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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Zechariah 12:10

"I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

Adam Clarke Commentary

I will pour upon the house of David - This is the way in which the Jews themselves shall be brought into the Christian Church.

  1. "They shall have the spirit of grace," God will show them that he yet bears favor to them.
  • They shall be excited to fervent and continual prayer for the restoration of the Divine favor.
  • Christ shall be preached unto them; and they shall look upon and believe in him whom they pierced, whom they crucified at Jerusalem.
  • 4. This shall produce deep and sincere repentance; they shall mourn, and be in bitterness of soul, to think that they had crucified the Lord of life and glory, and so long continued to contradict and blaspheme, since that time.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    And I will pour - As He promised by Joel, “I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28. See vol. i. pp. 193,194), largely, abundantly, “upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” all, highest and lowest, from first to last, the “Spirit of grace and supplication,” that is, the “Holy Spirit” which conveyeth “grace,” as “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding” Isaiah 11:2 is “the Spirit” infusing “wisdom and understanding,” and the “Spirit of counsel and might” is that same Spirit, imparting the gift “of counsel” to see what is to be done and “of might” to do it, and the Spirit “of the knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” is that same “Spirit,” infusing loving acquaintance with God, with awe at His infinite Majesty. So “the Spirit of grace and supplication,” is that same Spirit, infusing grace and bringing into a state of favor with God, and a “Spirit of supplication” is that Spirit, calling out of the inmost soul the cry for a yet larger measure of the grace already given. Paul speaks of “the love of God poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” Romans 5:5; and of “insulting the Spirit of grace”, rudely repulsing the Spirit, who giveth grace. Osorius: “When God Himself says, ‹I will pour out,‘ He sets forth the greatness of His bountifulness whereby He bestoweth all things.”

    And they shall look - with trustful hope and longing. Cyril: “When they had nailed the Divine Shrine to the Wood, they who had crucified Him, stood around, impiously mocking. But when He had laid down His life for us, “the centurion and they that were with him, watching Jesus, seeing the earthquake and those things which were done, feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” Matthew 27:54. As it ever is with sin, compunction did not come till the sin was over: till then, it was overlaid; else the sin could not be done. At the first conversion, the three thousand “were pricked ‹in the heart.‘ “when told that He “whom they had taken and with wicked hands had crucified and slain, is Lord and Christ” Acts 2:23, Acts 2:36. This awoke the first penitence of him who became Paul. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” This has been the center of Christian devotion ever since, the security against passion, the impulse to self-denial, the parent of zeal for souls, the incentive to love; this has struck the rock, that it gushed forth in tears of penitence: this is the strength and vigor of hatred of sin, to look to Him whom our sins pierced, “who” Paul says, “loved me and gave Himself for me.” Osorius: “We all lifted Him up upon the Cross; we transfixed with the nails His hands and feet; we pierced His Side with the spear. For if man had not sinned, the Son of God would have endured no torment.”

    And they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for an only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for a first-born - We feel most sensibly the sorrows of this life, passing as they are; and of these, the loss of an only son is a proverbial sorrow. “O daughter of My people, gird thee with sackcloth and wallow thyself in ashes,” God says; “make thee the mourning of an only son, Most bitter lamentation” Jeremiah 6:26. “I will make it as the mourning of an only son” Amos 8:10. The dead man carried out, “the only son of his mother and she was a widow,” is recorded as having touched the heart of Jesus. Alb.: “And our Lord, to the letter, was the Only-Begotten of His Father and His mother.” He was “the first-begotten of every creature” Colossians 1:15, and “we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14. This mourning for Him whom our sins pierced and nailed to the tree, is continued, week by week, by the pious, on the day of the week, when He suffered for us, or in the perpetual memorial of His Precious Death in the Holy Eucharist, and especially in Passion-Tide. God sends forth anew “the Spirit of grace and supplication,” and the faithful mourn, because of their share in His Death. The prophecy had a rich and copious fulfillment in that first conversion in the first Pentecost; a larger fulfillment awaits it in the end, when, after the destruction of antichrist, “all Israel shall” be converted and “be saved.” Romans 11:26.

    There is yet a more awful fulfillment; when “He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they which pierced Him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him” Revelation 1:7. But meanwhile it is fulfilled in every solid conversion of Jew pagan or careless Christian, as well as in the devotion of the pious. Zechariah has concentrated in few words the tenderest devotion of the Gospel, “They shall look on Me whom they pierced.” Lap.: “Zechariah teaches that among the various feelings which we can elicit from the meditation on the Passion of Christ, as admiration, love, gratitude, compunction, fear, penitence, imitation, patience, joy, hope, the feeling of compassion stands eminent, and that it is this, which we especially owe to Christ suffering for us. For who would not in his inmost self grieve with Christ, innocent and holy, yea the Only Begotten Son of God, when he sees Him nailed to the Cross and enduring so lovingly for him sufferings so manifold and so great? Who would not groan out commiseration, and melt into tears? Truly says Bonaventure in his ‹goad of divine love:‘ ‹What can be more fruitful, what sweeter than, with the whole heart, to suffer with that most bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ? ‹“

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

    Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

    "And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born."

    Three tremendously important things are foretold here: (1) a spirit of grace and supplication (repentance) shall be poured out upon the "inhabitants of Jerusalem," (2) they shall look unto "me," that is, Jehovah, whom they have pierced, and (3) they shall mourn for "him," as one mourneth his only son. Pentecost marked the amazing fulfillment of (1). On that occasion, a vast company of people in Jerusalem repented, were baptized into Christ, and received the blessed Holy Spirit, "the spirit of grace and of supplication." In (2), they "looked unto Jehovah" in their prayers and supplications, and fulfilled (3) when they mourned, and cried, "What shall we do?" Peter had just pointed out to them that they had "crucified and slain the Prince of Life" (Acts 2).

    "Me whom they pierced, and they shall mourn for "him ..." This passage sends the critics into a frenzy. Their first move is the usual one, that of declaring it a gloss; but, as Hailey said, "`They shall look unto me whom they have pierced' is the authentic reading."[24] Baldwin spoke of some who were embarrassed by the "apparent contradiction that God had been put to death."[25] Unregenerated man has difficulty with the proposition that God indeed died in the person of his Son on the Cross.

    Having failed utterly to get the message altered or excised, the critics nevertheless continue to deny that there is any reference to Christ:

    "Some noble representative of Jehovah had been martyred ... but who this martyr was we have no means of knowing.[26] The one pierced is not the Messiah.[27] There are no historical allusions.[28] Various suggestions of historical personages have been made in an attempt to identify the pierced one: the brother of Jonathan, Onias III, Simon the Maccabee, or a Teacher mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc., etc!"[29]

    Of course, it is perfectly clear to all that this passage is a reference to the crucifixion of Christ. As Gill put it: "It would be difficult to imagine a clearer prediction of the detail of Christ's crucifixion."[30] Hailey also summed it up thus:

    "There is clearly depicted a tragedy occurring in the family of David, when some leading personage in the family would be smitten (Zechariah 13:7); his hands would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; 13:6); a fountain for sin will be opened (Zechariah 13:1). It was to happen in the day when the house of David shall be as God (Zechariah 12:8). Only One member of David's family was ever God. That One was Jesus. This identifies the Person here referred to as the "Branch" of Zechariah 3:6, who would remove the sin of the earth in "one day" (Zechariah 3:9); and he would rule from sea to sea and to the uttermost parts of the earth (Zechariah 9:6-10). Here is an amazing forecast in detail of the Death of Jesus, in no wise applicable to any other known person.[31]

    "They shall mourn over him ..." Who is the "him"? Jesus of course, for the similes concerning the mourning conspicuously refer to "only son" and "firstborn," two distinctive designations that point unerringly to Him who was both "the only begotten Son of God," and the "Firstborn of all creation!"

    This mourning will be extensively elaborated in the next few verses, indicating the worldwide, universal nature of it. The celebration of the Lord's Supper all over the earth throughout the entire dispensation, in which countless millions "show the Lord's death until he comes" must be included in the ultimate fulfillment of such mourning as that which is indicated here. There is also an eschatological fulfillment that will be commented upon under Zechariah 12:11.

    We agree with Deane that the fulfillment of this verse came, "When the Jews crucified the Messiah, him who was God and Man."[32] Piercing Christ was the piercing of God himself. Jesus said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father"; and Jesus is called God a full dozen times in the Greek New Testament. The unique application of this passage to Jesus Christ can never be effectively denied. An apostle made that application of it in the gospel, where John quoted this place as proof that the Scriptures were fulfilled in the events occurring in connection with the crucifixion of Christ, saying, "They shall look upon him whom they pierced" (John 19:37). This is an interpretive quotation in which the inspired apostle melded the meaning of the two principal clauses (look unto me, and him whom they pierced), indicating that God and "him whom they pierced" are thought of as one, and that the one thought of is Jesus Christ. Such an instructive use of the passage by John makes it impossible to accept the notion that the apostle, "may not have been intending to do more than give the general sense."[33] John's quotation does far more than that. For us, his words, inspired of God, are the end of the matter. One word from such a source is worth more than the concurring opinions of all human councils.

