Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Chap. 10 The Prophecy continued
This chapter is not a new prophecy but a continuation and expansion of the promises made in chap. 9. The coincidences of thought and even of language (as Maurer points out) are numerous and striking (see the references in the notes below). The first two verses of the chapter are intimately connected both with what precedes and with what follows them, so that there is a difference of opinion as to which of the two paragraphs they properly belong to. The promise of abundance of corn and wine, Zechariah 9:17, leads the prophet, true to his vocation to reform the present while he predicts the future, to call upon his countrymen to look for these blessings from the hand of God, Zechariah 10:1, and not from idols and diviners who had only deceived them and brought calamities upon them, Zechariah 10:2. The evil rulers, who for their sins had been set over them, shall, however (he foretells in resumption of the prophecy of the former chapter), be replaced by true leaders, Zechariah 10:3-4, who shall lead them to victory, Zechariah 10:5. The ten tribes shall share with the two the promised blessings, Zechariah 10:6-7. From all parts of the earth shall they be brought back to their own land, Zechariah 10:8-10, God Himself being as of old their Leader, Zechariah 10:11, and shall serve Him there, Zechariah 10:12.
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.1. the latter rain] Would you have even now a measure at least of the promised abundance, seek it of Jehovah; look to Him for the rain that prepares (Psalm 65:9-10), as well as for the crowning gift itself (Ib. Zechariah 10:11) of “corn” and “wine.” The latter rain fell in March or April and served to swell the grain now coming to maturity. The former rain fell in the autumn. (Deuteronomy 11:14; Joel 2:23. Comp. Jeremiah 3:3.)
so the Lord shall make bright clouds] Rather, it is the Lord who makes lightnings (as in the margin, or, even of the Lord that maketh lightnings, R. V.), which usher in and accompany rain: therefore of Him must you ask it. Comp. “He hath made lightnings for the rain,” Psalm 135:7. “For the rain; i.e. so that the rain follows the lightning; see Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16. The lightning is supposed to precede the rain. A common Arabic proverb says of a man who turns out other than was expected of him, that he lightens but does not rain.” Dean Perowne.
grass] Rather, herb, including food for man, Genesis 1:29.
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.2. idols] Lit. teraphim. They were of human form, whether busts or full-length figures, and were apparently sometimes (1 Samuel 19:13), if not always (Genesis 31:19), of life size. Compare, for the use of them in divination, as here, Ezekiel 21:21.
they comfort in vain] when they promise rain and fruitful seasons. Comp. Jeremiah 14:22.
therefore they went their way] therefore (because they have had recourse to idols and diviners) they (the Israelites) wander and stray about to their hurt, like sheep without a shepherd.
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.3. was kindled … punished … hath made] is kindled … will punish … shall make, R. V.
the shepherds] who though they were “no (true) shepherds,” yet retained the name and office. Quite parallel is the passage in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:5-6 with Ezekiel 34:7-10); where also (Ezekiel 10:17-22), as here, the rulers and principal men are spoken of as “goats,” as well as “shepherds.”
his goodly horse] Comp. Zechariah 9:13; and for the image of the war-horse, Job 39:19-25.
Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.4. out of him came forth] Rather, from him (Judah) shall come forth. Comp. Jeremiah 30:21. Some, however, take it to mean “from Him, Jehovah, shall proceed,” &c. Comp. Ephesians 4:11.
the corner] i.e. the corner-stone, which was the stay and ornament of the whole building. Isaiah 28:16; Ephesians 2:20.
the nail] or peg, from which, firmly fixed and stable, the furniture of the house could be suspended. Isaiah 22:23-24.
oppressor] or, ruler, as in R. V. margin, a sense which the word will bear in Isaiah 3:12; Isaiah 60:17. Every ruler, civil and military, “the corner-stone,” “the nail,” “the battle-bow,” shall proceed from Judah, blessed by God, or from God, as His gift to Judah, as the need of the state requires. Calvin, however, and others would give the word its more common sense, and understand, civil rulers for the well-being of the state, “the corner,” “the nail;” military leaders, for its defence and extension, “the battle-bow;” governors to keep in subjection provinces annexed and conquered by the battle-bow, “the oppressor.”
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.5. Comp. Zechariah 9:15.
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.6–12. The return of the whole nation to their own land
6. bring them again to place them] A single word in Hebrew, which however is irregular in form, and may be referred to either of two regular forms, meaning respectively, “I will cause them to return,” “I will cause them to dwell.” The A. V. with the Jewish commentators, followed by Rosenm and Pusey, regards the combination of the two forms as designed by the writer to combine the two ideas. (Comp. Jeremiah 32:37.) It is more probable, however, that one only of the two ideas is here intended, I will bring them again (or, cause them to dwell, margin), R. V.
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.7. as through wine] Comp. Zechariah 9:15.
I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.8. I will hiss for them] “Formerly God had so spoken of His summoning the enemies of His people to chastise them (Isaiah 7:18-19; Isaiah 5:26-27). He would gather them like the countless numbers of the insect creation, which if united would irresistibly desolate life. He would summon them as the bee-owner, by his shrill call, summons and unites his own swarm. Now, contrariwise, God would summon with the same His own people. The fulfilment of the chastisement was the earnest of the ease of the fulfilment of the mercy.” Pusey.
as they have increased] i.e. formerly in Egypt. Exodus 1:7; Exodus 1:12. “Multiplicabuntur in exsilio, ut multiplicati fuerunt in Ægypto.” Jarchi, quoted by Maurer. Comp. Ezekiel 36:10-11.
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.9. I will sow them among the people] peoples, R. V. Their dispersion among the nations of the earth shall not be for their destruction, but like the sowing of corn, which is scattered broad-cast, not that it may be lost and perish, but that it may bring forth much fruit. Comp. Hosea 2:23. “Ego eos multiplicabo, ut dispersio in populis non videatur esse divisio, sed sementis operatio, et liberorum et nepotum segete multiplicata vivant cum filiis suis.” Hieron.
they shall live] Comp. Ezekiel 37:14.
turn again] or, return to God. Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 3:14; Isaiah 10:21. The consequent return to their own land is promised in the next verse.
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.10. Egypt … Assyria] It is of Ephraim, or the ten tribes, that the prophet is here speaking. In Zechariah 10:3-6 of this chapter the promise is to the house of Judah. In Zechariah 10:6 the house of Joseph is introduced as sharing in it. In Zechariah 10:7-12 this part of the promise is exclusively pursued. Hence, there is no mention here of the return of the two tribes from Babylon, not because, as has been alleged, this prophecy was written before their captivity, but because (not only was that return already open to them all and an accomplished fact to many of them, but) they are not contemplated here. In like manner Hosea speaks of Egypt and Assyria, as the countries from which Ephraim should return (Zechariah 11:11).
Gilead, Lebanon] the territory assigned to these tribes on the E. and on the W. of Jordan.
place shall not be found] Comp. Isaiah 49:20.
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.11. he] i.e. Jehovah, as He did through the Red Sea, when He gave the first great deliverance to His people.
with affliction] i.e. to His enemies. Comp. Exodus 14:24-25; Exodus 14:27; Exodus 15:3-7. This is perhaps the best rendering of this difficult and much disputed clause. The sea of affliction, R. V.
smite the waves] Comp. Exodus 15:8. See also Isaiah 11:15-16, where a similar reference occurs to the passage of the Red Sea.
the river] i.e. the Nile, as the Heb. word used indicates.
And I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD.12. walk up and down] i.e. pursue the course of their lives. Comp. Micah 4:5; Coloss. Zechariah 3:7.