Zechariah 8:19
Thus said the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 8:19. The fast of the fourth month and of the fifth, &c. — See the note on Zechariah 7:5. The siege of Jerusalem was begun in the tenth month, and in the fourth of the year following the city was taken. God here informs the people, by his prophet, in answer to the question proposed, chap. Zechariah 7:3, that they might now disuse these fasts, and lay aside the mournful ceremonies with which they had been solemnized, the judgments, which had given occasion to them, being removed. Therefore — Rather, but, love the truth and peace — But take care to have a regard to truth in your dealings and conversation with each other; and cultivate a meek and peaceable disposition; which will be far more pleasing to God than any of your outward performances. Such divine instructions as these prepared men’s minds for the reception of the gospel. See Jeremiah 31:33.8:18-23 When God comes towards us in ways of mercy, we must meet him with joy and thankfulness. Therefore be faithful and honest in all your dealings; and let it be a pleasure to you to be so, though thereby you come short of the gains others get dishonestly; and, as much as in you lies, live peaceably with all men. Let the truths of God rule in your heads, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts. Thus the ancient servants of God drew the notice of heathen neighbours, whose prejudices were softened. A great increase to the church shall be made. Hitherto the Jews had been prone to learn the idolatries of other nations: what more unlikely than that they should teach religion to their conquerors, and to all the principal nations of the earth! Yet this is expressly foretold, and it came to pass. Hitherto the prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled, and no doubt future events will explain it further. It is good to be with those who have God with them; if we take God for our God, we must take his people for our people, and be willing to take our lot with them. But let not any one think that mere zeal, either for Jews or Gentiles, will stand in the place of personal religion. Let us be living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men, so that others may wish to go with us, and to have their portion with us in the realms of bliss.The fast of the fourth month - On the ninth day "of the fourth month" of Zedekiah's eleventh year, Jerusalem, in the extremity of famine, opened to Nebuchadnezzar, and his princes sat in her gate; in the "tenth month" of his ninth year Nebuchadnezzar began the siege. Ezekiel was bidden "on its tenth day; write thee the name of the day, of this same day," Ezekiel 24:1-2, as the beginning of God's uttermost judgments against "the bloody city" . The days of national sorrow were to be turned late exuberant joy, "joy and gladness and cheerful feasts" Esther 8:17; Esther 9:19, Esther 9:22; Ecclesiastes 7:14, for the sorrows, which they commemorated, were but the harbingers of joy, when the chastisements were ended; only He adds, love the truth and peace; for such love whereby they would be Israelites indeed, in whose spirits is no guile, were the conditions of their participating the blessings of the Gospel, of which he goes on to speak; 19. fast of … fourth month—On the fourth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign, on the ninth day, Jerusalem was taken (Jer 39:2; 52:6, 7). It was therefore made a fast day.

fifth … seventh—(See on [1182]Zec 7:3; [1183]Zec 7:5).

tenth—On the tenth month and tenth day, in the ninth year of Zedekiah, the siege began (Jer 52:4).

therefore love the truth—or, "only love." English Version is better. God's blessing covenanted to Israel is not made to depend on Israel's goodness: but Israel's goodness should follow as the consequence of God's gracious promises (Zec 8:16, 17; Zec 7:9, 10). God will bless, but not those who harden themselves in sin.

This 19th verse is a final decision of the proposed case, and the whole of this verse stands on a proviso or condition, that they do those things required, Zechariah 8:16,17; then shall their fasting cease, and turn into joy and feasts.

The fast of the fourth month; wherein the city was taken by the Babylonians, who on the ninth day of this month broke into the city, Jeremiah 52:6,7.

Of the fifth; of which on the tenth day the temple was burnt.

Of the seventh; wherein Gedaliah was killed, Jeremiah 41:1.

Of the tenth; on the tenth day whereof the king of Babylon’s army sat down before the city and besieged it.

Shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness; good days, in which they shall rejoice for all the goodness that God hath showed them in their private affairs.

And cheerful feasts, for public; these days of fasting shall be turned into solemn and public festivals, days of thanksgiving to the Lord, for turning back their captivity, and restoring church and state.

Therefore love the truth and peace; let your hearty affection be set on truth in all concerns of religion, and on peace in all converse with your neighbours. Thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... What follows is a full answer to the question in Zechariah 7:3,

The fast of the fourth month; the month Tammuz, which answers to June: this fast was kept on the ninth day of the month, on account of the city of Jerusalem being broken up on that day (o), as it is said, 2 Kings 25:3 though Kimchi says this was on the seventeenth day of that month, as also says the Misna (p); on which day a fast was kept likewise, for the breaking of the two tables of the law on that day: the reconciliation of this with the above Scriptures is attempted in the Talmud (q) by observing, that the Scripture speaks of the first temple, the Misna of the second temple:

and the fast of the fifth; the month Ab, which answers to July, on the tenth of which the city was burnt, Jeremiah 52:12 but the fast on account of it was kept on the ninth day; See Gill on Zechariah 7:3 on which day the Jews say that both the first and second temple were destroyed, Bither was taken, and the city ploughed (r):

and the fast of the seventh; the month Tisri, which answers to September; on the third of this month a fast was kept on account of the murder of Gedaliah; see Zechariah 7:5 and on the tenth day of the same was the day of atonement, which was the grand fast; see Acts 27:9,

and the fast of the tenth; the month Tebet; which answers to December, on the tenth day of which the city of Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar; and this fast was kept on that account, Jeremiah 52:4 now of all these fasts the Lord by the prophet says, they

shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; that is, there shall be no occasion for them; but, on the contrary, such plenty of good things, both temporal and spiritual, shall be had, that, instead of them, rather festivals should be kept with the greatest cheerfulness, joy, and gladness. So Maimonides (s) says, that all these fasts shall cease in the times of the Messiah, with all others, which will be times of joy and gladness.

