Zechariah 12:10
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 12:10. And I will pour, &c. — God’s signal interposition in behalf of Judah and Jerusalem, after their future restoration, having been foretold, the prophet proceeds to foretel their conversion to Christianity. But though the prophet speaks of this after he has foretold their restoration, it does not follow that it shall take place after that event. It is certainly much more probable that they will first be brought to repentance for the sin of rejecting and crucifying their Messiah, and to believe in him with their heart unto righteousness, and then that God will bestow upon them that great mercy of re-establishing them in the possession of Canaan: see note on Zechariah 12:2. “The Jews had stumbled and fallen at the stone of stumbling and rock of offence, the Messiah, in his humble appearance, as Isaiah foretold. That no one might be surprised at this sudden change of their affairs, [namely, their restoration to their own land, and their prosperity therein,] Zechariah tells us, they should themselves be first changed, and repent heartily of that sin which had been the cause of their fall, for God should pour out on them the spirit of grace and supplication, that they might look with compunction of heart on him whom they had pierced; and he should, by his Spirit, improve those good dispositions into a thorough conviction of his being the Messiah, whom they had rejected: for this they should weep bitterly, Zechariah 12:11, and make earnest supplications till received again into his grace and favour. This done, it follows, Zechariah 13:1, In that day shall a fountain be opened, &c. Now who were they whose sin and uncleanness were washed away, but the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the same who had sinned, and mourned, and repented, and were therefore pardoned? What did they mourn for, but for him whom they had pierced, and whose death they had bewailed with all the solemnities of true mourners? It was then the act and sin of the house of David, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that they pierced and slew him whom they now looked upon; for which their land was treated as polluted, and removed out of God’s sight into captivity, not to be restored to them till their sin was remitted upon their true repentance. Thus much is evident from the context:” see Chandler’s Defence, and Dodd.

But though this passage may chiefly relate to the future and general conversion of the Jews to the Christian faith, Which St. Paul calls life from the dead, and therefore will not receive its full accomplishment till that event takes place; yet it may also be understood of some other prior conversions of the Jewish people, and particularly of those of the many thousands brought to repentance by the preaching of John the Baptist, of Christ, and his apostles. For it appears from the accounts we have in the New Testament, that though the rulers and leading men among the Jews were not converted in that age of the Christian Church, yet a vast number of the people were. So that this prophecy has, in some degree at least, been already fulfilled, and the spirit of grace and supplication hath been poured out in a measure, if not upon the house of David, yet upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the expression, They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, (the words being spoken by God,) is implied, that in the piercing of Christ, God himself, figuratively speaking, was pierced through the wounds of his beloved Son, he being infinitely dear to his heavenly Father, and his cause the cause of God. This passage is undoubtedly cited in St. John’s gospel, John 19:37. Οψονται εις ον εξεκεντησαν, They shall look on him whom they have pierced. For although the present Hebrew text is, הבישׂו אלי, They shall look unto me, between forty and fifty MSS. are produced which read אלוו, unto him, with the concurrence of other authorities. They shall mourn for him — They shall heartily lament the crucifying of the Lord Jesus, not only as the sinful, cruel act of their fathers, but as that in which their sins had a great share. As one mourneth for his only son — With an unfeigned and real, a great and long-continued, a deep and lasting sorrow, such as is the sorrow of a father on the death of an only son: they shall retain it inwardly, and express it outwardly, as in the funeral mournings on such occasions. And shall be in bitterness for him — True repentance will bitterly lament the sins that brought sorrows and pain upon the Son of God.