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

    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem,.... The Jews that belong to the family of Christ, and to the heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven:

    the Spirit of grace and of supplications; by which is meant the Holy Spirit of God, who is called the "Spirit of grace"; not merely because he is good and gracious, and loving to his people, and is of grace given unto them; but because he is the author of all grace in them; of gracious convictions, and spiritual illuminations; of quickening, regenerating, converting, and sanctifying grace; and of all particular graces, as faith, hope, love, fear, repentance, humility, joy, peace, meekness, patience, longsuffering, self-denial, &c.; as well as because he is the revealer, applier, and witnesser of all the blessings of grace unto them: and he is called the "Spirit of supplications"; because he indites the prayers of his people, shows them their wants, and stirs them up to pray; enlarges their hearts, supplies them with arguments, and puts words into their mouths; gives faith, fervency, and freedom, and encourages to come to God as their Father, and makes intercession for them, according to the will of God: pouring it upon them denotes the abundance and freeness of his grace; see Isaiah 44:3,

    and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced; by nailing him to the tree at his crucifixion; and especially by piercing his side with a spear; which, though not personally done by them, yet by their ancestors, at least through their instigation and request; and besides, as he was pierced and wounded for their sins, so by them: and now, being enlightened and convicted by the Spirit of God, they shall look to him by faith for the pardon of their sins, through his blood; for the justification of their persons by his righteousness; and for eternal life and salvation through him. We Christians can have no doubt upon us that this passage belongs to Christ, when it is observed, upon one of the soldiers piercing the side of Jesus with a spear, it is said, "these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled; they shall look on him whom they have pierced"; and it seems also to be referred to in Revelation 1:7 yea, the Jews themselves, some of them, acknowledge it is to be understood of the Messiah. In the TalmudF6T. Bab. Succah, fol. 52. 1. , mention being made of the mourning after spoken of, it is asked, what this mourning was made for? and it is replied, R. Dusa and the Rabbins are divided about it: one says, for Messiah ben Joseph, who shall be slain; and another says, for the evil imagination, that shall be slain; it must be granted to him that says, for Messiah the son of Joseph that shall be slain; as it is written, "and they shall look upon whom they have pierced, and mourn", &c. for, for the other, why should they mourn? hence Jarchi and Kimchi on the place say, our Rabbins interpret this of Messiah the son of Joseph, who shall be slain; and the note of Aben Ezra is, all the nations shall look unto me, to see what I will do to those who have pierced Messiah the son of Joseph. Grotius observes, that Hadarsan on Genesis 28:10 understands it of Messiah the son of David. The Jews observing some prophecies speaking of the Messiah in a state of humiliation, and others of him in an exalted state, have coined this notion of two Messiahs, which are easily reconciled without it. The Messiah here prophesied of appears to be both God and man; a divine Person called Jehovah, who is all along speaking in the context, and in the text itself; for none else could pour out the spirit of grace and supplication; and yet he must be man, to be pierced; and the same is spoken of, that would do the one, and suffer the other; and therefore must be the θεανθρωπος, or God-man in one person. As to what a Jewish writerF7R. Isaac Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. c. 36. p. 309. objects, that this was spoken of one that was pierced in war, as appears from the context; and that if the same person that is pierced is to be looked to, then it would have been said, "and mourn for me, and be in bitterness for me"; it may be replied, that this prophecy does not speak of the piercing this person at the time when the above wars shall be; but of the Jews mourning for him at the time of their conversion, who had been pierced by them, that is, by their ancestors, hundreds of years ago; which now they will with contrition remember, they having assented to it, and commended it as a right action; and as for the change from the first person to the third, this is not at all unusual in Scripture:

    and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son; or, "for this"F8עליו "super hoc", Junius & Tremellius; "propter hoc", Gussetius; "super illo", Piscator, Cocceius. ; that is, piercing him; for sin committed against him; because of their rejection of him, their hardness of heart, and unbelief with respect to him; and on account of their many sins, which were the occasion of his being pierced; which mourning will arise from, and be increased by, a spiritual sight of him, a sense of his love to them, and a view of benefits by him. Evangelical repentance springs from faith, and is accompanied with it; and this godly sorrow is like that which is expressed for an only son; see Amos 8:10 and indeed Christ is the only begotten of the Father, as well as the firstborn among many brethren, as follows:

    and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn; sin is a bitter thing, and makes work for bitter repentance.

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    Gill, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of e grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have f pierced, and they shall mourn for g him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.

    (e) They will have the feeling of my grace by faith, and know that I have compassion on them.

    (f) That is, whom they have continually vexed with their obstinacy, and grieved my Spirit. In (John 19:37) it is referred to Christ's body, whereas here it is referred to the Spirit of God.

    (g) They will turn to God by true repentance, whom before they had so grievously offended by their ingratitude.

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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Future conversion of the Jews is to flow from an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:9, Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 39:29).

    spirit of grace … supplications — “spirit” is here not the spirit produced, but THE HOLY SPIRIT producing a “gracious” disposition, and inclination for “supplications.” Calvin explains “spirit of grace” as the grace of God itself (whereby He “pours” out His bowels of mercy), “conjoined with the sense of it in man‘s heart.” The “spirit of supplications” is the mercury whose rise or fall is an unerring test of the state of the Church [Moore]. In Hebrew, “grace” and “supplications” are kindred terms; translate, therefore, “gracious supplications.” The plural implies suppliant prayers “without ceasing.” Herein not merely external help against the foe, as before, but internal grace is promised subsequently.

    look upon me — with profoundly earnest regard, as the Messiah whom they so long denied.

    pierced — implying Messiah‘s humanity: as “I will pour … spirit” implies His divinity.

    look … mourn — True repentance arises from the sight by faith of the crucified Savior. It is the tear that drops from the eye of faith looking on Him. Terror only produces remorse. The true penitent weeps over his sins in love to Him who in love has suffered for them.

    me … him — The change of person is due to Jehovah-Messiah speaking in His own person first, then the prophet speaking of Him. The Jews, to avoid the conclusion that He whom they have “pierced” is Jehovah-Messiah, who says, “I will pour out … spirit,” altered “me” into “him,” and represent the “pierced” one to be Messiah Ben (son of) Joseph, who was to suffer in the battle with Cog, before Messiah Ben David should come to reign. But Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic oppose this; and the ancient Jews interpreted it of Messiah. Psalm 22:16 also refers to His being “pierced.” So John 19:37; Revelation 1:7. The actual piercing of His side was the culminating point of all their insulting treatment of Him. The act of the Roman soldier who pierced Him was their act (Matthew 27:25), and is so accounted here in Zechariah. The Hebrew word is always used of a literal piercing (so Zechariah 13:3); not of a metaphorical piercing, “insulted,” as Maurer and other Rationalists (from the Septuagint) represent.

    as one mourneth for … son — (Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10). A proverbial phrase peculiarly forcible among the Jews, who felt childlessness as a curse and dishonor. Applied with peculiar propriety to mourning for Messiah, “the first-born among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

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    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

    Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

    But the Lord will do still more than this for His people. He will renew it by pouring out His spirit of grace upon it, so that it will come to the knowledge of the guilt it has incurred by the rejection of the Saviour, and will bitterly repent of its sin. Zechariah 12:10. “And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they will look upon me, whom they have pierced, and will mourn over him like the mourning over an only one, and will grieve bitterly over him, as one grieves bitterly over the first-born.” This new promise is simply attached to the previous verse by ו consec. ( ושׁפכתּי ). Through this mode of attachment such connections as that suggested by Kliefoth, “But such glory can only be enjoyed by rebellious Israel when it is converted, and acknowledges and bewails Him whom it has rejected,” are precluded, as at variance with the text. There is not a word in the text about conversion as the condition on which the glory set before them in Zechariah 12:3-9 was to be obtained; on the contrary, conversion is represented as one fruit of the outpouring of the spirit of prayer upon the nation; and this outpouring of the Spirit is introduced by ושׁפכתּי , which corresponds to אבקּשׁ in Zechariah 12:9, as a new feature in the salvation, to be added to the promise of the destruction of the nations which fight against Jerusalem. The fact that only the inhabitants of Jerusalem are named, and not those of Judah also, is explained correctly by the commentators from the custom of regarding the capital as the representative of the whole nation. And it follows eo ipso from this, that in Zechariah 12:8 also the expression “inhabitants of Jerusalem” is simply an individualizing epithet for the whole of the covenant nation. But just as in Zechariah 12:8 the house of David is mentioned emphatically along with these was the princely family and representative of the ruling class, so is it also in Zechariah 12:10, for the purpose of expressing the thought that the same salvation is to be enjoyed by the whole nation, in all its ranks, from the first to the last. The outpouring of the Spirit points back to Joel 3:1., except that there the Spirit of Jehovah generally is spoken of, whereas here it is simply the spirit of grace and of supplication. Chēn does not mean “prayer,” nor emotion, or goodness, or love (Hitzig, Ewald), but simply grace or favour; and here, as in Zechariah 4:7, the grace of God; not indeed in its objectivity, but as a principle at work in the human mind. The spirit of grace is the spirit which produces in the mind of man the experience of the grace of God. But this experience begets in the soul of sinful man the knowledge of sin and guilt, and prayer for the forgiveness of sin, i.e., supplication; and this awakens sorrow and repentance. הבּיטוּ אלי , they look upon me. Hibbı̄t , used of bodily sight as well as spiritual (cf. Numbers 21:9). The suffix in אלי (to me ) refers to the speaker. This is Jehovah , according to Zechariah 12:1, the creator of the heaven and the earth. את־אשׁר דּקרוּ , not “Him whom they pierced,” but simply “whom they pierced.” את , that is to say, is not governed by hibbı̄tū as a second object, but simply refers to אלי , to me, “whom they pierced,” את־אשׁר is chosen here, as in Jeremiah 38:9, in the place of the simple אשׁר , to mark אשׁר more clearly as an accusative, since the simple אשׁר might also be rendered “who pierced (me):” cf. Ges. §123, 2, Not. 1. Dâqar does not mean to ridicule, or scoff at, but only to pierce, thrust through, and to slay by any kind of death whatever (cf. Lamentations 4:9). And the context shows that here it signifies to put to death. With reference to the explanation proposed by Calvin, “whom they have harassed with insults,” Hitzig has very properly observed: “If it were nothing more than this, wherefore such lamentation over him, which, according to the use of ספד , with על governing the person, and from the similes employed, is to be regarded as a lamentation for the dead?” It is true that we have not to think of a slaying of Jehovah, the creator of the heaven and the earth, but simply of the slaying of the Maleach Jehovah, who, being of the same essence with Jehovah, became man in the person of Jesus Christ. As Zechariah repeatedly represents the coming of the Messiah as a coming of Jehovah in His Maleach to His people, he could, according to this view, also describe the slaying of the Maleach as the slaying of Jehovah. And Israel having come to the knowledge of its sin, will bitterly bewail this deed. עליו does not mean thereat, i.e., at the crime, but is used personally, over him whom they have pierced. Thus the transition from the first person ( אלי ) to the third ( עליו ) points to the fact that the person slain, although essentially one with Jehovah, is personally distinct from the Supreme God. The lamentation for the only son ( yâshı̄d : cf. Amos 8:10) and for the first-born is the deepest and bitterest death-wail. The inf. abs. hâmēr , which is used in the place of the finite verb, signifies making bitter, to which mispēd is to be supplied from the previous sentence (cf. מספּד תּמרוּרים , Jeremiah 6:26).