Therefore love the truth and peace; love to speak truth, and execute the judgment of peace, Zechariah 8:16 or express by words and deeds love to Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life; and also is our Peace, the Peacemaker, and Peace giver; and on these accounts, as well as on others, is greatly to be loved: likewise the Gospel, which is the word of truth, and the Gospel of peace; which contains nothing but truth, and is the ministry of reconciliation, and is to be loved on that account; and even peace with men is no further to be loved and sought after than as it is consistent with truth; and these being the principal things under the Gospel dispensation, these, and not fasts, or any other ceremonial observances, are to be attended to.

(o) T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 18. 2.((p) Taanith, c. 4. sect. 7. (q) T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 28. 2.((r) Roshhashanah, ut supra. (fol. 18. 2.) (s) Hilchot Taanioth, c. 5. sect. 19.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the {k} tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace.

(k) Which fast was appointed when the city was besieged, and was the first fast of these four. And here the prophet shows that if the Jews will repent, and turn wholly to God, they will have no more occasion to fast, or to show signs of heaviness, for God will send them joy and gladness.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. The fast of the fourth month] had been instituted, because on that day, under the extremity of famine, Jerusalem opened her gates to Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah 39:2-3; Jeremiah 52:6-7.

the fast of the tenth] The siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar commenced in that month. 2 Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 39:1.

therefore love] Lit. and (in order that this may happen to you, as the condition of the fulfilment of the promise), love truth and peace. Comp. Zechariah 8:16-17.Verse 19. - The fast of the fourth month, etc. (For the occasions of these fasts, see note on Zechariah 7:3.) Jerome gives the later Jewish traditions concerning them. The fast of the seventh day of the fourth month commemorated the breaking of the two tables of the commandments by Moses, as well as the first breach in the walls of Jerusalem; that of the fifth month was observed in memory of the return of the spies sent to explore Canaan, and the consequent punishment of forty years' wandering in the wilderness, as well as of the burning of the temple by the Chaldeans; that in the tenth month was appointed because it was then that Ezekiel and the captive Jews received intelligence of the complete destruction of the temple. Joy and gladness. The observance of these fasts seems, by the Lord's answer, to have been neither enjoined nor forbidden; but as for their sins their festivals had been turned into mourning (Amos 8:10), so now their fasts should be turned into joyful feasts, and former miseries should be forgotten in the presence of the blessings now showered upon them. Therefore love the truth and peace. This is the condition of the fulfilment of the promise (ver. 16; Zechariah 7:9), here again forcibly impressed. After rebutting the untenable grounds of excuse, Haggai calls attention in vv. 5, 6 to the curse with which God has punished, and is still punishing, the neglect of His house. Haggai 1:5. "And now, thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Set your heart upon your ways. Haggai 1:6. Ye have sowed much, and brought in little: ye eat, and not for satisfaction; drink, and not to be filled with drink: ye clothe yourselves, and it does not serve for warming; and the labourer for wages works for wages into a purse pierced with holes." שׂימוּ לבבכם, a favourite formula with Haggai (cf. v. 7 and Haggai 2:15, Haggai 2:18). To set the heart upon one's ways, i.e., to consider one's conduct, and lay it to heart. The ways are the conduct, with its results. J. H. Michaelis has given it correctly, "To your designs and actions, and their consequences." In their ways, hitherto, they have reaped no blessing: they have sowed much, but brought only a little into their barns. הבא, inf. abs., to bring in what has been reaped, or bring it home. What is here stated must not be restricted to the last two harvests which they had had under the reign of Darius, as Koehler supposes, but applies, according to Haggai 2:15-17, to the harvests of many years, which had turned out very badly. The inf. abs., which is used in the place of the finite verb and determined by it, is continued in the clauses which follow, אכול, etc. The meaning of these clauses is, not that the small harvest was not sufficient to feed and clothe the people thoroughly, so that they had to "cut their coat according to their cloth," as Maurer and Hitzig suppose, but that even in their use of the little that had been reaped, the blessing of God was wanting, as is not only evident from the words themselves, but placed beyond the possibility of doubt by Haggai 1:9.

(Note: Calvin and Osiander see a double curse in Haggai 1:6. The former says, "We know that God punishes men in both ways, both by withdrawing His blessing, so that the earth is parched, and the heaven gives no rain, and also, even when there is a good supply of the fruits of the earth, by preventing their satisfying, so that there is no real enjoyment of them. It often happens that men collect what would be quite a sufficient quantity for food, but for all that, are still always hungry. This kind of curse is seen the more plainly when God deprives the bread and wine of their true virtue, so that eating and drinking fail to support the strength.")

What they ate and drank did not suffice to satisfy them; the clothes which they procured yielded no warmth; and the ages which the day-labourer earned vanished just as rapidly as if it had been placed in a bag full of holes (cf. Leviticus 26:26; Hosea 4:10; Micah 6:14). לו after לחם refers to the individual who clothes himself, and is to be explained from the phrase חם לי, "I am warm" (1 Kings 1:1-2, etc.).

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