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Zechariah, Book of.


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The time and personal circumstances of the prophet whose name this book bears have been considered above. It remains to discuss the prophecies themselves, and especially their authenticity. Their peculiar character and obscurity of interpretation also call for a somewhat full treatment.

I. Contents. The book naturally falls into two principal divisions, which, as will be seen more fully in the sequel, are marked not only by certain peculiarities of expression, but obviously by the absence of any historical data in the latter portion such as are given in the former.

(I.) The first part, embracing ch. 1-8, divides itself into three sections by the chronological indications given respectively in Zechariah 1:1; Zechariah 1:7, and Zechariah 7:1; and these are still further subdivided by the recurrence of the phrase "the word of the Lord came unto me." This part, therefore, consists, first, of a short introduction or preface, in which the prophet announces his commission; then of a series of visions, descriptive of all those hopes and anticipations of which the building of the Temple was the pledge and sure foundation; and finally of a discourse, delivered two years later, in reply to questions respecting the observance of certain established fasts.

1. The short introductory oracle (Zechariah 1:1-6) is a warning voice from the past. The prophet solemnly reminds the people, by an appeal to the experience of their fathers, that no word of God had ever fallen to the ground; and that therefore, if with sluggish indifference they refused to co- operate in the building of the Temple, they must expect the judgments of God. This warning manifestly rests upon the former warnings of Haggai.

2. In a dream of the night there passed before the eyes of the prophet a series of nine (essentially seven) visions, followed by an emblematical scene, descriptive in their different aspects of events, some of them shortly to come to pass, and others losing themselves in: the mist of the future (Zechariah 1:7 to Zechariah 6:15). These visions are obscure, and accordingly the prophet asks their meaning. The interpretation is given, not as to Amos by Jehovah himself, but by an angel who knows the mind and will of Jehovah, who intercedes with him for others, and by whom Jehovah speaks and issues his commands; at one time he is called "the angel who spake with me" [or "by me"] (Zechariah 1:9); at another, "the angel of Jehovah" (Zechariah 1:11-12; Zechariah 3:1-6).

(1.) In the first vision (Zechariah 1:8-17) the prophet sees, in a valley of myrtles, a rider upon a roan horse, accompanied by others who, having been sent forth to the four quarters of the earth, had returned with the tidings that the whole earth was at rest (with reference to Haggai 2:20). Hereupon the angel asks how long this state of things shall last, and is assured that the indifference of the heathen shall cease, and that the Temple shall be built in Jerusalem. This vision seems to have been partly borrowed from Job 1:7, etc.

(2.) The second vision (Zechariah 2:1-13, A.V. Zechariah 1:18 to Zechariah 2:13) explains how the promise of the first is to be fulfilled, and is composed of three separate emblems. The four horns are the symbols of the different heathen kingdoms in the four quarters of the world, which have hitherto combined against Jerusalem. The four carpenters or smiths symbolize their destruction. The measuring line betokens the vastly extended area of Jerusalem, owing to the rapid increase of the new population. The old prophets, in foretelling the happiness and glory of the times which should succeed the Captivity in Babylon, had made a great part of that happiness and glory, to consist in the gathering together again of the whole: dispersed nation in the land given to their fathers. This vision was designed to teach that the expectations thus raised the return of the dispersed of Israel should be fulfilled; that Jerusalem should be too large to be compassed about by a wall, but that Jehovah himself would be to her a wall of fire, a light and defense to the holy city, and destruction to her adversaries. A song of joy, in prospect of so bright a future, closes the scene.

The next two visions (ch. 3, 4) are occupied with the Temple, and with the two principal persons on whom the hopes of the returned exiles rested.

(3.) The permission granted for the rebuilding of the Temple had, no doubt, stirred afresh the malice and the animosity of the enemies of the Jews. Joshua the high-priest had been singled out, it would seem, as the especial object of attack, and perhaps formal accusations had already been laid against him before the Persian court. The prophet, in vision, sees him summoned before a higher tribunal, and solemnly acquitted; despite the charges of the Satan or Adversary. This is done with the forms still usual in an Eastern court. The filthy garments in which the accused is expected to stand are taken away, and the caftan or robe of honor is put upon him in token that his innocence has been established. Acquitted at that bar, he need not fear, it is implied, any earthly accuser. He shall be protected, he shall carry on the building of the Temple, he shall prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, and upon the foundation stone laid before him shall the seven eyes of God, the token of his ever-watchful providence, rest.

(4.) The succeeding vision (ch. 4) supposes that all opposition to the building of the Temple shall be removed. This sees the completion of the work. It has evidently a peculiarly impressive character; for tile prophet, though his dream still continues, seems to himself to be awakened on of it by the angel who speaks to him. The candlestick (or, more properly, chandelier) with seven lights (borrowed from the candlestick of the Mosaic tabernacle, Exodus 25:31 sq.) supposes that the Temple is already finished. The seven pipes which supply each lamp answer to the seven eyes of Jehovah in the preceding vision (Zechariah 3:9), and this sevenfold- supply of oil denotes the presence and operation of the Divine Spirit, through whose aid Zerubbabel will overcome all obstacles; so that as his hands had laid the foundation of the house, his hands should also finish it (Zechariah 4:9). The two olive branches of the vision, belonging to the olive-tree standing by the candlestick, are Zerubbabel himself and Joshua.

