|English Standard Version (© 2001)|
The burden of the word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach and Damascus is its resting place. For the LORD has an eye on mankind and on all the tribes of Israel,
King James Bible
The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.
American Standard Version
The burden of the word of Jehovah upon the land of Hadrach, and Damascus'shall be its resting-place (for the eye of man and of all the tribes of Israel is toward Jehovah);
Young's Literal Translation
The burden of a word of Jehovah against the land of Hadrach, and Demmeseh -- his place of rest: (When to Jehovah is the eye of man, And of all the tribes of Israel.)
Zechariah 9:1 Additional TranslationsKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
Judgment upon the Land of Hadrach; and Zion's King of Peace. - Zechariah 9:1. The true interpretation of this section, and, in fact, of the whole prophecy, depends upon the explanation to be given to the heading contained in this verse. The whole verse reads thus: "Burden of the word of Jehovah over the land of Hadrach, and Damascus is its resting-place; for Jehovah has an eye upon the men, and upon all the tribes of Israel." There is a wide divergence of opinion concerning the land of חדרך. We need not stop to give any elaborate refutation to the opinion that Hadrach is the name of the Messiah (as some Rabbins suppose), or that it is the name of an unknown Syrian king (Ges., Bleek), or of an Assyrian fire-god, Adar or Asar (Movers), or of a deity of Eastern Aramaea (Babylonia), as Hitzig maintained, since there is no trace whatever of the existence of such a king or deity; and even Hitzig himself has relinquished his own conjecture. And the view defended by J. D. Mich. and Rosenmller, that Hadrach is the name of an ancient city, situated not far from Damascus, is destitute of any tenable basis, since Hengstenberg (Christol. iii. p. 372, transl.) has proved that the historical testimonies adduced in support of this rest upon some confusion with the ancient Arabian city of Dra, Adra, the biblical Edrei (Deuteronomy 1:4). As the name Hadrach or Chadrach never occurs again, and yet a city which gives its name to a land, and occurs in connection with Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, and Sidon, could not possibly have vanished so completely, that even the earlier Jewish and Christian commentators heard nothing of it, Chadrach can only be a symbolical name formed by the prophet himself (as Jerome maintained, according to a Jewish tradition), from chad, acris, sharp, brave, ready for war (in Arabic, ḥdd, vehemens fuit, durus in ira, pugna), and râkh, soft, tender, in the sense of sharp-soft, or strong-tender, after the analogy of the symbolical names. Dumah for Edom, in Isaiah 21:11; Sheshach for Babylon, in Jeremiah 25:26; Jeremiah 51:41; Ariel for Jerusalem, in Isaiah 29:1-2, Isaiah 29:7. This view can no more be upset by the objection of Koehler, that the interpretation of the name is a disputed point among the commentators, and that it is doubtful why the prophet should have chosen such a symbolical epithet, than by the circumstance that the rabbinical interpretation of the word as a name for the Messiah is evidently false, and has long ago been given up by the Christian commentators. That Hadrach denotes a land or kingdom, is raised above all reach of doubt by the fact that 'erets (the land) is placed before it. But what land? The statement in the following sentence by no means compels us to think of a province of Syria, as Hitzig, Koehler, and others suppose. As the cities and lands which follow are quoted under their ordinary names, it is impossible to imagine any reason for the choice of a symbolical name for another district of Syria bordering upon Damascus and Hamath. The symbolical name rather points to the fact that the land of Hadrach denotes a territory, of which Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia formed the several parts. And this is favoured by the circumstance that the words, "Burden of the word of Jehovah upon the land of Hadrach," form the heading to the oracle, in which the preposition ב is used as in the expression משּׂא בּערב in Isaiah 21:13, and is to be explained from the phrase נפל דּבר ב in Isaiah 9:7 : The burdensome word falls, descends upon the land of Hadrach. The remark of Koehler in opposition to this, to the effect that these words are not a heading, but form the commencement of the exposition of the word of Jehovah through the prophet, inasmuch as the following clause is appended with ו, is quite groundless. The clause in Isaiah 14:28, "In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden," is also a heading; and the assertion that the ו before דּמּשׂק is not a ו explic., but an actual ו conjunct., rests upon the assumption that the cities and lands mentioned in the course of this prophecy have not already been all embraced by the expression ארץ חדרך - an assumption which has not been sustained by any proofs. On the contrary, the fact that not only is Damascus mentioned as the resting-place of the word of Jehovah, but Hamath and also the capitals of Phoenicia and Philistia are appended, proves the very opposite. This evidently implies that the burden resting upon the land of Hadrach will affect all these cities and lands.
