) --- "The temple was like a fortress." (Tacitus)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/zechariah-11.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

fir = cypress.

for. If the cedar is fallen, how much more the cypress.

the. The 1611 edition of the Authorized Version reads "all the".

mighty = honourable, or majestic ones.

forest of the vintage = the inaccessible forest.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/zechariah-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.

Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen. If even the cedars (the highest in the state) are not spared, how much less the fir trees (the lowest)!

Howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down - as the vines are stripped of their grapes in the vintage, so the forest of Lebanon "is come down," stripped of all its beauty (Joel 3:13; Revelation 14:2-18

. Rather [ya`ar habaatsuwr], 'the fortified' or 'inaccessible forest' (Maurer) - i:e., Jerusalem, dense with houses as a thick forest is with trees, and 'fortified' with a lofty wall round. Compare Micah 3:12, where its desolate state is described as a forest.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/zechariah-11.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down.
Howl
Isaiah 2:12-17; 10:33,34; Ezekiel 31:2,3,17; Amos 6:1; Nahum 3:8-19; Luke 23:31
mighty
or, gallants. for.
Isaiah 32:15-19; Ezekiel 20:46
forest of the vintage
or, defenced forest.

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 11:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/zechariah-11.html.

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