    The historical fulfilment of this prophecy commenced with the crucifixion of the Son of God, who had come in the flesh. The words הבּיטוּ אלי את־אשׁר דּקרוּ are quoted in the Gospel of John (John 19:37), according to the Greek rendering ὄψονται εἰς ὅν ἐξεκέντησαν , which probably emanated not from the lxx, but from Aquila, or Theodotion, or Symmachus, as having been fulfilled in Christ, by the fact that a soldier pierced His side with a lance as He was hanging upon the cross (vid., John 19:34). If we compare this quotation with the fact mentioned in John 19:36, that they did not break any of His bones, there can be no doubt that John quotes this passage with distinct allusion to this special circumstance; only we must not infer from this, that the evangelist regarded the meaning of the prophecy as exhausted by this allusion. The piercing with the spear is simply looked upon by him as the climax of all the mortal sufferings of Christ; and even with Zechariah the piercing is simply an individualizing expression for putting to death, the instrument used and the kind of death being of very subordinate importance. This is evident from a comparison of our verse with Zechariah 13:7, where the sword is mentioned as the instrument employed, whereas dâqar points rather to a spear. What we have observed respecting the fulfilment of Zechariah 9:9 by the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, also applies to this special fulfilment, viz., that the so to speak literal fulfilment in the outward circumstances only served to make the internal concatenation of the prophecy with its historical realization so clear, that even unbelievers could not successfully deny it. Luke (Luke 23:48) indicates the commencement of the fulfilment of the looking at the slain one by these words: “And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts.” (For the smiting of the breasts, comp. Isaiah 32:12, ספד על שׁדים .) “The crowds, who had just before been crying out, Crucify him, here smite upon their breasts, being overpowered with the proofs of the superhuman exaltation of Jesus, and lament over the crucified one, and over their own guilt” (Hengst.). The true and full commencement of the fulfilment, however, shows itself in the success which attended the preaching of Peter on the first day of Pentecost, - namely, in the fact that three thousand were pricked in their heart with penitential sorrow on account of the crucifixion of their Saviour, and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:37-41), and in the further results which followed the preaching of the apostles for the conversion of Israel (Acts 3-4). The fulfilment has continued with less striking results through the whole period of the Christian church, in conversions from among the Jews; and it will not terminate till the remnant of Israel shall turn as a people to Jesus the Messiah, whom its fathers crucified. On the other hand, those who continue obstinately in unbelief will see Him at last when He returns in the clouds of heaven, and shriek with despair (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30).

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    Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". https: 1854-1889.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

    I will pour — This was fulfilled on Christ's exaltation, when he sent the Comforter to his disciples, it is daily performed to the children of God, and will be continually, 'till we are brought to be with Christ for ever.

    The house of David — The whole family of Christ, his house who was the seed of David, and who is called David, Ezekiel 37:24.

    The spirit of grace — Which is fountain of all graces in us.

    Pierced — Every one of us by our sins pierced him, and many of the Jews literally.

    Mourn — They shall literally lament the crucifying of the Lord Jesus.

    In bitterness — True repentance will bitterly lament the sins which brought sorrows and shame upon our Lord.

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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    At the beginning of this verse the Prophet intimates, that though the Jews were then miserable and would be so in future, yet God would be merciful to them: and thus he exhorts them to patience, that they might not faint through a long-continued weariness. For it was not enough to promise to them what we have noticed respecting God’s aid, except Zechariah had added, that God would at length be merciful and gracious to them after they had endured so many evils, that the world would regard them as almost consumed.

    As to the effusion of the spirit, the expression at the first view seems hard to be understood; for what is it to pour forth the spirit of grace? He ought rather to have said thus, “I will pour my grace upon you.” But what he means is, that God would be merciful, for his spirit would be moved to deliver the Jews; for he compares the spirit of God here to the mind of man, and we know that Scripture often uses language of this kind. The phrase then, I will pour forth the spirit of grace, may be thus suitably expressed — “I will pour forth my bowels of mercy,” or, “I will open my whole heart to show mercy to this people,” or, “My Spirit shall be like the spirit of man, which is wont to move him to give help to the miserable.”

    We now then understand the sense in which God may be fitly said to pour forth the spirit of grace. It may yet be taken in a more refined manner, as meaning that God would not only show mercy to his people, but also make them sensible of his mercy; and this view I am inclined to take, especially on account of what follows, the spirit of commiserations, or, of lamentations, for the word, תחנונים, tachnunim, commonly means lamentations in Hebrew. Some render it “prayers,” but improperly, for they express not the force of the word. It is always put in the plural number, at least with this termination: and there is but one place where we can render it commiserations, that is, in Jeremiah 31:9

    “In commiserations will I restore them.”

    But even there it may be rendered lamentations consistently with the whole verse; for the Prophet says, “They shall weep,” and afterwards adds, “In lamentations will I restore them.” The greater part indeed of interpreters render it here, prayers; but the Hebrews prefer to translate it commiserations, and for this reason, because they consider that the spirit of grace is nothing else but simply grace itself. The spirit of grace is indeed grace itself united with faith: for God often hears the miserable, extends his hand to them, and brings them a most effectual deliverance, while they still continue blind and remain unconcerned. It is then far better that the spirit of grace should be poured forth on us, than grace itself: for except the spirit of God penetrate into our hearts and instils into us a feeling need of grace, it will not only be useless, but even injurious; for God at length will take vengeance on our ingratitude when he sees his grace perishing through our indifference. What then the Prophet, in my opinion, means is, that God will at length be so propitious to the Jews as to pour forth on them the spirit of grace, and then the spirit of lamentations, in order to obtain grace.

    They who render the word prayers, do not, as I have already said, convey the full import of the term. But we may also take commiserations in a passive sense and consistently with its common meaning: I will pour forth the spirit of grace, that they themselves may perceive my grace; and then, the spirit of commiserations, that having deplored their evils, they may understand that they have been delivered by a power from above. Hence Zechariah promises here more than before; for he speaks not here of God’s external aid, by which they were to be defended, but of inward grace, by which God would pour hidden joy into their hearts, that they might know and find by a sure experience that he was propitious to them.

    But if the word תחנונום, tachnunim, be rendered commiserations, the meaning would be, as I have already stated, that the Jews, through the dictation and the suggestions of the Holy Spirit, would find God merciful to them; but if we render it lamentations, then the Prophet must be viewed as saying something more — that the Jews, previously so hardened in their evils, as not to flee to God for help, would become at length suppliants, because the Spirit would inwardly so touch their hearts as to lead them to deplore their state before God, and thus to express their complaints to Him: (161) and this view is more fully confirmed by what follows.

    They shall look to me, he says, whom they have pierced. We then see here that not only an external grace or favor was promised to the Jews, but an internal light of faith, the author of which is the Spirit; for he it is who illuminates our minds to see the goodness of God, and it is he also who turns our hearts: and for this reason he adds, They shall look to me (162) For God, as I have already reminded you, deals very bountifully with the unbelieving, but they are blind; and hence he pours forth his grace without any benefit, as though he rained on flint or on and rocks. However bountifully then God may bestow his grace on the unbelieving, they yet render his favor useless, for they are like stones.

    Now, as Zechariah declares that the Jews would at length look to God, it follows, that the spirit of repentance and the light of faith are promised to them, so that they may know God as the author of their salvation, and feel so assured that they are already saved, as in future to devote themselves entirely to him: they shall then look to me whom they have pierced. Here also the Prophet indirectly reproves the Jews for their great obstinacy, for God had restored them, and they had been as untameable as wild beasts; for this piercing is to be taken metaphorically for continual provocation, as though he had said, that the Jews in their perverseness were prepared as it were for war, that they goaded and pierced God by their wickedness or by the weapons of their rebellion. As then they had been such, he says now, that such a change would be wrought by God that they would become quite different, for they would learn to look to him whom they had previously pierced. We cannot finish today.

