Zechariah 13:6
And one shall say to him, What are these wounds in your hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
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Zechariah 13:6. What are these wounds in thy hands — “Two ancient usages,” Blayney thinks, “are alluded to; the one, that of the idolatrous priests and prophets, who sought to engage the attention and favour of their deity by cutting and slashing themselves, as the priests of Baal did, 1 Kings 18:28; the other, that of those who cut themselves, as a token of their grief and mourning for their deceased relations and friends:” see note on Jeremiah 16:6. It appears, also, from Jeremiah 48:37, that these cuttings were performed on the hands in particular. “When therefore the man, now ashamed of his pretensions to prophesy, came to be challenged for those scars that were visible on his hands, he would deny them to have proceeded from any idolatrous cause; but would have them thought to be marks left by those wounds which he gave himself in the house of his relations and friends, in the paroxysms of his grief for the loss of them.” The word מכות, however, here rendered wounds, may be translated strokes, or marks, and is thought by many learned interpreters to signify some particular marks or characters, imprinted on the body of the person here spoken of, in honour of the particular God he worshipped. Thus the worshippers of Bacchus had an ivy leaf imprinted on their bodies. These impressions were most frequently made on the hands, to which the expression, Revelation 13:16, receiving the mark of the beast on the right hand, alludes; so that, according to this interpretation, the meaning of what is said here must be that, in the times here spoken of, inquiry would be made of those in whose hands any marks or characters were perceived, by what means they came there, and what they signified. These marks, Bishop Lowth observes, on Isaiah 44:5, “were made by punctures rendered indelible by fire, or by staining; thus the slave was marked with the name of his master; the soldier of his commander; the idolater with the name or ensign of his god. And the Christians seem to have imitated this practice, by what Procopius says, ‘Because many marked their wrists, or their arms, with the sign of the cross, or with the name of Christ.’“ Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends — This is given as the answer which the person who had been addicted to idolatry, and had received the marks of some false god in his hands, would make to the above-mentioned inquiry; he would conceal the truth, and pretend that they were not marks belonging to any god, but marks which he wore in his flesh by way of honour to, or in token of, his dependance on the family which had taken him under their patronage. Several interpreters understand this verse of the wounds of Christ, and the rather because a remarkable prophecy of his being wounded for our transgressions, by the sword of divine justice, follows in the next verse. And certainly the passage is very capable of such an interpretation; for, as the Jews professed to be the friends of the promised Messiah, and he had conducted himself in the most friendly manner toward them; when he was scourged, nailed to the cross, and pierced, he might, with great propriety, be said to have been wounded in the house of his friends. 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.And one shall say unto him, What are those wounds in thy hands? - The words are simple; the meaning different , according as they are united with what immediately precedes, or the main subject, Him whom they pierced, for whom they were to mourn, and, on their mourning, to be cleansed, and of whom it is said in the next verse, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd." Jerome and others explain it of the punishment inflicted by parents. "These wounds and bruises I received, condemned by the judgment of my parents, and of those who did not hate but loved me. And so will truth prevail dissipating falsehood, that he too, who was punished for his own fault, will own that he suffered rightly."

But wounds of chastisement are not inflicted on the hands, and the punishment of false prophecy was not such wounds, but death. Wounds in the hands were no punishment, which parents would inflict. They were the special punishment of the cross , after sustaining which, One only lived. The most literal interpretation, then, of the wounds in the hands harmonizes with the piercing before, and the smiting of the Good Shepherd which follows, of whom David too prophesied, "They pierced My Hands and My Feet" Psalm 22:16. "What are those wounds on Thy hands? How long, think you, and how and by whom will this be said to Him? For ever and ever, unceasingly, and with unspeakable admiration it will be said, both by God the Father, "to whom He was obedient unto death, the death of the Cross" Philippians 2:8 : it will be said also both by the holy "angels" who "desire to look into" Him 1 Peter 1:12, and by people whom He has redeemed. O great miracle, wonderful spectacle, especially in the Lord of all, to bear wounds in the midst of His Hands! And He shall say; "With these I was wounded in the house of those who loved Me." O great sacrilege, sacrilegious homicide, that such wounds were inflicted in the house of those who loved. He will not say, 'with these I was wounded by those who loved Me,' but 'in the house of those who loved Me.' For they who inflicted them, loved Him not.

