Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.Zechariah 10:1. Ask ye of the Lord rain, &c. — Make supplication to Jehovah, and not to idols. The promise of future plenty made in the preceding verse, with which this appears to be closely connected, suggested the mentioning the means by which it might be procured. As if he had said, The fulfilling of the promise of fruitful seasons depends on the people’s asking them of God, who will hear their petitions if offered to him with sincerity and fervour, and will give them both the former and the latter rain in its season. Of which rains see notes on Deuteronomy 11:14; Hosea 6:3. So the Lord shall make bright clouds — Or lightnings, as the margin reads, and as the word is rendered Job 28:25. Great rains usually accompany thunder and lightning. And give them — Namely, the Jews; showers of rain — Or rather, abundance of rain, as the Hebrew means; to every one grass in the field — Or, to every man the herb, or fruits of the field, as the original word signifies. The sense is, that God, upon their asking it of him, would give plenty of all kinds of herbs and fruits that were useful to men, or to the animals which men make use of.
For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.Zechariah 10:2. For the idols have spoken vanity — What I have said will certainly be verified when, with sincere and pious minds, you apply to God in prayer for his blessing on you and your land; but the case was quite otherwise when your fathers asked for any thing of idols; the priests, who answered in the names of the idols, could only give vain answers, which were not fulfilled by the events according to their promises. And the diviners have seen a lie — Those who pretended to divine, or predict future things, have uttered falsehoods. They comfort in vain — Rather, they comfort vainly, or with vain words. This they certainly did, because they promised prosperity to the people though they continued in their sins. Therefore they went their way as a flock — They were carried into captivity, and brought into great distress, as sheep are driven away and scattered, when there is no one to guide or take care of them. Because there was no shepherd — No ecclesiastical or civil governors, that would faithfully do their duty.
Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.Zechariah 10:3. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds — Against the kings, princes, and priests. These were the leaders of the Jewish people into idolatry and vice. The word shepherds is beautifully taken up from the preceding verse. And I punished the goats — The chief ones, as Newcome renders it. The principal men are meant. For — Or rather, but, the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock — In mercy. He hath now given his people manifest tokens of his favour and protection. And hath made them — Or, will make them, as his goodly horse in the battle — Will give them strength and courage. This must relate to the times of the Maccabees, and afterward, when God punished several nations by the hands of the Jewish people.
Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.Zechariah 10:4. Out of him — From God, came forth — Or rather, shall come forth the corner — The prince or ruler, who is in a body politic, as a corner stone in a building; the nail — Which fastens the tents of war, or the timber together in a house; the battle-bow — All warlike provision both of men and arms. Out of him every oppressor — Officer, exactor, or collector of tribute. It was from God that Nebuchadnezzar mightily prevailed and oppressed Israel; and it was from God also that Judah grows up to such power as to be able to cope with his adversaries, and to impose tribute on them. Newcome reads, From him shall go forth every ruler together, observing, that the word which we translate oppressor is also used in a good sense Isaiah 60:17 : that is, Judah shall furnish both civil and military governors. Blayney’s interpretation of the verse is, Out of it, that is, out of the house of Judah, shall go forth a corner, the commander-in- chief; out of it a nail, the officers next in rank; the bow of battle, the archers; out of it all that draw near together; so he renders כל נוגשׁ יחרו, instead of every oppressor, or ruler, together. “In the house, or building,” says he, “the words would denote the stones of common use, placed contiguous, or close in order, one by another. Correspondently in the army must be meant, the close-imbodied phalanx, or main body of men of war, advancing on together in regular order to meet the enemy.”
And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.Zechariah 10:5-7. And they — The Jews, under the conduct of their captains; shall be as mighty men which tread down their enemies — God shall inspire them with courage to subdue their enemies, and trample upon their carcasses. This it seems must be understood of the victories obtained by the Jews under the Maccabees, or of those which they shall obtain over their enemies in the latter times, to which the latter part of the chapter seems ultimately to relate. And the riders on horses shall be confounded — The cavalry of Antiochus seems to be intended by this. We have a description of this cavalry in some heathen writers, which shows it to have been a very formidable one. And I will strengthen the house of Judah — I will not only give courage to attempt, but also strength to go through with and finish the undertaking. This was remarkably verified in the wars of the Jews against the Seleucidæ, in which wars they had wonderful difficulties, and as wonderful courage and success. And I will save the house of Joseph — The remnant of the kingdom of Israel, the residue of the ten tribes. And I will bring them again — Both Judah and Joseph, out of captivity, or from their various dispersions; to place them — In their own land and in their own cities. This promise is understood by many interpreters to relate to the general restoration of the Jewish nation upon their conversion, a subject which seems to be treated of in many passages of the Old Testament, in which Judah and Israel are represented as equal sharers of this blessing: see the note on Isaiah 11:11, and compare Ezekiel 37:16. And they shall be as though I had not cast them off — They shall be in as flourishing a condition as they were before I cast them off. And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man — Ephraim is put here for the ten tribes, as the house of Joseph is, Zechariah 10:6. And their heart shall rejoice as through wine —
Their heart shall be made as glad by their victories, as if they had been made merry through wine. Yea, their children shall see it and be glad — The children and youths, not yet fit for war, shall partake of their fathers’ joy.