The next two visions (Zechariah 5:1-11) signify that the land, in which the sanctuary has just been erected, shall be purged of all its pollutions.

(5.) First, the curse is recorded against wickedness in the whole land (not in the whole earth, as in the A.V.), Zechariah 5:3; that due solemnity may be given to it, it is inscribed upon a roll, and the roll is represented as flying, in order to denote the speed with which the curse will execute itself.

(6.) Next, the unclean thing, whether in the form of idolatry or any other abomination, shall be utterly removed. Caught and shut up as it were in a cage, like some savage beast, and pressed down with a weight as of lead upon it so that it cannot escape, it shall be carried into that land where all evil things have long made their dwelling (Isaiah 34:13); the land of Babylon (Shinar, Zechariah 5:11), from which Israel had been redeemed.

(7.) The night is now waning fast, and the morning is about to dawn (Zechariah 6:1-8). Chariots and horses appear, issuing from between two brazen mountains, the horses like those in the first vision; and these receive their several commands and are sent forth to execute the will of Jehovah in the four quarters of the earth. The four chariots are images of the four winds, which, according, to Psalms 104:4, as servants of God, fulfill his behests, and of the one that goes to the north it is particularly said that it shall let the Spirit of Jehovah rest there is it a spirit of anger against the nations, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, or is it a spirit of hope and desire of return, in the hearts of those of the exiles who still lingered in the land of their captivity? Stahelin, Maurer, and others adopt the former view, which seems to be in accordance with the preceding vision; Ewald gives the latter interpretation, and thinks it is supported by what follows.

Thus the cycle of visions is completed. Scene after scene is unrolled till the whole glowing picture is presented to the eye. All enemies crushed; the land re-peopled, and Jerusalem girt as with a wall of fire; the Temple rebuilt, more truly splendid than of old, because more abundantly filled with a Divine Presence; the leaders of the people assured in the most signal manner of the Divine protection; all wickedness solemnly sentenced, and the Iliad forever purged of it such is the magnificent panorama of hope which the prophet displays to his countrymen. Very consolatory must such a prospect have seemed to the weak and disheartened colony in Jerusalem. For the times were dark and troublous. According to recent interpretations of newly discovered inscriptions, it would appear that Darius I found it no easy task to hold his vast dominions. Province after province had revolted both in the east and in the north, whither, according to the prophet (Zechariah 6:8), the winds had carried the wrath of God and if the reading Mudraja, i.e. Egypt, is correct (Lassen gives Kurdistan), Egypt must have revolted before the outbreak mentioned in Herod. 7:1, and have again been reduced to subjection. To such revolt there may possibly be an allusion in the reference to "the land of the south" (Zechariah 6:6). It would seem that Zechariah anticipated, as a consequence of these perpetual insurrections, the weakening and overthrow of the Persian monarchy and the setting-up of the kingdom of God, for which Judah, in faith and obedience, was to wait (Zechariah 6:9-15).

(8.) Immediately on these visions there follows a symbolical act (Zechariah 6:9-15). Three Israelites had just returned from Babylon, bringing with them rich gifts to Jerusalem, apparently as contributions to the Temple, and had been received in the house of Josiah the son- of Zephaniah. Thither the prophet is commanded to go whether still in a dream or not is not very clear and to employ the silver and the gold of their offerings for the service of Jehovah. He is to make of them two crowns, and to place these on the head of Joshua the high-priest a sign that in the Messiah who should build the Temple the kingly and priestly offices should be united. This, however, is expressed somewhat enigmatically, as if king and priest should be perfectly at one, rather than that the same person should be both king and priest. These crowns, moreover, were to be a memorial in honor of those by whose liberality they had been made, and should serve at the same time to excite other rich Jews still living in Babylon to the like liberality. Hence their symbolical purpose having been accomplished, they were to be laid up in the Temple.

3. It is remarkable, as has already been noticed, that the question relating to the fast days (Zechariah 7:1-3) should have been addressed to priests and prophets conjointly in the Temple. This close alliance between two classes hitherto so separate, and often so antagonistic, was one of the most hopeful circumstances of the times. Still Zechariah, as chief of the prophets, has the decision of this question. Some of the priests, it is evident (Zechariah 7:7), were inclined to the more gloomy view; but not so the prophet. In language worthy of his position and his office, language which reminds us of the most striking passages of his great predecessor (Isaiah 58:5-7), he lays down the same principle that God loves mercy rather than fasting, and truth and righteousness rather than sackcloth and a sad countenance. If they had perished, he reminds them it was because their hearts were hard while they fasted; if they would dwell safely, they must abstain from fraud and violence, and not from food (Zechariah 7:4-14).

Again, he foretells, but not now in vision, the glorious times that are near at hand when Jehovah shall dwell in the midst of them, and Jerusalem be called a city of truth. He sees her streets thronged by old and young, her exiles returning, her Temple standing in all its beauty, her land rich in fruitfulness, her people a praise and a blessing in the earth (Zechariah 8:1-15). Again, he declares that "truth and peace" (Zechariah 8:16; Zechariah 8:19) are the bulwarks of national prosperity. And, once more reverting to the question which had been raised concerning the observance of the fasts, he announces, in obedience to the command of Jehovah, not only that the fasts are abolished, but that the days of mourning shall henceforth be days of joy, the fasts be counted for festivals. His prophecy concludes with a prediction that Jerusalem shall be the center, of religious worship to all nations of the earth (Zechariah 8:16-23).