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.

    Ver. 10. And I will pour upon the house of David] Pour, as by whole pailfuls; God is no penny father; no small gifts fall from so great a hand; he gives liberally, James 1:15, and is rich to all that call upon his name, Romans 10:12; abundant in kindness, Exodus 34:6, plenteous in mercy, Psalms 103:8; the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ hath over abounded ( υπερεπλεονασε), hath overflowed all the banks, 1 Timothy 1:14, indeed, it hath neither bank nor bottom. Oh pray for that blissful sight, Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 3:18-19, that spirit of wisdom and revelation.

    Of grace and of supplications] Or deprecations of that utter destruction that shall befall other nations. God will save his people, but so as by prayer, Psalms 32:6, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Zechariah 13:9, he will grace his own ordinance, draw many suitors, and derive many praises to himself. See Ezekiel 36:37, Psalms 50:15; Psalms 116:2. Some render it, a spirit of grace and of lamentations, sc. before the Lord, when they felt the nails, wherewith they had pierced Christ, pricking their own hearts, Acts 2:37, punctually pricking and piercing them, κατενυγησαν τη καρδια (Bishop Andrews, 333).

    And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced] Dacaru, whom they have daggered, or digged, as Psalms 22:16, him they shall look upon and lament, οψονται, κοψονται, their eye shall affect their heart, Revelation 1:7, Lamentations 3:51; for the eye is the instrument both of sight and of sorrow; and what the eye never sees the heart never rues. The sun looketh upon the earth, draweth up vapours thence, and distilleth them down again; so doth the sun of the understanding; which, till it be convinced, the heart cannot be compuncted. Sight of sin must precede sorrow for sin. The prodigal came to himself ere he repented of his loose practices; men must bethink themselves, or bring back to their hearts (as the Hebrew hath it, 1 Kings 8:47), ere they will say, We have sinned and dealt perversely, we have committed wickedness; see Jeremiah 8:6, Psalms 38:18. An infant in the womb cries not because he sees not; but as soon as it comes into the light he sets up his note. Get, therefore, your eyes anointed with eye salve, with this spirit of grace and supplications; so shall you soon see (saith Mr Bradford, martyr) your face foul arrayed, and so shameful, saucy, mangy, pocky, and scabbed, that you cannot but be sorry at the contemplation thereof. It is the Spirit that convinceth the world of sin; neither can the waters flow till his wind bloweth, Psalms 147:18. A sigh is not breathed out for sin till the Spirit imbreathe the same into us.

    And they shall mourn for him] Or, for it, viz. for their crucifying the Lord of glory in their forefathers, and having a great hand in it themselves; since their and our sins were thorns and nails that pierced him, the lance that let out his heart blood, &c. We bound him with cords; we beat him with rods; buffeted him with fists, reviled him with our mouths, nodded at him with our heads, &c. We were the chief actors and principal causes that set to work Judas, Pilate, &c. Oh stand a while with the devout women, and see him bleeding, groaning, dying, by the wounds that we gave him; and mourn affectionately over him, as here.

    They shall mourn] With such outward pomp and rites as are used at funerals; as wringing the hands, beating the breasts, shaking the head, and the like external gestures and expressions of heaviness.

    And shall be in bitterness] By inwardness of extreme grief; as when David’s heart was leavened with it, Psalms 73:21; it was soured with godly sorrow, and soused in the tears of true repentance. So Peter went forth and wept bitterly, Matthew 26:15; waters of Marah flowed from Mary Magdalen’s eyes, which were as a fountain for Christ’s feet: here sorrow was deep and downright, producing repentance never to be repented of. The sorrow we conceive for an unkindness offered to Christ must not be slight and sudden, but sad and soaking; like that of the Israelites met at Mizpeh, when they drew water before the Lord, 1 Samuel 7:6, whereunto the prophet Jeremiah seemeth to allude when he seriously wisheth that his head were waters, Jeremiah 9:1, and David, with his river of tears, Psalms 119:136. His heart was soft and soluble. Now softness of heart discovers sin; as the blots run abroad and seem biggest in wet paper; and as when the cockatrice egg is crushed it breaks forth into a viper, Isaiah 59:5. Now to make and keep the heart soft and tender, the consideration of Christ’s dolorous passion must needs be of singular use and efficacy; as the sight of Caesar’s bloody robes brought forth greatly affected the people of Rome, and edged them to revenge. The hardest heart, soundly soaked in the blood of Christ, the true scape goat, cannot but relent and repent for such a horrid villany.

    As one that mourneth for his only son … for his firstborn] sc. With a funeral sorrow; such as was that of the Shunammite, of the widow of Nain, and of Rachel, who refused to be comforted. There is an ocean of love in a father’s heart; as we see in Jacob towards Joseph, in David towards Absalom, in the father of the prodigal, &c. Christ was God’s only Son in respect of his Divine nature; he was also the firstborn among many brethren. And yet "God so loved the world," &c. So? how? So as I cannot tell how; for this is a Sic So, without a Sicut: In the same way, even so should our sorrow be, for having a wicked hand in his dolorous death. The prophet here seems to be at a stand, as it were, whence to borrow comparisons to shadow it out by. Great is the grief of children for their deceased parents, as of Joseph for Jacob, Genesis 50:1, he fell upon his father’s face, as willing to have wept him alive again if possible. So our Edward I, returning from the wars in Palestine, rested himself in Sicily; where the death of his son and heir coming first to his ear, and afterwards of the king, his father, he much more sorrowed his father’s departure than his son’s; whereat King Charles, of Sicily, greatly marvelled, and, demanding the reason, had of him this answer: The loss of sons is but light, because they are multiplied every day; but the death of parents is irremediable, because they can never be had again. Thus he. Howbeit, love rather descendeth than ascendeth, and Abraham could better part with his father, Torah, than with his son, his only son Isaac, whom he loved, Genesis 22:2. Before he had him, Lord God, said Abraham, what wilt thou give me so long as I go childless? Genesis 15:2. His mouth was so out of taste with the sense of his want, that he could relish no comfort. But now to be bereft of him, and that in such a manner, as he might conceive by that probatory precept, Genesis 22:2, this must needs go to the very heart of him, for though he had put on grace, yet he had not put off nature. Both Jacob and Jacob’s father (as Junius understandeth that passage, Genesis 37:35) wept savourly for Joseph, and would go down into the grave unto their son mourning. True it is, that the loss of some wife may be greater than the loss of some son (Abraham came from his own tent to Sarah’s tent to mourn for her, Genesis 22:2, and she was the first that we read of in Scripture mourned for), but the prophet here speaketh of the mourning of husband and wife together; and they can lose no greater outward blessing than their firstborn, if an only one especially.

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

    Sermon Bible Commentary

    Zechariah 12:10

    I. In this passage Christ is not speaking of His actual crucifiers, but only of their children or descendants. But these children or descendants are described as the parties who pierced the Saviour; and not only so, but it is evident from the form of the expression that they should consider themselves as chargeable with so atrocious a crime. This personal appropriation of the guilt of crucifying Christ is required of us just as much as it will be of the reinstated Jews. It is virtually to deny that we have the same corrupt nature to take for granted that we should have shunned with abhorrence all participation in their crime. The right course is to take the guilt upon ourselves, to consider the Jews as simply our representatives, to regard the Redeemer as One whom we ourselves betrayed and crucified and pierced.

    II. Notice the close connection between receiving "the spirit of grace and supplications" and the looking on Him whom we ourselves have pierced. If there were once wrought in men a hearty desire to pray, if men were but made to feel that they have alienated themselves from God by their iniquities, they would set themselves to seek forgiveness, and would be ready to close delightedly with the proffers of the Gospel, admitting the suitableness of its arrangements and admiring their graces. Moved by the spirit of supplication, they would feel that unless there be a Cross at whose feet to fall in vain will they cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

    III. Sooner or later, we must look on Him whom we have pierced, and it is wholly dependent on our looking on Him in this our day of probation whether it shall be with terror or with joy that we look on Him in the day of retribution.

    H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1,583.

    References: Zechariah 12:10.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 575 vol. xxiii., No. 1362; Ibid., My Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes to Malachi, pp. 380-2. Zechariah 12:12-14.—Ibid., p. 384. Zech 12—W. Lindsay Alexander Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 224. Zech 12, Zech 13—Expositor, 3rd series, vol. iv., p. 335.

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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 1258


    Zechariah 12:10. I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.

    REPENTANCE is a subject, with which every one supposes himself to be sufficiently acquainted, but which is indeed very rarely understood. The Scriptures speak of a repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of [Note: 2 Corinthians 7:10.]; intimating thereby, that there is a repentance, which is not unto salvation; and which therefore itself needs to be repented of. The text in this view deserves our deepest attention, since it opens to us,

    I. The nature of evangelical repentance—

    The sorrow, produced in the heart of a true penitent, is exceeding deep—

    [Nothing can be more pungent than the grief of a parent who has lost “his first-born,” “his only son [Note: Luke 7:12.].” Yet to that is the mourning of a penitent twice compared. In either case, the soul is bowed down greatly; it is indisposed for receiving gratifications from those vanities, with which it was before amused; and loves to indulge in pensive solitude, and painful reflections. The parent’s anguish indeed may be softened by the assiduities of surviving friends; and may wholly lose its pungency through the lapse of time. But nothing can mitigate the pangs of a wounded spirit, nothing silence the accusations of a guilty conscience, till “the balm of Gilead,” the blood of Jesus, be applied to it: nor even then will sin ever cease to be the grief and burthen of the soul [Note: Ezekiel 16:63.].]