12:9-14 The day here spoken of, is the day of Jerusalem's defence and deliverance, that glorious day when God will appear for the salvation of his people. In Christ's first coming he bruised the serpent's head, and broke all the powers of darkness that fought against God's kingdom among men. In his second coming he will complete their destruction, when he shall put down all opposing rule, principality, and power; and death itself shall be swallowed up in that victory. The Holy Spirit is gracious and merciful, and is the Author of all grace or holiness. He, also, is the Spirit of supplications, and shows men their ignorance, want, guilt, misery, and danger. At the time here foretold, the Jews will know who the crucified Jesus was; then they shall look by faith to him, and mourn with the deepest sorrow, not only in public, but in private, even each one separately. There is a holy mourning, the effect of the pouring out of the Spirit; a mourning for sin, which quickens faith in Christ, and qualifies for joy in God. This mourning is a fruit of the Spirit of grace, a proof of a work of grace in the soul, and of the Spirit of supplications. It is fulfilled in all who sorrow for sin after a godly sort; they look to Christ crucified, and mourn for him. Looking by faith upon the cross of Christ will cause us to mourn for sin after a godly sort.And I will pour - As He promised by Joel, "I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh" (Joel 2:28. See vol. i. pp. 193, 194), largely, abundantly, "upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem," all, highest and lowest, from first to last, the "Spirit of grace and supplication," that is, the "Holy Spirit" which conveyeth "grace," as "the Spirit of wisdom and understanding" Isaiah 11:2 is "the Spirit" infusing "wisdom and understanding," and the "Spirit of counsel and might" is that same Spirit, imparting the gift "of counsel" to see what is to be done and "of might" to do it, and the Spirit "of the knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" is that same "Spirit," infusing loving acquaintance with God, with awe at His infinite Majesty. So "the Spirit of grace and supplication," is that same Spirit, infusing grace and bringing into a state of favor with God, and a "Spirit of supplication" is that Spirit, calling out of the inmost soul the cry for a yet larger measure of the grace already given. Paul speaks of "the love of God poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" Romans 5:5; and of "insulting the Spirit of grace" , rudely repulsing the Spirit, who giveth grace. Osorius: "When God Himself says, 'I will pour out,' He sets forth the greatness of His bountifulness whereby He bestoweth all things."

And they shall look - with trustful hope and longing. Cyril: "When they had nailed the Divine Shrine to the Wood, they who had crucified Him, stood around, impiously mocking. But when He had laid down His life for us, "the centurion and they that were with him, watching Jesus, seeing the earthquake and those things which were done, feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God" Matthew 27:54. As it ever is with sin, compunction did not come till the sin was over: till then, it was overlaid; else the sin could not be done. At the first conversion, the three thousand "were pricked 'in the heart.' "when told that He "whom they had taken and with wicked hands had crucified and slain, is Lord and Christ" Acts 2:23, Acts 2:36. This awoke the first penitence of him who became Paul. "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" This has been the center of Christian devotion ever since, the security against passion, the impulse to self-denial, the parent of zeal for souls, the incentive to love; this has struck the rock, that it gushed forth in tears of penitence: this is the strength and vigor of hatred of sin, to look to Him whom our sins pierced, "who" Paul says, "loved me and gave Himself for me." Osorius: "We all lifted Him up upon the Cross; we transfixed with the nails His hands and feet; we pierced His Side with the spear. For if man had not sinned, the Son of God would have endured no torment."

And they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for an only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for a first-born - We feel most sensibly the sorrows of this life, passing as they are; and of these, the loss of an only son is a proverbial sorrow. "O daughter of My people, gird thee with sackcloth and wallow thyself in ashes," God says; "make thee the mourning of an only son, Most bitter lamentation" Jeremiah 6:26. "I will make it as the mourning of an only son" Amos 8:10. The dead man carried out, "the only son of his mother and she was a widow," is recorded as having touched the heart of Jesus. Alb.: "And our Lord, to the letter, was the Only-Begotten of His Father and His mother." He was "the first-begotten of every creature" Colossians 1:15, and "we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" John 1:14. This mourning for Him whom our sins pierced and nailed to the tree, is continued, week by week, by the pious, on the day of the week, when He suffered for us, or in the perpetual memorial of His Precious Death in the Holy Eucharist, and especially in Passion-Tide. God sends forth anew "the Spirit of grace and supplication," and the faithful mourn, because of their share in His Death. The prophecy had a rich and copious fulfillment in that first conversion in the first Pentecost; a larger fulfillment awaits it in the end, when, after the destruction of antichrist, "all Israel shall" be converted and "be saved." Romans 11:26.

There is yet a more awful fulfillment; when "He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they which pierced Him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him" Revelation 1:7. But meanwhile it is fulfilled in every solid conversion of Jew pagan or careless Christian, as well as in the devotion of the pious. Zechariah has concentrated in few words the tenderest devotion of the Gospel, "They shall look on Me whom they pierced." Lap.: "Zechariah teaches that among the various feelings which we can elicit from the meditation on the Passion of Christ, as admiration, love, gratitude, compunction, fear, penitence, imitation, patience, joy, hope, the feeling of compassion stands eminent, and that it is this, which we especially owe to Christ suffering for us. For who would not in his inmost self grieve with Christ, innocent and holy, yea the Only Begotten Son of God, when he sees Him nailed to the Cross and enduring so lovingly for him sufferings so manifold and so great? Who would not groan out commiseration, and melt into tears? Truly says Bonaventure in his 'goad of divine love:' 'What can be more fruitful, what sweeter than, with the whole heart, to suffer with that most bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ? '"

10. Future conversion of the Jews is to flow from an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Jer 31:9, 31-34; Eze 39:29).

spirit of grace … supplications—"spirit" is here not the spirit produced, but THE Holy Spirit producing a "gracious" disposition, and inclination for "supplications." Calvin explains "spirit of grace" as the grace of God itself (whereby He "pours" out His bowels of mercy), "conjoined with the sense of it in man's heart." The "spirit of supplications" is the mercury whose rise or fall is an unerring test of the state of the Church [Moore]. In Hebrew, "grace" and "supplications" are kindred terms; translate, therefore, "gracious supplications." The plural implies suppliant prayers "without ceasing." Herein not merely external help against the foe, as before, but internal grace is promised subsequently.

look upon me—with profoundly earnest regard, as the Messiah whom they so long denied.

pierced—implying Messiah's humanity: as "I will pour … spirit" implies His divinity.

look … mourn—True repentance arises from the sight by faith of the crucified Saviour. It is the tear that drops from the eye of faith looking on Him. Terror only produces remorse. The true penitent weeps over his sins in love to Him who in love has suffered for them.

me … him—The change of person is due to Jehovah-Messiah speaking in His own person first, then the prophet speaking of Him. The Jews, to avoid the conclusion that He whom they have "pierced" is Jehovah-Messiah, who says, "I will pour out … spirit," altered "me" into "him," and represent the "pierced" one to be Messiah Ben (son of) Joseph, who was to suffer in the battle with Cog, before Messiah Ben David should come to reign. But Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic oppose this; and the ancient Jews interpreted it of Messiah. Ps 22:16 also refers to His being "pierced." So Joh 19:37; Re 1:7. The actual piercing of His side was the culminating point of all their insulting treatment of Him. The act of the Roman soldier who pierced Him was their act (Mt 27:25), and is so accounted here in Zechariah. The Hebrew word is always used of a literal piercing (so Zec 13:3); not of a metaphorical piercing, "insulted," as Maurer and other Rationalists (from the Septuagint) represent.

as one mourneth for … son—(Jer 6:26; Am 8:10). A proverbial phrase peculiarly forcible among the Jews, who felt childlessness as a curse and dishonor. Applied with peculiar propriety to mourning for Messiah, "the first-born among many brethren" (Ro 8:29).

And I; God the Father, so Acts 2:17,18 Isa 44:3.

Will pour, in plentiful measures, as a plentiful rain is poured forth on a thirsty ground: this was fulfilled on Christ’s exaltation, when he received gifts for men, and, being glorified, gave the Spirit, sent the Comforter to his disciples and believers; this is daily performed to the children of God, and will be continually performed till we all are made perfect, and are brought to be with Christ for ever.

Upon the house of David; on some of that royal family; or, typically considered, it is the whole family of Christ, his house, who was the seed of David, and who is called David their king, Ezekiel 37:24 Hosea 3:5. Upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; literally understood it was fulfilled extraordinarily, Acts 2:4,5; and, no doubt, in the ordinary manner to many of whom no mention is made: mystically, the inhabitants of Jerusalem are all the members of Christ, all believers of all ages.

The Spirit of grace; which is the fountain of all graces in us, and which makes us lovely in the eye of our God; grace to purify us and to beautify us, that God may delight in us.

And of supplications, or prayer, which is an early, inseparable fruit of the Spirit of grace: by the Spirit we cry, Abba, Father, and are helped to perform this duty, Romans 8:26.

They, all those who have received this Spirit, shall look upon me, with an eye of faith, and turn to Christ, love, obey, and wait for him.

Whom they have pierced: every one of us by our sins pierced him, but many of the Jews nailed him to the cross, and actually murdered the Lord of life. This, as foretold, so was very punctually fulfilled, and recorded in the account of his death given by John, John 19:34,35,37; this hath then a particular respect to the Jews, though not confined to them.

They shall mourn for him; grieve, and heartily lament the crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ, not only as the sinful, cruel act of their fathers, but as that in which their sins had a great share.

As one mourneth for his only son; with a very great and deep, with a long and continued sorrow, with an unfeigned and real sorrow, such as is the sorrow of a father in the death of an only son; they shall retain it inwardly, and express it outwardly, as in the funeral mournings on such occasions.

Shall be in bitterness for him: this speaks the inwardest affection of the mourner; there may be tears in some cases without grief or bitterness in the spirit, but here both are joined; true repentance will bitterly lament the sins which brought sorrows and shame upon our Lord.

As one that is in bitterness for his first-born: this bitterness is compared to the grief of one who loseth his first-born, to confirm and illustrate what he had just before spoken of Christians mourning for Christ.

And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem,.... The Jews that belong to the family of Christ, and to the heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven:

the Spirit of grace and of supplications; by which is meant the Holy Spirit of God, who is called the "Spirit of grace"; not merely because he is good and gracious, and loving to his people, and is of grace given unto them; but because he is the author of all grace in them; of gracious convictions, and spiritual illuminations; of quickening, regenerating, converting, and sanctifying grace; and of all particular graces, as faith, hope, love, fear, repentance, humility, joy, peace, meekness, patience, longsuffering, self-denial, &c.; as well as because he is the revealer, applier, and witnesser of all the blessings of grace unto them: and he is called the "Spirit of supplications"; because he indites the prayers of his people, shows them their wants, and stirs them up to pray; enlarges their hearts, supplies them with arguments, and puts words into their mouths; gives faith, fervency, and freedom, and encourages to come to God as their Father, and makes intercession for them, according to the will of God: pouring it upon them denotes the abundance and freeness of his grace; see Isaiah 44:3,

and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced; by nailing him to the tree at his crucifixion; and especially by piercing his side with a spear; which, though not personally done by them, yet by their ancestors, at least through their instigation and request; and besides, as he was pierced and wounded for their sins, so by them: and now, being enlightened and convicted by the Spirit of God, they shall look to him by faith for the pardon of their sins, through his blood; for the justification of their persons by his righteousness; and for eternal life and salvation through him. We Christians can have no doubt upon us that this passage belongs to Christ, when it is observed, upon one of the soldiers piercing the side of Jesus with a spear, it is said, "these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled; they shall look on him whom they have pierced"; and it seems also to be referred to in Revelation 1:7 yea, the Jews themselves, some of them, acknowledge it is to be understood of the Messiah. In the Talmud (f), mention being made of the mourning after spoken of, it is asked, what this mourning was made for? and it is replied, R. Dusa and the Rabbins are divided about it: one says, for Messiah ben Joseph, who shall be slain; and another says, for the evil imagination, that shall be slain; it must be granted to him that says, for Messiah the son of Joseph that shall be slain; as it is written, "and they shall look upon whom they have pierced, and mourn", &c. for, for the other, why should they mourn? hence Jarchi and Kimchi on the place say, our Rabbins interpret this of Messiah the son of Joseph, who shall be slain; and the note of Aben Ezra is, all the nations shall look unto me, to see what I will do to those who have pierced Messiah the son of Joseph. Grotius observes, that Hadarsan on Genesis 28:10 understands it of Messiah the son of David. The Jews observing some prophecies speaking of the Messiah in a state of humiliation, and others of him in an exalted state, have coined this notion of two Messiahs, which are easily reconciled without it. The Messiah here prophesied of appears to be both God and man; a divine Person called Jehovah, who is all along speaking in the context, and in the text itself; for none else could pour out the spirit of grace and supplication; and yet he must be man, to be pierced; and the same is spoken of, that would do the one, and suffer the other; and therefore must be the or God-man in one person. As to what a Jewish writer (g) objects, that this was spoken of one that was pierced in war, as appears from the context; and that if the same person that is pierced is to be looked to, then it would have been said, "and mourn for me, and be in bitterness for me"; it may be replied, that this prophecy does not speak of the piercing this person at the time when the above wars shall be; but of the Jews mourning for him at the time of their conversion, who had been pierced by them, that is, by their ancestors, hundreds of years ago; which now they will with contrition remember, they having assented to it, and commended it as a right action; and as for the change from the first person to the third, this is not at all unusual in Scripture:

and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son; or, "for this" (h); that is, piercing him; for sin committed against him; because of their rejection of him, their hardness of heart, and unbelief with respect to him; and on account of their many sins, which were the occasion of his being pierced; which mourning will arise from, and be increased by, a spiritual sight of him, a sense of his love to them, and a view of benefits by him. Evangelical repentance springs from faith, and is accompanied with it; and this godly sorrow is like that which is expressed for an only son; see Amos 8:10 and indeed Christ is the only begotten of the Father, as well as the firstborn among many brethren, as follows:

and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn; sin is a bitter thing, and makes work for bitter repentance.

(f) T. Bab. Succah, fol. 52. 1.((g) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. c. 36. p. 309. (h) "super hoc", Junius & Tremellius; "propter hoc", Gussetius; "super illo", Piscator, Cocceius.

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of {e} grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have {f} pierced, and they shall mourn for {g} him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

(e) They will have the feeling of my grace by faith, and know that I have compassion on them.

(f) That is, whom they have continually vexed with their obstinacy, and grieved my Spirit. In Joh 19:37 it is referred to Christ's body, whereas here it is referred to the Spirit of God.

(g) They will turn to God by true repentance, whom before they had so grievously offended by their ingratitude.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. I will pour] The word denotes the abundance of the effusion. Comp. Joel 2:28 [Heb., 3:1]. “Quod verbum doni largitatem et copiam indicat.” Rosenm.

the house of David, &c.] Because they, restored to their proper place and dignity (Zechariah 12:8), are as it were the head of the nation. But from the head the holy unction shall flow to the whole body (“the land,” Zechariah 12:12). Comp. Psalm 133:2.

the spirit of grace and of supplications] i.e. the Spirit which conveys grace and calls forth supplications. The word “grace” is not here used in its primary sense of the favour of God towards man, but in that secondary sense, with which readers of the N. T. are familiar, of the effects of that favour in man, by the gifts and influences of the Holy Spirit. See John 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:10; and for the expression, “the Spirit of grace,” Hebrews 10:29, where, as Dean Alford shews, the second member of the “alternative very neatly put by Anselm; Spiritui sancto gratis dato, vel gratiam dante,” is to be accepted.

upon me whom they have pierced] unto me, R. V. The Speaker is Almighty God. The Jews had pierced Him metaphorically by their rebellion and ingratitude throughout their history. They pierced Him, literally and as the crowning act of their contumacy, in the Person of His Son upon the Cross, John 19:37. Comp. Revelation 1:7. “Confixerant ergo Deum Judæi quum mærore afficerent ejus Spiritum. Sed Christus etiam secundum carnem ab illis transfixus fuit. Et hoc intelligit Joannes, visibili isto symbolo Deum palam fecisse non se tantum olim fuisse indigne provocatum a Judæis; sed in persona unigeniti Filii sui tandem cumulum fuisse additum scelestæ impietati, quod ne Christi quidem lateri pepercerint.” Calv. There is no sufficient ground for adopting with Ewald and others the reading, upon him.

his only son] Comp. Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10.

