Zechariah 1:12
Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long will you not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which you have had indignation these three score and ten years?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 1:12. Then the angel of the Lord said — “Christ the mediator,” as Bishop Hall explains it, “prayed for the salvation of his church, which was now troubled, when all the countries around were at rest.” But, as we find by the next verse that God’s answer to this petition was given to the angel interpreter, or the angel who talked with the prophet, this seems to determine that the petition was made by that angel. How long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem — At this time Jerusalem lay without any walls or defence, and was not wholly rebuilt; and on the cities of Judah — These still lay wholly in ruins; against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years — There are three ways of computing the seventy years of the captivity, taken notice of in Scripture. The first is, beginning from the fourth year of Jehoiakim to the first of Cyrus: this is Jeremiah’s account, Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 25:11; which Daniel follows, Daniel 9:2. Another may be computed from the besieging of Jerusalem in the ninth year of Zedekiah, in the tenth month, for which a solemn fast was kept by the Jews: compare 2 Kings 25:1, with Zechariah 8:19. This computation ends with the second year of Darius, which is the reckoning Zechariah here follows. Or lastly, if we compute the beginning of the seventy years from the destruction of Jerusalem and the first temple, which came to pass in the eleventh year of the same reign, they will be accomplished in the fourth year of Darius, and this computation agrees with what is said Zechariah 7:1; Zechariah 7:5. The last two ways of reckoning the seventy years may be reduced to one, only by supposing, that the prophet, in this verse, sets down a complete for an incomplete number, and calls that space of time seventy years, which wanted but little of it: a way of speaking of which several instances may be produced.1:7-17 The prophet saw a dark, shady grove, hidden by hills. This represented the low, melancholy condition of the Jewish church. A man like a warrior sat on a red horse, in the midst of this shady myrtle-grove. Though the church was in a low condition, Christ was present in the midst, ready to appear for the relief of his people. Behind him were angels ready to be employed by him, some in acts of judgment, others of mercy, others in mixed events. Would we know something of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, we must apply, not to angels, for they are themselves learners, but to Christ himself. He is ready to teach those humbly desirous to learn the things of God. The nations near Judea enjoyed peace at that time, but the state of the Jews was unsettled, which gave rise to the pleading that followed; but mercy must only be hoped for through Christ. His intercession for his church prevails. The Lord answered the Angel, this Angel of the covenant, with promises of mercy and deliverance. All the good words and comfortable words of the gospel we receive from Jesus Christ, as he received them from the Father, in answer to the prayer of his blood; and his ministers are to preach them to all the world. The earth sat still, and was at rest. It is not uncommon for the enemies of God to be at rest in sin, while his people are enduring correction, harassed by temptation, disquieted by fears of wrath, or groaning under oppression and persecution. Here are predictions which had reference to the revival of the Jews after the captivity, but those events were shadows of what shall take place in the church, after the oppression of the New Testament Babylon is ended.And the Angel of the Lord answered - the implied longing, by intercession with God. As the angel-interpreter in Job had "the office of no mere created angel, but one, anticipative of His, who came at once to redeem and justify," so the Angel of the Lord, in whom God was, exercised at once a mediatorial office with God, typical of our Lord's high priest's prayer John 17, and acted as God.

These seventy years - The seventy years of the captivity, prophesied by Jeremiah Jer 25:11-12; Jeremiah 29:10, were on the eve of their conclusion at the time of Daniel's great prayer of intercession Daniel 9:2; they ended with the capture of Babylon, and the edict of Cyrus, permitting the Jews to return 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1. Yet there seems to have been a secondary fulfillment, from the destruction of the temple and city, in Zedekiah's eleventh year 2 Kings 25:2, 2 Kings 25:8-9, 588 b.c. to the second year of Darius, 519 b.c. Such double fulfillments of prophecy are not like alternative fulfillments. They are a more intricate and fuller, not an easier fulfillment of it. Yet "these 70 years" do not necessitate such a double fulfillment. It might express only a reverent wonder, that the 70 years being accomplished, the complete restoration was not yet brought to pass. Cyril: "God having fixed the time of the captivity to the 70th year, it was necessary to be silent, so long as the time was not yet come to an end, that he might not seem to oppose the Lord's will. But, when the time was now come to a close and the fear of offending was removed, he, knowing that the Lord cannot lie, entreats and ventures to enquire whether His anger has come to an end, as had those who sinned; or whether, fresh sins having accrued, there shall be a further delay, and their forlorn estate shall be yet further extended. They then who worship God have a good and not uncertain hope, that, if they should offend from infirmity, yet have they those who should entreat for them, not people only, but the holy angels themselves, who render God gracious and propitious, soothing His anger by their purity, and in a manner winning the grieved judge. Then the Angel entreated for the synagogue to the Jews; but we, who believe and have been sanctified in the Spirit 1 John 2:1-2, "have an Advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins," and as the inspired Paul writes, "God hath set Him forth as a propitiation through faith, freeing from sin those who come to Him" Romans 3:25.

