Zechariah 2:4
And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein:
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Zechariah 2:4 - Zechariah 2:5

Zechariah was the Prophet of the returning exiles, and his great work was to hearten them for their difficult task, with their small resources and their many foes, and to insist that the prime condition to success, on the part of that portion of the nation that had returned, was holiness. So his visions, of which there is a whole series, are very largely concerned with the building of the Temple and of the city. In this one, he sees a man with a measuring-rod in his hand coming forth to take the dimensions of the still un-existing city of God. The words that I have read are the centre portion of that vision. You notice that there are three clauses, and that the first in order is the consequence of the other two. ‘Jerusalem shall be builded as a city without walls . . . for I will be a wall of fire round about her, and the glory in the midst of her.’

And that exuberant promise was spoken about the Jerusalem over which Christ wept when he foresaw its inevitable destruction. When the Romans had cast a torch into the Temple, and the streets of the city were running with blood, what had become of Zechariah’s dream of a wall of fire round about her? Then can the divine fire be quenched? Yes. And who quenched it? Not the Romans, but the people that lived within that flaming rampart. The apparent failure of the promise carries the lesson for churches and individuals to-day, that in spite of such glowing predictions, there may again sound the voice that the legend says was heard within the Temple, on the night before Jerusalem fell. ‘Let us depart,’ and there was a rustling of unseen wings, and on the morrow the legionaries were in the shrine. ‘If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee.’

Now let us look, in the simplest possible way, at these three clauses, and the promises that are in them; keeping in mind that, like all the divine promises, they are conditional.

The first is this:-

I. ‘I will be a wall of fire round about her.’

I need not dwell on the vividness and beauty of that metaphor. These encircling flames will consume all antagonism, and defy all approach. But let me remind you that the conditional promise was intended for Judæ¡ and Jerusalem, and was fulfilled in literal fact. So long as the city obeyed and trusted God it was impregnable, though all the nations stood round about it, like dogs round a sheep. The fulfilment of the promise has passed over, with all the rest that characterised Israel’s position, to the Christian Church, and to-day, in the midst of all the agitations of opinion, and all the vauntings of men about an effete Christianity, and dead churches, it is as true as ever it was that the living Church of God is eternal. If it had not been that there was a God as a wall of fire round about the Church, it would have been wiped off the face of the earth long ago. If nothing else had killed it the faults of its members would have done so. The continuance of the Church is a perpetual miracle, when you take into account the weakness, and the errors, and the follies, and the stupidities, and the narrownesses, and the sins, of the people who in any given day represent it. That it should stand at all, and that it should conquer, seems to me to be as plain a demonstration of the present working of God, as is the existence still, as a separate individuality amongst the peoples of the earth, of His ancient people, the Jews. Who was it who said, when somebody asked him for the best proof of the truth of Christianity, ‘The Jews’? and so we may say, if you want a demonstration that God is working in the world, ‘Look at the continuance of the Christian Church.’

In spite of all the vauntings of people that have already discounted its fall, and are talking as if it needed no more to be reckoned with, that calm confidence is the spirit in which we are to look around and forward. It does not become any Christian ever to have the smallest scintillation of a fear that the ship that bears Jesus Christ can fail to come to land, or can sink in the midst of the waters. There was once a timid would-be helper who put out his hand to hold up the Ark of God. He need not have been afraid. The oxen might stumble, and the cart roll about, but the Ark was safe and stable. A great deal may go, but the wall of fire will be around the Church. In regard to its existence, as in regard to the immortal being of each of its members, the great word remains for ever true: ‘Because I live ye shall live also.’

But do not let us forget that this great promise does not belong only to the Church as a whole, but that we have each to bring it down to our own individual lives, and to be quite sure of this, that in spite of all that sense says, in spite of all that quivering hearts and weeping eyes may seem to prove, there is a wall of fire round each of us, if we are keeping near Jesus Christ, through which it is as impossible that any real evil should pass and get at us, as it would be impossible that any living thing should pass through the flaming battlements that the Prophet saw round his ideal city. Only we have to interpret that promise by faith and not by sense, and we have to make it possible that it shall be fulfilled by keeping inside the wall, and trusting to it. As faith dwindles, the fiery wall burns dim, and evil can get across its embers, and can get at us. Keep within the battlements, and they will flame up bright and impassable, with a fire that on the outer side consumes, but to those within is a fire that cherishes and warms.

