Page images

Verse 4. " Take away the fahy garments from him.”—There are sufficient intimations in Scripture that it was a custom among the Hebrews for persons in a condition of mourning, hutniliation, or degradation, to clothe themselves in mean and neglected attire ; but, on the contrary, to express a state of rejoicing, happiness, and relief, by rich and gay apparel

. The ideas connected with this custom appear to be involved in the present passage. The practice still prevails in the East, and in ancient times was not by any means confined to the Orientals. "It was common among the Romans, whose usages in this matter are applied by Gill with good effect to the illustration of the present passage. When a man was charged with capital crimes, it was usual for him to neglect his hair and beard, and to wear filthy, ragged garments, presenting altogether a very sordid and dirty appearance. Hence such persons were called sordidati. In such attire he appeared before his judges to take his trial; and not only himself, but his friends and relations appeared with him, with hair dishevelled, and in garments old and foul, weeping and deprecating punishment, hoping thus to more the compassion of the people. Hence history does not omit to record the fact of certain eminent men (as Scipio Africanus) who, in the pride of conscious innocence of the crimes laid to their charge, refused to assume the mean attire and appearance of arraigned persons, but continued to wear their customary dress, and shaved their beards as usual, or even put on attire richer than their customary wear. A somewhat remarkable illustrati n, with a reverse application, might perhaps be taken from the instance of the Rhodian ambassadors, who put on the white robes of congratulation when they heard of a victory gained by the Romans ; but instantly changed them for sordid and mean attire as soon as they understood that the Rhodian people had not been thought to have acted the part of friends and allies, or to have deserved well of the Roman people. (Liv. Hist. 1. xlv. c. 20.)

fore Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain : CHAPTER IV.

and he shall bring forth the headstone there1 By the golden candlestick is foreshewed the good of with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace imto success of Zerubbubel's foundation. 11 By the two it. olive trees the two anointed ones.

8 Moreover the word of the LORD came And the angel that talked with me came unto me, saying, again, and waked me, as a man that is 9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the wakened out of his sleep,

foundation of this house; his hands shall 2 And said unto me, What seest thou ? | also finish it; and thou shalt know that the And I said, I have looked, and behold a Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. candlestick all of gold, 'with a bowl upon 10 For who hath despised the day of the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, small things ? 'for they shall rejoice, and and 'seven pipes to the seven lamps, which shall see the 'plummet in the hand of Zeare upon the top thereof:

rubbabel with those seven; "they are the 3 Ånd two olive trees by it, one upon the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro right side of the bowl, and the other upon through the whole earth. the left side thereof.

11 | Then answered I, and said unto 4 So I answered and spake to the angel him, What are these two olive trees upon that talked with me, saying, What are these, the right side of the candlestick and upon

the left side thereof? 5 Then the angel that talked with me 12 And I answered again, and said unto answered and said unto me, Knowest thou him, What be these two olive branches which not what these be? And I said, No, my through the two golden pipes 'empty 'the lord

golden oil out of themselves? 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, 13 And he answered me and said, Knowsaying, This is the word of the LORD unto est thou not what these be? And I said, Zerubbabel, saying, Not by 'might, nor by No, my lord. power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of 14 Then said he, These are the two 'anhosts.

ointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the 7 Who art thou, O great mountain ? be- | whole earth. . Or, seven several pipes to the lamps, &c.

• Or, sith the seven eyes of the LORD shall rejoice. * Heb. stone of tin. * Chap. 39. 7 Heb. by the hand. 8 Or, empty out of themselves oil into the gold.

. Heb. the gold. 10 Heb. sons of oil.

my lord ?

1 Heb. with her bowl.

* Or, army.

2 And he said unto me, What seest thou ? CHAPTER V.

And I answered, I see a flying roll; the 1 By the flying roll is shewed the curse of thieves length thereof is twenty cubits, and the and swearers. 5 By a woman pressed in an ephah, breadth thereof ten cubits. the final dumnation of Babylon

3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and that goeth forth over the face of the whole looked, and behold a flying roll.

earth: for 'every one that stealeth shall be Or, every one of this people that stealeth, holdeth himself guiltless, as it doth.

cut off as on this side according to it; and | lent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth every one that sweareth shall be cut off as in the midst of the ephah. on that side according to it.

