Zechariah 14:8
And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
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Zechariah 14:8-9. And it shall be in that day — Spoken of Zechariah 14:6, when the light shall not be clear, nor dark, that is, during the whole of the forementioned period; living waters shall go out from Jerusalem — The enlightening, quickening, and saving truths of Christianity, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit, shall proceed from the church of Christ, the true spiritual Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea — The eastern sea; and half of them toward the hinder sea — The western sea. They shall spread themselves eastward and westward, and on all sides; and even the sea, whether on the east or west, shall not be able to obstruct their progress; but, having watered and refreshed, enlightened, renewed, and cheered the continent, they shall make their way into the islands, and diffuse their renovating and gladdening influence even over them. In summer and in winter shall it be — Perpetually, without intermission; these waters shall never dry up, be obstructed in their course, or lose their healing, fructifying, and refreshing virtue. In other words, “the gospel, attended by the influences of the Holy Spirit, having begun its progress from Jerusalem, shall continue its course on every side, amidst all those changes of which summer and winter are an emblem: so that nothing shall totally impede its progress, till the Lord shall become King over all the earth, not only in right but in fact; till neither idols, false religion, nor antichristian power, shall remain as his rivals; till all princes shall submit to and serve him; and all the earth shall agree in one object and way of worship, and unite in submission and obedience to one Lord.” — Scott.

14:8-15 Some consider that the progress of the gospel, beginning from Jerusalem, is referred to by the living waters flowing from that city. Neither shall the gospel and means of grace, nor the graces of the Spirit wrought in the hearts of believers by those means, ever fail, by reason either of the heat of persecution, or storms of temptation, or the blasts of any other affliction. Tremendous judgments appear to be foretold, to be sent upon those who should oppose the settlement of the Jews in their own land. How far they are to be understood literally, events alone can determine. The furious rage and malice which stir up men against each other, are faint shadows of the enmity which reigns among those who have perished in their sins. Even the inferior creatures often suffer for the sin of man, and in his plagues. Thus God will show his displeasure against sin.And it shall be, that living waters - Kimchi: "This is what is said in the prophecy of Joel, 'A fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord' Joel 3:18; and in that of Ezekiel, 'And behold there ran out waters.' Ezekiel 47:2." Zechariah leaves to the mind to supply what the former prophets had said of the fertilizing life-giving character of those waters. He adds that they should pervade the whole land, west as well as east; "to the former," rather "the Eastern Sea" , into which they would by nature flow, and toward "the hinder," that is, the Western Sea, the Mediterranean, which natural waters could not "reach." This their flow, he adds, should be perpetual , "These streams shall not dry up and their waters shall not fail"; therefore drought shall not lessen them, nor winter-cold bind them. "From Jerusalem as from a fountain shall stream forth living waters of wisdom and grace to all nations" .

Cyril: "Again he tells us, under a figure, that exceeding great and large shall be that outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the saints, especially when they shall be removed to that holy eternal life in the world to come. For now through faith in Christ we are enriched, as with an earnest, with the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit. But after the Resurrection, sin being wholly taken away, the Holy Spirit will be in us, not as an earnest or in a measure; but richly bounteously and perfectly shall we enjoy the grace through Christ. He calleth, then, 'living water,' the Spirit which, he says, will come forth from the Jerusalem which is from above. But that the Holy Scripture is accustomed to liken the Divine Spirit to 'water,' the Giver thereof, the Son, accredits, saying, 'he that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water' John 7:38. This the Evangelist explains, 'This spake He of the Spirit, which they who believe in Him should receive' John 7:39. Since then the Spirit is life-giving, rightly does he liken it to that, which is life-giving to the frame."

8. living waters—(Eze 47:1; Joe 3:18).

former sea—that is, the front, or east, which Orientalists face in taking the points of the compass; the Dead Sea.

hinder sea—the west or Mediterranean.

summer … winter—neither dried up by heat, nor frozen by cold; ever flowing.

In that day; when the gospel shall be preached, and the days of dark ceremonies among the Jews, and darker ignorance and idolatry among the heathen, shall end.

Living waters; not only such as springs and fountains afford, living waters in opposition to standing, muddy, and dead waters; but such as give life, Ezekiel 47:1,6,7; the quickening, saving truths of the gospel, with all its ordinances in purity.

Shall go out, spread themselves or flow down as currents from good springs,

from Jerusalem; the church of Christ, the true Jerusalem.

Toward the former sea, or eastern sea, so far eastward as the sea will give leave; and who knows that sea?

Toward the hinder sea, or western sea. Synecdochically it is both east, west, north, and south: so from Jerusalem, i.e. the church. the doctrine of the gospel is preached abroad, and runs down as doth living water.

In summer and in winter shall it be; perpetually, without intermission or interruption, these waters should never dry away, nor ever lose their healing virtue.

And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem,.... When it shall be light; and this is one of the things which will make it so; for by "living waters" are meant the Gospel, and the doctrines of it; compared to running "waters" for the sound of them, which will then go into all the earth; for the swiftness in which they shall proceed; for their rapidity and force in bearing all before them; for the great spread of them; and for their virtue and efficacy in cooling those who are inflamed with the fiery law; refreshing thirsty souls; purifying the hearts and lives of sinners, and making those that are barren fruitful: and to "living" waters, because they are the means of quickening dead sinners, and of reviving drooping saints; and because they serve to support and maintain a spiritual life, and nourish up unto eternal life, and direct the way to it, as well as give the best account of it: and these will come out of Jerusalem; which may design Jerusalem literally, which will be rebuilt at the time of the Jews' conversion; or mystically the church, the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem; see Hebrews 12:22 reference seems to be had to the first ministration of the Gospel, which, according to prophecy, came out of Jerusalem, Isaiah 2:3.

Half of them towards the former sea; or the eastern sea, as the Targum, the Persian sea; and may signify that the Gospel shall be carried into the eastern parts of the world, into Persia, Tartary, and China, and other nations; and those great kingdoms shall become the kingdoms of Christ:

and half of them toward the hinder sea; or the western sea, as the Targum, the Mediterranean Sea; and may denote the progress and success of the Gospel in the European parts of the world: and the meaning of the whole is, that the Gospel shall be carried from east to west, and preached all the world over, to the conversion of Jews and Gentiles, who, some think, are designed by the two seas; when the abundance of the sea shall be converted by it, and the forces and fulness of the Gentiles brought in, and all Israel saved:

in summer and in winter shall it be; there will be no summer of persecution, nor winter of coldness and indifference to hinder the ministry of the word: the phrase denotes the constant ministry of the word, and the duration of it; it shall be constantly preached all the year long, and as long as summer and winter last.

And it shall be in that day, that living {i} waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

(i) That is, the spiritual graces of God, which would always continue in most abundance.

8. former sea, … hinder sea] Rather, eastern sea, western sea, R. V.: i.e. the Dead Sea on the E., and the Mediterranean Sea on the W. Comp. Ezekiel 47:1; Joel 3:18. This would be the natural watershed, the whole country being level and Jerusalem alone elevated above it, Zechariah 14:10.

in summer and in winter] “ut aquæ istæ nec gelu constringantur hiemis, nec æstatis nimio fervore siccentur.” Hieron. Comp. by way of contrast, Job 6:15-20.

8–11. The Prosperity of the Land

Perennial streams flowing from Jerusalem both to the E. and to the W. shall irrigate and fertilise the land, Zechariah 14:8. One God shall be worshipped without a rival, Zechariah 14:9. The whole face of the country shall become a level plain, Jerusalem alone standing aloft on its ancient hills, Zechariah 14:10, the populous abode of blessing and security, Zechariah 14:11.