(II.) The remainder of the book consists of two sections of about equal length, ch. 9-11 and 12-14, each of which has an inscription. They have the general prophetic tone and character, and in subject they so far harmonize with 1-8 that the prophet seeks to comfort Judah in a season of depression with the hope of a brighter future.

1. In the first section he threatens Damascus and the sea-coast of Palestine with misfortune; but declares that Jerusalem shall be protected, for Jehovah himself shall encamp about her (where 9:8 reminds us of 2. 5). Her king shall come to her; he shall speak peace to the heathen, so that all weapons of war shall perish; and his dominion shall be to the ends of the earth. The Jews who are still in captivity shall return to their land; they shall be mightier than Javan (or Greece); and Ephraim and Judah once more united shall vanquish all enemies. The land too shall be fruitful as of old (comp. Zechariah 8:12). The Teraphim and the false prophets may indeed have spoken lies; but upon these will the Lord execute judgment, and then he will look with favor upon his people and bring back both Judah and Ephraim from their captivity. The possession of Gilead and Lebanon is again promised as the special portion of Ephraim; and both Egypt and Assyria shall be broken and humbled.

The prophecy now takes a sudden turn. An enemy is seen approaching from the north, who, having forced the narrow passes of Lebanon, the great bulwark of the northern frontier, carries desolation into the country beyond. Hereupon the prophet receives a commission from God to feed his flock, which God himself will no more feed because of their divisions. The prophet undertakes the office, and makes to himself two staves (naming the one Favor and the other Union), in order to tend the flock, and cuts off several evil shepherds whom his soul abhors; but observes, at the same time, that the flock will not be obedient. Hence he throws up his office; he breaks asunder the one crook in token that the covenant of God with Israel was dissolved. A few, the poor of the flock, acknowledged God's hand herein; and the prophet, demanding the wages of his service, receives thirty pieces of silver, and casts it into the house of Jehovah. At the same time, he sees that there is no hope of union between Judah and Israel, whom he had trusted to feed as one flock, and therefore cuts in pieces the other crook, in token that the brotherhood between them is dissolved.

2. The second section (ch. 12-14) is entitled "The burden of the word of Jehovah for Israel." But Israel is here used of the nation at large, not of Israel as distinct from Judah. Indeed, the prophecy, which follows, concerns Judah and Jerusalem. In this the prophet beholds the near approach of troublous times, when Jerusalem should be hard pressed by enemies. But in that day Jehovah shall come to save them "the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of Jehovah" (Zechariah 12:8), and all the nations which gather themselves against Jerusalem shall be destroyed. At the same time, the deliverance shall not be from outward enemies alone. God will pour out upon them a spirit of grace and supplications, so that they shall bewail their sinfulness with a mourning greater than that with which they bewailed the beloved Josiah in the valley of Megiddo. So deep and so true shall be this repentance, so lively the aversion to all evil, that neither idol nor false prophet shall again be seen in the land If a man shall pretend to prophesy, "his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesied, fired by the same righteous indignation as Phinehas was when he slew those who wrought folly in Israel (Zechariah 12:1-13; Zechariah 12:6)." Then follows a short apostrophe to the sword of the enemy to turn against the shepherds of the people; and a further announcement of searching and purifying judgments; which, however, it must be acknowledged, is somewhat abrupt. Ewald's suggestion that the passage Zechariah 13:7-9 is here out of place, and should be transposed to the end of chap. 11 is certainly ingenious, and does not seem improbable.

The prophecy closes with a grand and stirring picture. All nations are gathered together against Jerusalem, and seem already sure of their prey. Half of their cruel work has been accomplished, when Jehovah himself appears on behalf of his people. At his coming all nature is moved; the Mount of Olives on which his feet rest cleaves asunder; a mighty earthquake heaves the ground, and even the natural succession of day and night is broken. He goes forth to war against the adversaries of his people. He establishes his kingdom over all the earth. Jerusalem is safely inhabited, and becomes rich with the spoils of the nations. All nations that are still left shall come up to Jerusalem, as the great center of religious worship, there to worship "the King, Jehovah of hosts," and the city from that day forward shall be a holy city.

II. Integrity. Mede was the first to call this in question. The probability that the later chapters (from the 9th to the 14th) were by some other prophet seems first to have been suggested to him by the citation in Matthew. He says (Epist. 31):

"It may seem the evangelist would inform us that those latter chapters ascribed to Zachary (namely, 9th, 10th, 11th, etc.) are indeed the prophecies of Jeremy, and that the Jews had not rightly attributed them.... Certainly, if a man weighs the contents of some of them, they should in likelihood be of an elder date than the time of Zachary namely, before the Captivity for the subjects of some of them were scarce in being after that time. And the chapter out of which St. Matthew quotes may seem to have somewhat much unsuitable with Zachary's time; as, a prophecy of the destruction of the Temple, then when he was to encourage them to build it. And how doth the sixth verse of that chapter suit with his time? There is no scripture saith they are Zachary's; but there is scripture saith they are Jeremy's, as this of the evangelist."