12. Not only does Messiah stand among His people (the "myrtles," Zec 1:8), but intercedes for them with the Father ("Lord," or "Jehovah of hosts") effectively (Zec 1:13; Heb 7:25). Compare Ps 102:13-20; Isa 62:6, 7, as to Judah's restoration in answer to prayer.

answered and said—said in continuation of the discourse: proceeded to say.

how long—Messiah's people pray similarly to their Head. Re 6:10, "How long," &c. Heretofore it was vain to pray, but now that the divinely appointed "threescore and ten years" (Jer 25:11; 29:10) are elapsed, it is time to pray to Thee for the fulfilment of Thy promise, seeing that Thy grace is not yet fully manifested, nor Thy promise fulfilled. God's promises are not to make us slothful, but to quicken our prayers. Henderson, dating the seventy years from the destruction of Jerusalem (588 B.C.), supposes two years of the seventy had yet to run (520 B.C.).

Then, when the surveying angels had made their report of the prosperity of the heathen, the angel of the Lord, the Angel, the Lord Christ, Mediator of the church, and Head of the church, answered and said; prays as one interceding.

O Lord of hosts: Christ speaks to his Father, speaks as one much affected with the state of his afflicted church.

How long wilt thou not have mercy? it is the expostulation that well befits a praying soul; it is not the inquiry of a discontented mind, but the request of one longing for mercy. So David, Psalm 13:1,2; and the souls under the altar, Revelation 6:10.

On Jerusalem, thy chosen mountain, heir of promises to be re-edified; and on Judah’s cities too, of whose rebuilding, peace, and prosperity thou hast, O Lord, spoken great things, Jeremiah 30 Jer 31 Jer 32 Jer 33, and Ezekiel 36 Eze 37, &c.

Thou hast had indignation; they have felt thine anger and hot displeasure, it was just, and is so still; but it is not to be perpetual. Thine anger hath smoked against the sheep of thy pasture.

These threescore and ten years; the term prefixed for the captivity is fully come, it is the seventieth year of their miserable captivity; now show mercy, build Zion, and glorify thyself in doing it, for the set time is come. It is now seventy years since thy temple was burnt, and Jerusalem sacked; and full eighty years since Jeconiah with many of thy people were carried captive into Babylon, and somewhat more since many were carried with Jehoiakim, from which to the second of Darius are much about eighty-eight or nine years.

Then, when the surveying angels had made their report of the prosperity of the heathen, the angel of the Lord, the Angel, the Lord Christ, Mediator of the church, and Head of the church, answered and said; prays as one interceding.

O Lord of hosts: Christ speaks to his Father, speaks as one much affected with the state of his afflicted church.

How long wilt thou not have mercy? it is the expostulation that well befits a praying soul; it is not the inquiry of a discontented mind, but the request of one longing for mercy. So David, Psalm 13:1,2; and the souls under the altar, Revelation 6:10.

On Jerusalem, thy chosen mountain, heir of promises to be re-edified; and on Judah’s cities too, of whose rebuilding, peace, and prosperity thou hast, O Lord, spoken great things, Jeremiah 30 Jer 31 Jer 32 Jer 33, and Ezekiel 36 Eze 37, &c.

Thou hast had indignation; they have felt thine anger and hot displeasure, it was just, and is so still; but it is not to be perpetual. Thine anger hath smoked against the sheep of thy pasture.