And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.
And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.
I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.Zechariah 10:8-10. I will hiss for them — Rather, whistle, as the word שׁרקshould be here translated. I will call them from distant countries, as a shepherd calls his flock together with his whistle. For I have redeemed them — For I have, and will, by the workings of my divine providence, deliver and redeem them out of their enemies’ hands, and from those who hold them captives. And they shall increase as they have increased — Namely, in the most flourishing times, such as were the reigns of David and Solomon. I will sow — Rather, I have sown, them among the people — Or nations, for it appears beyond a doubt that what had been formerly done is here spoken of. And they shall remember me in far countries — Whithersoever they were driven. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt — Ptolemy Philadelphus, one of the kings of Egypt, redeemed no fewer than 100,000 of the Jews, and sent them home; God, no doubt, inclining him to be thus remarkably favourable and kind to them. For this, we have the testimony of Josephus’s history; as also, that other kings released many of those who still remained slaves, or servants in Egypt, and sent them back to their own land. And gather them out of Assyria — This was done by Alexander, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, and by both the Demetriuses, as Josephus relates. This redeeming and releasing of the Jews, who were captives or servants in divers countries, by several kings, and sending them home at their charge or expense, which Josephus affirms to have been done, is a fact so very extraordinary that it deserves to be attended to; for it is a certain proof that the divine providence can accomplish whatever it pleases. And as this extraordinary particular was repeatedly foretold and promised by God’s prophets, long before it took place, and when there was not the least human probability of it, it is a striking proof of the truth and divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. I will bring them unto the land of Gilead and Lebanon — Gilead was taken by the arms of the Maccabees, and the cities of Syria, (here signified by Lebanon, a famous mountain in Syria,) by Hyrcanus and his successors. Gilead and Lebanon were countries remarkable for their fruitfulness. And place shall not be found for them — The land shall be too narrow for them. But this verse, and indeed the whole paragraph, has a further and mystical meaning. It relates to the success of the gospel, and the bringing in of the Jews and Gentiles into the Christian Church; and probably also to the restoration of the Jews, and of the whole remnant of the house of Israel from their present dispersions to their own land, as has been observed on Zechariah 10:6.
And I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and turn again.
I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.
And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up: and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away.Zechariah 10:11-12. And he shall pass through the sea with affliction — The sense might be more properly expressed, And he [Israel] shall pass through the straits of the sea: so the LXX. and the Vulgate understand the word. And [God] shall smite the waves of the sea, &c. — The expressions allude to the miraculous passage of the Israelites through the Red sea, and the river Jordan; and to God’s destroying the Egyptians, and the Assyrian, or Babylonian empire, in order to the deliverance of his people. And the verse imports that God would, in a future time, do as great things for them as he had done formerly for their fathers. In this sense the Chaldee expounds the word. Egypt and Assyria, it must be observed, being two potent kingdoms, bordering upon Judea, and being by turns either allies to the Jews, or their conquerors; and the Jews frequently either going thither for refuge, or being carried thither as captives; therefore, when the prophets foretel the general restoration of the Jewish nation, they often express it by their returning from Egypt and Assyria. We may observe, likewise, that God’s bringing his people again from these countries, and especially from Egypt, was a proverbial expression to signify any deliverance, as great or greater than these. Thus, the next clause, And the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart, signifies, the enemies of God and his truth shall all be subdued, and broken in pieces, when Christ shall come in his glorious power to set up his kingdom on the earth: see Daniel 2:33-34; Isaiah 60:12.
And I will strengthen them in the Lord — That is, I will strengthen them in myself, or I will be their helper, and give them all needful strength and protection. And they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord — Their evils and actions shall be under the influence of his grace, and under the government of his laws, and he shall give them success answerable to their upright intentions.
And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.