But they were the house of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and David, and the rest like them, who loved Me, and expected Me, who was promised to them. Yet so to speak is not to answer the question, 'what are these wounds?' For it is one thing to ask, what are these wounds, another to say, where they were inflicted. Having said, that they were inflicted in the house of those who loved Me. He says, what they are, 'the Cup which My Father hath given Me to drink.' For what He subjoins, is the Voice of the Father giving the Cup. 'Sword, awake, etc.' is as though he said, Ask ye, What are these wounds? I say, 'the tokens of obedience, the signs of the Father's will and command. The Lord of hosts, God the Father 'hath not spared' Me, 'His own Son, but hath given' Me 'for' you 'all.' And He said, 'Awake, o sword, against Jify Shepherd, and against the Man cohering to Me,' which is as much as, 'O Death, have thou power over My Son, My good Shepherd, the Man who cohereth to Me, that is, who is joined in unity of Person with the Word who is consubstantial with Me!' And then, as though the sword asked, how or how far shall I arise against this Thy Shepherd, he subjoins, 'Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.' Hence, the Shepherd Himself, when about to be smitten, spake, 'All ye shall be offended because of Me this night. For it is written, I will smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered' Matthew 26:31. So then to those who say, 'what are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands?' is appositely subjoined the Voice of the Father, saying, 'Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd etc.' in the meaning, 'They are monuments of the Father's love, the tokens of My Obedience, because He 'spared not His own Son,' and I 'became obedient' to Him for you all, 'even unto death, and that, the death of the Cross. '"

6. wounds in thine hand—The interrogator still suspects him: "If so, if you have never pretended to be a prophet, whence come those wounds?" The Hebrew is literally, "between thine hands." The hands were naturally held up to ward off the blows, and so were "thrust through" (Zec 13:3) "between" the bones of the hand. Stoning was the usual punishment; "thrusting through" was also a fit retribution on one who tried to "thrust Israel away" from the Lord (De 13:10); and perfects the type of Messiah, condemned as a false prophet, and pierced with "wounds between His hands." Thus the transition to the direct prophecy of Him (Zec 13:7) is natural, which it would not be if He were not indirectly and in type alluded to.

wounded in … house of my friends—an implied admission that he had pretended to prophecy, and that his friends had wounded him for it in zeal for God (Zec 13:3). The Holy Spirit in Zechariah alludes indirectly to Messiah, the Antitype, wounded by those whom He came to befriend, who ought to have been His "friends," who were His kinsmen (compare Zec 13:3, as to the false prophet's friends, with Mr 3:21, "His friends," Margin, "kinsmen"; Joh 7:5; "His own," Joh 1:11; the Jews, "of whom as concerning the flesh He came," Ro 9:5), but who wounded Him by the agency of the Romans (Zec 12:10).

This verse continueth the account of the reclaimed prophet, and supposeth, what is usual, that some will inquire what was the meaning of the marks or impressions on his hands, whether they were not such as appropriated him to an idol, or declared him a professed diviner.