10–14. The penitent Sorrow of the People for Sin

The conversion (Zechariah 12:10-14) and moral reformation (Zechariah 13:1-6) of the people shall accompany their deliverance from their enemies (Zechariah 12:1-9). On the royal house and the royal city first God will pour out His Spirit, and as the consequence they shall regard Him, whom they have pierced and wounded by their sins, with the deepest sorrow and bitterness of soul, Zechariah 12:10. The mourning in Jerusalem shall be such as to recall that which was occasioned by the great national calamity of the death of Josiah in battle, Zechariah 12:11. But the outpouring of the Spirit and the penitent grief called forth by it shall extend to the whole nation, so that every family throughout the land, the sexes apart, shall form itself into a separate group of mourners, Zechariah 12:12-14.

Verses 10-14. - § 2. There shall ensue an outpouring of God's Spirit upon Israel, which shall produce a great national repentance. Verse 10. - I will pour. The word implies abundance (comp. Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28). The house of David, etc. The leaders and the people alike, all orders and degrees in the theocracy. Jerusalem is named as the capital and representative of the nation. The spirit of grace and of supplications. The spirit which bestows grace and leads to prayer. "Grace" here means the effects produced in man by God's favour, that which makes the recipient pleasing to God and delighting in his commandments (Hebrews 10:29). They shall look upon me whom they have pierced. The Speaker is Jehovah. To "look upon or unto" implies trust, longing, and reverence (comp. Numbers 21:9; 2 Kings 3:14; Psalm 34:5; Isaiah 22:11). We may say generally that the clause intimates that the people, who had grieved and offended God by their sins and ingratitude, should repent and turn to him in faith. But there was a literal fulfilment of this piercing, i.e. slaying (Zechariah 13:3; Lamentations 4:9), when the Jews crucified the Messiah, him who was God and Man, and of whom, as a result of the hypostatic union, the properties of one nature are often predicated of the other. Thus St. Paul says that the Jews crucified "the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8), and bids the Ephesian elders "feed the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28; for the reading Θεοῦ, see the critics). St. John (John 19:37) refers to these words of Zechariah as a prophecy of the Crucifixion (camp. Revelation 1:7). The LXX. renders, Ἐπιβλέψονται πρὸς μὲ ἀνθ ῶν κατωχρήσαντο, "They shall look to me because they insulted," either reading the last verb differently, or understanding it figuratively in the sense of assailing with cutting words; but there is no doubt about the true reading and interpretation. Vulgate, Aspicient ad me quem confixerunt. "Me" has been altered in some manuscripts into "him:" but this is an evident gloss received into the text for controversial purposes, or to obviate the supposed impropriety of representing Jehovah as slain by the impious. That St. John seems to sanction this reading is of no critical importance, as he is merely referring to the prophecy historically, and does not profess to give the very wording of the prophet. A suffering Messiah was not an unknown idea in Zechariah's time. He has already spoken of the Shepherd as despised and ill-treated, and a little further on (Zechariah 13:7) he intimates that he is stricken with the sword. The prophecies of Isaiah had familiarized him with the same notion (Isaiah 53, etc.). And when he represents Jehovah as saying, "Me whom they pierced," it is not merely that in killing his messenger and representative they may be said to have killed him, but the prophet, by inspiration, acknowledges the two natures in the one Person of Messiah, even as Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6) called him the "Mighty God," and the psalmists often speak to the same effect (Psalm 2:7; Psalm 45:6, 7; Psalm 110:1, etc.; comp. Micah 5:2). The "looking to" the stricken Messiah began when they who saw that woeful sight smote their breasts (Luke 23:48); it was carried on by the preaching of the apostles; it shall continue till all Israel is converted; it is re-enacted whenever penitent sinners turn to him whom they have crucified by their sins. Critics have supposed that the person whose murder is deplored is Isaiah, or Urijah, or Jeremiah; but none of these fulfill the prediction in the text. They shall mourn for him. There is a change of persons here. Jehovah speaks of the Messiah as distinct in Person from himself. As one mourneth for his only son... for his firstborn. The depth and poignancy of this mourning are expressed by a double comparison, the grief felt at the loss of an only son, and of the firstborn. Among the Hebrews the preservation of the family was deemed of vast importance, and its extinction regarded as a punishment and a curse, so that the death of an only son would be the heaviest blow that could happen (see Isaiah 47:9; Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10). Peculiar privileges belonged to the firstborn, and his loss would be estimated accordingly (see Genesis 49:3; Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 21:17; Micah 6:7). The mention of "piercing," just