Zechariah 13:3
And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say to him, You shall not live; for you speak lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.
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Zechariah 13:3. And when any shall yet prophesy — Namely, falsely; then his father and his mother shall say unto him — His dearest friends shall discourse with him, and inform him what the law of Moses directs in this case; Thou shalt not live — This probably is not to be considered as the condemnatory sentence; for, being private persons, they had no right to pronounce such a sentence; but it is a repetition of the law, which saith, that a false prophet ought not to be suffered to live, Deuteronomy 13:6-8. For thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord — Thou fallest under the sentence of the law. And his father and his mother shall thrust him through — Even the parents of such a person shall be forward to put in execution against him the penalties inflicted by the law upon false prophets and seducers. “They shall treat such a one in the same manner as their fathers did the true prophet, the Messiah; they shall pierce or thrust him through.” — Lowth. The purport of this passage seems to be, that very vigorous and decisive measures shall then be taken against every kind and degree of idolatry.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.His father and mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live - The prophet describes the zeal against false prophecy, with reference to the law against those who seduced to apostasy from God. Deuteronomy 13:6-10 : "the nearest relations were themselves to denounce any who had secretly tried to seduce them, and themselves, as the accusers, to cast the first stone at them. Cyril: "Such shall in those times be the reverence to Godward, so careful shall they be of perfect probity and laudable life, that parents themselves shall be stimulated against their children, if they should speak falsely anything from their own heart, as though God spoke by them - How true that word is, and how accredited the prophecy! This indicates clearly a great advance toward godliness, God transforming things or the better. What aforetime was held in great esteem, is now hated and accursed and held intolerable." 3. The form of phraseology here is drawn from De 13:6-10; 18:20. The substantial truth expressed is that false prophecy shall be utterly abolished. If it were possible for it again to start up, the very parents of the false prophet would not let parental affection interfere, but would be the first to thrust him through. Love to Christ must be paramount to the tenderest of natural ties (Mt 10:37). Much as the godly love their children, they love God and His honor more. When any shall yet prophesy; whosoever he be that shall pretend hereafter to prophesy through the instigation of that unclean spirit, for it can be from no other, when the Lord shall have fully revealed his mind to us.

His father and his mother that begat him; his dearest friends, they who are by nature/nearest to him, who begat him.

Shall say unto him; shall discourse to him, and inform him what the law of Moses directeth in this case.

Thou shalt not live; which I take to be not the sentence condemnatory, for, being private persons, they could not condemn him; but it is a repetition of the law which saith such shall not live, and then it amounts to this: A false prophet ought not to live, Deu 13:6,8; what then dost thou do to break this law, and endanger thy life? Their oughtest to die for this by the law. The father and mother thus should admonish and show the matter of law and danger, but not judicially pass sentence, and determine what shall be done.

Thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord; thou fallest under that law, Deu 13:6.

Shall thrust him through; or, wound, chastise with stripes that may leave their marks behind them; or rather, shall sharply reprove him, and with cutting words terrify him from the like practice. You read of words that are piercing words, Proverbs 12:18, words that run through as a sword; and the Chaldee paraphrast on this of our prophet allows the father and mother to deal sharply with their son, they shall rebuke cuttingly. Besides, if it were to be understood of killing, the law directs to stone such a one, Deu 13:10, not to run him through with lance or sword. And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy,.... Or attempt to prophesy, or propagate their idolatrous religion and principles after this time, when they shall be abundantly detected and exposed:

then his father and his mother that begat him; of whom he is born, and who, as his parents, must be supposed to have the most tender regard unto him, even to these the imposture will be so flagrant, that they will not encourage him, but, on the contrary,

shall say unto him, Thou shall not live; but die, according to the law against the false prophet in Deuteronomy 18:20,

for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord; which is the very character of the followers of the man of sin, who speak lies in hypocrisy, pretending that they are of God, and carrying a show of truth; religion, and holiness, 1 Timothy 4:1,

and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth; so great will be their love to God, and to his truth, that, notwithstanding the nearness of blood, their hands will be upon him first, and either beat him, or put him to death; a son, according to the law, not being to be spared in such a case, Deuteronomy 13:6.

And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet {d} prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say to him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him {e} shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.

(d) That is, when they will prophesy lies, and make God, who is the author of truth, a cloak for them.

(e) He shows what zeal the godly will have under the kingdom of Christ; De 13:6,9.