He then observes that the mere fact of these being found in the same book as the prophecies of Zechariah does not prove that they were his; difference of authorship being allowable in the same way as in the collection of Agur's Proverbs under one title with those of Solomon, and of Psalms by other authors with those of David. Even the absence of a fresh title is, he argues, no evidence against a change of author. "The Jews: wrote in rolls or volumes, and the title was but once. If aught were added to the roll, ob similitudinem argumenti, or for some other reason, it had a new title, as that of Agur; or perhaps none, but was ἀνώνυμον ." The utter disregard of anything like chronological order in the prophecies of Jeremiah, where "sometimes all is ended with Zedekiah; then we are brought back to Jehoiakim, then to Zedekiah again" makes it probable, he thinks, that they were only hastily and loosely put together in those distracted times. Consequently, some of them might not have been discovered till after the return from the Captivity, when they were approved by Zechariah, and so came to be incorporated with his prophecies. Mede evidently rests his opinion, partly on the authority of Matthew, and partly on the contents of the later chapters, which he considers require a date earlier than the Exile. He says again (Epist. 11):

That which moveth me more than the rest is in ch. 12 which contains a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, and a description of the wickedness of the inhabitants, for which God would give them to the sword and have no more pity on them. It is expounded of the destruction by Titus; but methinks such a prophecy was nothing seasonable for Zachary's time (when the city yet, for a great part, lay in her ruins, and the Temple had not yet recovered hers), nor agreeable to the scope of Zachary's commission, who, together with his colleague Haggai, was sent to encourage the people lately returned from captivity to build their temple, and to instaurate their commonwealth. Was this a fit time to foretell the destruction of both, while they were but yet a building? and by Zachary, too, who was to encourage them Would not this better befit the desolation by Nebuchadnezzar?" Archbishop Newcome went further. He insisted on the great dissimilarity of style as well as subject between the earlier and later chapters. And he was the first who advocated the theory which Bunsen calls one of the triumphs of modern criticism, that the last six chapters of Zechariah are the work of two distinct prophets. His words are:

"The eight first chapters appear by the introductory parts to be the prophecies of Zechariah, stand in connection with each other, are pertinent to the time when they were delivered, are uniform in style and manner, and constitute a regular whole. But the six last chapters are not expressly assailed to Zechariah; are unconnected with those which precede; the three first of them are unsuitable in many parts to the time when Zechariah lived; all of them have a more adorned and poetical turn of composition than the eight first chapters; and they manifestly break the unity of the prophetical book ... I conclude from internal marks in Zechariah 9:10-11 that these three chapters were written much earlier than the time of Jeremiah and before the captivity of the tribes. Israel is mentioned in Zechariah 9:1; Zechariah 11:14 (but that this argument is inconclusive, see Malachi 2:11); Ephraim 9:10, 13; 10:7; and Assyria Zechariah 10:10-11... They seem to suit Hosea's age and manner.... The 12th, 13th, and 14th chapters form a distinct prophecy, and were written after the death of Josiah; but whether before or after the Captivity, and by what prophets, is uncertain, though I incline to think that the author lived before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians."

In proof of this he refers to Zechariah 13:2, on which he observes that the "prediction that idols and false prophets should cease at the final restoration of the Jews seems to have been uttered when idolatry and groundless pretensions to the spirit of prophecy were common among the Jews, and therefore before the Babylonish Captivity." A large number of critics have followed Mede and archbishop Newcome in denying the later date of the last six chapters of the book. In England, bishop Kidder, Whiston, Hammond, and more recently Pye Smith and Davidson; in Germany Flü gge, Eichhorn, Bauer, Bertholdt, Augusti, Forberg, Rosenmü ller, Gramberg, Credner, Ewald, Maurer, Knobel, Hitzig, and Bleek, are agreed in maintaining that these later chapters are not the work of Zechariah the son of Iddo.

On the other hand, the later date of these chapters has been maintained among British writers, by Blayney and Henderson, and on the Continent by Carpzov, Beckhaus, Jahn, Koster, Hengstenberg, Havernick, Keil, De Wette (in later editions of his Einleitung; in the first three he adopted a different view), and Stahelin.

