Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
THE PROPHECY OF ZACHARIAS.
Zacharias began to prophesy in the same year as Aggeus, and upon the same occasion. His prophecy is full of mysterious figures and promises of blessings, partly relating to the synagogue and partly to the Church of Christ. (Challoner) --- He is the "most obscure and longest of the twelve [minor prophets];" (St. Jerome) though Osee wrote the same number of chapters. (Haydock) --- Zacharias has been confounded with many others of the same name. Little is known concerning his life. Some have asserted that the ninth and two following chapters were written by Jeremias, in whose name chap. xi. 12., is quoted [in] Matthew xxvii. 9. But that is more probably a mistake of transcribers. Zacharias speaks more plainly of the Messias and of the last siege of Jerusalem than the rest, as he live nearer those times. (Calmet) --- His name signifies, "the memory of the Lord." (St. Jerome) --- He appeared only two months after Aggeus, and shewed that the Church should flourish in the synagogue, and much more after the coming of Christ, who would select his first preachers from among the Jews. Yet few of them shall embrace the gospel, in comparison with the Gentiles, though they shall at last be converted. (St. Jerome ad Paulin.) (Worthington)
Barachias adopted him, (1 Esdras v. 1.) or rather Addo was his grandfather.
Angry, as he has severely chastised them. (Calmet)
Turn ye. Such expressions admonish us of our free-will, and when we answer, convert us, &c., (Lamentations v. 11.; Calmet) we confess that God's grace preventeth us. (Council of Trent, Session vi. 5.) (Worthington) --- We may resist the Holy Spirit, (Haydock) and reject his graces. The prophet exhorts the people to lay aside all former negligence, (Calmet) and proceed with the temple. (Haydock) --- It had been commenced about two months before, Aggeus ii. 1, 16.
Always. He seems to hint, that after Malachias prophets would be sent no more till Christ should appear; or, that God's word should be fulfilled (ver. 6.) though the prophets were dead. (Calmet)
Fathers. They felt their effects. (Haydock) --- Returned; being converted by the sight of God's judgments, Osee iv. 1., and 2 Esdras i. 6.
Sabath. These names were brought from Chaldea. The month was lunar, and corresponded sometimes with parts of our December and January, at other times with January, or with that and the following month. (Calmet)
A man. An angel in the shape of a man. It was probably St. Michael, the guardian angel of the Church of God. (Challoner) --- It is plain that he was an angel, ver. 11. (Worthington) --- He appears in obscurity, to shew the distress of the nation. (Calmet) --- Among. Septuagint, "between two shady mountains." (Haydock)
These are they, &c. The guardian angels of provinces and nations. (Challoner) --- The Jews believed that each nation had such an angel, who had to give an account to one in higher authority. God proportions his revelation to their ideas.
Rest. All the country under Michael's care enjoyed peace, (Calmet) in the second year of Darius. (Haydock) -- The red horse implies slaughter, Apocalypse vi. 4. It was now repressed. (Tournemine)
The seventieth year; viz., from the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem, in the ninth year of king Sedecias, to the second year of king Darius. These seventy years of the desolation of Jerusalem and the cities of Juda, are different from the seventy years of captivity foretold by Jeremias; which began in the fourth year of Joakim, and ended in the first year of king Cyrus. (Challoner) --- Of these Daniel (ix.) speaks. The temple had also been destroyed now seventy years, (Worthington) and the angel prays, (Haydock) while the prophet begs that the people may be inspired to rebuild it. (Worthington) --- Michael takes occasion from the angels' report, to beseech the Lord to perfect what had been so well begun. He speaks not expressly of the temple, as Aggeus had prevailed on the people to commence that edifice. They had excused themselves that the time was not come, as they probably dated from the burning of the temple; though its desolation began with the siege, thirty months before. See Jeremias xxv. 11., and xxix. 10. (Calmet)
Answered. We have here a proof of the intercession of angel, and of its good effects. (Haydock) --- In me; revealing God's will. (St. Jerome) --- Yet it seems to be St. Michael, chap. iv. 1. (Chaldean; Theod.[Theodotion or Theodoret]) (Calmet)
Zeal. I will again treat her as my spouse. (Haydock)
Nations, represented as four horns, ver. 18, 19. --- Evil, through malice, and thus deserved themselves to be punished, Osee i. 4.
Line. Soon after Nehemias came to rebuild the city. (Calmet)
Four horns,...four smiths. The four horns represent the empires, or kingdoms, that persecute and oppress the people of God: the four smiths or carpenters (for faber may signify either) represent those whom God makes his instruments in bringing to nothing the power of persecutors. (Challoner) --- The Ammonites, &c., on the east, the Philistines on the west, the Idumeans and Egyptians on the south, and the Assyrians and Chaldeans on the north, had much molested God's people, and were therefore punished. (Worthington) --- The princes of Assyria and of Babylon, the kings of Persia and of Egypt, had all treated them ill; and these four empires have or will be destroyed by four chariots, (chap. vi. 1.) Nabopolassar, Cyrus, Alexander, and Antiochus, Daniel vii. 1., &c. St. Jerome, and many who usually follow him, understand the empires of the Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, to be designated by the horns, as the workmen mean the angels who have chastised those nations.
Every. Hebrew, "at pleasure; none shall lift," &c. These kingdoms shall no longer prove formidable. (Calmet) --- Fray, or "terrify." Septuagint, "to sharpen them in their hands. The horns are nations," &c. (Haydock)