These threescore and ten years; the term prefixed for the captivity is fully come, it is the seventieth year of their miserable captivity; now show mercy, build Zion, and glorify thyself in doing it, for the set time is come. It is now seventy years since thy temple was burnt, and Jerusalem sacked; and full eighty years since Jeconiah with many of thy people were carried captive into Babylon, and somewhat more since many were carried with Jehoiakim, from which to the second of Darius are much about eighty-eight or nine years. Then the Angel of the Lord answered and said,.... The same that was among the myrtle trees in the bottom, Zechariah 1:8,

O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Judah; which were fallen to ruin, and had lain waste for many years. These words are expressive of the intercession of Christ on the behalf of the people of the Jews, his professing people, both with respect to their temporal and spiritual good:

against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? the time of the Babylonish captivity, which lasted such a term of time, and which was a token of the divine displeasure with them; but to be reckoned, not from Jeconiah's captivity, to the deliverance from it by Cyrus, as it is reckoned, Jeremiah 25:1 Daniel 9:2 but from the taking of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the temple under Zedekiah, to the rebuilding of the temple under Darius Hystaspis, in whose second year Zechariah now prophesied, Zechariah 1:7, which was a space of seventy years.

Then the {m} angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?

(m) That is, Christ the mediator prayed for the salvation of his Church, which was now troubled, when all the countries about them were at rest.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. answered] The word does not necessarily mean replied to a question, but has here, as elsewhere, the more general signification of speaking in a manner corresponding, or “answering” to the circumstances described and the feelings called forth by them (comp. Job 3:2 (margin); Daniel 2:26; Acts 5:8). Pitying Zechariah and his countrymen in the disappointment, which the answer of the horsemen (Zechariah 1:11) could not fail to cause them, inasmuch as it told of rest and quiet, whereas the “shaking of all nations” was the predicted sign of returning favour to Zion (Haggai 2:7; Haggai 2:21-22), the Angel proceeds to speak “answerably” to this feeling, in the intercession which he now offers on their behalf. His sympathy and intercession make it probable, as Calvin remarks (though he offers the alternative of its being any angel you please), that this Angel of the Lord was “Christ the Mediator.”