Those who impugn the later date of these chapters of Zechariah rest their arguments on the change in style and subject after the 8th chapter, but differ much in the application of their criticism. Rosenmü ller, for instance (Schol. in Proph. Miln. 4:257), argues that ch. 9-14 are so alike in style that they must have been written by one author. He alleges in proof his fondness for images taken from pastoral life (Zechariah 9:16; Zechariah 10:2-3; Zechariah 11:3-5; Zechariah 11:7-9; Zechariah 11:11; Zechariah 11:15; Zechariah 11:17; Zechariah 13:7-8). From the allusion to the earthquake (Zechariah 14:5; comp. Amos 1:1), he thinks the author must have lived in the reign of Uzziah, Davidson (in Horne's Introd. 2, 982) in like manner declares for one author, but supposes him to have been the Zechariah mentioned in Isaiah 8:2, who lived in the reign of Ahaz. Eichhorn, on the other hand, while also assigning (in his Einleitung, 4:444) the whole of ch. 9-14 to one writer, is of opinion that they are the work of a later prophet who flourished in the time of Alexander. Others again, as Bertholdt, Gesenius, Knobel, Maurer, Bunsen, and Ewald, think that ch. 9-11 (to: which Ewald adds Zechariah 13:7-9) are a distinct prophecy from ch. 12,15, and separated from them by a considerable interval of time. These critics conclude from internal evidence that the former portion was written by a prophet who lived in the reign of Ahaz (Knobel gives 9 and 10 to the reign of Jotham, and 11 to that of Ahaz), and most of them conjecture that he was the Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah (or Berechiah) mentioned in Isaiah 8:2. Ewald, without attempting to identify the prophet with any particular person, contents himself with remarking that he was a subject of the Southern kingdom (as may be inferred from expressions such as that in 9:7, and from the Messianic hopes which he utters, and in which he resembles his countryman and contemporary Isaiah); and that, like Amos and Hosea before him, though a native of Judah, he directs his prophecies against Ephraim. There is the same general agreement among the last-named critics as to the date of the section 12-14. They all assign it to a period immediately previous to the Babylonian Captivity, and hence the author must have been contemporary with the prophet Jeremiah. Bunsen identifies him with Urijah, the son of Shemaiah, of Kirjath-jearim (Jeremiah 26:20-23), who prophesied "in the name of Jehovah" against Judah and Jerusalem.

According to this hypothesis, we have the works of three different prophets collected into one book, and passing under one name: (a) Ch. 9- 11, the book of Zechariah I, a contemporary of Isaiah, under Ahaz, about 736; (b) ch. 12-14, author unknown (or perhaps Urijah, a contemporary of Jeremiah), about 607 or 606; (c) ch. 1-8, the work of the son (or grandson) of Iddo, Haggai's contemporary, about 520-518. We have then, two distinct theories before us. The one merely affirms that the last six chapters of our present book are not from the same author as the first eight. The other carries the dismemberment of the book still further, and maintains that the last six chapters are the work of two distinct authors who lived at two distinct periods of Jewish history. The arguments advanced by the supporters of each theory rest on the same grounds. They are drawn partly from the difference in style, and partly from the difference in the nature of the contents, the historical references, etc., in the different sections of the book; but the one sees this difference only in ch. 9-14 as compared with ch. 1-8; the other sees it also in ch. 12-14 as compared with ch. 9-11. We must accordingly consider (1) the difference generally in the style and contents of ch. 9-14 as compared with ch. 1-8; (2) the differences betweens ch. 12- 14 as compared with ch. 9-11.

(A.) Arguments against the Integrity of the Book. The difference in point of style between the latter and former portions of the prophecy is admitted by all critics. Rosenmü ller characterizes that of the first eight chapters as "prosaic, feeble, poor," and that of the remaining six as "poetic, weighty, concise, glowing." But without admitting so sweeping a criticism, and one, which the verdict of abler critics on the former portion has contradicted, there can be no doubt that the general tone and character of the one section are in decided contrast with those of the other. "As he passes from the first half of the prophet to the second," says Eichhorn, "no reader can fail to perceive how strikingly different are the impressions which are made upon him by the two. The manner of writing in the second portion is far loftier and more mysterious; the images employed are grander and more magnificent; the point of view and the horizon are changed. Once the Temple and the ordinances of religion formed the central point from which the prophet's words radiated, and to which they ever returned; now these have vanished. The favorite modes of expression, hitherto so often repeated, are now, as it were, forgotten. The chronological notices which before marked the day on which each several prophecy was uttered now fail us altogether: Could a writer all at once have forgotten so entirely his habits of thought? Could he so completely disguise his innermost feelings? Could the world about him, the mode of expression, the images employed, be so totally different in the case of one and the same writer?" (Einleit. 4:443, § 605).

(I) Ch. 1-8 are marked by certain peculiarities of idiom and phraseology which do not occur afterwards. Favorite expressions are: "The word of Jehovah came unto," etc. (Zechariah 1:7; Zechariah 4:8; Zechariah 6, 9; Zechariah 9:7; Zechariah 14:8; Zechariah 8:1-18); "Thus saith Jehovah (God) of hosts" (14,16,17; 2:11; 8:2, 4:6, 7, 9,14; 18, 20, 23); "And I lifted up mine eyes and saw" (Zechariah 1:18; Zechariah 2, 1; Zechariah 5, 1; Zechariah 6:1): none of these modes of expression are to be met within ch. 9-14. On the other hand, the phrase "In that day" is entirely confined to the later chapters, in which it occurs frequently. The form of the inscriptions is different. Introductions to the separate oracles such as those in Zechariah 9:1; Zechariah 12:1, do not present themselves in the earlier portion. Zechariah, in several instances, states the time at which a particular prophecy was uttered by him (Zechariah 1:1; Zechariah 1:7; Zechariah 7:1). He mentions his own name in these passages, and also in Zechariah 7:8, and the names of contemporaries in 3, 1; 4:6; 6:10; 7:2: the writer (or writers) of the second portion of the book never does this., It has also been observed that after the first eight chapters we hear nothing of "Satan," or of "the seven eyes of Jehovah;" that there are no more visions; that ch. 11 contains no allegory, not a symbolic action; that here are no riddles which need to be solved, no angelus interpres to solve them.