    But repentance is then only to be called evangelical, when it has immediate respect to Christ—

    [Twice is it said in the text, that men shall mourn “for him,” that is, for Christ [Note: Comp. John 19:37.]. Not that the miseries, which Christ endured on the cross, are the proper grounds of a penitent’s sorrow; but rather, it is his grief that he has so dishonoured Christ by his sins, and that he has yet again and again “crucified him afresh” by continuing in sin. Many, who are not really humbled, are concerned for their sins as having subjected them to God’s displeasure [Note: Exodus 10:16-17. 1 Kings 21:29.]; but it is the true penitent alone, who mourns for sin, as dishonouring Christ, and as counteracting all the gracious purposes of his love.]

    This will more fully appear by considering,

    II. The means by which it is to be attained—

    The effusion of the Spirit is the primary means of producing penitence in our hearts—

    [The Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of grace and of supplication,” because he is the Author and Giver of all grace, and because it is through his agency alone that we are able to pray. And this Spirit Christ will “pour out” upon us. He not only has a right to send the Holy Spirit, as being God equal with the Father, but in his mediatorial capacity he is authorized and empowered to send forth the Spirit, “having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost,” on purpose that he may impart to us out of his own immeasurable fulness. To him all must look for this blessing [Note: Acts 5:31.]; and all may look with an assurance of obtaining it, provided they truly and earnestly desire it [Note: John 14:13-17.]. The great and learned, “the house of David,” must submit themselves to his influence; nor shall the poorest or most illiterate of “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” be destitute of this mercy, if they will but ask it of their heavenly Father [Note: Luke 11:13.]. Nor till this Spirit convince us of our sin, can any of us know our state, so as to be suitably and abidingly affected with it [Note: John 16:7-8.].]

    As a secondary mean, the Spirit turns our eyes unto a crucified Saviour—

    [Nothing but a view of Christ as dying for us, can ever thoroughly break our obdurate hearts. But this has a powerful tendency to produce ingenuous sorrow; because, while it shews us the malignity of sin in most awful colours, it discovers to us also the remedy provided for the expiation of sin. In the one view, we are humbled by a sense of our extreme vileness; in the other, we are overwhelmed with a sense of the Redeemer’s love: and a combination of these two effects constitutes that ingenuous shame and sorrow, which may be denominated evangelical repentance.]

    We may improve this subject,

    1. For conviction—

    [All acknowledge that they need repentance, and profess an intention to repent. But let not any imagine that the slight acknowledgments, and faint purposes of amendment, which are usually made on dying beds, are sufficient. If the comparison in the text be just, nothing will suffice, but a heart broken and contrite under a sense of sin. And precisely such is the view which the Apostles also give of true repentance [Note: 2 Corinthians 7:11. James 4:9.]. O that we may never rest in any thing short of such repentance, lest, instead of looking now on Christ with salutary contrition, we behold him hereafter (as we must do) with endless and unavailing sorrow [Note: Revelation 1:7.].]

    2. For encouragement—

    [Many are discouraged by reason of the hardness and obduracy of their hearts. Indeed we all feel, that notwithstanding we have so much cause to weep day and night for our sins, and are really desirous to do so, we can rarely, if ever, bring our souls to any measure of tenderness and grief. But let us look more at Christ as dying for us; and not confine our attention, as we too often do, to our sins. Let us particularly beg of Christ to pour out his Spirit upon us, and then the heart of stone shall soon give way to a heart of flesh [Note: Ezekiel 36:26.]. The Spirit of grace and of supplications will easily effect, what, without his aid, is impossible to man: and the rocky heart, once struck by him, shall yield its penitential streams through all this dreary wilderness [Note: Alluding to Numbers 20:11.].]

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    Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https: 1832.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    And I God the Father, so Acts 2:17,18 Isa 44:3.

    Will pour, in plentiful measures, as a plentiful rain is poured forth on a thirsty ground: this was fulfilled on Christ’s exaltation, when he received gifts for men, and, being glorified, gave the Spirit, sent the Comforter to his disciples and believers; this is daily performed to the children of God, and will be continually performed till we all are made perfect, and are brought to be with Christ for ever.

    Upon the house of David; on some of that royal family; or, typically considered, it is the whole family of Christ, his house, who was the seed of David, and who is called David their king, Ezekiel 37:24 Hosea 3:5. Upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; literally understood it was fulfilled extraordinarily, Acts 2:4,5; and, no doubt, in the ordinary manner to many of whom no mention is made: mystically, the inhabitants of Jerusalem are all the members of Christ, all believers of all ages.

    The Spirit of grace; which is the fountain of all graces in us, and which makes us lovely in the eye of our God; grace to purify us and to beautify us, that God may delight in us.

    And of supplications, or prayer, which is an early, inseparable fruit of the Spirit of grace: by the Spirit we cry, Abba, Father, and are helped to perform this duty, Romans 8:26.

    They, all those who have received this Spirit, shall look upon me, with an eye of faith, and turn to Christ, love, obey, and wait for him.

    Whom they have pierced: every one of us by our sins pierced him, but many of the Jews nailed him to the cross, and actually murdered the Lord of life. This, as foretold, so was very punctually fulfilled, and recorded in the account of his death given by John, John 19:34,35,37; this hath then a particular respect to the Jews, though not confined to them.

    They shall mourn for him; grieve, and heartily lament the crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ, not only as the sinful, cruel act of their fathers, but as that in which their sins had a great share.

    As one mourneth for his only son; with a very great and deep, with a long and continued sorrow, with an unfeigned and real sorrow, such as is the sorrow of a father in the death of an only son; they shall retain it inwardly, and express it outwardly, as in the funeral mournings on such occasions.

    Shall be in bitterness for him: this speaks the inwardest affection of the mourner; there may be tears in some cases without grief or bitterness in the spirit, but here both are joined; true repentance will bitterly lament the sins which brought sorrows and shame upon our Lord.

    As one that is in bitterness for his first-born: this bitterness is compared to the grief of one who loseth his first-born, to confirm and illustrate what he had just before spoken of Christians mourning for Christ.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    10. The spirit of grace and of supplications — See on Joel 2:28. Grace is, as in many other passages in the Old Testament, the favor shown by Jehovah toward his people (compare Zechariah 4:7). In this passage it is thought of as active within man, making him conscious of wrongdoing and leading him to make supplication for mercy and pardon (compare Romans 2:4, “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance”).

    The house of David,… the inhabitants of Jerusalem — The former as in Zechariah 12:7; the latter may represent the population of the whole land, for the spiritual blessings are surely not to be limited to the inhabitants of the capital. The entire nation, from the rulers down, shall turn in humble penitence to Jehovah, and then they shall become partakers of the spiritual gifts (compare Zechariah 13:1).

    They shall look upon me whom they have pierced — The speaker is Jehovah; the subject of look and have pierced is the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; me can refer only to Jehovah, whom they have pierced (metaphorically) by their cruel rebellion. The look is one of contrition.

    Mourn for him — The pronoun can refer only to some representative of Jehovah whom they rejected. “The prophet may have pictured to himself the man of God, whom he leaves mysteriously indefinite, as a prophetic national leader, who incurs at the hands of princes and people the fate prepared, according to tradition, by Manasseh for Isaiah, by Jehoiakim for Uriah (Jeremiah 26:20 ff.), and by several rulers almost for Jeremiah.” Some interpret him as referring to Jehovah himself — for me. If so, the change from the first to the third person must be explained by the tendency, which is common in prophetic discourse, not to distinguish clearly between Jehovah and his representative (compare introductory remarks to Zechariah 11:4-14). The thought might be expressed more clearly in a paraphrase, “They shall look unto me whom they pierced in the person of my representative, and they shall mourn for him whom they thus cruelly rejected.” There may be an allusion to the fate of the good shepherd whom the people rejected (compare Zechariah 11:4-14). On the other hand, some see in the representative of Jehovah the good high priest Onias III, who was deposed in 175 and slain in 170 (2 Maccabees 4:27-34). In John 19:37, this passage is applied to Jesus (see Introduction p. 603f). Some Hebrew manuscripts and some manuscripts of LXX. read unto him instead of upon me, R.V. unto me, and some modern commentators consider it the original.

    However, it seems preferable to retain the present Hebrew text; the change into him is probably due to the desire of a pious Jew to remove a reading which he considered offensive, because it made God himself the object of a murderous attack. The rest of the verse indicates the bitterness of the grief (see on Amos 8:10).

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    The Lord also promised to pour out on the Davidic rulers and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, representing all the Israelites, a spirit of remorse. Grace would be the motive for this outpouring, and supplication to God (for what the Jews had done to their Messiah) would be the result. This God-given conviction would cause them to mourn when they looked (in faith) to Him (better than on Him) whom they had formerly pierced (i.e, slain; cf. Numbers 21:9; Isaiah 45:22; Isaiah 53:5; John 3:14-15; John 19:34).