above, seems to connect the passage with the Passover solemnities and the destruction of the firstborn of the Egyptians (see Expositor, vol. 6. p. 131, etc.). Zechariah 12:10But the Lord will do still more than this for His people. He will renew it by pouring out His spirit of grace upon it, so that it will come to the knowledge of the guilt it has incurred by the rejection of the Saviour, and will bitterly repent of its sin. Zechariah 12:10. "And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they will look upon me, whom they have pierced, and will mourn over him like the mourning over an only one, and will grieve bitterly over him, as one grieves bitterly over the first-born." This new promise is simply attached to the previous verse by ו consec. (ושׁפכתּי). Through this mode of attachment such connections as that suggested by Kliefoth, "But such glory can only be enjoyed by rebellious Israel when it is converted, and acknowledges and bewails Him whom it has rejected," are precluded, as at variance with the text. There is not a word in the text about conversion as the condition on which the glory set before them in Zechariah 12:3-9 was to be obtained; on the contrary, conversion is represented as one fruit of the outpouring of the spirit of prayer upon the nation; and this outpouring of the Spirit is introduced by ושׁפכתּי, which corresponds to אבקּשׁ in Zechariah 12:9, as a new feature in the salvation, to be added to the promise of the destruction of the nations which fight against Jerusalem. The fact that only the inhabitants of Jerusalem are named, and not those of Judah also, is explained correctly by the commentators from the custom of regarding the capital as the representative of the whole nation. And it follows eo ipso from this, that in Zechariah 12:8 also the expression "inhabitants of Jerusalem" is simply an individualizing epithet for the whole of the covenant nation. But just as in Zechariah 12:8 the house of David is mentioned emphatically along with these was the princely family and representative of the ruling class, so is it also in Zechariah 12:10, for the purpose of expressing the thought that the same salvation is to be enjoyed by the whole nation, in all its ranks, from the first to the last. The outpouring of the Spirit points back to Joel 3:1., except that there the Spirit of Jehovah generally is spoken of, whereas here it is simply the spirit of grace and of supplication. Chēn does not mean "prayer," nor emotion, or goodness, or love (Hitzig, Ewald), but simply grace or favour; and here, as in Zechariah 4:7, the grace of God; not indeed in its objectivity, but as a principle at work in the human mind. The spirit of grace is the spirit which produces in the mind of man the experience of the grace of God. But this experience begets in the soul of sinful man the knowledge of sin and guilt, and prayer for the forgiveness of sin, i.e., supplication; and this awakens sorrow and repentance. הבּיטוּ אלי, they look upon me. Hibbı̄t, used of bodily sight as well as spiritual (cf. Numbers 21:9). The suffix in אלי (to me) refers to the speaker. This is Jehovah, according to Zechariah 12:1, the creator of the heaven and the earth. את־אשׁר דּקרוּ, not "Him whom they pierced," but simply "whom they pierced." את, that is to say, is not governed by hibbı̄tū as a second object, but simply refers to אלי, to me, "whom they pierced," את־אשׁר is chosen here, as in Jeremiah 38:9, in the place of the simple אשׁר, to mark אשׁר more clearly as an accusative, since the simple אשׁר might also be rendered "who pierced (me):" cf. Ges. 123, 2, Not. 1. Dâqar does not mean to ridicule, or scoff at, but only to pierce, thrust through, and to slay by any kind of death whatever (cf. Lamentations 4:9). And the context shows that here it signifies to put to death. With reference to the explanation proposed by Calvin, "whom they have harassed with insults," Hitzig has very properly observed: "If it were nothing more than this, wherefore such lamentation over him, which, according to the use of ספד, with על governing the person, and from the similes employed, is to be regarded as a lamentation for the dead?" It is true that we have not to think of a slaying of Jehovah, the creator of the heaven and the earth, but simply of the slaying of the Maleach Jehovah, who, being of the same essence with Jehovah, became man in the person of Jesus Christ. As Zechariah repeatedly represents the coming of the Messiah as a coming of Jehovah in His Maleach to His people, he could, according to this view, also describe the slaying of the Maleach as the slaying of Jehovah. And Israel having come to the knowledge of its sin, will bitterly bewail this deed. עליו does not mean thereat, i.e., at the crime, but is used personally, over him whom they have pierced. Thus the transition from the first person (אלי) to the third (עליו) points to the fact that the person slain, although essentially one with Jehovah, is personally distinct from the Supreme God. The lamentation for the only son (yâshı̄d: cf. Amos 8:10) and for the first-born is the deepest and bitterest death-wail. The inf. abs. hâmēr, which is used in the place of the finite verb, signifies making bitter, to which mispēd is to be supplied from the previous sentence (cf. מספּד תּמרוּרים, Jeremiah 6:26).