(II.) Ch. 9-11. These chapters, it is alleged, have also their characteristic peculiarities:

1. In point of style, the author resembles Hosea- more than any other prophet; such is the verdict both of Knobel and Ewald. He delights to picture Jehovah as the great captain of his people. Jehovah comes to Zion, and pitches his camp there to protect her (Zechariah 9:8-9). He blows the trumpet, marches against his enemies, makes his people his bow, and shoots his arrows (Zechariah 9:13-14); or he rides on Judah as his war-horse, and goes forth thereon to victory (Zechariah 10:3; Zechariah 10:5). Again, he speaks of the people as a flock, and the leaders of the people as their shepherds (Zechariah 9:16; Zechariah 10:2-3; Zechariah 11:4 sq.). He describes himself also, in his character of prophet, as a shepherd in the last passages, and assumes to himself, in a symbolic action (which, however, may have been one only of the imagination), all the guise and the gear of a shepherd. In general he delights in images (Zechariah 9:3-4; Zechariah 9:13-17; Zechariah 10:3; Zechariah 10:5; Zechariah 10:7, etc.), some of which are striking and forcible.

2. The notes of time are also peculiar:

(1.) It was a time when the pride of Assyria was yet at its height (Zechariah 10:11), and when the Jews had already suffered from it. This first took place 1:l the time of Menahem (B.C. 772-761).

(2.) The Trans-jordanic territory had already been swept by the armies of the invader (Zechariah 10:10), but a still further desolation threatened it (Zechariah 11:1-3). The first may have been the invasion of Pul (1 Chronicles 5:26), the second that of Tiglath-pileser.

(3.) The kingdoms of Judah and Ephraim are both standing (9, 10,13; 10:6), but many Israelites are nevertheless exiles in Egypt and Assyria (Zechariah 9:11; Zechariah 10:6; Zechariah 10:8; Zechariah 10:10, etc.).

(4.) The struggle between Judah and Israel is supposed to be already begun (Zechariah 11:14). At the same time, Damascus is threatened (Zechariah 9:1). If so, the reference must be to the alliance formed between Pekah king of Israel and Rezin of Damascus, the consequence of which was the loss of Elath (739).

(5.) Egypt and Assyria are both formidable powers (Zechariah 10:9-11). The only other prophets to whom these two nations appear as formidable, at the same time, are Hosea (Hosea 7:11; Hosea 12:1; Hosea 14:3) and his contemporary Isaiah (Isaiah 7:17,etc.); and that in prophecies which must have been uttered between 743 and 740. The expectation seems to have been that the Assyrians, in order to attack Egypt, would march by way of Syria, Phoenicia, and Philistia, along the coast (Zechariah 9:1-9), as they did afterwards (Isaiah 20:1), and that the kingdom of Israel would suffer chiefly in consequence (Zechariah 9:9-12), and Judah in a smaller degree (Zechariah 9:8-9).

(6.) The kingdom of Israel is described as "a flock for the slaughter". in ch. 11:over which three shepherds have been set in one month. This corresponds with the season of anarchy and confusion "which followed immediately on the murder of Zechariah the son of Jeroboam II (760). This son reigned only six months, his murderer Shallum but one (2 Kings 15:8-15), being put to death in his turn by Menahem. Meanwhile another rival king may have arisen, Bunsen thinks, in some other part of the country, who may have fallen as the murderer did, before Menahem.

(7.) The symbolical action of the breaking of the two shepherd's staves Favor and Union points the same way. The breaking of the first showed that God's favor had departed from Israel, that of the second that all hope of union between Judah and Ephraim was at an end.

All these notes of time, it is claimed, point in the same direction, and make it probable that the author of ch. 9-11 was a contemporary of Isaiah, and prophesied during the reign of Ahaz. According to Knobel, ch. 9 and 10 were probably delivered in Jotham's reign, and ch. 11 in that of Ahaz, who summoned Tiglath-pileser to his aid. Maurer thinks that ch.9 and 10 were written between the first (2 Kings 15:29) and second (2 Kings 17:4-6) Assyrian invasions, ch. 10 during the seven years' interregnum which followed the death of Pekah, and 11 in the reign of Hoshea.

(III.) Ch. 12-14. By the majority of those critics who assign these chapters to a third author, that author is supposed to have lived shortly before the Babylonian captivity. The grounds for separating these three chapters from ch. 9 to 11 are as follows:

1. This section opens with its own introductory formula, as the preceding one (Zechariah 9:1) does. This, however, only shows that the sections are distinct, not that they were written at different times.

2. The object of the two sections is altogether different. The author of the former (ch. 9-11) has both Israel and Judah before him; he often speaks of them together (Zechariah 9:3; Zechariah 10:6; Zechariah 11:14; comp. 10:7); he directs his prophecy to the Trans-jordanic territory, and announces the discharge of his office in Israel (Zechariah 11:4 sq.). The author of the second section, on the other hand, has only to do with Judah and Jerusalem; he nowhere mentions Israel.