8 And he said, This is wickedness. And 4 I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of he cast it into the midst of the ephah ; and hosts, and it shall enter into the house of he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth the thief, and into the house of him that thereof. sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, remain in the midst of his house, and shall and, behold, there came out two women, and consume it with the timber thereof and the the wind was in their wings; for they had stones thereof.

wings like the wings of a stork : and they 5 | Then the angel that talked with me lifted up the ephah between the earth and went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now the heaven. thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth 10 Then said I to the angel that talked forth.

with me, Whither do these


the 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, ephah ? This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said 11 And he said unto me, To build it an moreover, This is their resemblance through house in the land of Shinar: and it shall all the earth.

be established, and set there upon her own 7 And, behold, there was lifted up a 'ta- base.

? Or, weighty piece. Verse 4. It shall enter into the house of the thief, and...of him that sweareth falsely...and shall consume it.”_ Calmet observes that under the two names of thief and false swearer, the Hebrews and Chaldeans comprehended all other crimes ; theft denoting every kind of injustice and violence executed against men ; and perjury, all crimes against God. Grotius and others have observed a considerable resemblance between this text and a passage in Herodotus (Erato, 86), in which Leotychides relates to the Athenians an anecdote of a man called Glaucus, who being desirous of appropriating to his own use a sum of money which had been entrusted to him, consulted the Pythian oracle whether he might do so by taking a false oath-the money having been claimed by the sons of the owner. The oracle answered:“Son of Epicydes ! your oath retains,

But the False Oath a direful monster sends, Just for the moment, all the plundered gains.

Which, footless, hastens—which, though handless, rends Swear then; for death alike the just—the knave His house and offspring whom the gods detest, Lay's undistinguished in the silent grave.

While his, who fears an oath, are ever blest."

Taylor's translation,

So they

go forth after them; and the grisled go CHAPTER VI.

forth toward the south country. | The vision of the four chariots. 9 By the crowns 7 And the bay went forth, and sought to

of Joshua are shewed the temple and kingdom of go that they might walk to and fro through Christ the Branch.

the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk AND I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and to and fro through the earth. looked, and, behold, there came four cha- walked to and fro through the earth. riots out from between two mountains; and 8 Then cried he upon me, and spake the mountains were mountains of brass. unto me, saying, Behold, these that go

2 In the first chariot were red horses; and toward the north country have quieted my in the second chariot black horses;

spirit in the north country. 3 And in the third chariot white horses; 9 9 And the word of the LORD came unto and in the fourth chariot grisled and 'bay me, saying, horses.

10 Take of them of the captivity, even of 4 Then I answered and said unto the Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which angel that talked with me, What are these, are come from Babylon, and come thou the

same day, and go into the house of Josiah 5 And the angel answered and said unto the son of Zephaniah; me, These are the four 'spirits of the hea- 11 Then take silver and gold, and make vens, which go forth from standing before crowns, and set them upon the head of the LORD of all the earth.

Joshua the son of Josedech, the high 6 The black horses which are therein

go priest; forth into the north country, and the white 12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus

my lord ?

10r, strong

* Or, winds.

speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold 14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, the man whose name is The BRANCH; and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen and he shall ‘grow up out of his place, and the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the he shall build the temple of the LORD : temple of the LORD.

13 Even he shall build the temple of the 15 And they that are far off shall come LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and and build in the temple of the Lord, and shall sit and rule upon his throne ; and he ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath shall be a priest upon his throne: and the sent me unto you. And this shall come to counsel of peace shall be between them pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of both.

ihe LORD your God.

* Chap. 3. 8. • Or, branch up from under him. Verse l. “ Pour chariots.”—It is generally understood, both by Jewish and Christian interpreters, that these chariots denote the four great empires—the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman - which successively arose in the world. The larger commentaries sometimes seek reasons for the distinguishing colours in the horses of the several chariots ; but we do not see that any reliance can be placed on the explanatory conjectures which have been offered.

12. “ The BRANCH."-Some of the Jewish writers understand that this title is applied to Zerubbabel himself. But he was already grown up in his place; and the application to him is so greatly and obviously improper, that it has not been much followed. Most of the Jewish interpreters and all the Christian apply it to the Messiah ; and of the correctness of this application no reasonable doubt can be entertained. (See the marginal references.) “The Branch". is a name frequently applied to the Messiah in the Talmud and other Jewish writings.


about her, when men inhabited the south

and the plain? 1 The captives enquire of fusting. 4 Zechariah

8. And the word of the LORD came unto reproveth their fasting: 8 Sin the cause of their Zechariah, saying, captivity.

9 Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, sayAnd it came to pass in the fourth year of ing, 'Execute true judgment, and shew king Darius, that the word of the Lord came mercy and compassions every man to his unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the brother: ninth month, even in Chisleu ;

