|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:16-21 As it is impossible for all nations literally to come to Jerusalem once a year, to keep a feast, it is evident that a figurative meaning must here be applied. Gospel worship is represented by the keeping of the feast of tabernacles. Every day of a Christian's life is a day of the feast of tabernacles; every Lord's day especially is the great day of the feast; therefore every day let us worship the Lord of hosts, and keep every Lord's day with peculiar solemnity. It is just for God to withhold the blessings of grace from those who do not attend the means of grace. It is a sin that is its own punishment; those who forsake the duty, forfeit the privilege of communion with God. A time of complete peace and purity of the church will arrive. Men will carry on their common affairs, and their sacred services, upon the same holy principles of faith, love and obedience. Real holiness shall be more diffused, because there shall be a more plentiful pouring forth of the Spirit of holiness than ever before. There shall be holiness even in common things. Every action and every enjoyment of the believer, should be so regulated according to the will of God, that it may be directed to his glory. Our whole lives should be as one constant sacrifice, or act of devotion; no selfish motive should prevail in any of our actions. But how far is the Christian church from this state of purity! Other times, however, are at hand, and the Lord will reform and enlarge his church, as he has promised. Yet in heaven alone will perfect holiness and happiness be found.
Verse 18. - If the family of Egypt go not up. Egypt is mentioned as the great typical enemy of God and Israel, and therefore most obnoxious to punishment if it did not obey the call. That have no rain. This rendering implies, what is not the fact, that Egypt is without rain, and is not dependent upon rain for its fertility. The expression in the text is elliptical, being merely, "then not on them," and it is obviously natural to supply, "shall there be rain." As the rise of the Nile depends upon the equinoctial rains in the interior, the failure of these would be disastrous. Another way of rendering the passage is to combine the clauses and append a note of interrogation; thus: "Shall there not be upon them the plague wherewith," etc.? The LXX. and Syriac omit the negative, Καὶ ἐπὶ τούτους ἔσται ἡ πτῶσις, "Even upon these shall be the plague."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not,.... To Jerusalem, the church of God; do not go thither to worship the Lord, attend his ordinances, and keep them in their purity; nor walk as becomes the people of God: by "the family of Egypt" are meant the Papists, so called for their tyranny, cruelty, and idolatry, Revelation 11:8,
that have no rain; have not the pure word of God, and the ordinances thereof, only the traditions of men; yea, the doctrines of devils, and lies in hypocrisy: the allusion is to the land of Egypt, which was watered, not so much by rain as by the overflowing of the river Nile: or it may be rendered, "and upon them there shall be no rain" (w); or that which is equivalent to it. So the Targum paraphrases it,
"the Nile shall not ascend unto them.''
The sense is, as they are without the pure Gospel of Christ, they shall continue so, and be punished with, that sore judgment of a famine of hearing the word of the Lord.
There shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles; they shall have the same plague of want of water, a famine; for it is a vulgar mistake that there is no rain in Egypt; it rains indeed but seldom, and only in some places, but it does rain. Monsieur Thevenot (x) says,
"it rains much at Alexandria, and Rosetta also; but at Cairo, which stands higher, it rains less; and yet (says he) I have seen it rain very hard every year, for two days together in the month of December.''
And Mr. Fuller (y) says that Sir William Paston, a patron of his, and a well accomplished traveller, was
"an eye witness of much and violent rain at Grand Cairo, but such as presaged a great mortality, which ensued, not long after.''
But it should be observed that this is only true of the lower part of Egypt, for in the upper parts it rains not, at least not very commonly: for Herodotus (z) reports that
"in the times of Psammenitus, the son of Amasis, king of Egypt, a very wonderful thing happened to the Egyptians; it rained at Thebes in Egypt, which it never had before, nor has ever since, as the Thebans say; for it never rains in the upper part of Egypt; but then it rained at Thebes in drops.''
Yet Mr. Norden (a), a late traveller in those parts, says he
"experienced at Meschie (a city in his travels to upper Egypt) a very violent rain, accompanied with thunder, for the space of a whole hour;''
though in the same place he says, at Feschna, and beyond, in the upper Egypt, the sky is always serene and clear. And in his travels from Cairo to Girge, capital of the upper Egypt, he relates, that at a certain place, as he went thither, they had little wind, and a great deal of rain (b). And in another place (c) he observes, at Menie (a place in upper Egypt) there was so thick a fog that we could perceive nothing at thirty paces distant: wherefore, since it does rain at times in some places, the same plague as before may be here meant; or want of provisions, as others, through a defect of rain; or the Nile not overflowing and watering the land, as Jarchi interprets it: but Kimchi gives another sense, and so Aben Ezra, which is, that instead of having no rain, which they need not and do not desire, they shall be smitten with the plague that the Lord will smite all the nations with that fight against Jerusalem, namely, their flesh shall consume away, &c. Zechariah 14:12.
(w) "super quos non est imber", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius; "et non super illos, scil. erit imber", Burkius. (x) Travels, part 1. c. 72. p. 247. (y) Pisgah-Sight, B. 4. c. 5. p. 80. (z) Thalia, sive l. 3. c. 10. (a) Travels in Egypt and Nubia, vol. 1. p. 140. (b) Ib. vol. 2. p. 20. (c) Ib. p. 209.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. if … Egypt go not up—specified as Israel's ancient foe. If Egypt go not up, and so there be no rain on them (a judgment which Egypt would condemn, as depending on the Nile's overflow, not on rain), there shall be the plague … . Because the guilty are not affected by one judgment, let them not think to escape, for God has other judgments which shall plague them. Maurer translates, "If Egypt go not up, upon them also there shall be none" (no rain). Ps 105:32 mentions "rain" in Egypt. But it is not their main source of fertility.
Zechariah 14:18 Parallel Commentaries
Zechariah 14:18 NIV
Zechariah 14:18 NLT
Zechariah 14:18 ESV
Zechariah 14:18 NASB
Zechariah 14:18 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible