Zechariah 10:6
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 on them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
10:6-12 Here are precious promises to the people of God, which look to the state of the Jews, and even to the latter days of the church. Preaching the gospel is God's call for souls to come to Jesus Christ. Those whom Christ redeemed by his blood, God will gather by his grace. Difficulties shall be got over easily, and effectually, as those in the way of the deliverance out of Egypt. God himself will be their strength, and their song. When we resist, and so overcome our spiritual enemies, then our hearts shall rejoice. If God strengthen us, we must bestir ourselves in all the duties of the Christian life, must be active in the work of God; and we must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.I will bring them again to place them - Zechariah seems to have condensed into one word two of Jeremiah, "I will bring them again" unto this place, and "I will cause them to dwell" safely Jeremiah 32:37. Kimchi. It is not a confusion of forms, but the blending of two words into one. So also Ibn Ezra): "The two ideas are here both implied, he will cause them to return to their land, and will cause them to dwell there in peace and security."

For I will have mercy upon them - Dionysius: "For the goodness and lovingkindness of God, not any merits of our's, is the first and principal cause of our whole salvation and grace. Therefore the Psalmist says, 'neither did their own arm save them; but Thy right hand and Thine arm, and the light of Thy countenance, because Thou hadst a favor unto them' Psalm 44:3."

And they shall be, as though I had not cast them off - (Etymologically, "loathed," "cast off as a thing abhorrent" .) God is ever "the God of the present." He does not half-forgive. "Their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more" Hebrews 8:12. God casts off the sinner, as being what he is, a thing abhorrent, as penitence confesses of itself that it is "a dead dog, a loathsome worm, a putrid corpse." God will not clothe with a righteousness, which He does not impart. He restores to the penitent all his lost graces, as though he had never forfeited them, and cumulates them with the fresh grace whereby He converts him (see vol. i. on Joel 2:25, pp. 192, 193). It is an entire re-creation. "They shall be, as though I had not cast them off." "I will settle you as in your old estates, and will do good, more than at your beginnings, and ye shall know that I am the Lord" Ezekiel 36:11.

For I am the Lord their God, and will hear them - As He says by Malchi, "I am the Lord; I change not" Malachi 3:6. His unchangeableness belongs to His Being; "I Am; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed;" and by Hosea, "The Lord of hosts, The Lord is His memorial, therefore turn thou to thy God" (Hosea 12:5-6, (6, 7 Heb.) See vol. i. pp. 119, 120). Because God was "their God," and as surely as He was "their God," He would hear them. His Being was the pledge of His hearing. "I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them" Isaiah 41:17.

6. Judah … Joseph—that is, the ten tribes. The distinct mention of both Judah and Israel shows that there is yet a more complete restoration than that from Babylon, when Judah alone and a few Israelites from the other tribes returned. The Maccabean deliverance is here connected with it, just as the painter groups on the same canvas objects in the foreground and hills far distant; or as the comparatively near planet and the remote fixed star are seen together in the same firmament. Prophecy ever hastens to the glorious final consummation under Messiah.

bring them again to place them—namely, securely in their own land. The Hebrew verb is compounded of two, "I will bring again," and "I will place them" (Jer 32:37). Maurer, from a different form, translates, "I will make them to dwell."

I will strengthen the house of Judah: God will give both courage and strength, courage to attempt, and also strength to go through and finish the attempt; in this they of the house of Judah were famous in the wars of the Jews against the Seleucidae, in which wars they had wonderful difficulties, and as wonderful courage and success.

I will save the house of Joseph; the remnant of the kingdom of Israel, the residue of the ten tribes, called the house of Joseph, for that Ephraim and Manasseh, part of that kingdom, were the sons of Joseph.

I will bring them again, both Judah and Joseph, out of Babylonish captivity, to place them; to settle them in their own land, and in their own cities: how far this doth warrant the expectation of a universal gathering of this people I do not undertake to determine.

I have mercy upon them; I pity them in what they have already suffered, and my mercy is not clean gone from them; I have yet rich mercy for them, and will show it when they have built city and temple, and restored religion.

They shall be as though I had not cast them off; in every respect they shall so multiply, thrive, and prosper, that though they remember it with grief and shame, yet the generations to come shall discern no sad marks of a rejected people.

I am the Lord their God, in a perpetual covenant, which I never can nor will break: I am and will be their God; they should, yea shall, be my people, as Zechariah 8:8.

And will hear them: they will pray, and I will hear, for they are mine, they will seek me as their God, and I will save them as my people. And I wilt strengthen the house of Judah,.... Both with internal and external strength, so that they shall be able to stand their ground against enemies of every sort:

and I will save the house of Joseph: the ten tribes, such of them that shall be found, for all Israel shall be saved, Romans 11:26 not only temporally, but spiritually, with an everlasting salvation:

and I will bring them again to place them; there is but one word in the original text; it is composed of two words, as Kimchi observes, of "to return", and "to sit" or "dwell" (o), quietly, constantly, and at ease; and our version takes in both senses: the meaning is, that these people should be returned from the state and condition and from each of the places they are in, and be settled either in their own land, or in Gospel churches, under a Gospel ministry, enjoying Gospel ordinances, or in both:

for I have mercy upon them; which is the spring and source of all the above benefits promised, or that are after mentioned; even of the covenant and its blessings; the mission of Christ, and salvation by him; regeneration, pardon, and eternal life; hence they that had a "loammi" upon them, and were not the people of God, now will be his people; and those who had not obtained mercy shall obtain it, even those that were concluded in unbelief:

and they shall be as though I had not cast them off; or rejected them from being his people; which was done when the natural branches, the Jews, were broken off, and the Gentiles of the wild olive tree were grafted in; when their civil and church state were dissolved, and their city and temple destroyed:

for I am the Lord their God; covenant interest always remains, and is the source of all the blessings of grace, and will be of the conversion of the Jews, Romans 11:26,

and will hear them; when, the Spirit of grace and supplication being poured upon them, they shall cry unto the Lord, and look to him for salvation. The Targum is,

"and I will receive their prayer.''

(o) "et reverti et habitare faciam", Burkius.

And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the {h} 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.

(h) That is, the ten tribes, which would be united under Christ to the rest of the Church.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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.Verse 6. - House of Joseph; i.e. Israel, or the ten tribes, called Ephraim in the next verse (see note on Amos 5:6). Israel and Judah alike shall share in the contest and the victory, under the protection of God. I will bring them again to place them. This is one word in Hebrew, which may mean either "I bring them again," or "I make them dwell." The Authorized Version unwarrantably combines both significations. Septuagint, κατοικιῶ αὐτούς, "I will settle them;" Vulgate, convertam eos. It is better taken here, in contrast with "cast off" in a following clause, in the sense of "I will cause them to dwell," i.e. in safety and comfort. As though I had not cast them off. The happy restoration shall make thrum forget former troubles and the calamities of their rejection (Isaiah 43:18, 19). Will hear them (Zechariah 13:9; Isaiah 58:9). After this appeal to lay to heart the past time during which the blessing had been withheld, Haggai called upon the people in Haggai 2:18 and Haggai 2:19 to fix their eyes upon the time which was commencing with that very day. Haggai 2:18. "Direct your heart, then, from this day and onward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth (month); namely, from the day when the foundation of the temple of Jehovah was laid, direct your heart. Haggai 2:19. Is the seed still in the granary? and even to the vine, and pomegranate, and olive-tree, it has not borne: from this day forward will I bless." The twenty-fourth day of the ninth month was the day on which Haggai uttered this word of God (Haggai 2:10). Hence ומעלה in Haggai 2:18 is to be understood as denoting the direction towards the future (Itala, Vulg., and many comm.). This is evident partly from the fact, that only in that case can the repetition of שׂימוּ לבבכם in Haggai 2:18 (end), and the careful announcement of the point of time (from the twenty-fourth day, etc.), be simply and naturally explained, and partly from the fact that min hayyōm hazzeh (from this day) is not explained here, as in Haggai 2:15, by a clause pointing back to the past (like mitterem sūm in Haggai 2:15), but simply by a precise notice of the day referred to, and that in the last clause of Haggai 2:19 this day is clearly described as the commencement of a new era. For there can be no doubt whatever that in min hayyōm hazzeh in Haggai 2:19 the terminus a quo mentioned in Haggai 2:18 is resumed. But the time mentioned in Haggai 2:18, "from the day that the foundation of the temple was laid," etc., and also the contents of the first two clauses of Haggai 2:19, to the effect that there was no more seed in the granary, and that the vine, etc., had not borne, do not appear to harmonize with this. To remove the first of these difficulties, Ros., Maurer, Ewald, and others have taken למן־היּום אשׁר־יסּד as the terminus ad quem, and connected it with the foregoing terminus a quo: "observe the time," which reaches back from the present day, the twenty-fourth of the ninth month, to the day when the foundation of the temple was laid in the reign of Cyrus (Ezra 3:10). They have thus taken למן in the sense of ועד. But it is now generally admitted that this is at variance with the usage of the language; even Ewald and Gesenius acknowledge this (see Ew., Lehrbuch, 218, b, and Ges. Thes. p. 807). למן is never equivalent to עד or ועד, but invariably forms the antithesis to it (compare, for example, Judges 19:30; 2 Samuel 7:6, and Micah 7:12). Now, since lemin hayyōm cannot mean "to the time commencing with the laying of the foundation of the temple," but must mean "from the day when the foundation of the temple was laid," Hitzig and Koehler have taken למן היּום וגו as an explanatory apposition to מיּום עשׂרים וגו, and assume that through this apposition the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, is expressly designated as the day on which the foundation was laid for the temple of Jehovah. But this assumption is not only in direct contradiction to Ezra 3:10, where it is stated that the foundation of the temple was laid in the reign of Cyrus, in the second year after the return from Babylon, but also makes the prophet Haggai contradict himself in a manner which can only be poorly concealed by any quid pro quo at variance with the language, viz., (a) by identifying the words of Haggai 2:15, "when stone was laid to stone at the temple of Jehovah," which, according to their simple meaning, express the carrying on or continuance of the building, with the laying of the foundation-stone, secondly (b), by understanding the statement, "they did work at the house of Jehovah on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month" (Haggai 1:14-15), not according to its natural meaning as relating to their building upon the foundation already laid, but as signifying the removal of the rubbish and the procuring of wood and stone, that is to say, as referring to the preparations for building; and lastly (c), by explaining אשׁר יסּד וגו in Haggai 2:19 as signifying the laying of a fresh or second foundation. These assumptions are so forced, that if there were not a simpler and easier way of removing the difficulty raised, we would rather assume that there had been a corruption of the text.

But the thing is not so desperate as this. In the first place, we must pronounce the opinion that למן היּום וגו is an explanatory apposition to מיּום עשׂרים וגו an unfounded one. The position of the athnach in ומעלה furnishes no tenable proof of this. Nor can the assumption that lemin is synonymous with min be sustained. In support of the statement, "that lemin only differs from min in the greater emphasis with which it is spoken," Ewald (218, b), has merely adduced this passage, Haggai 2:18, which is supposed to exhibit this with especial clearness, but in which, as we have just shown, such an assumption yields no appropriate meaning. למן followed by עד or ועד does indeed occur in several instances in such a connection, that it appears to be used instead of the simple min. But if we look more closely at the passages (e.g., Exodus 11:7; Judges 19:30; 2 Samuel 7:6), the ל is never superfluous; and lemin is simply used in cases where the definition so introduced is not closely connected with what goes before, but is meant to be brought out as an independent assertion or additional definition, so that in all such cases the ל "has the peculiar force of a brief allusion to something not to be overlooked, a retrospective glance at the separate parts, or a rapid summary of the whole, like our 'with regard to,' 'as regards' (Lat. quoad);" and it only fails to correspond entirely to this, "from the fact that ל is only expressible in the softest manner, and indeed in our language can hardly be expressed in words at all, though it quite perceptibly yields this sense" (Ewald, 310). למקצת is also used in this sense in Daniel 1:18 instead of מקצת (Haggai 2:15), whilst in other cases (e.g., in למרחוק in 2 Samuel 7:19) it indicates the direction to a place or towards an object (Ewald, 218, b).

(Note: Koehler's objection to this explanation of lemērâchōq, viz., that with the verb dibber, the object concerning which a person is spoken to, is never introduced with the preposition ל, is groundless. "With verbs of speaking ל yields the same double meaning as אל, according to the context," i.e., it can denote the person spoken to, and the person or thing to which the speaking refers, or about which a person is speaking (cf. Genesis 21:7; Numbers 23:23; Isaiah 5:1; Micah 2:6; Jeremiah 23:9; Psalm 3:3; Psalm 11:1; Psalm 27:8; and Ewald, 217, c).)