3. The political horizon of the two prophets is different. By the former, mention is made of the Syrians, Phoenicians, Philistines (Zechariah 9:1-7), and Greeks (Zechariah 9:13), as well as of the Assyrians and Egyptians, the last two being described as at that time the most powerful. It therefore belongs to the earlier time when these two nations were beginning to struggle for supremacy in Western Asia. By the latter, the Egyptians only are mentioned as a hostile nation not a word is said of the Assyrians. The author consequently must have lived at a time when Egypt was the chief enemy of Judah.

4. The anticipations: of the two prophets are different. The first trembles only for Ephraim. He predicts the desolation of the Trans-jordanic territory, the carrying away captive of the Israelites, but also the return from Assyria and Egypt (Zechariah 9:7; Zechariah 9:10). But for Judah he has no cause of fear. Jehovah will protect her (Zechariah 9:8), and bring back those of her sons who in earlier times had gone into captivity (Zechariah 9:11). The second prophet, on the other hand making no mention whatever of the northern kingdom, is full of alarm for Judah. He sees hostile nations gathering together against her, and two thirds of her inhabitants destroyed (Zechariah 13:6); he sees the enemy laying siege to Jerusalem, taking and plundering it, and carrying half of her people captive (Zechariah 12:3; Zechariah 14:2; Zechariah 14:5). Of any return of the captives nothing is here said.

5. The style of the two prophets is different. The author of this last section is fond of the prophetic formula: וַהָיָה, "And it shall come to pass" (Zechariah 12:9; Zechariah 13:2-4; Zechariah 13:8; Zechariah 14:6; Zechariah 14:8; Zechariah 14:13; Zechariah 14:16); בִּיּוֹם הִהוּא, "in that day" (Zechariah 12:3-4; Zechariah 12:6; Zechariah 12:8-9; Zechariah 12:11; Zechariah 13:1-2; Zechariah 13:4; Zechariah 14:8-13; Zechariah 14:20-21); נְאם יְההוָֹה ; saith Jehovah" (Zechariah 12:1; Zechariah 12:4; Zechariah 13:2; Zechariah 13:7-8). In the section 9-11 the first does not occur at all, the second but once (Zechariah 9:16), the third only twice (Zechariah 10:12; Zechariah 11:6). We have, moreover, in this section certain favorite expressions: "all peoples," "all people of the earth," "all nations round about," "all nations that come up against Jerusalem," "the inhabitants of Jerusalem," "the house of David," "family" for nation, "the families of the earth," "the family of Egypt," etc.

6. There are apparently few notes of time in this section. One is the allusion to the death of Josiah in "the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo; another to the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.. This addition to the name of the king shows, Knobel suggests, that he had been long dead; but the argument. if it is worth anything, would make even more for those who hold a post-exile date. It is certainly remarkable, occurring thus in the body of the prophecy, and not in the inscription as in Isaiah 1:1.

(B.) Arguments in Favor of the Integrity of the Book.

(I.) As between ch. 1-8 and 9-14.

1. In reply to all the foregoing arguments, it has been urged by Keil, Stihelin, and others that the difference of style between the two principal divisions of the prophecy is not greater than may reasonably be accounted for by the change of subject. The language in which visions are narrated would, from the nature of the case, be quieter and less animated than that in which prophetic anticipations of future glory are described. They differ as the style, of the narrator differs from that of the orator. Thus, for instance, how different is the style of Hosea, ch. 1-3, from the style of the same prophet in ch. 4-14 or, again, that of Ezekiel 6:7 from Ezekiel 4!

But, besides this, even in what may be termed the more oratorical portions of the first eight chapters, the prophet is to a great extent occupied with warnings and exhortations of a practical kind (see Zechariah 1:4-6; Zechariah 8:9-23); whereas in the subsequent chapters he is rapt into a far- distant and glorious future. In the one case, therefore, the language would naturally sink down to the level of prose; in the other it would rise to an elevation worthy of its exalted subject.

In like manner, the notes of time in the former part (Zechariah 1:1; Zechariah 1:7; Zechariah 7:1) and the constant reference to the Temple may be explained on the ground that the prophet here busies himself with the events of his own time, whereas afterwards his eye is fixed on a far-distant future.

On the other hand, where predictions do occur in the first section, there is a general similarity between them and the predictions of the second. The scene, so to speak, is the same; the same visions float before the eyes of the seer. The times of the Messiah are the theme of the predictions in ch. 1-4, in Zechariah 9:10 and in Zechariah 12:1 to Zechariah 13:6; while the events which are to prepare the way for that time, and especially the sifting of the nation are dwelt upon in ch. 5, in Zechariah 9:11, and in Zechariah 13:7-9; Zechariah 13:2. The same peculiar forms of expression occur in the two divisions of the prophecy. Thus, for instance, we find מֵעוֹבֵר וּמַשָּׁב not only in Zechariah 7:14, but also in Zechariah 9:8; הֶעֵַביר, in the sense of "to remove," in Zechariah 3:4, and in Zechariah 13:2 - elsewhere it occurs in this unusual sense only in later writings (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 15:8) "the eye of God," as betokening the divine providence, in Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10; and in Zechariah 9:1; Zechariah 9:8.