Verses 8-11. - § 7. Then shall occur a season of joy. The land shall be transformed and renewed, and the Lord shall be owned as the sole King of all the earth. Verse 8. - Living waters; i.e. water fresh, pure, and perennial (Genesis 26:19; Jeremiah 2:13), a figure of the spiritual blessings and graces bestowed by God upon his Church. From Jerusalem, as the centre and representative of the kingdom of God, as in Zechariah 12:2. The city itself was, as we know, abundantly supplied with water by many conduits and subterranean channels; but standing, as it does, surrounded by hills higher than itself, it is physically impossible that the waters could literally flow as stated. The description is symbolical, though the natural features of the country are supposed to be changed in order to preserve verisimilitude (comp. Ezekiel 47:1, etc.; Joel 3:18). The former (eastern) sea... the hinder (western) sea. The Dead Sea is the eastern sea to one looking to sunrise from Jerusalem: the Mediterranean is the western sea, behind the observer's back. Into every quarter the salutary stream shall flow. In summer and in winter. Neither drought nor frost shall stop their perennial flow. "Alike in times of peace and of persecution those waters shall continue their course" (St. Jerome); Septuagint, "In summer and in spring" - a rendering which seems to indicate the home of the Alexandrian Version. Zechariah 14:8Zechariah 14:8. "And it will come to pass in that day, that living waters will go out from Jerusalem; by half into the eastern sea, and by half into the western sea: in summer and in winter will it be. Zechariah 14:9. And Jehovah will be King over all the land; in that day will Jehovah be one, and His name one. Zechariah 14:10. The whole land will turn as the plain from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem; and this will be high, and dwell in its place, from the gate of Benjamin to the place of the first gate, to the corner gate, and from the tower of Chananeel to the king's wine-presses. Zechariah 14:11. And men will dwell therein, and there will be no more curse (ban); and Jerusalem will dwell securely." The living water which issues from Jerusalem, and pours over the land on both sides, flowing both into the eastern or Dead Sea, and into the hinder (i.e., western) or Mediterranean Sea (see at Joel 2:20), is, according to Joel 3:18 and Ezekiel 47:1-12, a figurative representation of the salvation and blessing which will flow out of Jerusalem, the centre of the kingdom of God, over the holy land, and produce vigorous life on every hand. According to Joel and Ezekiel, the water issues from the temple (see at Joel 3:18). Zechariah adds, that this will take place in summer and winter, i.e., will proceed without interruption throughout the whole year, whereas natural streams dry up in summer time in Palestine. To this blessing there is added the higher spiritual blessing, that Jehovah will be King over all the land, and His name alone will be mentioned and revered. כּל־הארץ does not mean the whole earth, but, as in Zechariah 14:8 and Zechariah 14:10, the whole of the land of Canaan or of Israel, which is bounded by the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. It by no means follows from this, however, that Zechariah is simply speaking of a glorification of Palestine. For Canaan, or the land of Israel, is a type of the kingdom of God in the full extent which it will have on the earth in the last days depicted here. Jehovah's kingship does not refer to the kingdom of nature, but to the kingdom of grace, - namely, to the perfect realization of the sovereignty of God, for which the old covenant prepared the way; whereas the old Israel continually rebelled against Jehovah's being King, both by its sin and its idolatry. This rebellion, i.e., the apostasy of the nation from its God, is to cease, and the Lord alone will be King and God of the redeemed nation, and be acknowledged by it; His name alone will be mentioned, and not the names of idols as well.

The earthly soil of the kingdom of God will then experience a change. The whole land will be levelled into a plain, and Jerusalem will be elevated in consequence; and Jerusalem, when thus exalted, will be restored in its fullest extent. יסּב (imperf. kal, not niphal; see Ges. 67, 5), to change like the plain, i.e., to change so as to become like the plain. הערבה is not a plain generally, in which case the article would be used generically, but the plain, so called κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν, the plain of the Jordan, or the Ghor (see at Deuteronomy 1:1). The definition "from Geba to Rimmon" does not belong to כּערבה (Umbreit, Neum., Klief.), but to כּל־הארץ; for there was no plain between Geba and Rimmon, but only an elevated, hilly country. Geba is the present Jeba, about three hours to the north of Jerusalem (see at Joshua 18:24), and was the northern frontier city of the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 23:8). Rimmon, which is distinguished by the clause "to the south of Jerusalem" from the Rimmon in Galilee, the present Rummaneh to the north of Nazareth (see at Joshua 19:13), and from the rock of Rimmon, the present village of Rummon, about fifteen Roman miles to the north of Jerusalem (see Judges 20:45), is the Rimmon situated on the border of Edom, which was given up by the tribe of Judah to the Simeonites (Joshua 15:32; Joshua 19:7), probably on the site of the present ruins of Um er Rummanim, four hours to the north of Beersheba (see at Joshua 15:32). To וראמה וגו we must supply as the subject Jerusalem, which has been mentioned just before. ראמה is probably only an outwardly expanded form of רמה from רוּם, like קאם in Hosea 10:14. The whole land will be lowered, that Jerusalem alone may be high. This is, of course, not to be understood as signifying a physical elevation caused by the depression of the rest of the land; but the description is a figurative one, like the exaltation of the temple mountain above all the mountains in Micah 4:1. Jerusalem, as the residence of the God-King, is the centre of the kingdom of God; and in the future this is to tower high above all the earth. The figurative description is attached to the natural situation of Jerusalem, which stood upon a broad mountain ridge, and was surrounded by mountains, which were loftier than the city (see Robinson, Palestine). The exaltation is a figurative representation of the spiritual elevation and glory which it is to receive. Moreover, Jerusalem is to dwell on its ancient site (ישׁב תּחתּיה, as in Zechariah 12:6). The meaning of this is not that the exaltation above the surrounding land will be the only alteration that will take place in its situation (Koehler); but, as a comparison with Jeremiah 31:38 clearly shows, that the city will be restored or rebuilt in its former extent, and therefore is to be completely recovered from the ruin brought upon it by conquest and plunder (Zechariah 14:1). The boundaries of the city that are mentioned here cannot be determined with perfect certainty. The first definitions relate to the extent of the city from east to west. The starting-point (for the use of למן, see Haggai 2:18) is Benjamin's gate, in the north wall, through which the road to Benjamin and thence to Ephraim ran, so that it was no doubt the same as Ephraim's gate mentioned in 2 Kings 14:13 and Nehemiah 8:16. The terminus ad quem, on the other hand, is doubtful, viz., "to the place of the first gate, to the corner gate." According to the grammatical construction, עד־שׁער הפּנּים is apparently in apposition to עד־מקום שׁער הר, or a more precise description of the position of the first gate; and Hitzig and Kliefoth have taken the words in this sense. Only we cannot see any reason why the statement "to the place of the first gate" should be introduced at all, if the other statement "to the corner gate" describes the very same terminal point, and that in a clearer manner. We must therefore assume, as the majority of commentators have done, that the two definitions refer to two different terminal points; in other words, that they define the extent both eastwards and westwards from the Benjamin's gate, which stood near the centre of the north wall. The corner gate (sha‛ar happinnı̄m is no doubt the same as sha‛ar happinnâh in 2 Kings 14:13 and Jeremiah 31:38) was at the western corner of the north wall. "The first gate" is supposed to be identical with שׁער היּשׁנה, the gate of the old (city), in Nehemiah 3:6 and Nehemiah 12:39, and its place at the north-eastern corner of the city. The definitions which follow give the extent of the city from north to south. We must supply מן before מגדּל. The tower of Hananeel (Jeremiah 31:38; Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 12:39) stood at the north-east corner of the city (see at Nehemiah 3:1). The king's wine-presses were unquestionably in the king's gardens at the south side of the city (Nehemiah 3:15). In the city so glorified the inhabitants dwell (ישׁבוּ in contrast to going out as captives or as fugitives, Zechariah 14:2, Zechariah 14:5), and that as a holy nation, for there will be no more any ban in the city. The ban presupposes sin, and is followed by extermination as a judgment (cf. Joshua 6:18). The city and its inhabitants will therefore be no more exposed to destruction, but will dwell safely, and have no more hostile attacks to fear (cf. Isaiah 65:18. and Revelation 22:3).

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