Zechariah 14:2
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
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14:1-7 The Lord Jesus often stood upon the Mount of Olives when on earth. He ascended from thence to heaven, and then desolations and distresses came upon the Jewish nation. Such is the view taken of this figuratively; but many consider it as a notice of events yet unfulfilled, and that it relates to troubles of which we cannot now form a full idea. Every believer, being related to God as his God, may triumph in the expectation of Christ's coming in power, and speak of it with pleasure. During a long season, the state of the church would be deformed by sin; there would be a mixture of truth and error, of happiness and misery. Such is the experience of God's people, a mingled state of grace and corruption. But, when the season is at the worst, and most unpromising, the Lord will turn darkness into light; deliverance comes when God's people have done looking for it.I Will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle - This is a feature which belongs to the end. It had been dwelt upon by Joel; Joel 3:2-9, Joel 3:11; Ezekiel spoke of the "many nations" Ezekiel 38:6, Ezekiel 38:15, Ezekiel 38:22 which should come under Gog. John foretells of an universal strife at the end, when "The spirits of devils, working miracles, go forth unto the king; of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty" Revelation 16:14; and "Satan shall be loosed out of his prison and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints round about, and the beloved city" Revelation 20:7-9. Since no creature can do aught but what God wills, and, in his phrensy against God's people, is but His instrument, "to try them and to purge and to make white to the time of the end" Daniel 11:35; Daniel 12:10; and the strength of body or intellect, which is abused against His law, He continuously in the order of nature supplies, God may be said to do what Satan does against Him. Satan, in his blind fury, crowns martyrs, fills the thrones of heaven, works, against his will, the All-wise Will of God.

And the houses rifled, and the women ... - The horrors of pagan war repeat themselves through people's ever-recurring passions. What was foretold as to Babylon is repeated in the same words as to the Church of God. Seemingly "all things" come "alike to all Ecclesiastes 9:2 : there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean and to the unclean: to him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner." The outward event is the same, the hidden part is known to God alone. "And the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city," unlike the lot of the earthly Jerusalem, in the destruction both by Nebuchadnezzar (which was past) and the Romans (see at Micah 3:12, pp. 46-50). At the first, "Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, carried away the rest of the people left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude" 2 Kings 25:11, so that Jeremiah mourned over it, "Because of the mountain of Zion which is desolate, foxes walk" (habitually) "upon it" Lamentations 5:18. The Romans (see at pp. 46, 47) "effaced the city." Now "a remnant is not cut off," because "for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" Matthew 24:32; for our Lord had said, that "the gates of hell should not prevail against" His Church Matthew 16:18.

2. gather all nations, &c.—The prophecy seems literal (compare Joe 3:2). If Antichrist be the leader of the nations, it seems inconsistent with the statement that he will at this time be sitting in the temple as God at Jerusalem (2Th 2:4); thus Antichrist outside would be made to besiege Antichrist within the city. But difficulties do not set aside revelations: the event will clear up seeming difficulties. Compare the complicated movements, Da 11:1-45.

half … the residue—In Zec 13:8, 9, it is "two-thirds" that perish, and "the third" escapes. There, however, it is "in all the land"; here it is "half of the city." Two-thirds of the "whole people" perish, one-third survives. One-half of the citizens are led captive, the residue are not cut off. Perhaps, too, we ought to translate, "a (not 'the') residue."

For: this gives not the reason why, but introduceth an account how, this thing shall be done.

I will gather: God will summon and bring together his army. They do it themselves by their own counsels, for their own works and ends; God also hath his work for them to do, and by his counsel and at his call they shall come.

All nations; the Romans, with the power of their empire, which at that time had the rule over all the known world, or over all the Nations of that part of the world.

Against Jerusalem to battle; to make war with the Jews, which lasted some years, and cost many thousand lives, and ended at last as our prophet foretold.

The city shall be taken, by assault and force, whereby all lay at mercy of the soldiers, who showed little to those who first refused the mercy of their God, and, justly given up by God to their own blind, obstinate wills, refused the mercy of their enemy also.

The houses rifled; all houses pillaged, and all in them Worth taking was taken away.

The women ravished; wives, widows, and virgins barbarously violated.

Half of the city; a certain part for uncertain, or, in common speech, many; were it one half precisely it would be but a sixth part of what were before the wars; two-thirds being cut off, as Zechariah 13:8, and one-third remaining, of which one half is for captivity.

The residue of the people; that small number of the Jews which fled to Pella, and who were spared by Titus.