In both sections the return of the whole nation after the Exile is the prevailing image of happiness, and in both it is similarly portrayed. As in Zechariah 2:10, the exiles are summoned to return to their native land, because now, according to the principles of righteous recompense, they shall rule over their enemies, so also a similar strain occurs in Zechariah 9:12, etc. Both in Zechariah 2:10 and in Zechariah 9:9 the renewed protection wherewith God will favor Zion is represented as an entrance into his holy dwelling; in both his people are called on to rejoice, and in-both there is a remarkable agreement in the words. In Zechariah 9:14, רני ושמח בת ציון כי הנני בא, and in Zechariah 9:9, מלכ ִיבוא ל ִגילי מאד בת ציון הריעי בת ירושלם הנה

Again, similar forms of expression occur in Zechariah 2:9; Zechariah 2:11, and the description of the increase in Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:10, may be compared with Zechariah 2:4; and the prediction in Zechariah 8:20-23 with that in Zechariah 14:16. The resemblance which has been found in some other passages is too slight to strengthen the argument; and the occurrence of Chaldaisms, such as צָבָא (Zechariah 9:8), רָאֲמָה (Zechariah 14:10), בהל (which occurs besides only in Proverbs 20:11), and the phrase מַלֵּא קֶשֶׁת (Zechariah 9:13), instead of דָּרִךְ קֵשֵּׁת , really prove nothing as to the age of the later chapters of Zechariah. Indeed, generally, as regards these minute comparisons of different passages to prove an identity of authorship, Maurer's remark holds true: "Sed quee potest vis esse, disjectorum quorundam locorum, ubi res judicanda est ex toto?"

2. Of far more weight, however, than the arguments already advanced is the fact that the writer of these last chapters (9-14) shows an acquaintance with the later prophets of the time of the Exile. That there are numerous allusions in it to earlier prophets, such as Joel, Amos, Micah, has been shown by Hitzig (Comment. p. 354, 2d ed.); but there are also, it is alleged, allusions to Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the latter part of Isaiah (ch. 40-lxvi). If this can be established, it is evidence that this portion of the book, if not written by Zechariah himself, was at least written after the Exile. We find, then, in Zechariah 9:2 an allusion to Ezekiel 28:3 : in Ezekiel 28:3 to 1 Kings 10:27; in 1 Kings 10:5 to Zephaniah 2:4; in Zephaniah 2:11 to Isaiah 51:14; in Isaiah 51:12 to Isaiah 49:9 and Isaiah 61:7; in Zechariah 10:3 to Ezekiel 34:17. Zechariah 11 is derived from Ezekiel 34 (comp. esp. Ezekiel 34:4 with Ezekiel 34:4), and Zechariah 11:3 from Jeremiah 12:5. Zechariah 12:1 alludes to Isaiah 51:13; Isaiah 13:8-9, to Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 14:8 to Ezekiel 47:1-12; Ezekiel 47:10-11, to Jeremiah 31:38-40; Jeremiah 31:16-19 to Isaiah 66:23; Isaiah 60:12; Isaiah 60:20-21, to Ezekiel 43:12; Ezekiel 44:9.

This manifest acquaintance on the part of the writer of Zechariah 9-14 with so many of the later prophets seemed so convincing to De Wette that, after having in the first three editions of his Introduction declared for two authors, he found himself compelled to change his mind, and to admit that the later chapters must belong to the age of Zechariah, and might have been written by Zechariah himself.

Bleek, on the other hand, has done his best to weaken the force of this argument, first by maintaining that in most instances the alleged agreement is only apparent, and, next, that where there is a real agreement (as in Zechariah 9:12; Zechariah 11:3; Zechariah 12:1; Zechariah 14:16) with the passages above cited, Zechariah may be the original from whom Isaiah and Jeremiah borrowed. It must be confessed, however, that it is more probable that one writer should have allusions to many others than that many others should borrow from one; and this probability approaches certainty in proportion as we multiply the number of quotations or allusions. If there are passages in Zechariah which are manifestly similar to other passages in Zephaniah, in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Deutero-Isaiah, which is the more probable, that they all borrowed from him, or he from them? In Zechariah 9:12 especially, as Stihelin argues, the expression is decidedly one to be looked for after the Exile rather than before it; and the passage rests upon Jeremiah 16:18, and has an almost verbal accordance with Isaiah 61:7.

3. Again, the same critics argue that the historical references in the later chapters are perfectly consistent with a post-exile date. This had already been maintained by Eichhorn, although he supposes these chapters to have been written by a later prophet than Zechariah. Stiahelin puts the case as follows: Even under the Persian rule the political relations of the Jews continued very nearly the same as they were in earlier times. They still were placed between a huge Eastern power on the one side, and Egypt on the other, the only difference now being that Egypt as well as Judaea was subject to the Persians. But Egypt was an unwilling vassal; and as in earlier times, when threatened by Assyria, she had sought for alliances among her neighbors or had endeavored to turn them to account as a kind of outwork in her own defense, so now she would adopt the same policy in her attempts to cast off the Persian yoke. It would follow, as a matter of course, that Persia would be on the watch to check such efforts, and would wreak her vengeance on those among her own tributary or dependent provinces which


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Zechariah, Book of.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/z/zechariah-book-of.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 30th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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