these threescore and ten years] Comp. Jeremiah 25:11; Ezra 1:1. The meaning is: Why art Thou still angry with us, when the appointed time of our punishment, the seventy years of our captivity, has expired?Verse 12. - Answered. He answered the feeling in the prophet's mind, the unexpressed longing of his heart. O Lord of hosts. The angel is the intercessor for the people. So Christ prays to the Father (John 17.). How long wilt thou not have mercy, etc.? He prays that the weary waiting for deliverance may speedily come to an end, and Jerusalem be restored, and Judaea be again inhabited by a happy population. These three score and ten years. The predicted seventy years of captivity (Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 29:10) were past; it was time that the punishment should cease. There are two computations of this period. The first dates from the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, B.C. 606, when Judaea was made tributary to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1: 2 Chronicles 36:6; Daniel 1:1, etc.), unto the return of the company of exiles under Zerubbabel, B.C. 536; the second dates from the final destruction of Jerusalem, B.C. 588, unto the second year of Darius, B.C. 519, when Zechariah saw these visions. However reckoned, the dark period was now over; might they not now expect the commotion among the nations which was to precede their own restitution? Announcement of this work. - Habakkuk 1:6. "For, behold, I cause the Chaldaeans to rise up, the fierce and vehement nation, which marches along the breadths of the earth, to take possession of dwelling-places that are not its own. Habakkuk 1:7. It is alarming and fearful: its right and its eminence go forth from it. Habakkuk 1:8. And its horses are swifter than leopards, and more sudden than evening wolves: and its horsemen spring along; and its horsemen, they come from afar; they fly hither, hastening like an eagle to devour. Habakkuk 1:9. It comes all at once for wickedness; the endeavour of their faces is directed forwards, and it gathers prisoners together like sand. Habakkuk 1:10. And it, kings it scoffs at, and princes are laughter to it; it laughs at every stronghold, and heaps up sand, and takes it. Habakkuk 1:11. Then it passes along, a wind, and comes hither and offends: this its strength is its god." הנני מקים, ecce suscitaturus sum. הנּה before the participle always refers to the future. הקים, to cause to stand up or appear, does not apply to the elevation of the Chaldaeans into a nation or a conquering people, - for the picture which follows and is defined by the article הגּויו וגו presupposes that it already exists as a conquering people, - but to its being raised up against Judah, so that it is equivalent to מקים עליכם in Amos 6:14 (cf. Micah 5:4; 2 Samuel 12:11, etc.). Hakkasdı̄m, the Chaldaeans, sprang, according to Genesis 22:22, from Kesed the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham; so that they were a Semitic race. They dwelt from time immemorial in Babylonia or Mesopotamia, and are called a primeval people, gōI mē‛ōlâm, in Jeremiah 5:15. Abram migrated to Canaan from Ur of the Chaldees, from the other side of the river (Euphrates: Genesis 11:28, Genesis 11:31, compared with Joshua 24:2); and the Kasdı̄m in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are inhabitants of Babel or Babylonia (Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 47:1; Isaiah 48:14, Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 21:9; Jeremiah 32:4, Jeremiah 32:24, etc.; Ezekiel 23:23). Babylonia is called 'erets Kasdı̄m (Jeremiah 24:5; Jeremiah 25:12; Ezekiel 12:13), or simply Kasdı̄m (Jeremiah 50:10; Jeremiah 51:24, Jeremiah 51:35; Ezekiel 26:29; Ezekiel 23:16). The modern hypothesis, that the Chaldaeans were first of all transplanted by the Assyrians from the northern border mountains of Armenia, Media, and Assyria to Babylonia, and that having settled there, they afterwards grew into a cultivated people, and as a conquering nation exerted great influence in the history of the world, simply rests upon a most precarious interpretation of an obscure passage in Isaiah (Isaiah 23:18), and has no higher value than the opinion of the latest Assyriologists that the Chaldaeans are a people of Tatar origin, who mingled with the Shemites of the countries bordering upon the Euphrates and Tigris (see Delitzsch on Isaiah 23:13). Habakkuk describes this people as mar, bitter, or rough, and, when used to denote a disposition, fierce (mar nephesh, Judges 18:25; 2 Samuel 17:8); and nimhâr, heedless or rash (Isaiah 32:4), here violent, and as moving along the breadths of the earth (ἑπὶ τὰ πλάτη τῆς γῆς, lxx: cf. Revelation 20:9), i.e., marching through the whole extent of the earth (Isaiah 8:8): terram quam late patet (Ros.). ל is not used here to denote the direction or the goal, but the space, as in Genesis 13:17 (Hitzig, Delitzsch). To take possession of dwelling-laces that are not his own (לא־לו equals אשׁר לא־לו), i.e., to take possession of foreign lands that do not belong to him. In Habakkuk 1:7 the fierce disposition of this people is still further depicted, and in Habakkuk 1:8 the violence with which it advances. אים, formidabilis, exciting terror; נורא, metuendus, creating alarm. ממּנּוּ וגו, from it, not from God (cf. Psalm 17:2), does its right proceed, i.e., it determines right, and the rule of its conduct, according to its own standard; and שׂאתו, its eminence (Genesis 49:3; Hosea 13:1), "its δόξα (1 Corinthians 11:7) above all other nations" (Hitzig), making itself lord through the might of its arms. Its horses are lighter, i.e., swifter of foot, than panthers, which spring with the greatest rapidity upon their prey (for proofs of the swiftness of the panther, see Bochart, Hieroz. ii. p. 104, ed. Ros.), and חדּוּ, lit., sharper, i.e., shooting sharply upon it. As qâlal represents swiftness as a light rapid movement, which hardly touches the ground, so châda, ὀξὺν εἶναι, describes it as a hasty precipitate dash upon a certain object (Delitzsch). The first clause of this verse has been repeated by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 4:13), with the alteration of one letter (viz., מנּשׁרים for מנּמרים). Wolves of the evening (cf. Zephaniah 3:3) are wolves which go out in the evening in search of prey, after having fasted through the day, not "wolves of Arabia (ערב equals ערב, lxx) or of the desert" (ערבה Kimchi).