II. The next point of the promise passes into a more intimate region.

It is well to have a defence from that which is without us; but it is more needful to have, if a comparison can be made between the two, a glory ‘in the midst’ of us.

The one is external defence; the other inward illumination, with all which light symbolises-knowledge, joy, purity.

There is even more than that meant by this great promise. For notice that emphatic little word the-the glory, not a glory-in the midst of her. Now you all know what ‘the glory’ was. It was that symbolic Light that spoke of the special presence of God, and went with the Children of Israel in their wanderings, and sat between the Cherubim. There was no ‘Shechinah,’ as it is technically called, in that second Temple. But yet the Prophet says, ‘The glory’-the actual presence of God-’shall be in the midst of her,’ and the meaning of that great promise is taught us by the very last vision in the New Testament, in which the Seer of the Apocalypse says, ‘The glory of the Lord did lighten it’ {evidently quoting Zechariah}, ‘and the Lamb is the light thereof.’ So the city is lit as by one central glow of radiance that flashes its beams into every corner, and therefore ‘there shall be no night there.’

Now this promise, too, bears on churches and on individuals. On the Church as a whole it bears in this way: the only means by which a Christian community can fulfil its function, and be the light of the world, is by having the presence of God, in no metaphor, the actual presence of the illuminating Spirit in its midst. If it has not that, it may have anything and everything else-wealth, culture, learning, eloquence, influence in the world-but all is of no use; it will be darkness. We are light only in proportion as we are ‘light in the Lord.’ As long as we, as communities, keep our hearts in touch with Him, so long do we shine. Break the contact, and the light fades and flickers out.

The same thing is true, dear brethren, about individuals. For each of us the secret of joy, of purity, of knowledge, is that we be holding close communion with God. If we have Him in the depths of our hearts, then, and only then, shall we be ‘light in the Lord.’

And now look at the last point which follows, as I have said, as the result of the other two.

III. ‘Jerusalem shall be without walls.’

It is to be like the defenceless villages scattered up and down over Israel. There is no need for bulwarks of stone. The wall of fire is round about. The Prophet has a vision of a great city, of a type unknown in those old times, though familiar to us in our more peaceful days, where there was no hindrance to expansion by encircling ramparts, no crowding together of the people because they needed to hide behind the city walls; and where the growing community could spread out into the outer suburbs, and have fresh air and ample space. That is the vision of the manner of city that Jerusalem was to be. It did not come true, but the ideal was this. It has not yet come true sufficiently in regard to the churches of to-day, but it ought to be the goal to which they are tending. The more a Christian community is independent of external material supports and defences the better.

I am not going to talk about the policy or impolicy of Established Churches, as they are called. But it seems to me that the principle that is enshrined in this vision is their condemnation. Never mind about stone and lime walls, trust in God and you will not need them, and you will be strong and ‘established’ just in the proportion in which you are cut loose from all dependence upon, and consequent subordination to, the civil power.

But there is another thought that I might suggest, though I do not know that it is directly in the line of the Prophet’s vision; and that is-a Christian Church should neither depend on, nor be cribbed and cramped by, men-made defences of any kind. Luther tells us somewhere, in his parabolic way, of people that wept because there were no visible pillars to hold up the heavens, and were afraid that the sky would fall upon their heads. No, no, there is no fear of that happening, for an unseen hand holds them up. A church that hides behind the fortifications of its grandfathers’ erection has no room for expansion; and if it has no room for expansion it will not long continue as large as it is. It must either grow greater, or grow, and deserve to grow, less.

The same thing is true, dear brethren, about ourselves individually. Zechariah’s prophecy was never meant to prevent what he himself helped to further, the building of the actual walls of the actual city. And our dependence upon God is not to be so construed as that we are to waive our own common-sense and our own effort. That is not faith; it is fanaticism.

We have to build ourselves round, in this world, with other things than the ‘wall of fire,’ but in all our building we have to say, ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchers watch in vain.’ But yet neither Jerusalem nor the Church, nor the earthly state of that believer who lives most fully the life of faith, exhausts this promise. It waits for the day when the city shall descend, ‘like a bride adorned for her husband, having no need of the sun nor of the moon, for the glory . . . lightens it.’ Having walls, indeed, but for splendour, not for defence; and having gates, which have only one of the functions of a gate-to stand wide open, to the east and the west, and the north and the south, for the nations to enter in; and never needing to be barred against enemies by day, ‘for there shall be no night there.’

2:1-5 The Son of David, even the Man Christ Jesus, whom the prophet sees with a measuring line in his hand, is the Master-Builder of his church. God notices the extent of his church, and will take care that whatever number of guests are brought to the wedding-supper, there shall be room. This vision means well to Jerusalem. The walls of a city, as they defend it, so they straiten its inhabitants; but Jerusalem shall be extended as freely as if it had no walls at all, yet shall be as safe as if it had the strongest walls. In the church of God there yet is room for other multitudes, more than man can number. None shall be refused who trust in Christ; and He never shuts out from heaven one true member of the church on earth. God will be a Wall of fire round them, which can neither be broken through nor undermined, nor can it be assailed without danger to those who attack. This vision was to have its full accomplishment in the gospel church, which is extended by admitting the Gentiles into it; and which has the Son of God for its Prince and Protector; especially in the glorious times yet to come.And said unto him, Run, speak unto this young man - The prophet himself, who was to report to his people what he heard. Jeremiah says, "I am a youth" Jeremiah 1:6; and, "the young man," "the young prophet," carried the prophetic message from Elisha to Jehu. "Youth,'" common as our English term in regard to man, is inapplicable and unapplied to angels, who have not our human variations of age, but exist, as they were created.

Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls - Or as villages (see the notes at Habakkuk 3:14), namely, an unconfined, uncramped population, spreading itself freely, without restraint of walls, and (it follows) without need of them. Clearly then it is no earthly city. To be inhabited as villages would be weakness, not strength; a peril, not a blessing. The earthly Jerusalem, so long as she remained unwalled, was in continual fear and weakness. God put it into the heart of His servant to desire to restore her; her wall was built, and then she prospered. He Himself had promised to Daniel, that "Her street shall be rebuilt, and her wall, even in strait of times" Daniel 9:25. Nehemiah mourned 73 years after this, 443 b.c., when it was told him, "The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire" Nehemiah 1:3. He said to Artaxerxes, "Why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulehres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?" Nehemiah 2:3. When permitted by Artaxerxes to return, he addressed the rulers of the Jews, "Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire; come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach; and they said, let us rise and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work" Nehemiah 2:17-18. When "the wall was finished and our enemies heard, and the pagan about us saw it, they were much cast down in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God" Nehemiah 6:15-16.

This prophecy then looks on directly to the time of Christ. Wonderfully does it picture the gradual expansion of the kingdom of Christ, without bound or limit, whose protection and glory God is, and the character of its defenses. It should "dwell as villages," peacefully and gently expanding itself to the right and the left, through its own inherent power of multiplying itself, as a city, to which no bounds were assigned, but which was to fill the earth. Cyril: "For us God has raised a church, that truly holy and far-famed city, which Christ fortifies, consuming opponents by invisible powers, and filling it with His own glory, and as it were, standing in the midst of those who dwell in it. For He promised; "Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world." This holy city Isaiah mentioned: "thine eyes shall see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation; a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken" Isaiah 33:20; and to her he saith, "enlarge the place of thy, tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation; spare not; lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes. For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left" Isaiah 54:2-3. For the church of Christ is widened and extended boundlessly, ever receiving countless souls who worship Him." Rup.: "What king or emperor could make walls so ample as to include the whole world? Yet, without this, it could not encircle that Jerusalem, the church which is diffused through the whole world. This Jerusalem, the pilgrim part of the heavenly Jerusalem, is, in this present world, inhabited without walls, not being contained in vile place or one nation. But in that world, where it is daily being removed hence, much more can there not, nor ought to be, nor is, any wall around, save the Lord, who is also the glory in the midst of it."