Then he shall answer, plainly and fully, Not such as you imagine, but

those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends; the scars of the wounds my stubbornness deserved, and the love of my friends gave me under a severe discipline, to recover me from mining myself and others by impostures and lies. And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?.... That is, if thou art not a prophet, what is the meaning of these wounds in thine hands? which design either those his father and mother had given him, when they thrust him through for being a false prophet, Zechariah 13:3 or the mark of the beast he received in his right hand, which he was obliged to take when he entered into holy orders, Revelation 13:9, or the wounds and stripes he gave himself, in the exercise of his superstition and will worship:

then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends; he will pretend that these were wounds he had privately in his father's family, by way of correction, for not doing his civil and secular business as he ought to have done; or he shall be obliged to confess the mark of the beast on him; or that these were wounds he had given himself in the temples and churches, dedicated to angels and saints, his patrons, friends, and lovers; with whom he committed spiritual adultery or idolatry, and before whose images and shrines he had cut and given himself these wounds and gashes, to the great dishonour of Christ, as if his crucifixion and wounds were of no avail; wherefore his sufferings and death are next spoken of: and some understand these words of Christ, introduced after this manner; the prophet having spoken of the false prophet, thrust through by his parents, because that Christ would be reckoned a false prophet and impostor by his countrymen the Jews, and be crucified by them as such, represents the Jews as upbraiding him with his crucifixion, which they suggest he righteously suffered, for seducing their nation: to which he replies, that indeed he was crucified, and thereby wounded with the nails drove into his hands and feet; and this usage he met with from those of his own nation, and who pretended to be the friends of the Messiah, and to expect his coming, and this at or near Jerusalem, where was the temple or house of God; but all this he endured, not for any crime he had been guilty of, but according to the counsel and will, purpose and decree, of God; whereby he was appointed the Shepherd of the flock; the Mediator between God and man; the Saviour of his people; and to die such a death, in order to obtain salvation for them; which counsel and will of God are clearly and strongly expressed in the following verse Zechariah 13:7, and to this sense Capellus interprets the words.

And one shall say to him, What are these {h} wounds in thy hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

(h) By this he shows that though their parents and friends dealt more gently with them, and did not put them to death, yet they would so punish their children that became false prophets, that the marks and signs would remain forever.

6. wounds in thine hands] Lit. between thy hands; i.e. probably, on thy breast: between thine arms, R. V. Comp. “between his arms,” i.e. in his back, 2 Kings 9:24; “between your eyes,” i.e. on your foreheads, Deuteronomy 11:18. The interrogator, in his zeal against false prophets, is still unsatisfied, and detecting wounds, or scars, on the breast of the quondam false prophet, charges them upon him as proofs of his guilt, because he regards them either as self-inflicted in the service of idols (1 Kings 18:28), or as given him by his parents, from whose righteous indignation he had escaped wounded, when they went about to kill him (Zechariah 13:3).

in the house of my friends] If this be a confession of guilt, we must understand it to mean that the accused person now admits the charge brought against him in the second of the two forms suggested in the last note: “Yes, it is true that I did play the false prophet, and this is the merited punishment which those who loved me inflicted on me.” “Hæc vulnera et has accepi plagas parentum meorum judicio condemnatus, et eorum qui me non oderant sed amabant. Et in tantum, fugato mendacio, veritas obtinebit, ut etiam ipse, qui suo punitus est vitio, recte perpessum se esse fateatur.” Hieron. The “lovers” cannot mean the false gods or idols, in whose service it might have been supposed that he had been wounded. Such gods or idols are indeed appropriately called the “lovers,” or paramours, of the Jewish Church as a whole, which is regarded as the bride or spouse of Jehovah (Hosea 2:7; Hosea 2:10; Hosea 2:12; Ezekiel 16:33; Ezekiel 16:36-37); but the figure is quite inadmissible in the case of an individual prophet. Those who do not regard this clause of the verse as a confession of guilt see in it either an allusion to the loving though severe discipline of youth, or an evasive answer which is purposely indefinite and obscure.

The reference which Dr Pusey and others have seen in this verse to our Lord and to the prints of the nails in His hands is in a high degree forced and arbitrary. It cannot possibly be reconciled with the preceding context, with which the verse intimately coheres. “Quidam hoc traxerunt ad Christum,” writes Calvin, “quia dicit Zacharias manibus inflicta esse vulnera; sed illud est nimis frivolum, quia satis constat sermonem prosequi de falsis doctoribus, qui abusi fuerant Dei nomine ad tempus.”Verse 6. - What are these wounds in thine hands? or rather, between thy hands, i.e. on thy breast; Revised Version, between thine arms. Cheyne compares, "between his arms," i.e., in his back (2 Kings 9:24) and "between your eyes" i.e. on your foreheads (Deuteronomy 11:18). Not satisfied with the assertion in ver. 5, the questioner asks the meaning of these wounds which he sees on his body. Jerome considers these scars to be marks of correction and punishment at the hands of his parents. More probably they are thought to be self-infilcted in the service of some idol, according to the practice mentioned in 1 Kings 18:28; Jeremiah 48:37. Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. This may be a confession of guilt, the impostor owning that his friends, had thus punished him for his pretensions; or, as the word rendered "friends" is generally used in the case of illicit or impure love or spiritual fornication, it may be here applied to the idols whom he served. But it seems most probable that the answer is intentionally false and misleading; as if he had said, "The wounds were not made as you suppose, but are the result of something that happened to me in my friends' house." The LXX. renders, α}ς ἐπλήγην ἐν τῷ οἴκῳ τῷ ἀγαπητῷ μου, "with which I was struck in my beloved house." To see in this passage a reference to our blessed Lord and his crucifixion, though such an opinion has the support of the Roman Liturgy and of many interpreters, is to do violence to the context, and to read into the words a meaning wholly alien from the subject of false prophets, which is the matter in hand. The prophecy commences thus in Zechariah 2:6-9 : Zechariah 2:6. "Ho, ho, flee out of the land of the north, is the saying of Jehovah; for I spread you out as the four winds of heaven, is the saying of Jehovah. Zechariah 2:7. Ho, Zion, save thyself, thou that dwellest with the daughter Babel. Zechariah 2:8. For thus saith Jehovah of hosts, After glory hath he sent me to the nations that have plundered you; for whoever toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye. Zechariah 2:9. For, behold, I swing my hand over them, and they become a spoil to those who served them; and ye will see that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me." The summons to flee out of Babylon, in Zechariah 2:6 and Zechariah 2:7, is addressed to the Israelites, who are all included in the one name Zion in Zechariah 2:7; and shows that the address which follows is not a simple continuation of the promise in Zechariah 2:4 and Zechariah 2:5, but is intended both to explain it, and to assign the reason for it. The summons contains so far a reason for it, that the Israelites are directed to flee out of Babylon, because the judgment is about to burst upon this oppressor of the people of God. The words nūsū, flee, and himmâletı̄, save thyself or escape, both point to the judgment, and in Zechariah 2:9 the judgment itself is clearly spoken of. the land of the north is Babylon (cf. Jeremiah 1:14; Jeremiah 6:22; Jeremiah 10:22; and for the fact itself, Isaiah 48:20). The reason for the exclamation "Flee" is first of all given in the clause, "for like the four winds have I spread you out," not "dispersed you" (Vulg., C. B. Mich., Koehler). For apart from the fact that pērēs almost always means to spread out, and has the meaning to disperse at the most in Psalm 68:15 and Ezekiel 17:21, this meaning is altogether unsuitable here. For if Israel had been scattered like the four winds, it would of necessity have been summoned to return, not only from the north, but from all quarters of the globe (Hitzig, Kliefoth). Moreover, we should then have לארבּע, into the four winds; and the method suggested by Koehler for reconciling כּארבּע with his view, viz., by assuming that "like the four winds" is equivalent to "as chaff is pounded and driven away from its place by the four winds," according to which the winds would be mentioned in the place of the chaff, will hardly meet with approval. The explanation is rather that the perfect pērastı̄ is used prophetically to denote the purpose of God, which had already been formed, even if its realization was still in the future. To spread out like the four winds is the same as to spread out just as the four winds spread out to all quarters of the globe. Because God has resolved upon spreading out His people in this manner, they are to flee out of Babel, that they may not suffer the fate of Babel. That this thought lies at the foundation of the motive assigned, is evident from the further reasons assigned for the summons in Zechariah 2:8 and Zechariah 2:9.