10 And 'oppress not the widow, nor the 2 When they had sent unto the house of fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their let none of you imagine evil against his men, 'to pray before the LORD,

brother in your heart. 3 And to speak unto the priests which 11 But they refused to hearken, and were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and 'pulled away the shoulder, and 'stopped to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in their ears, that they should not hear. the fifth month, separating

myself, as I have 12 Yea, they made their hearts as an done these so many years?

adamant stone, lest they should hear the 4 & Then came the word of the Lord of law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hosts unto me, saying,

hath sent in his spirit "by the former pro5 Speak unto all the people of the land, phets : therefore came a great wrath from and to the priests, saying, When ye 'fasted the LORD of hosts. and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, 13 Therefore it is come to pass, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast he cried, and they would not hear; so they unto me, even to me?

cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD 6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did of hosts : drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and 14 But I scattered them with a whirldrink for yourselves ?

wind among all the nations whom they knew 7 Should ye not hear the words which not. Thus the land was desolate after them, the LORD hath cried by the former pro- that no man passed through nor returned : phets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and for they laid the "pleasant land desoin prosperity, and the cities thereof round | late. 1 Heb. to intreat the face of the LORD.

* Or, be not ye they that, &c. * Heb. by the hand of, &c Heb. Judge judgment of truth. • Heb. they gave a backsliding shoulder.

10 Heb. by the hand of. 11 Pror. 1. 28. Isa. I. 15. Jer. 11. 11, and 14.12

that as

2 Isa. 58. 5.

• Or, Are not these the words. 7 Exod. 22. 21, 22. Isa. 1. 23. Jer. 5. 28.

9 Heb, made heavy.

12 Heb. land of desire.

Verse 5. "When ye fasted ... in the Arth and seventh month.”—This is one of several allusions in Zechariah to anniversary fast days, concerning which we cannot do better than transcribe the following from Jahn's · Archæologia Bi. blica,' cb. iii. sect. 357. “The Hebrews, in the early period of their history, were in the habit of fasting whenever VOL. III.



they met with any adverse occurrences (Judg. xx. 26 ; 1 Sam. vii. 6; xxxi. 13; 2 Sam. iii. 35 ; Isa. lviii. 3–12). But it was not till about the time of the Captivity that they introduced anniversary fast days. The days to which wé allude are as follows:

I. The seventeenth day of the fourth month, namely, Tammuz, or July. This fast was instituted in memory of the capture of Jerusalem ; Jer. liii. 6, et seq.; Zech. viii. 19.

II. The ninth day of the fifth month, Ab, or August, in memory of the burning of the Temple ; Zech. vii. 3; viii. 19.

III. The third day of the seventh month, Tishri, or October, in memory of the death of Gedaliah, Jer. xl. 4; Zech. vis. 5; viji. 19.

IV. The tenth day of the tenth month, Tebeth, or January, in memory of the commencement of the attack on Jerusalem ; Zech. viii. 19.

The prophet Zechariah, in reference to inquiries which were made to him, asserted that these mournful occasions were, at some future time, to be converted into festivals of joy; but the Jews, notwithstanding, have ever continued to observe them as fasts." They expect this change to take place in the days of the, by them, still expected Messiah.'

It will be recollected that only one annual public fast, that of the day of atonement, was instituted by the Law of Moses ; but several instances occur in Scripture of extraordinary public fasts, appointed by the authority of the civil magistrate (1 Sam. vii. 5, 6; 2 Chron. xx. 3 ; Jer. xxxvi. 9). Thus the present were the first annual fasts, held in commemoration of public calamities which befel the nation. It is observable of the second, that the Jews fast on the ninth Ab, not only for the destruction of the first but of the second Temple; as they are persuaded that both events took place on the same day of the same month.

7. The south and the plain.”—The south explains itself; the plain means the western part of Judea, being the same as the valley of Josh. xv. 33: see the note there.

days these words by the mouth of the proCHAPTER VIII.

phets, which were in the day that the foun1 The restoration of Jerusalem. 9 They are encou- dation of the house of the Lord of hosts was raged to the building by God's favour to them.

laid, that the temple might be built. 16 Good works are required of them. 18 Joy and

10 For before these days 'there was no en argement are promised.

‘hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neiAgain the word of the Lord of hosts came ther was there any peace to him that went to me, saying,

out or came in because of the affliction : for 2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; 'I was I set all men every one against his neighjealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I bour. was jealous for her with great fury.

11 But now I will not be unto the residue 3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned of this people as in the former days, saith unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of the Lord of hosts. Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a 12 For the seed shall be 'prosperous ; the city of truth ; and the mountain of the Lord vine shall give her fruit, and the ground of hosts the holy mountain.

shall give her increase, and the heavens 4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall give their dew; and I will cause the shall yet old men and old women dwell in remnant of this people to possess all these the streets of Jerusalem, and every man things. with his staff in his hand 'for very age.