Shall not be cut off from the city; literally, were not forbidden to dwell in or about the city; mystically, were not cut off from the church, nor ceased to be a church; this the more likely, for Titus utterly ruined the city. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle,.... Meaning not the Romans, in the time of Vespasian, for they were not all nations; nor did a part of the city only go into captivity then, but the whole; nor did any remain in it: it seems right to refer it to the gathering of the kings of the earth to the battle of the Lord God Almighty at Armageddon, Revelation 16:14 unless it may be thought better to interpret it of the vast numbers, out of several nations, the Turk will bring against Jerusalem, to dispossess the Jews of it, by whom it will be again inhabited in the latter day; see Ezekiel 38:4 and Kimchi interprets it of the Gog and Magog army. The Jews, in their ancient Midrashes (d), apply it to the times of the Messiah; which is true, if understood not of the first times of the Messiah, whose coming they vainly expect, but of the last times of the Messiah.

And the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished, and half of the city shall go into captivity: this will be the time when the outward court shall be given, to the Gentiles, the Papists; the two witnesses shall be slain, and their enemies shall rejoice and send gifts to one another, Revelation 11:2 this will be a trying season, and such a time of trouble as has not been known:

and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city; there will be a remnant according to the election of grace; the city, the church, shall not be wholly extinct; Christ will reserve a seed for himself in those very worst of times, as he has always done: this cannot refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, for then all the inhabitants of the city were cut off, or carried captive, and none left; but, if literally to be understood, must refer to what will be, when the army of Gog shall come against it in the latter day; though these circumstances are not mentioned in Ezekiel.

(d) Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 22. 3. & Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2.

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
2. all nations] Comp. Joel 3:2; Joel 3:9-11; Ezekiel 38, 39; Revelation 20:7-9.Verse 2. - How this shall come to pass is now shown. For I will gather all nations. God uses the Gentile nations as his instruments in this trial of his people; they are the fires by which he refines and purifies his elect (Joel 3:2, 9-11). The city shall be taken. The outrages offered to the captive city are such as are indicated in the case of Babylon (Isaiah 13:16; comp. Lamentations 5:11, etc.). Half of the city. The term "half" must not be pressed, as if it contradicted the mention of the two-thirds that were to perish, according to the prediction in Zechariah 13:8. It is a mere rhetorical expression. Or it may apply to the city alone, while the other referred to the whole land. Shall not be out off. In the former captivity all the people were carried away; in this capture of the city a remnant shall be left therein. It is plain from this statement that the prophecy cannot apply to the destruction of the city by the Romans; for, according to the account of Josephus ('Bell. Jud.,' 6:09), the city itself was razed to the ground, and all the inhabitants were either put to the sword or sold for slaves. "And Jehovah will take possession of Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will yet choose Jerusalem. Zechariah 2:13. Be still, all flesh, before Jehovah; for He has risen up out of His holy habitation." The first hemistich of Zechariah 2:12 rests upon Deuteronomy 32:9, where Israel, as the chosen nation, is called the chēleq and nachălâh of Jehovah. This appointment of Israel to be the possession of Jehovah will become perfect truth and reality in the future, through the coming of the Lord. Yehūdâh is Judah as delivered, i.e., the remnant of the whole of the covenant nation. This remnant, after being gathered out of Babel, will dwell upon holy ground, or in a holy land, as the possession of the Lord. The holy land is the land of Jehovah (Hosea 9:3); but this is not to be set down without reserve as identical with Palestine. On the contrary, every place where Jehovah may be is holy ground (cf. Exodus 3:5); so that even Palestine is only holy when the Lord dwells there. And we must not limit the idea of the holy land in this passage to Palestine, because the idea of the people of God will be so expanded by the addition of nation nations, that it will not have room enough within the limits of Palestine; and according to Deuteronomy 32:4, even Jerusalem will no longer be a city with limited boundaries. The holy land reaches just as far as the nations, which have become the people of Jehovah by attaching themselves to Judah, spread themselves out over the surface of the earth. The words "choose Jerusalem again" round off the promise, just as in Zechariah 1:17; but in Zechariah 2:13 the admonition is added, to wait in reverential silence for the coming of the Lord to judgment, after Habakkuk 2:20; and the reason assigned is, that the judgment will soon begin. נעור, niphal of עוּר (compare Ewald, 140, a; Ges. 72, Anm. 9), to wake up, or rise up from His rest (cf. Psalm 44:24). מעון קדשׁו, the holy habitation of God, is heaven, as in Deuteronomy 26:15; Jeremiah 25:30. The judgment upon the heathen world-power began to burst in a very short time. When Babylon revolted against the king of Persia, under the reign of Darius, a great massacre took place within the city after its re-capture, and its walls were destroyed, so that the city could not rise again to its ancient grandeur and importance. Compare with this the remark made in the comm. on Haggai, concerning the overthrow of the Persian empire and those which followed it. We have already shown, what a groundless hypothesis the opinion is, that the fulfilment was interrupted in consequence of Israel's guilt; and that as the result of this, the completion of it has been deferred for centuries, or even thousands of years.
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