Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold a man with a measuring line in his hand.
Zec 2:1-13. Third Vision. The man with the measuring-line.
The city shall be fully restored and enlarged (Zec 2:2-5). Recall of the exiles (Zec 2:6, 7). Jehovah will protect His people and make their foes a spoil unto them (Zec 2:8, 9). The nations shall be converted to Jehovah, as the result of His dwelling manifestly amidst His people (Zec 2:10-13).
1. man with a measuring-line—the same image to represent the same future fact as in Eze 40:3; 47:4. The "man" is Messiah (see on Zec 1:8), who, by measuring Jerusalem, is denoted as the Author of its coming restoration. Thus the Jews are encouraged in Zechariah's time to proceed with the building. Still more so shall they be hereby encouraged in the future restoration.
Then said I, Whither goest thou? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof.
2. To measure Jerusalem—(Compare Re 11:1; 21:15, 16).
to see what is the breadth … what is the length—rather, "what is to be the due breadth and length."
And, behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him,
3. angel that talked with me … another angel—The interpreting angel is met by another angel sent by the measuring Divine Angel to "run" to Zechariah (Zec 2:4). Those who perform God's will must not merely creep, nor walk, but run with alacrity.
went forth—namely, from me (Zechariah).
went out—from the measuring angel.
And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:
4. this young man—So Zechariah is called as being still a youth when prophetically inspired [Grotius]. Or, he is so called in respect to his ministry or service (compare Nu 11:27; Jos 1:1) [Vatablus]. Naturally the "angel that talked with" Zechariah is desired to "speak to" him the further communications to be made from the Divine Being.
towns without walls for the multitude … Cattle—So many shall be its inhabitants that all could not be contained within the walls, but shall spread out in the open country around (Es 9:19); and so secure shall they be as not to need to shelter themselves and their cattle behind walls. So hereafter Judea is to be "the land of unwalled villages" (Eze 38:11). Spiritually, now the Church has extended herself beyond the walls (Eph 2:14, 15) of Mosaic ordinances and has spread from cities to country villages, whose inhabitants gave their Latin name (pagani) to pagans, as being the last in parting with heathenism.
For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
5. I … wall of fire round—Compare Zec 2:4. Yet as a city needs some wall, I Jehovah will act as one of fire which none durst approach (Zec 9:8; Isa 26:1).
glory in the midst—not only a defense from foes outside, but a glory within (Isa 60:19; Re 21:23). The same combination of "glory and defense" is found in Isa 4:5, alluding to the pillar of cloud and fire which defended and enlightened Israel in the desert. Compare Elisha in Dothan (2Ki 6:17). As God is to be her "glory," so she shall be His "glory" (Isa 62:3).
Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.
6. flee from the land of the north—that is, from Babylon: a type of the various Gentile lands, from which the Jews are to be recalled hereafter; hence "the four winds of heaven" are specified, implying that they are to return from all quarters (De 28:64; Jer 16:15; Eze 17:21). The reason why they should flee from Babylon is: (1) because of the blessings promised to God's people in their own land; (2) because of the evils about to fall on their foe (Zec 2:7-9). Babylon was soon to fall before Darius, and its inhabitants to endure fearful calamities (Isa 48:20; Jer 50:8; 51:6, 45). Many of the Jews in Zechariah's time had not yet returned to Judea. Their tardiness was owing to (1) unbelief; (2) their land had long lain waste, and was surrounded with bitter foes; (3) they regarded suspiciously the liberty of return given by Cyrus and Darius, as if these monarchs designed suddenly to crush them; (4) their long stay in Babylon had obliterated the remembrance of their own land; (5) the wealth and security there contrasted with Judea, where their temple and city were in ruins. All this betrayed foul ingratitude and disregard of God's extraordinary favor, which is infinitely to be preferred to all the wealth of the world [Calvin and Pembellus].
for I have spread you abroad—The reasoning is: I who scattered you from your land to all quarters, can also gather you again to it.
Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.
7. O Zion … daughter of Babylon—Thou whose only sure dwelling is "Zion," inseparably connected with the temple, art altogether out of thy place in "dwelling with the daughter of Babylon" (that is, Babylon and her people, Ps 137:8; Isa 1:8).