13 And it shall come to pass, that as ye 5 And the streets of the city shall be full were a curse among the heathen, 0 house of boys and girls playing in the streets of Judah, and house of Israel ; so will I save thereof.

you, and ye shall be a blessing : fear not, but 6 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be let

let your hands be strong. Omarvellous in the eyes of the remnant of 14 For thus saith the Lord of hosts; As this people in these days, should it also be I thought to punish you., when your fathers marvellous in mine eyes ? saith the LORD of provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts.

hosts, and I repented not: 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, 15 So again have I thought in these days I will save my people from the east country, to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house and from the west country;

of Judah : fear ye not. 8 And I will bring them, and they shall 16 | These are the things that ye shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem : and they do; 'Speak ye every man the truth to his shall be my people, and I will be their God, neighbour; 'execute the judgment of truth in truth and in righteousness.

and peace in your gates : 9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let 17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hands be strong, ye that hear in these your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I 21 And the inhabitants of one city shall hate, saith the LORD.

1 Chap. 1. 14. ? Heh. for multitude of days. 8 Or, hard, or, difficult. * Heb. the country of the going down of the sun. & Or, the hire of man became nothing, &c. • Hag. 1.6.

7 Heb. of peace. & Ephes. 4. 55. 9 Heb. judge truth, and the judgment of peace.

go to another, saying, "Let us go " speedily 18 And the word of the LORD of hosts to pray before the Lord, and to seek the came unto me, saying,

LORD of hosts: I will


also. 19 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The 22 Yea, many people and strong nations fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jefifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the rusalem, and to pray before the LORD. fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of 23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall "feasts ; therefore love the truth and peace. take hold out of all languages of the nations,

20 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall even shall take hold of the skirt of him that yet come to pass, that there shall come peo- is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for ple, and the inhabitants of many cities : we have heard that God is with you. 1 Heb. solemn, or set times. 11 Isa. 2. 3. Mic. 4.1, 2. 18 Or, continually. 13 Heb. guing.

"Heb. tu intreat the face of the LORD. Verse 23. “ Take hold of the skirt."- This is to be understood as the act of one making a humble but fervent entreaty, or of claiming protection from him of whose skirt he takes hold. There is something of respectful and gentle violence or constraint involved, such perhaps as appears in Jacob's declaration to the angel, “ I will not let thee go except thou bless me.”

mine eyes.


them any more: for now have I seen with 1 God defendeth his church. 9 Zion is exhorted to rejoice for the coming of Christ, and his peace. 9 9 Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion; able kingdom. 12 God's promises of victory and shout, O daughter of Jerusalem : behold, thy defence.

King cometh unto thee: he is just, and The burden of the word of the Lord in the having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all 10 And I will cut off the chariot from the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, Lord.

and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he 2 And Hamath also shall border thereby; shall speak peace unto the heathen: and Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very 'wise. his dominion shall be 'from sea even to sca,

3 And Tyrus did build herself a strong and from the river even to the ends of the hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and earth. fine gold as the mire of the streets.

11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy 4 Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and covenant I have sent forth thy 'prisoners he will smite her power in the sea; and she out of the pit wherein is no water. shall be devoured with fire.

12 | Turn you to the strong hold, ye 5 Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and that I will render double unto thee; Ekron; for her expectation shall be asham- 13 When I have bent Judah for me, ed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.

thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, Greece, 6 And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and made thee as the sword of a mighty and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.

14 And the Lord shall be seen over them, 7 And I will take away his 'blood out of and his arrow shall go forth as the lightnis mouth, and his abominations from be- ning: and the Lord God shall blow the tween his teeth: but he that remaineth, trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of even he, shall be for our God, and he shall the south. be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a 15 The Lord of hosts shall defend them; Jebusite.

and they shall devour, and subdue with 8 And I will encamp about mine house sling stones; and they shall drink, and make because of the army, because of him that a noise as through wine; and they 'shall be passeth by, and because of him that return- filled like bowls, and as the corners of the eth: and no oppressor shall pass through altar.


• Os, saving himself: Or, those couerant is by Houd.

8 Or, subdue the stunes of the säng. Or, shall fill both the bowls, &c.

1 Ezek. 23.3, &c.

! Heb, bloods.

3 Psal. 72. 8.

3 Isa. 62. 11. Matth. 21. 5. John 12. 15. 7 Isa. 61. 1.

« PreviousContinue »