|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verses 18-23. - § 6. Here follows the direct answer to the question originally proposed. The fasts should be turned into joyful festivals, former calamities being forgotten. Then the change extending its influence, the heathen shall worship the God of Israel, and esteem it an honour to be received into fellowship with the Jewish nation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the word of the Lord of hosts came unto me, saying. The word of prophecy, as the Targum paraphrases it: here begins a new prophecy, respecting the abrogation of Jewish fasts, and the calling of the Gentiles.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18, 19. The prophet answers the query (Zec 7:3) as to the fast in the fifth month, by a reply applying to all their fasts: these are to be turned into days of rejoicing. So Jesus replied to His disciples when similarly consulting Him as to why fasting was not imposed by Him, as it was by John the Baptist. When the Sun of righteousness shines, tears are dried up (Mt 9:15). So hereafter (Isa 35:10).
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