Zechariah 13:1
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
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Zechariah 13:1. In that day — When the Lamb of God shall be offered up a sacrifice for mankind, and the gospel shall be preached, in which the glad tidings of our redemption are published. This seems to be a continuation of the prophecy begun at the ninth verse of the preceding chapter; and the meaning to be that, through the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah, the repentance and humiliation there described should be accepted of God, and followed with a full pardon and gracious communication of sanctifying grace to the penitent. There shall be a fountain opened — “The blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all sin, (1 John 1:7,) is manifestly here intended, the Jews being, upon their repentance and conversion, to be admitted to all the privileges of the Christian covenant.” Probably there may be an allusion in the words “to the one great spring at Jerusalem, (mentioned Isaiah 7:3,) which served the uses of king and people.” See Vitringa. The spouse of Christ, his church, is a spring shut up, a fountain sealed, Song of Solomon 4:12; but Christ is to sinners a fountain opened: under the law, he was as the waters of the temple for the Jews; but now his merits are opened to us Gentiles, free for all, and of easy access, and of sovereign virtue to heal. For sin and for uncleanness — The original words here used, חשׂאתand נדה, are “legal terms; the former denotes sin generally, or any transgression of the law which required atonement, and is sometimes put for the means of purification from it, Numbers 19:9-17; the latter is used for that uncleanness, or legal defilement, which secluded a man from all intercourse with God, and holy things. Now whatever efficacy the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkled on the unclean, had to purify from legal sin and defilement, the same is ascribed to the blood of Christ in the Christian dispensation, for purging the conscience of a sinner from the guilt of dead works, or moral pollution.” — Blayney. The legal washings were but shadows and types of this matchless, healing, purifying fountain, which never fails to heal all those that apply to it. It must be observed, likewise, that spiritual graces and influences, communicated by the Holy Spirit, are also compared to a fountain, Joel 3:17; and by these sinners are represented as being washed and cleansed, Ezekiel 36:25; Titus 3:5.

13:1-6 In the time mentioned at the close of the foregoing chapter, a fountain would be opened to the rulers and people of the Jews, in which to wash away their sins. Even the atoning blood of Christ, united with his sanctifying grace. It has hitherto been closed to the unbelieving nation of Israel; but when the Spirit of grace shall humble and soften their hearts, he will open it to them also. This fountain opened is the pierced side of Christ. We are all as an unclean thing. Behold a fountain opened for us to wash in, and streams flowing to us from that fountain. The blood of Christ, and God's pardoning mercy in that blood, made known in the new covenant, are a fountain always flowing, that never can be emptied. It is opened for all believers, who as the spiritual seed of Christ, are of the house of David, and, as living members of the church, are inhabitants of Jerusalem. Christ, by the power of his grace, takes away the dominion of sin, even of beloved sins. Those who are washed in the fountain opened, as they are justified, so they are sanctified. Souls are brought off from the world and the flesh, those two great idols, that they may cleave to God only. The thorough reformation which will take place on the conversion of Israel to Christ, is here foretold. False prophets shall be convinced of their sin and folly, and return to their proper employments. When convinced that we are gone out of the way of duty, we must show the truth of our repentance by returning to it again. It is well to acknowledge those to be friends, who by severe discipline are instrumental in bringing us to a sight of error; for faithful are the wounds of a friend, Pr 27:6. And it is always well for us to recollect the wounds of our Saviour. Often has he been wounded by professed friends, nay, even by his real disciples, when they act contrary to his word.In that day there shall be a fountain opened - Zechariah often repeats, "in that day" Zechariah 12:3-4, Zechariah 12:6, Zechariah 12:8-9, Zechariah 12:11; Zechariah 13:1-2, Zechariah 13:4; Zechariah 14:6, Zechariah 14:8, Zechariah 14:13, Zechariah 14:20, resuming his subject again and again, as a time not proximate, but fixed and known of God, of which he declared somewhat. It is "that day" which "Abraham desired to see, and saw it" John 8:56, whether by direct revelation, or in the typical sacrifice of Isaac, "and was glad:" it was "that day" which "many prophets and kings and righteous men desired to see" Matthew 13:17; Luke 10:24, and in patience waited for it,: "the" one "day of salvation" of the Gospel. He had spoken of repentance, in contemplation of Christ crucified; he now speaks of forgiveness and cleansing, of sanctification and consequent obedience. The "fountain shall be" not simply "opened," but shall remain open. Isaiah had already prophesied of the refreshment of the Gospel. "When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I, the Lord, will hear them, I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places and fountains in the midst of the valleys" Isaiah 41:17-18; here it is added, "for sin. and for uncleanness."