3. his father and his mother] In holy zeal they would carry out the law, “thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death.” Deuteronomy 13:6; Deuteronomy 13:9.Verse 3. - When any shall yet prophesy; i.e. if any man shall pretend to have predictive powers conferred on him by God. There is here no intimation that true prophecy should cease, as Keil and Kohler suppose; the man is punished, not because he prophesies, but because "he speaketh lies." His father and his mother. The passage is grounded on the enactments in Deuteronomy 13:6-10 and Deuteronomy 18:20, which commanded the death of a false prophet or of one who enticed others to Idolatry. Here the holy zeal of the parents should put the law in force. This was quite a different state of things from that which obtained in former times. The earlier prophets continually complain of the favour shown to these deceivers (comp. Isaiah 9:15; Jeremiah 5:31; Micah 2:11); and we never read of the legal punishment being inflicted after due investigation, the test being the nonfulfilment of the prediction (Deuteronomy 18:22). In the new theocracy, so great is the recoil from such pretenders, that their nearest relations shall at once punish them with death without any previous legal process. Shall thrust him through. Stab, pierce him, put him to death, as in ch. 12:10. The gospel deals more tenderly with heretics (Luke 9:55). "Defendenda religio non est occidendo," says Laetant. ('Div. Inst.,' 5:20), "sed moriendo; religio cogi non potest " (Wordsworth, in loc.). Whilst the second vision sets forth the destruction of the powers that were hostile to Israel, the third (Zechariah 2:1-5) with the prophetic explanation (Zechariah 2:6-13) shows the development of the people and kingdom of God till the time of its final glory. The vision itself appears very simple, only a few of the principal features being indicated; but in this very brevity it presents many difficulties so far as the exposition is concerned. It is as follows: Zechariah 2:1. "And I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold a man, and in his hand a measuring line. Zechariah 2:2. Then I said, Whither goest thou? And he said to me, To measure Jerusalem, to see how great its breadth, and how great its length. Zechariah 2:3. And, behold, the angel that talked with me went out, and another angel went out to meet him. Zechariah 2:4. And he said to him, Run, speak to his young man thus: Jerusalem shall lie as an open land for the multitude of men and cattle in the midst of it. Zechariah 2:5. And I shall be to it, is the saying of Jehovah, a fiery wall round about; and I shall be for glory in the midst of it." The man with the measuring line in his hand is not the interpreting angel (C. B. Mich., Ros., Maurer, etc.); for it was not his duty to place the events upon the stage, but simply to explain to the prophet the things which he saw. Moreover, this angel is clearly distinguished from the man, inasmuch as he does not go out (Zechariah 2:3) till after the latter has gone to measure Jerusalem (Zechariah 2:2). At the same time, we cannot regard the measuring man as merely "a figure in the vision," since all the persons occurring in these visions are significant; but we agree with those who conjecture that he is the angel of Jehovah, although this conjecture cannot be distinctly proved. The task which he is preparing to perform - namely, to measure Jerusalem - leads unquestionably to the conclusion that he is something more than a figure. The measuring of the breadth and length of Jerusalem presupposes that the city is already in existence; and this expression must not be identified with the phrase, to draw the measure over Jerusalem, in Zechariah 1:15. Drawing the measure over a place is done for the purpose of sketching a plan for its general arrangement or the rebuilding of it. But the length and breadth of a city can only be measured when it is already in existence; and the object of the measuring is not to see how long and how broad it is to be, but what the length and breadth actually are. It is true that it by no means follows from this that the city to be measured was the Jerusalem of that time; on the contrary, the vision shows the future Jerusalem, but it exhibits it as a city in actual existence, and visible to the spiritual eye. While the man goes away to measure the city, the interpreting angel goes out: not out of the myrtle thicket, for this only occurs in the first vision; but he goes away from the presence of the prophet, where we have to think of him as his interpreter, in the direction of the man with the measuring line, to find out what he is going to do, and bring back word to the prophet. At the very same time another angel comes out to meet him, viz., the angelus interpres, not the man with the measuring line. For one person can only come to meet another when the latter is going in the direction from which the former comes. Having come to meet him, he (the second angel) says to him (the angelus interpres), "Run, say to this young man," etc. The subject to ויּאמר can only be the second angel; for if, on grammatical grounds, the angelus interpres might be regarded as speaking to the young man, such an assumption is proved to be untenable, by the fact that it was no part of the office of the angelus interpres to give orders or commissions to another angel. On the other hand, there is nothing at all to preclude another angel from revealing a decree of God to the angelus interpres for him to communicate to the prophet; inasmuch as this does not bring the angelus interpres into action any further than his function requires, so that there is no ground for the objection that this is at variance with his standing elsewhere (Kliefoth). But the other angel could not give the instructions mentioned in Zechariah 1:4 to the angelus interpres, unless he were either himself a superior angel, viz., the angel of Jehovah, or had been directed to do so by the man with the measuring line, in which case this "man" would be the angel of Jehovah. Of these two possibilities we prefer the latter on two grounds: (1) because it is impossible to think of any reason why the "other angel" should not be simply called מלאך יהוה, if he really were the angel of the Lord; and (2) because, according to the analogy of Ezekiel 40:3, the man with the measuring line most probably was the angel of Jehovah, with whose dignity it would be quite in keeping that he should explain his purpose to the angelus interpres through the medium of another (inferior) angel. And if this be established, so far as the brevity of the account will allow, we cannot understand by the "young man" the man with the measuring line, as Hitzig, Maurer, and Kliefoth do. The only way in which such an assumption as this could be rendered tenable or in harmony with the rest, would be by supposing that the design of the message was to tell the man with the measuring line that "he might desist from his useless enterprise" (Hitzig), as Jerusalem could not be measured at all, on account of the number of its inhabitants and its vast size (Theod. Mops., Theodoret, Ewald, Umbreit, etc.); but Kliefoth has very justly replied to this, that "if a city be ever so great, inasmuch as it is a city, it can always be measured, and also have walls."