Zion stands for the inhabitants of Zion, namely the people of God, who are for the time being still yōshebheth bath Bâbel, dwelling with the daughter Babel. As Zion does not mean the city or fortress of Jerusalem, but the inhabitants, so the "daughter Babel" is not the city of Babylon or country of Babylonia personified, but the inhabitants of Babel; and ישׁב is construed with the accusative of the person, as in Psalm 22:4 and 2 Samuel 6:2. What Jehovah states in explanation of the twofold call to flee out of Babel, does not commence with Zechariah 2:9 (Ewald), or with כּי הנּגע in Zechariah 2:8 (Koehler), but with אחר כּבוד וגו. The incorrectness of the two former explanations is seen first of all in the fact that כּי only introduces a speech in the same manner as ὅτι, when it follows directly upon the introductory formula; but not, as is here assumed, when a long parenthesis is inserted between, without the introduction being resumed by לאמר. And secondly, neither of these explanations furnishes a suitable meaning. If the words of God only followed in Zechariah 2:9, עליהם in the first clause would be left without any noun to which to refer; and if they commenced with כּי הנּגע (for he that toucheth), the thought "he that toucheth you," etc., would assign no reason for the call to flee and save themselves. For if Israel is defended or valued by God as a pupil of the eye, there can be no necessity for it to flee. And lastly, it is impossible to see what can be the meaning or object of the parenthesis, "After glory hath He sent me," etc. If it treated "of the execution of the threat of punishment upon the heathen" (Koehler), it would be inserted in an unsuitable place, since the threat of punishment would not follow till afterwards. All these difficulties vanish if Jehovah's words commence with 'achar kâbhōd (after glory), in which case shelâchanı̄ (He hath sent me) may be very simply explained from the fact that the address is introduced, not in a direct form, but indirectly: Jehovah says, He has sent me after glory. The sender is Jehovah, and the person sent is not the prophet, but the angel of the Lord. Achar kâbhōd: behind glory, after glory; not however "after the glory of success" (Hitzig, Ewald, etc.), still less "with a glorious commission," but to get glory upon the heathen, i.e., to display the glory of God upon the heathen through the judgment by which their power is broken, and the heathen world is made to serve the people of God. The manner in which the next two clauses, commencing with kı̄ (for), are attached, is the following: The first assigns the subjective motive; that is to say, states the reason why God has sent him to the heathen, namely, because they have plundered His people, and have thereby touched the apple of His eye. בּבת עין, the apple of the eye (lit., the gate, the opening in which the eye is placed, or more probably the pupil of the eye, pupilla, as being the object most carefully preserved), is a figure used to denote the dearest possession or good, and in this sense is applied to the nation of Israel as early as Deuteronomy 32:10. The second explanatory clause in Zechariah 2:9 adds the practical ground for this sending after glory. The speaker is still the angel of the Lord; and his acting is identical with the acting of God. Like Jehovah, he swings his hand over the heathen nations which plundered Israel (cf. Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 19:16), and they become (והיוּ expressing the consequence), i.e., so that they become, booty to the Israelites, who had previously been obliged to serve them (cf. Isaiah 14:2). In what way the heathen would serve Israel is stated in Zechariah 2:11. By the execution of this judgment Israel would learn that Jehovah had sent His angel, namely to execute upon the heathen His saving purposes for Israel. This is the meaning of these words, not only here and in Zechariah 2:11, but also in Zechariah 4:9 and Zechariah 6:15, where this formula is repeated, not however in the sense imagined by Koehler, namely that he had spoken these words in consequence of a command from Jehovah, and not of his own accord, by which the "sending" is changed into "speaking."

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