    "It is not so much a mourning for the act committed, but for the Person involved. Compare John 19:37; Revelation 1:7." [Note: Feinberg, God Remembers, p231.]

    "The idea is that they will humble themselves and recognize that they were saved by another whom they pierced." [Note: Smith, p277.]

    They would mourn as one mourns over the death of one"s only (beloved, cf. Genesis 22:2; Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10) son or his or her firstborn son.

    "It is a picture of penitence as vivid and accurate as any found anywhere in the Scriptures." [Note: Chambers, p94 , in Lange"s commentary.]

    The Jews will do this either just before the Messiah returns to the earth or when He returns to the earth (cf. Isaiah 27:9; Isaiah 59:20-21; Jeremiah 31:31-37; Amos 9:11-15; Romans 11:25-27; Revelation 1:7). The spirit in view will be a result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit who conveys grace (compassion; cf. Hebrews 10:29) and calls forth supplication (prayer; cf. Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 59:20-21; Jeremiah 31:31; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28-29). The coming of the messianic kingdom is contingent on Israel"s repentance, God"s sovereign control, and the Spirit"s enabling grace. [Note: See Stanley D. Toussaint and Jay A. Quine, "No, Not Yet: The Contingency of God"s Promised Kingdom," Bibliotheca Sacra164:654 (April-June2007):131-47.]

    The unusual combination "they will look to Me whom they have pierced" and "they will mourn for Him" suggests two different individuals, but the deity of the Messiah solves this problem. Yahweh Himself would suffer for the people in the person of Messiah. The suffering could be figurative (they wounded His holiness) or substitutionary (He died in place of others). Other references to this text point to a substitute suffering (e.g, John 19:37; Revelation 1:7; cf. Isaiah 53:5; Isaiah 53:8).

    ". . . like Thomas their excruciating and inexpressibly penetrating cry of deepest contrition will be, "My Lord and my God!" ( John 20:28)." [Note: Unger, p217.]

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https: 2012.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Zechariah 12:10. And I will pour, &c. — God’s signal interposition in behalf of Judah and Jerusalem, after their future restoration, having been foretold, the prophet proceeds to foretel their conversion to Christianity. But though the prophet speaks of this after he has foretold their restoration, it does not follow that it shall take place after that event. It is certainly much more probable that they will first be brought to repentance for the sin of rejecting and crucifying their Messiah, and to believe in him with their heart unto righteousness, and then that God will bestow upon them that great mercy of re-establishing them in the possession of Canaan: see note on Zechariah 12:2. “The Jews had stumbled and fallen at the stone of stumbling and rock of offence, the Messiah, in his humble appearance, as Isaiah foretold. That no one might be surprised at this sudden change of their affairs, [namely, their restoration to their own land, and their prosperity therein,] Zechariah tells us, they should themselves be first changed, and repent heartily of that sin which had been the cause of their fall, for God should pour out on them the spirit of grace and supplication, that they might look with compunction of heart on him whom they had pierced; and he should, by his Spirit, improve those good dispositions into a thorough conviction of his being the Messiah, whom they had rejected: for this they should weep bitterly, Zechariah 12:11, and make earnest supplications till received again into his grace and favour. This done, it follows, Zechariah 13:1, In that day shall a fountain be opened, &c. Now who were they whose sin and uncleanness were washed away, but the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the same who had sinned, and mourned, and repented, and were therefore pardoned? What did they mourn for, but for him whom they had pierced, and whose death they had bewailed with all the solemnities of true mourners? It was then the act and sin of the house of David, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that they pierced and slew him whom they now looked upon; for which their land was treated as polluted, and removed out of God’s sight into captivity, not to be restored to them till their sin was remitted upon their true repentance. Thus much is evident from the context:” see Chandler’s Defence, and Dodd.

    But though this passage may chiefly relate to the future and general conversion of the Jews to the Christian faith, Which St. Paul calls life from the dead, and therefore will not receive its full accomplishment till that event takes place; yet it may also be understood of some other prior conversions of the Jewish people, and particularly of those of the many thousands brought to repentance by the preaching of John the Baptist, of Christ, and his apostles. For it appears from the accounts we have in the New Testament, that though the rulers and leading men among the Jews were not converted in that age of the Christian Church, yet a vast number of the people were. So that this prophecy has, in some degree at least, been already fulfilled, and the spirit of grace and supplication hath been poured out in a measure, if not upon the house of David, yet upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the expression, They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, (the words being spoken by God,) is implied, that in the piercing of Christ, God himself, figuratively speaking, was pierced through the wounds of his beloved Son, he being infinitely dear to his heavenly Father, and his cause the cause of God. This passage is undoubtedly cited in St. John’s gospel, John 19:37. οψονται εις ον εξεκεντησαν, They shall look on him whom they have pierced. For although the present Hebrew text is, הבישׂו אלי, They shall look unto me, between forty and fifty MSS. are produced which read אלוו, unto him, with the concurrence of other authorities. They shall mourn for him — They shall heartily lament the crucifying of the Lord Jesus, not only as the sinful, cruel act of their fathers, but as that in which their sins had a great share. As one mourneth for his only son — With an unfeigned and real, a great and long-continued, a deep and lasting sorrow, such as is the sorrow of a father on the death of an only son: they shall retain it inwardly, and express it outwardly, as in the funeral mournings on such occasions. And shall be in bitterness for him — True repentance will bitterly lament the sins that brought sorrows and pain upon the Son of God.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https: 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Prayers. Septuagint and Chaldean, "pity." (Haydock) --- After the Machabees more synagogues were erected, and the people were more faithful; yet this chiefly regards the new law, in which the spirit prays with us ineffably, Romans viii. 26. (Calmet) --- Me. So far the prophet speaks in Christ's name. He afterwards relates how the people will grieve for him, beating their breasts, Luke xxiii. 48. This was clearly verified in Christ, John xix. 31. (Menochius) --- But in the gospel we read, him whom they have pierced, as the context seems here to require. (Haydock) --- Some Hebrew copies read in like manner, (Calmet) the Erfurth Manuscript 2 having aliu, "on him," though Michaelis remarks not this important variation. The Jewish transcriber would not alter his text to make it conformable to the New Testament. (Kennicott) --- Septuagint, "they shall look upon me for having insulted," or skipped. (Calmet) --- Yet "St. John did not much regard what the Greek contained, but interpreted word for word as he had read in Hebrew," as the other sacred writers did when there was any material difference. St. Jerome, quoted by Kennicott. (Dis. ii. p. 347, &c.) (Haydock) --- Adopting this reading, we may explain this of Judas, whom the people greatly bewailed, 1 Machabees ix. 20. He was a figure of Christ, whom the prophet had chiefly in view. All the Jews who embraced the faith verify this prediction, (Calmet) as those particularly did who had been instrumental to the death of our Saviour, and afterwards entered into themselves, Acts ii. 37. Both Jews and Gentiles have all contributed by their sins to crucifying their Lord; and, at the last day, all shall look on him as their judge or as their deliverer. --- Pierced. Hebrew dakaru. (Haydock) --- Septuagint have transposed d and r, which are very similar, and read rokdu, "have danced," or derided. (St. Jerome) --- The original implies, have outraged or blasphemed, as well as pierced. They shall henceforward cease to despise God and his law. (Calmet)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    look = look attentively with hope and concern; as in Genesis 19:17, Genesis 19:26. Quoted in Matthew 24:30. John 19:37. Compare the first occurance. (Genesis 15:5), and Ex, Zechariah 33:8. This is the effect of the gift of the Spirit.

    upon = unto.

    Me, Western codices read "Me"; but the Eastern read "Him", with one early printed edition.

    Whom they have pierced. See John 19:34, John 19:37. Revelation 1:7.

    pierced. H eb, da kar. Occurs eleven times, and always means thrust through. Compare Zechariah 13:8.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

    And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace. The And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace. The future conversion of the Jews is to flow from an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:9; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 39:29).

    The spirit of grace and of supplications. "Spirit" is here, not the spirit produced, but THE HOLY SPIRIT, producing a "gracious" disposition, and inclination for "supplication." Calvin explains "spirit of grace" as 'the grace of God Himself (whereby He "pours" out his bowels of mercy), conjoined with the sense of it in man's heart.' The "spirit of supplication" is the mercury whose rise of fall is an unerring test of the state of the Church (Moore). In the Hebrew [ cheen (Hebrew #2580) w

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers


    And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.—Zechariah 12:10.

    This is one of the prophecies given to Israel during its later period, when the vigorous spiritual life of the nation had already departed. But Moses expressed the same thought in his prophetic prayer: “Would God that all the Lords people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11:29). These prophecies are evidence of the Old Testament prophetic conviction that the dispensation of the Holy Spirit in those days was exceedingly limited; that the real dispensation of the Holy Spirit was still tarrying; and that only in the days of the Messiah was it to come in all its fulness and glory.

    1. In this remarkable prophecy, dealing with national repentance, the state of things usually depicted in the Old Testament Scriptures is inverted; for while we are generally shown a people undergoing misery and suffering, and then raised, as the result, to heights of prosperity, we see here a people delivered from their straits and hardships and brought forth into a large place, and thereby awakened to a sense of fault, and laid low in the dust of contrition.

