|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-8 This vision may represent the ways of Providence in the government of this lower world. Whatever the providences of God about us are, as to public or private affairs, we should see them all as coming from between the mountains of brass, the immoveable counsels and decrees of God; and therefore reckon it as much our folly to quarrel with them, as it is our duty to submit to them. His providences move swiftly and strongly as chariots, but all are directed and governed by his infinite wisdom and sovereign will. The red horses signify war and bloodshed. The black, signify the dismal consequences of war, famines, pestilences, and desolations. The white, signify the return of comfort, peace, and prosperity. The mixed colour, signify events of different complexions, a day of prosperity and a day of adversity. The angels go forth as messengers of God's counsels, and ministers of his justice and mercy. And the secret motions and impulses upon the spirits of men, by which the designs of Providence are carried on, are these four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from God, and fulfil what the God of the spirits of all flesh appoints. All the events which take place in the world spring from the unchangeable counsels of the Lord, which are formed in unerring wisdom, perfect justice, truth, and goodness; and from history it is found that events happened about the period when this vision was sent to the prophet, which seem referred to therein.
Verse 7. - The bay; rather, the strong, as in ver. 3; the horses in the fourth chariot, whose special mission needed peculiar powers. Septuagint, οἱ ψαροί: but the Vulgate, qui erant robustissimi. Sought to go. These agents desired a wider sphere, and asked permission to extend their action, and to walk to and fro through the earth. Famine and pestilence, which this chariot symbolizes, come at different times and in different places mysteriously and unexpectedly "as arrows shot from the hand of God (Ezekiel 5:16) on the objects of his displeasure" (Alexander). LXX., Καὶ ἐπέβλεπον [S2, Καὶ ἐζήτουν καὶ ἐπέβλεπον] τοῦ πορεύεσθαι τοῦ [Α, καὶ] περιοδεῦσαι τὴν γῆν, "And looked to go and compass the earth."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the bay went forth, and sought to go,.... Without leave: these design either the Romans; or, since distinct from the grisled, the Huns, Goths, and Vandals; who sought to go out of their own places into other countries: and were desirous
that they might walk to and fro through the earth: without control; overrunning as they, did the Roman empire, and set up ten kingdoms in it; unless this is to be understood of the land of Judea only, through which the Romans walked to and fro at pleasure, and subdued it:
and he said; that is, the Lord of the whole earth, before whom they stood:
Get ye hence, walk to and fro through the earth; as being filled with indignation at them, and yet suffered them to have their will; and so Kimchi interprets the phrase,
"he gave them power to go and subdue lands;''
and to the same purpose Jarchi,
"he gave them power to rule with great authority; and this is the kingdom of Edom or Rome:''
So they walked to and fro through the earth; either the land of Judea, as the Romans did, and made it a Roman province; and these may represent Rome Papal, set up and supported by the above people, even the beast of Rome, which has reigned over the kings of the earth, to whom the ten kings gave their kingdom and power.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. bay—rather, the "fleet" (or "strong"). As the "red" are not otherwise mentioned, the epithet "fleet" (as the Hebrew for "bay" ought to be translated) in Zec 6:3 seems to apply to all four, and here especially to the "red." Their office is to complete hereafter the work already in part executed by the previous three who have stilled Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Græco-Macedonia; namely, to punish finally the last great foe of Israel, the final form assumed by the fourth world kingdom, Rome, which is to continue down to the second advent of Christ. Hence they "walk to and fro through the earth," counterworking Satan's "going to and fro in the earth" (Job 1:7; 2Th 2:8, 9; 1Ti 4:1), in connection with the last awful development of the fourth world kingdom. Their "fleetness" is needed to counteract his restless activity; their red color implies the final great carnage (Eze 39:1-29; Re 19:17, 18, 21).
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