The historical fulfilment of this prophecy commenced with the crucifixion of the Son of God, who had come in the flesh. The words הבּיטוּ אלי את־אשׁר דּקרוּ are quoted in the Gospel of John (John 19:37), according to the Greek rendering ὄψονται εἰς ὅν ἐξεκέντησαν, which probably emanated not from the lxx, but from Aquila, or Theodotion, or Symmachus, as having been fulfilled in Christ, by the fact that a soldier pierced His side with a lance as He was hanging upon the cross (vid., John 19:34). If we compare this quotation with the fact mentioned in John 19:36, that they did not break any of His bones, there can be no doubt that John quotes this passage with distinct allusion to this special circumstance; only we must not infer from this, that the evangelist regarded the meaning of the prophecy as exhausted by this allusion. The piercing with the spear is simply looked upon by him as the climax of all the mortal sufferings of Christ; and even with Zechariah the piercing is simply an individualizing expression for putting to death, the instrument used and the kind of death being of very subordinate importance. This is evident from a comparison of our verse with Zechariah 13:7, where the sword is mentioned as the instrument employed, whereas dâqar points rather to a spear. What we have observed respecting the fulfilment of Zechariah 9:9 by the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, also applies to this special fulfilment, viz., that the so to speak literal fulfilment in the outward circumstances only served to make the internal concatenation of the prophecy with its historical realization so clear, that even unbelievers could not successfully deny it. Luke (Luke 23:48) indicates the commencement of the fulfilment of the looking at the slain one by these words: "And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts." (For the smiting of the breasts, comp. Isaiah 32:12, ספד על שׁדים.) "The crowds, who had just before been crying out, Crucify him, here smite upon their breasts, being overpowered with the proofs of the superhuman exaltation of Jesus, and lament over the crucified one, and over their own guilt" (Hengst.). The true and full commencement of the fulfilment, however, shows itself in the success which attended the preaching of Peter on the first day of Pentecost, - namely, in the fact that three thousand were pricked in their heart with penitential sorrow on account of the crucifixion of their Saviour, and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:37-41), and in the further results which followed the preaching of the apostles for the conversion of Israel (Acts 3-4). The fulfilment has continued with less striking results through the whole period of the Christian church, in conversions from among the Jews; and it will not terminate till the remnant of Israel shall turn as a people to Jesus the Messiah, whom its fathers crucified. On the other hand, those who continue obstinately in unbelief will see Him at last when He returns in the clouds of heaven, and shriek with despair (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30).

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