    The Jewish Remnant returned from the Babylonian Captivity, and, occupied with efforts to re-establish themselves in their land and to rebuild their ruined Temple, were enduring many difficulties and severities, especially from the opposition of neighbouring tribes, whose hostility was for ever harassing and thwarting them; and into the breast of the anxious prophet, whose mission it was to cheer and animate, there steals, amid his broodings, a vision of all these pestering tribes, uniting at length in a tremendous assault upon the poor struggling Remnant—to be utterly routed and destroyed. He sees Jerusalem made a cup of trembling to its foes; the Lord smiting every horse with astonishment and his rider with madness; the governors of Judah—like a hearth of fire among the wood, and like a flaming torch in a sheaf—devouring the assailants on the right hand and on the left; the feeblest of Israel as irresistible as David, and the house of David as God. It was one of those visions, in dark times, of triumph and glory beyond that are never fulfilled; and, in dreaming thus of marvellous blessing for his country, Zechariah was only following in the wake of the prophets who had preceded him. His distinction is that he dreams of this splendid victory to come as bringing with it a great national mourning and lamentation for sin. He sees the whole land, not surrendered to rejoicing, not jubilant with feast and song, but clothed from end to end in sackcloth of repentance—a solemn silence in the streets; every family withdrawn to weep apart. That was his idea of what should be—a people stirred by extraordinary mercies to a deep impression of their unworthiness.

    2. Sorrow or disaster, whether by inducing a humbler temper and self-estimate, or by giving an impression of wrath and punishment, or by desolating the external scene and driving the heart in upon itself, is often the means of rousing men to a recognition and conviction of their sins. It was so continually with the ancient Hebrews; reverse and suffering awoke them time after time to the error of their ways, and set them repenting—with tears, perhaps, that were sincere enough, and not without some temporary purifying effect. Is it not, however, a finer thing, and the sign of a finer nature, when good fortune provokes earnest thoughts with regard to duty and our imperfect discharge of it; when discontent with ourselves and our moral attainment, regret for past deficiencies and failings, with anxiety to be worthier than we are, are excited by signal benedictions, by some great deliverance or success; when, the more life smiles for us and brings us of pleasantness and beautiful possession, the more we yearn to be deserving? Such was the nobler disposition which Zechariah dreamt of being manifested in his countrymen. He imagined them no longer swept to repentance merely before the cutting blast of affliction, but softly constrained to it by the magnitude of their mercies; when most exalted and enriched in condition, then, most deeply penetrated with the sense of their shortcomings, and most burdened with aspiration to amend and excel. He saw the whole nation in the hour of their grand triumph moved to confess and renounce their sins at the feet of God; not, as we have often been called to do, in a season of sharp distress or imminent peril, when harvests have failed or pestilence has stalked through the land, but when trouble has given place to the brightness of unexampled prosperity. To be moved thus was something higher than Israel had yet attained to; and this, after all, is true gratitude to heaven beneath a shower of blessings; to have the sweet shower touching us with unrest and pain that we were not worthier, and kindling new solicitude for self-improvement. To give true thanks for what we receive is to throb with passion, to be comelier and more perfect men.

    3. It is God Himself who begins the work of grace in the heart of man. “I will pour out—the spirit of grace and supplication.” It is not in fallen man to renew his own heart. Can the adamant turn itself to wax, or the granite soften itself to clay? Only He who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundation of the earth can form and reform the spirit of man within him. The power to make the rock of our nature flow with rivers of repentance is not in the rock itself. As long as the heart is untouched by the spirit of grace, it either remains in a state of utter insensibility in reference to God and sin on the one hand, or, on the other hand, it is troubled with feelings of reproach and fear, but without being persuaded and changed. In ordinary circumstances the sinner is disposed to think as seldom as possible of God and the relation in which he stands to Him. There may be times, however, when he is shaken out of his habitual self-complacency. Possibly disease has seized upon him, and death seems in hard pursuit, and hell appears not far behind. Or the conscience is awakened, he cannot tell how, from its habitual lethargy; it speaks to him as one having authority, and summons him as it were to the bar of Gods judgment, to give an account of his actions. Now, the great body of mankind flit between these two extremes, being generally in a state of insensibility, but at times troubled with regrets as to the past and fears as to the future. But as the heart when in the one state, that of unconcern, is in a sinful condition, so in the other state, of mere compunction and fear, it is far from being in a healthy condition. We need the power from on high on the one hand to arouse us from our habitual carelessness, and on the other hand to conduct to genuine faith and true peace. We may seek for repentance, and like Esau seek it carefully with tears; but we can “find no place for repentance” till He who knows our hearts and has access to them unlocks them and opens up fountains within us. Mere natural reproaches of conscience and alarms of coming judgments may stun the heart for a time, but they cannot break or melt it.

    4. When the heart grows sensitive to the touch of Gods Spirit, the result is seen in prayer and supplications. Prayer is just the breathing of the Spirit in us; power in prayer comes from the power of the Spirit in us, waited on and trusted in. Failure in prayer comes from feebleness of the Spirits work in us. Our prayer is the index of the measure of the Spirits work in us. To pray aright, the life of the Spirit must be right in us. For praying the effectual, much-availing prayer of the righteous man everything depends on being full of the Spirit. God in heaven gives His Spirit in our hearts to be there the Divine power praying in us, and drawing us upward to our God. God is a Spirit, and nothing but a like life and Spirit within us can hold communion with Him. It was for this that man was created, that God might dwell and work in him, and be the Life of his life. It was this Divine indwelling that sin lost. It was this that Christ came to exhibit in His life, to win back for us in His death, and then to impart to us by coming again from heaven in the Spirit to live in His disciples. It is this, the indwelling of God through the Spirit, that alone can explain and enable us to appropriate the wonderful promises given to prayer. God gives the Spirit as a spirit of supplication, too, to maintain His Divine life within us as a life out of which prayer ever rises upward.

    McCheyne used to say that a great part of his time was occupied in getting his heart in tune for prayer. It does take time sometimes, and the heart never would get in tune if it were not for the Holy Spirit of God. It is He who prepares the heart for prayer; He who creates within us the desire to pray. This does not mean that we ought never to pray save as we are certain of the impulse of the Holy Spirit. We “ought always to pray,” and even though the heart be out of tune, though it be dull and cold and heavy, even though we do not feel like praying, we ought to bow humbly and reverently before God, and tell Him how cold and prayerless our hearts are, and as we thus wait in silence before Him our hearts will be warmed and stirred and strangely impressed with the mind of God, and coming thus into tune with the heart of God it shall be made indeed a heart of prayer.1 [Note: W. E. Biederwolf.]

    We always receive three gifts from God when we pray humbly and earnestly. The first, St. Nilus says, is the gift of prayer itself. “God wishes to bless thee for a longer time while thou art persevering in thy prayer; for what more blessed than to be detained in colloquy with God?” We pretend for a while not to hear the petitions of those we love, because we so love to hear them asking. So Joseph feigned with his brethren. “You say,” observes St. John Climacus, “I have received nothing from God, when all the while you have received one of His greatest gifts, perseverance in prayer.” “He delays to hear His saints,” says St. Gregory, “that He may increase their merits. By this perseverance we prepare ourselves to receive the Grace with much greater fruit than if it were given us at once.” St. Isidore says, “God delays to hear your prayer either because you are not in good dispositions to receive what you ask, or that you may be able to receive more excellent gifts which He is desirous of conferring upon you.” So, says Gerson, “it happens to us as it does sometimes to a beggar, to whom men give a more liberal alms because they have kept him waiting at their door so long.”2 [Note: The Spirit of Father Faber (1914), 39.]

    5. Supplication melts into contrition as we direct our eyes to the cross, which our sins erected. “They shall look unto me whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son.” Calvin and other commentators interpret the “piercing” of the text metaphorically for the continual provocation of their God. In the Septuagint the reading is, “They shall gaze upon me because they insulted.” But St. John, who, if he did not translate for himself from the Hebrew, used another version than the Septuagint, has, “They shall look on him whom they pierced.” The Fourth Evangelist, at any rate, has no hesitation in applying the prophecy to the piercing of the Saviour on Calvarys cross.

    Many years ago there was a striking picture to be seen in one of the galleries of Paris. It was the picture of the dead Christ. On the left side was a child holding in its two tiny hands the pale, worn, strained Hand of the Saviour. The child had been gazing on the dark, blood-stained wound in the centre of the Palm, and the eyes were brimful of tears, the brows were knit, the face was grieved with anguish, and the lips quivered!1 [Note: F. Harper, Echoes from the Old Evangel, 44.]

    You all remember the action of Michael Angelos Christ,—the right hand raised as if in violence of reprobation; and the left closed across His breast, as refusing all mercy. The action is one which appeals to persons of very ordinary sensations, and is very naturally adopted by the Renaissance painter, both for its popular effect, and its capabilities for the exhibition of his surgical science. But the old painter-theologian [Orcagna], though indeed he showed the right hand of Christ lifted, and the left hand laid across His breast, had another meaning in the actions. The fingers of the left hand are folded, in both the figures; but in Michael Angelos as if putting aside an appeal; in Orcagnas, the fingers are bent to draw back the drapery from the right side. The right hand is raised by Michael Angelo as in anger; by Orcagna, only to show the wounded palm. And as, to the believing disciples, He showed them His hands and His side, so that they were glad,—so, to the unbelievers, at their judgment, He shows the wounds in hand and side. They shall look on Him whom they pierced.2 [Note: Ruskin, Val d Arno, x. § 256 (Works, xxiii. 149).]