Pâshū from pūsh, after the Arabic fâš, med. Ye, to strut proudly; when used of a horse and its rider, to spring along, to gallop; or of a calf, to hop or jump (Jeremiah 50:11; Malachi 4:2). The connection between this and pūsh (Nahum 3:18), niphal to disperse or scatter one's self, is questionable. Delitzsch (on Job 35:15) derives pūsh in this verse and the passage cited from Arab. fâš, med. Vav, in the sense of swimming upon the top, and apparently traces pūsh in Nahum 3, as well as pash in Job 35:15, to Arab. fšš (when used of water: to overflow its dam); whilst Freytag (in the Lexicon) gives, as the meaning of Arab. fšš II, dissolvit, dissipavit. Pârâshı̄m are horsemen, not riding-horses. The repetition of פּרשׁיו does not warrant our erasing the words וּפשׁוּ פּרשׁיו as a gloss, as Hitzig proposes. It can be explained very simply from the fact, that in the second hemistich Habakkuk passes from the general description of the Chaldaeans to a picture of their invasion of Judah. מרחוק , from afar, i.e., from Babylonia (cf. Isaiah 39:3). Their coming from afar, and the comparison of the rushing along of the Chaldaean horsemen to the flight of an eagle, points to the threat in Deuteronomy 28:49, "Jehovah shall bring against thee a nation from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth," which is now about to be fulfilled. Jeremiah frequently uses the same comparison when speaking of the Chaldaeans, viz., in Jeremiah 4:13; Jeremiah 48:40; Jeremiah 49:22, and Lamentations 4:19 (cf. 2 Samuel 1:23). The ἁπ. λεγ. מגמּה may mean a horde or crowd, after the Hebrew גם werbeH , and the Arabic jammah, or snorting, endeavouring, striving, after Arab. jmm and jâm, appetivit, in which case גמם would be connected with גמא, to swallow. But the first meaning does not suit פּניהם קדימה, whereas the second does. קדימה, not eastwards, but according to the primary meaning of קדם, to the front, forwards. Ewald renders it incorrectly: "the striving of their face is to storm, i.e., to mischief;" for qâdı̄m, the east wind, when used in the sense of storm, is a figurative expression for that which is vain and worthless (Hosea 12:2; cf. Job 15:2), but not for mischief. For ויּאסף, compare Genesis 41:49 and Zechariah 9:3; and for כּחול, like sand of the sea, Hosea 2:1. In Habakkuk 1:10 והוּא and הוּא are introduced, that the words בּמּלכים and לכל־מבצר, upon which the emphasis lies, may be placed first. It, the Chaldaean nation, scoffs at kings and princes, and every stronghold, i.e., it ridicules all the resistance that kings and princes offer to its advance, by putting forth their strength, as a perfectly fruitless attempt. Mischâq, the object of laughter. The words, it heaps up dust and takes it (the fortress), express the facility with which every fortress is conquered by it. To heap up dust: denoting the casting up an embankment for attack (2 Samuel 20:15, etc.). The feminine suffix attached to ילכּדהּ refers ad sensum to the idea of a city (עיר), implied in מבצר, the latter being equivalent to עיר מבצר in 1 Samuel 6:18; 2 Kings 3:19, etc. Thus will the Chaldaean continue incessantly to overthrow kings and conquer kingdoms with tempestuous rapidity, till he offends, by deifying his own power. With this gentle hint at the termination of his tyranny, the announcement of the judgment closes in Habakkuk 1:11. אז, there, i.e., in this appearance of his, as depicted in Habakkuk 1:6-10 : not "then," in which case Habakkuk 1:11 would affirm to what further enterprises the Chaldaeans would proceed after their rapidly and easily effected conquests. The perfects חלף and ויּעבור are used prophetically, representing the future as occurring already. חלף and עבר are used synonymously: to pass along and go further, used of the wind or tempest, as in Isaiah 21:1; here, as in Isaiah 8:8, of the hostile army overflowing the land; with this difference, however, that in Isaiah it is thought of as a stream of water, whereas here it is thought of as a tempest sweeping over the land. The subject to châlaph is not rūăch, but the Chaldaean (הוּא, Habakkuk 1:10); and rūăch is used appositionally, to denote the manner in which it passes along, viz., "like a tempestuous wind" (rūăch as in Job 30:15; Isaiah 7:2). ואשׁם is not a participle, but a perfect with Vav rel., expressing the consequence, "and so he offends." In what way is stated in the last clause, in which זוּ does not answer to the relative אשׁר, in the sense of "he whose power," but is placed demonstratively before the noun כּחו, like זה in Exodus 32:1; Joshua 9:12-13, and Isaiah 23:13 (cf. Ewald, 293, b), pointing back to the strength of the Chaldaean, which has been previously depicted in its intensive and extensive greatness (Delitzsch). This its power is god to it, i.e., it makes it into its god (for the thought, compare Job 12:6, and the words of the Assyrian in Isaiah 10:13). The ordinary explanation of the first hemistich is, on the other hand, untenable (then its courage becomes young again, or grows), since רוּח cannot stand for רוּחו, and עבר without an object given in the context cannot mean to overstep, i.e., to go beyond the proper measure.

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