In the verse before us, the ל before מן corresponds exactly to the German anlangend, betreffend, concerning, as to, sc. the time, from the day when the foundation of the temple was laid, and is used to give prominence to this assertion, and by the prominence given to it to preclude any close connection between the definition of the time so introduced and what goes before, and to point to the fact that the following definition contains a fresh subject of discourse. The expression שׂימוּ לבבכם, which closes the sentence commencing with למן היּום, and which would be somewhat tautological and superfluous, if the day of the laying of the foundation of the temple coincided with the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, also points to this.

What space of time it is to which Haggai gives prominence in these words, as one which they are to lay to heart, is shown in Haggai 2:19, "Is the seed still in the granary?" etc. That this question is not to be taken in the sense of a summons to proceed now with good heart to sow the summer crops, which were not sown till January, and therefore were still in the granary, as Hitzig supposes, has been pointed out by Koehler, who also correctly observes that the prophet first of all reminds his hearers of the mournful state of things in the past (not "in the present," as he says), that they may thoroughly appreciate the promise for the future. For even if the question to be answered with "no," viz., whether the corn is still in the granary, were to be referred to the present, what follows, viz., that the fruit-trees have not borne, would not suit this, since not having borne is a past thing, even if it merely related to the last year, although there is no ground for any such limitation of the words. And if in Haggai 2:19 the prophet directs the attention of his hearers to the past, we must also understand the chronological datum immediately preceding as relating to the past as well, and must assume that the words from למן היּום in Haggai 2:18 to לא נשׂא in Haggai 2:19 contain a parenthetical thought; that is to say, we must assume that the prophet, in order to set clearly before their minds the difference between the past when the building of the temple was suspended, and the future commencing with that very day, before promising the blessing of God to be enjoyed in the future, directs another look at the past, and that from the time of the laying of the foundation of the temple in the reign of Cyrus to his own time, and reminds them once more of the want of blessing which they had experienced from that time forth even to the present time. Koehler's objection to this view cannot be sustained. He says, "The Jews are to observe the time from that day forward, namely, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month (backwards); the time from the laying of the foundation of the temple in the reign of Cyrus (forwards).... Such a mode of expression seems utterly out of place." But this only affects the erroneous assumption, that the definition "from the day of the laying of the foundation of the temple" is merely a more precise explanation of the previous definition, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, and falls to the ground of itself as soon as these two definitions are separated, as the expression and the matter in hand require. The second objection - namely, that the day of the laying of the foundation of the temple in the reign of Cyrus does not suit as a terminus a quo for the commencement of the withdrawal of the divine favour, or for the infliction of a curse upon the people, inasmuch as the Jews were not punished because they laid the foundation for the house of Jehovah, but simply because they neglected the house of God, that is to say, because they desisted from the building they had already begun - is one that would have some force if an interval of at least one or more years had elapsed between the laying of the foundation of the temple and the suspension of the building. But if the work of building was interrupted immediately after the foundation had been laid, as is evident from Ezra 3:10, as compared with ch. 4, Haggai might with perfect propriety describe the whole time from the laying of the foundation of the temple in the reign of Cyrus to the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month of the second year of Darius as a time without blessing, without there being any necessity for him expressly to deduct the few weeks which elapsed between the laying of the foundation-stone and the suspension of the work of building, any more than the last three months, in which the work had been resumed again. The last three months could hardly be taken into account, because they fell for the most part in the period after the last harvest; so that if this had proved to be a bad one, the cause would be still in force. The prophet could therefore very properly inquire whether the seed was still in the granary, to which they would be obliged to answer No, because the miserable produce of the harvest was already either consumed for the supply of their daily wants, or used up for the sowing which was just ended. זרע, seed, is not what is sown, but what the sowing yields, the corn, as in Leviticus 27:30; Isaiah 23:3; Job 39:12. Megūrâh equals mammegūrâh in Joel 1:17, a barn or granary, from gūr, ἀγείρεσθαι, congregari. The following words, ועד־הגּפן וגו, are really appended to the thought contained implicite in the first clause: the corn has not borne, and even to the vine, etc., it has borne nothing. נשׂא is indefinite: it has not borne equals has borne nothing. It shall be different in future. From this day, i.e., from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, Jehovah will bless again, i.e., grant a blessing, namely, so that fruitful seasons will come again, and fields and fruit-trees bear once more. There is no necessity to supply a definite object to אברך.

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