The exposition of the burden announced upon the land of Hadrach commences with ודמּשׂק. This is attached to the heading with Vav, because, so far as the sense is concerned, massâ' is equivalent to "it presses as a burden." The exposition, however, is restricted, so far as Damascus and Hamath are concerned, to the simple remark that the burdensome word upon Hadrach will rest upon it, i.e., will settle permanently upon it. (The suffix in מנחתו refers to משּׂא דבר יי.) It is only with the lands which stood in a closer relation to Judah, viz., Tyre, Sidon, and the provinces of Philistia, that it assumes the form of a specially prophetic description. The contents of the heading are sustained by the thought in the second hemistich: "Jehovah has an eye upon men, and upon all the tribes of Israel." עין אדם with the genit. obj. signifies the rest of mankind, i.e., the heathen world, as in Jeremiah 32:20, where "Israel" and "men" are opposed to one another. The explanatory clause, according to which the burden of Jehovah falls upon the land of Hadrach, and rests upon Damascus, because the eyes of Jehovah looks upon mankind and all the tribes of Israel, i.e., His providence stretches over the heathen world as well as over Israel, is quite sufficient in itself to overthrow the assumption of Hofmann and Koehler, that by the land of Hadrach we are to understand the land of Israel. For if the explanatory clause were understood as signifying that the burden, i.e., the judgment, would not only fall upon Hamath as the representative of the human race outside the limits of Israel, but also upon the land of Hadrach as the land of all the tribes of Israel, this view would be precluded not only by the circumstance that in what follows heathen nations alone are mentioned as the objects of the judgment, whereas salvation and peace are proclaimed to Israel, but also by the fact that no ground whatever can be discovered for the application of so mysterious an epithet to the land of Israel. According to Hofmann (Schriftb. ii. 2, p. 604), ארץ חדרך signifies the whole of the territory of the kingdom of David, which is so called as "the land of Israel, which, though weak in itself, was, through the strength of God, as sharp as a warrior's sword." But if a judgment of destruction, which Hofmann finds in our prophecy, were announced "to all the nations dwelling within the bounds of what was once the Davidic kingdom," the judgment would fall upon Israel in the same way as upon the heathen nations that are named, since the tribes of Israel formed the kernel of the nations who dwelt in what was once the Davidic kingdom, and Israel would therefore show itself as a sharp-soft people. Hence Koehler has modified this view, and supposes that only the heathen dwelling within the limits of the nation of the twelve tribes are threatened with Jehovah's judgment, - namely, all the heathen within the land which Jehovah promised to His people on their taking possession of Canaan (Numbers 34:1-12). But apart from the unfounded assumption that Hadrach is the name of a district of Syria on the border of Damascus and Hamath, this loophole is closed by the fact that, according to Numbers 34:1., Hamath and Damascus are not included in the possession promised to Israel. According to Numbers 34:8, the northern boundary of the land of Israel was to extend to Hamath, i.e., to the territory of the kingdom of Hamath, and Damascus is very far beyond the eastern boundary of the territory assigned to the Israelites (see the exposition of Numbers 34:1-12). Now, if the land of Hadrach, Damascus, and Hamath were not within the ideal boundaries of Israel, and if Hamath and Hadrach did not belong to the Israelitish kingdom in the time of David, the other lands or cities mentioned in our oracle cannot be threatened with the judgment on account of their lying within the Mosaic boundaries of the land of Israel, or being subject to the Israelites for a time, but can only come into consideration as enemies of Israel whose might was to be threatened and destroyed by the judgment. Consequently the land of Hadrach must denote a land hostile to the covenant nation or the kingdom of God, and can only be a symbolical epithet descriptive of the Medo-Persian empire, which is called sharp-soft or strong-weak on account of its inwardly divided character, as Hengstenberg and Kliefoth assume. Now, however difficult it may be satisfactorily to explain the reason why Zechariah chose this symbolical name for the Medo-Persian monarchy, so much is certain, that the choice of a figurative name was much more suitable in the case of the dominant empire of that time, than in that of any small country on the border of Damascus or Hamath. All the cities and land enumerated after "the land of Hadrach," as losing their glory at the same time, belonged to the Medo-Persian monarchy. Of these the prophet simply refers to Damascus and Hamath in general terms; and it is only in the case of the Phoenician and Philistian cities that he proceeds to a special description of their fall from their lofty eminence, because they stood nearest to the kingdom of Israel, and represented the might of the kingdom of the world, and its hostility to the kingdom of God, partly in the worldly development of their own might, and partly in their hostility to the covenant nation. The description is an individualizing one throughout, exemplifying general facts by particular cities. This is also evident from the announcement of salvation for Zion in Zechariah 9:8-10, from which we may see that the overthrow of the nations hostile to Israel stands in intimate connection with the establishment of the Messianic kingdom; and it is also confirmed by the second half of our chapter, where the conquest of the imperial power by the people of God is set forth in the victories of Judah and Ephraim over the sons of Javan. That the several peoples and cities mentioned by name are simply introduced as representatives of the imperial power, is evident from the distinction made in this verse between (the rest of) mankind and all the tribes of Israel.
Zechariah 9:1 Parallel CommentariesAram Belong Burden Cities Damascus Especially Eye Eyes Israel LORD'S Oracle Rest Resting Resting-Place Thereof Towards Towns Tribes WordAram Belong Burden Cities Damascus Especially Eye Eyes Israel LORD'S Oracle Rest Resting Resting-Place Thereof Towards Towns Tribes WordThe ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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Isaiah 17:1 An oracle concerning Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins.
Jeremiah 23:33 "When one of this people, or a prophet or a priest asks you, 'What is the burden of the LORD?' you shall say to them, 'You are the burden, and I will cast you off, declares the LORD.'
Jeremiah 49:23 Concerning Damascus: "Hamath and Arpad are confounded, for they have heard bad news; they melt in fear, they are troubled like the sea that cannot be quiet.
Amos 1:3 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron.
Amos 1:9 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they delivered up a whole people to Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
Nahum 1:1 An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.
Malachi 1:1 The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.