There were "divers" Hebrews 9:10 symbolical "washings" under the law; the Levites were "sprinkled with the water of purifying" Numbers 8:7, literally, "the water of taking away of sin: living waters" Numbers 19:17, put to the ashes of an heifer, were appointed as a "water for" (removing) "defilements" (Numbers 19:9, Numbers 19:13, Numbers 19:20-21 bis; Numbers 31:23); "a cleansing of sin" Numbers 19:9. Now, there should be one ever-open fountain for all "the house of David." Theodoret: "Who that fountain is, the Lord Himself teacheth through Jeremiah, 'they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters' Jeremiah 2:13; and in the Gospel He says, 'If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink' John 7:37; and 'The water which I shall give him, is a fountain of living water, gushing up to everlasting life' John 4:14. This was 'open to the house of David;' for of that kindred He took human nature. It was opened also 'for the dwellers of Jerusalem,' for the sprinkling of holy baptism; through which we have received remission of sins." Cyril: "That, receiving divine and holy baptism, we are sprinkled with the Blood of Christ to the remission of sins, who can doubt?" Dionysius: "Of this fountain much was foretold by Ezekiel, 'that a fountain should issue forth from the temple of the Lord, and 'go down into the desert' Ezekiel 47:1, Ezekiel 47:8-9, and 'every soul, to whom it shall come, shall live;' and Joel, 'A fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and water the valley of Shillim' Joel 3:18. Of this fountain Peter said to the Jews, when 'pricked in the heart' and seeking forgiveness, 'Let everyone of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins'" Acts 2:37-38.


Zec 13:1-9. Cleansing of the Jews from Sin; Abolition of Idolatry; the Shepherd Smitten; the People of the Land Cut Off, except a Third Part Refined by Trials.

1. Connected with the close of the twelfth chapter. The mourning penitents are here comforted.

fountain opened—It has been long opened, but then first it shall be so "to the house of David," &c. (representing all Israel) after their long and weary wanderings. Like Hagar in the wilderness they remain ignorant of the refreshment near them, until God "opens their eyes" (Ge 21:19) [Moore]. It is not the fountain, but their eyes that need to be opened. It shall be a "fountain" ever flowing; not a laver needing constantly to be replenished with water, such as stood between the tabernacle and altar (Ex 30:18).

for sin … uncleanness—that is, judicial guilt and moral impurity. Thus justification and sanctification are implied in this verse as both flowing from the blood of Christ, not from ceremonial sacrifices (1Co 1:30; Heb 9:13, 14; 1Jo 1:7; compare Eze 36:25). Sin in Hebrew is literally a missing the mark or way.The fountain of purgation for Jerusalem, Zechariah 13:1. The extirpation of idolatry and false prophecy, Zechariah 13:2-6. The death of Christ, and the saving of a third part after a severe trial, Zechariah 13:7-9.

In that day; when the Lamb of God shall be offered up a sacrifice for mankind, and the gospel shall be preached in which the glad tidings of our redemption are published.

A fountain: by water and ceremonial washings was legal pollution in many cases purged away, and much of the legal service stood in divers washings; but all these were shadows and types; here is that they typified, the matchless healing and purging fountain, i.e. the blood of Christ; here is the true Siloam, which never failed to heal any that rightly used it; it is Christ.

Opened: the spouse is to Christ a fountain sealed, but Christ is to sinners a fountain opened: under the law he was as the waters of the temple, for the Jew; but now he is opened to us Gentiles, free to all, and of easy access, and of sovereign virtue to heal.

To the house of David; he was every where nearest to them, and though his own kindred did some of them slight him, and not believe in him, yet some others did, and it may intimate to us the first tender of grace made to his own, to whom he came, though they received him not; or the royal family some of them will be benefited by it, and all of them need it; no outward privilege can secure us against the poison of sin, grace alone, this fountain only, can purge it away in great and noble, or mean and base.

To the inhabitants of Jerusalem; to all the Jews before the Gentiles,

To you first, saith the apostle,

God hath sent his Son; but in that it is opened, it is to us Gentiles also. Jerusalem, as image of the whole church, takes in the Gentiles; so inhabitants of Jerusalem are all to whom the gospel is preached, all penitents.

For sin and for uncleanness; for purging away of all manner of sins and uncleannesses, of which men repent, and from which they depart, according to that Proverbs 20:9 1Jo 1:9.

In that day there shall be a fountain opened,.... Which Aben Ezra and Kimchi understand literally; but R. Moses the priest figuratively; and so the Targum, which interprets it of the doctrine of the law being open as a fountain of water; and so Abendana, who compares it with Isaiah 2:3 but rather it should be understood of the preaching of the Gospel, and the administration of Gospel ordinances; though better of Christ himself, the fountain of gardens, and of living waters, from whose pierced side, of whom mention is made as pierced in the preceding chapter Zechariah 12:10, sprung blood and water; blood for justification, remission, and cleansing, and water for sanctification: and best of all of his blood particularly, called a "fountain", not so much for the quantity of blood shed, as for its full virtue and efficacy to answer the purposes for which it was shed; it being the blood not only of man, and of an innocent man, but of the Son of God; and may be said to be "opened", because of its continued virtue to cleanse from sin; it is not sealed, but opened, and always stands open; there is no hinderance or obstruction in coming to it; not the meanness or poverty of persons, they that have no money may come to these waters; nor their sinfulness, even though they are the chief of sinners; nor their being of this and the other nation, it is exposed to all; to all that the Father has given to Christ; to all sensible sinners: though it follows,

to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; for this, as it may be literally understood of the Jews in the latter day, including their great men and common people, high and low, rich and poor; so mystically of all the family of Christ the son of David, and of all that belong to the heavenly Jerusalem, even the whole church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven:

for sin, and for uncleanness; that is, for sin, which is uncleanness; sin is an unclean thing, and has defiled all human nature, and nothing can remove the pollution of it; but the blood of Christ can remove it, and that being shed makes atonement for it, procures the pardon of it, and justifies from it in the sight of God; and being sprinkled on the conscience, removes it from that. The Targum interprets it mystically of the forgiveness of sins, paraphrasing it thus,

"I will forgive their iniquities, as they are cleansed with the water of sprinkling, and the ashes of the heifer, which is for sin.''

In that day there {a} shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

(a) He shows what will be the fruit of their repentance, that is, remission of sins by the blood of Christ, which will be a continual running fountain, and purge them from all uncleanness.

1. In that day] The day, or period, so often mentioned before (Zechariah 12:3-4; Zechariah 12:6; Zechariah 12:8-9; Zechariah 12:11), in which this whole prophecy shall be fulfilled.

a fountain opened … for sin and for uncleanness] The form of the promise is Jewish, the substance Christian. For the lustral waters of the Law, the “water of sin” (Numbers 8:7) and the “water of uncleanness” (Numbers 19:9, where the word is the same as here, though rendered, “water of separation,” A. V. and R. V.), which were contained and renewed in bowl or laver, and which did but “sanctify to the purifying of the flesh,” shall be substituted the living fountain of the Gospel, opened once but remaining open ever (comp. θύρα ἠνεῳγμένη Revelation 4:1), which “purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:13-14; 1 John 1:7.)

Chap. Zechariah 13:1-6. Worthy fruits of Repentance

The mourning for sin thus produced and exhibited (Zechariah 12:10-14) shall be the precursor of cleansing from sin, for which ample and lasting provision shall be made, Zechariah 13:1; and of amendment of life. Idolatry and superstition shall be banished and forgotten, Zechariah 13:2. If any one shall venture to play the false prophet, his own parents shall be the first to inflict on him the prescribed penalty of death, Zechariah 13:3. So dangerous and suspected will the prophetic office become, that the false prophets will be ashamed and afraid to avow their calling and assume their garb, Zechariah 13:4. They will profess themselves, when questioned, to have been simple hinds from their youth, Zechariah 13:5; and if the charge against them be enforced by an appeal to the wounds on their bodies, as proofs of the idolatrous rites which they have practised, or of the punishment which has already overtaken them as false prophets, they will seek to meet it by an evasive and misleading reply, Zechariah 13:6.

Verses 1-6. - § 3. This repentance will lead to purification from past defilement, and a reaction against idolatry and false prophet. Verse 1. - In that day. At the time when the great mourning (ch. 12.) takes place, or, more generally, in the Messianic period, when all these things shall be fulfilled. Shall be a fountain opened, etc. Shall be opened and continue open. The allusion is to the lustral rites practised in the consecration of the Levites, who were to have "water of sin" sprinkled on them, and to "the water of separation," or "water of uncleanness" (the word found in our passage), used for purposes of legal purification (see Numbers 8:7; Numbers 19:9). Instead of this merely ceremonial cleansing, there should be in the Christian Church the cleansing of the soul by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:7). Septuagint, Ασται πᾶς τόπος διανοιγόμενος, "Every place shall he opened." The house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem represent the whole nation, as in Zechariah 12:10; the cleansing is as universal as the sin (see the announcement in Ezekiel 36:25; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Joel 3:18). For sin and for uncleanness. The latter word is used for the separation on account of uncleanness (Leviticus 15:20, etc.); and the two terms together comprise all guilt and pollution. Zechariah 13:1The penitential supplication of Israel will lead to a thorough renewal of the nation, since the Lord will open to the penitent the fountain of His grace for the cleansing away of sin and the sanctifying of life. Zechariah 13:1. "In that day will a fountain be opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness." As the Lord Himself pours out the spirit of supplication upon Israel, so does He also provide the means of purification from sin. A fountain is opened, when its stream of water bursts forth from the bosom of the earth (see Isaiah 41:18; Isaiah 35:6). The water, which flows from the fountain opened by the Lord, is a water of sprinkling, with which sin and uncleanness are removed. The figure is taken partly from the water used for the purification of the Levites at their consecration, which is called מי חטּאת, sin-water, or alter of absolution, in Numbers 8:7, and partly from the sprinkling-water prepared from the sacrificial ashes of the red heifer for purification from the defilement of death, which is called מי נדּה, water of uncleanness, i.e., water which removed uncleanness, in Numbers 19:9. Just as bodily uncleanness is a figure used to denote spiritual uncleanness, the defilement of sin (cf. Psalm 51:9), so is earthly sprinkling-water a symbol of the spiritual water by which sin is removed. By this water we have to understand not only grace in general, but the spiritual sprinkling-water, which is prepared through the sacrificial death of Christ, through the blood that He shed for sin, and which is sprinkled upon us for the cleansing away of sin in the gracious water of baptism. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7; compare 1 John 5:6).
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