If, then, the symbolical act of measuring, as Kliefoth also admits, expresses the question how large and how broad Jerusalem will eventually be, and if the words of Zechariah 2:4, Zechariah 2:5 contain the answer to this question, viz., Jerusalem will in the first place (Zechariah 2:4) contain such a multitude of men and cattle that it will dwell like perâzōth; this answer, which gives the meaning of the measuring, must be addressed not to the measuring man, but simply to the prophet, that he may announce to the people the future magnitude and glory of the city. The measuring man was able to satisfy himself of this by the measuring itself. We must therefore follow the majority of both the earlier and later expositors, and take the "young man" as being the prophet himself, who is so designated on account of his youthful age, and without any allusion whatever to "human inexperience and dim short-sightedness" (Hengstenberg), since such an allusion would be very remote from the context, and even old men of experience could not possibly know anything concerning the future glory of Jerusalem without a revelation from above. Hallâz, as in Judges 6:20 and 2 Kings 4:25, is a contraction of hallâzeh, and formed from lâzeh, there, thither, and the article hal, in the sense of the (young man) there, or that young man (cf. Ewald, 103, a, and 183, b; Ges. 34, Anm. 1). He is to make haste and bring this message, because it is good news, the realization of which will soon commence. The message contains a double and most joyful promise. (1) Jerusalem will in future dwell, i.e., to be built, as perâzōth. This word means neither "without walls," nor loca aperta, but strictly speaking the plains, and is only used in the plural to denote the open, level ground, as contrasted with the fortified cities surrounded by walls: thus ‛ārē perâzōth, cities of the plain, in Esther 9:19, as distinguished from the capital Susa; and 'erets perâzōth in Ezekiel 38:11, the land where men dwell "without walls, bolts, and gates;" hence perâzı̄, inhabitant of the plain, in contrast with the inhabitants of fortified cities with high walls (Deuteronomy 3:5; 1 Samuel 6:18). The thought is therefore the following: Jerusalem is in future to resemble an open country covered with unwalled cities and villages; it will no longer be a city closely encircled with walls; hence it will be extraordinarily enlarged, on account of the multitude of men and cattle with which it will be blessed (cf. Isaiah 49:19-20; Ezekiel 38:11). Moreover, (2) Jerusalem will then have no protecting wall surrounding it, because it will enjoy a superior protection. Jehovah will be to it a wall of fire round about, that is to say, a defence of fire which will consume every one who ventures to attack it (cf. Isaiah 4:5; Deuteronomy 4:24). Jehovah will also be the glory in the midst of Jerusalem, that is to say, will fill the city with His glory (cf. Isaiah 60:19). This promise is explained in the following prophetic words which are uttered by the angel of Jehovah, as Zechariah 2:8, Zechariah 2:9, and Zechariah 2:11 clearly show. According to these verses, for example, the speaker is sent by Jehovah, and according to Zechariah 2:8 to the nations which have plundered Israel, "after glory," i.e., to smite these nations and make them servants to the Israelites. From this shall Israel learn that Jehovah has sent him. The fact that, according to Zechariah 2:3, Zechariah 2:4, another angel speaks to the prophet, may be easily reconciled with this. For since this angel, as we have seen above, was sent by the angel of Jehovah, he speaks according to his instructions, and that in such a manner that his words pass imperceptibly into the words of the sender, just as we very frequently find the words of a prophet passing suddenly into the words of God, and carried on as such. For the purpose of escaping from this simple conclusion, Koehler has forcibly broken up this continuous address, and has separated the words of Zechariah 2:8, Zechariah 2:9, and Zechariah 2:11, in which the angel says that Jehovah has sent him, from the words of Jehovah proclaimed by the angel, as being interpolations, but without succeeding in explaining them either simply or naturally.

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