    (1) The cross reveals our sin.—The vileness of an object is revealed by contrast with some other of perfect purity. The shadows of the mountains are best realized when we can contrast them with their lights; dark caves are appreciated properly only in the day, as they defy the sunbeams of heaven. So is it with these vile souls of ours; they never seem so vile as when they are brought alongside the pure heart of Christ, and are seen in their natural relations to Him.

    (2) The cross condemns our sin.—It is apparently easy to shuffle off responsibility by affirming that we were not partakers in the blood of the prophets, that we were not parties to the crucifixion of Christ; we may even subscribe, as the Jews did, to build monuments for the martyrs, and condemn their murderers, yet our spirits may be all the while such as to make us responsible for the past. We cannot cut ourselves adrift from our antecedents or our ancestry, as sailors slip a cable in the night. Christ indeed affirmed a principle in His day about descending and accumulating responsibility which we must recognize. He told His contemporaries that their treatment of Himself demonstrated that they were the persecuting children of those persecuting sires who had shed the blood of the prophets, and that all that blood would be required of them since they were about to murder Him. Their repudiation of the murder of the prophets, their subscriptions to build their tombs, their effort to sever themselves from the responsibilities of the past, would not avail them so long as they cherished vindictive feelings towards the incarnate God.

    (3) The cross is the instrument of true repentance.—We cannot intelligently contemplate the crucifixion without feeling that our spiritual attitude is naturally such towards Christ as to involve us in the crime of His death. Sin we see clearly is Deicide, and deserves death and exile from God for ever. We come, in fact, through the cross into a state of apprehension lest the just judgment of God overtake us on account of sin.

    But once the love of the cross is felt as a regenerating power, we come to feel very differently regarding our sins. That is to say, we do not so much fear the punishment they deserve, we do not sorrow over them as those that have no hope, but we come to sorrow over them as wrongs done to our nearest and dearest friend, and we turn from them and from ourselves with deepest loathing. In a word, we come to “sympathize with the law that condemns us; we take Gods side against ourselves, and hate the sin more than we fear the punishment.”

    (4) This repentance is of a most thoroughgoing kind.—The grief for sin itself is overborne and compassed about by the greater grief occasioned by the sad results of sin upon the person of the pierced One. Sin is grieved over as it is against the Lord: even as David cries, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.” The mourning of a penitent is not because of hell; if there were no hell he would mourn just as much. His grief is not for what sin might cost himself, but for what it has cost the Substitute. He bemoans himself thus: “Oh, how could I have pierced Him? How could I have wounded the Beloved? Lover of my soul, how could I have pierced Thee?” True penitents smite upon their breasts as they behold their Saviour bleeding on the tree. This is genuine contrition.

    They “shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” The Israelite was specially sensitive concerning the death of his offspring. To lose his firstborn was as when a nation loses its prince. To lose his only son was to quench the light of the house. The old man mourns, “I am as good as dead. I am blotted out of the book of the living, for I have now no son to bear my name. The lamp has gone out in my tent, for my son, my only son, my firstborn, has gone down to the gates of the grave!” The case was hopeless for the future; none remained to continue his family among those who sit in the gate, and the old man rent his clothes and wept sore.

    The prophet could not recollect any mourning which he had ever heard of that was like it, except the lamentation of the people for the death of Josiah. Then all Judah mourned, and Jeremiah wrote sad dirges, and other prophets and poets poured forth their lamentations. Everywhere throughout the land there went up an exceeding great and bitter cry, for the good king had fallen, and there were no princes of like mind to follow him. Alas, poor nation, it was thy last bright hour which saw him ride to the battle; in his death thy star has set! In the valley of Hadadrimmon the lamentation began, but it spread through all the land. The fatal fight of Megiddo was mourned by every woman in Jerusalem. Bravely had Josiah kept his word, and sought to repel the Egyptian invader; but the hour of Judahs punishment was come and Josiah died. A mourning as sincere and deep comes to us when we perceive that Jesus died for us. Blessed be His name; the joy that comes of it when we see sin put away by His death turns all the sorrow into joy.

    The text is one of those prophetic passages which, viewed from whatever standpoint, are luminous with rays of prophetic anticipation. Jehovah speaks. The time cometh when the rebellious people shall mourn, beholding the pierced One. That piercing became a possible and literal event when the Incarnate Son of Jehovah yielded His body to the nails and to the spear. The evangelist St. John quotes the ancient prediction, “They shall look on him whom they pierced,” as having become a fact through the cross on Calvary. His application of the words to Christ expresses a prophecy of continued fulfilment in the New Testament age. The words of Zechariah are a Messianic prophecy, and applicable only and wholly to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We see the fulfilment of them commencing in the circumstances of His crucifixion, but continued in a nobler sense after Pentecost, when many of those who had clamoured for His blood, looked back with horror on their deed, and, repenting, were converted. We find the prophecy fulfilled in the mental gaze on Him whom their sins have pierced, which is repeated in the daily conversion of souls, both of Gentile and of Jew. That look is the essence of Christian worship, in the approach to God through Christ the crucified, in the continual memorial of Christs death at the altar, in the observance of holy Passiontide.1 [Note: G. H. Gwilliam, in The Expository Times, xi. 395.]

    6. Contrition issues in cleansing. The prophet goes on to promise in the name of God, “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” We are delivered from guilt, we are saved from sin, through the grace and Spirit of God. A radical change is wrought within us; grace “bringeth salvation”; “what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” The blood shed, instead of crying out for vengeance, is found to cry out for pardon to be extended to the guilty; the place of our deep conviction becomes the scene of our deliverance. The valley of Achor is constituted a door of hope; inability yields to the triumphant grace of God; salvation reaches us through the cross.

    The propitiation of His blood lies on our part in its humbling, convicting, melting power upon human souls, in the power which it has to make us ashamed, and discontented with our poor quality, with our low level, and to agitate us with strong sighs after nobler being and living. In proportion as He sets us weeping with pungent regret and wistful aspiration, there is a fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness.

    It was from this passage that Cowper got his idea of the guilt-cleansing fountain of Christs blood; yet, instead of a fountain filled with the blood of an atoning victim, what the Jewish writer had evidently in his mind was a fountain filled with the tears of the peoples genuine and deep contrition. Such was the fountain in which he conceived of them as losing “all their guilty stains.” Like another Jewish writer, he had learnt to feel, “Thou desirest not sacrifice; thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” He saw heavens pardon granted at once to repentance. “What a fountain for washing,” he thought, “in those silent and sincere tears of which I dream!”1 [Note: S. A. Tipple.]

    In a work jointly written by [the Quaker saint] William Bayley [who died in 1675] and John Crook, the following remarks occur:—“We do in the sight of God really own the blood of the Son of Man, … both as bespeaking the remission of sin past, through faith in it, and as sprinkling the conscience of true believers, and cleansing them from all sin.… By all which it is manifest to be of infinite value.… But because we testify that it is not the bare, historical, and literal belief of those things that justifies or makes us really free from that wrath which comes upon every soul of man that doeth evil; but only the life and virtue of this blood, received into the heart by that living faith which Christ alone is author of: therefore we are branded with slighting the blood of the Christ though we testify that without the life and virtue of this blood there is no remission.”2 [Note: F. A. Budge, Annals of the Early Friends, 211.]



    Biederwolf (W. E.), How Can God Answer Prayer? 125.

    Bonar (H.), Light and Truth: Old Testament, 364.

    Edgar (R. M.), The Philosophy of the Cross, 160.

    Harper (F.), Echoes from the Old Evangel, 44.

    Kuyper (A.), The Work of the Holy Spirit, 114.

    McCheyne (R. M.), Memoir and Remains, 465.

    McCosh (J. M.), Gospel Sermons, 46.

    Murray (A.), The Ministry of Intercession, 116.

    Oosterzee (J. J. van), The Year of Salvation, i. 466.

    Paget (F. E.), Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, i. 135.

    Smellie (A.), In the Hour of Silence, 203.

    Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, x. (1864), No. 575; xxiii. (1877), No. 1362; xxxiii. (1887), No. 1983; 1. (1904), No. 2901.

    Vaughan (J.), Sermons (Brighton Pulpit), New. Ser., xxv. (1885), No. 1296.

    Christian World Pulpit, xxiii. 237 (S. A. Tipple); lxvii. 185 (G. Body).

    Church of England Pulpit, lix. 182 (G. Body).

    Church Pulpit Year Book, 1912, p. 52.

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
    I will pour
    Proverbs 1:23; Isaiah 32:15; 44:3,4; 59:19-21; Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28,29; Acts 2:17,33; 10:45; 11:15; Titus 3:5,6
    the house
    the spirit
    Psalms 51:12
    of supplications
    Jeremiah 31:9; 50:4; Romans 8:15,26; Ephesians 6:18; Jude 1:20
    they shall look
    That this relates to the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and to his being pierced by the soldier's spear, we have the authority of the inspired apostle John for affirming; and this application agrees with the opinion of some of the ancient Jews, who interpret it of Messiah the son of David, as Moses Hadarson, on Ge ch. 28, though Jarchi and Abarbanel refer it to the death of Messiah the son of Joseph, whom they say was to be the suffering Messiah, while the former is to be the triumphant Messiah.
    Psalms 22:16,17; John 1:29; 19:34-37; Hebrews 12:2; Revelation 1:7
    they shall mourn
    Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10; Matthew 24:30; 26:75; Acts 2:37; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 12:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

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    Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
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