After the glory—After restoring the "glory" (Zec 2:5; Isa 4:5; Ro 9:4) of Jehovah's presence to Jerusalem, He (God the Father) hath commissioned ME (God the Son, Isa 48:16, the Divine Angel: God thus being at once the Sender and the Sent) to visit in wrath "the nations which spoiled you." Messiah's twofold office from the Father is: (1) to glorify His Church; (2) to punish its foes (2Th 1:7-10). Both offices manifest His glory (Pr 16:4).
toucheth … the apple of his eye—namely, of Jehovah's eye (De 32:10; Ps 17:8; Pr 7:2). The pupil, or aperture, through which rays pass to the retina, is the tenderest part of the eye; the member which we most sedulously guard from hurt as being the dearest of our members; the one which feels most acutely the slightest injury, and the loss of which is irreparable.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
9. shake … hand—A mere wave of God's hand can prostrate all foes (compare Ru 1:13; Job 31:21; Isa 11:15; 19:16; Ac 13:11).
a spoil to their servants—to the Jews whom they had once as their slaves (compare Isa 14:2). As the Jews' state between the return from Babylon and Christ's coming was checkered with much adversity, this prophecy can only have its fulfilment under Christ.
sent me—(Isa 48:16; 61:1; Joh 10:36).
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
10. I will dwell in … midst of thee—primarily at Messiah's first advent (Ps 40:7; Joh 1:14; Col 2:9; 1Ti 3:16); more fully at His second advent (Isa 40:10). So Zec 9:9, where see on Zec 9:9 (Isa 12:6; Eze 37:27; Zep 3:14). Meanwhile God dwells spiritually in His people (2Co 6:16).
And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
11. many nations … joined to the Lord in that day—The result of the Jews' exile in Babylon was that, at their subsequent return, through the diffusion of knowledge of their religion, many Gentiles became proselytes, worshipping in the court of the Gentiles (1Ki 8:41). Cyrus, Darius, Alexander, Ptolemy Philadelphus, Augustus, and Tiberius, paid respect to the temple by sending offerings [Grotius]. But all this is but a shadow of the future conversion of the Gentiles which shall result from Jehovah dwelling in Jerusalem (Ps 102:15, 16; Php 2:10, 11).
sent me unto thee—"unto thee" is here added to the same formula (Zec 2:9). Zion first shall "know (generally) that Jehovah of hosts hath sent" Messiah, by the judgments inflicted by Him on her foes. Subsequently, she shall know experimentally the particular sending of Messiah unto her. Jehovah here says, "I will dwell," and then that Jehovah of hosts sent Him; therefore Jehovah the Sender and Jehovah the Sent must be One.
And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
12. Judah his portion in the holy land—Lest the joining of the Gentile "nations to Jehovah" (Zec 2:11) should lead the Jews to fear that their peculiar relation to Him (De 4:20; 9:29; 32:9) as "His inheritance" should cease, this verse is added to assure them of His making them so hereafter "again."
choose Jerusalem again—The course of God's grace was interrupted for a time, but His covenant was not set aside (Ro 11:28, 29); the election was once for all, and therefore shall hold good for ever.
Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
13. Be silent, O all flesh—(Hab 2:20). "Let all in silent awe and reverence await the Lord's coming interposition in behalf of His people!" The address is both to the Gentile foes, who prided themselves on their power as if irresistible, and to the unbelieving Jews, who distrusted God's promises as incredible. Three reasons why they must be silent are implied: (1) they are but "flesh," weak and ignorant; (2) He is Jehovah, all-wise and all-powerful; (3) He is already "raised up out of His place," and who can stand before Him? [Pembellus], (Ps 76:8, 9).
he is raised up out of his holy habitation—that is, out of heaven (De 26:15; 2Ch 30:27; Isa 63:15), to judge and avenge His people (Isa 26:21); or, "out of His holy" temple, contemptible and incomplete as it looked then when Zechariah urged them to rebuild it [Calvin]. But the call to all to "be silent" is rather when God has come forth from heaven where so long He has dwelt unseen, and is about to inflict vengeance on the foe, before taking up His dwelling in Zion and the temple. However, Ps 50:1, 2 ("Out of Zion"), Ps 50:3 (compare Hab 2:3), Ps 50:4, favors Calvin's view. God is now "silent" while the Gentile foe speaks arrogance against His people; but "our God shall come and no longer keep silence"; then in turn must all flesh "be silent" before Him.