4. this young man—So Zechariah is called as being still a youth when prophetically inspired [Grotius]. Or, he is so called in respect to his ministry or service (compare Nu 11:27; Jos 1:1) [Vatablus]. Naturally the "angel that talked with" Zechariah is desired to "speak to" him the further communications to be made from the Divine Being.

towns without walls for the multitude … Cattle—So many shall be its inhabitants that all could not be contained within the walls, but shall spread out in the open country around (Es 9:19); and so secure shall they be as not to need to shelter themselves and their cattle behind walls. So hereafter Judea is to be "the land of unwalled villages" (Eze 38:11). Spiritually, now the Church has extended herself beyond the walls (Eph 2:14, 15) of Mosaic ordinances and has spread from cities to country villages, whose inhabitants gave their Latin name (pagani) to pagans, as being the last in parting with heathenism.

And said unto him; or,

And he said; or, as the French, Lequel lui dit, Which said unto him: so it is plain that the Angel which now was going forth spake to that angel which came to meet him, or gave him orders what to do.

Run; since you came so seasonably, hasten with all diligence, and from me tell that young man, Zechariah.

Jerusalem, which hath so long lain in rubbish, which I once delighted in, which now seems desolate and hopeless,

shall be inhabited, filled with inhabitants,

as towns without walls; the suburbs of it shall be as towns unwalled for greatness of extent, and for safety and freedom from enemies and danger: their own multitudes of men shall be some safeguard to them; and they shall have my presence, a better safeguard.

Cattle, brought thither for sacred uses, for sacrifices.

And said unto him,.... That is, the other angel said to the angel that had been talking with the prophet,

Run, speak to this young man: meaning Zechariah, who was either young in years, as Samuel and Jeremiah were when they prophesied; or he was a servant of a prophet older than he, and therefore so called, as Joshua, Moses's minister, was, Numbers 11:28 as Kimchi observes:

saying, Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls; this shows that this is not to be understood of Jerusalem in a literal sense, for that was not inhabited as a town without a wall; its wall was built in Nehemiah's time, and remained until the city was destroyed by Vespasian; yea, it had a treble wall, as Josephus says (b); but of the church of Christ in Gospel times; and denotes both the safety and security of it; see Ezekiel 38:11 and the populousness of it; and especially as it will be in the latter day, when both Jews and Gentiles are called, and brought into it; which sense is confirmed by what follows:

for the multitude of men and cattle therein; the Jews being meant by "men"; see Ezekiel 34:31 and the Gentiles by "cattle", to which they used to be compared by the former: this will be fulfilled when the nation of the Jews will be born at once, and all Israel will be saved, and the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in; for the number of the spiritual Israel, the sons of the living God, both Jews and Gentiles, shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured, Hosea 1:10 and when there will be such a large increase of converts; and such flockings to Zion, to the spiritual Jerusalem, the church of God, that the place will be too small for them, Isaiah 49:19 whereas, when Jerusalem in a literal sense was rebuilt, after the Babylonian captivity, there was a want of persons to inhabit it, and lots were cast for one out of ten to dwell in it; and they were glad of others that offered themselves willingly to be inhabitants of it, Nehemiah 11:1 for there was but a small number that returned from Babylon to repeople the city of Jerusalem, and the whole country of Judea; no more came from thence but forty two thousand, three hundred, and threescore, besides men and maid servants, which amounted to seven or eight thousand more, Ezra 2:64 Nehemiah 7:66 which were but a few to fill such a country, and so many cities and towns that were in it, besides Jerusalem; and yet Josephus (c) affirms, that the number of those of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, that came up from thence, and were above twelve years of age, were four millions, six hundred, and twenty eight thousand; in which he is followed by Zonaras (d), and it is admitted and approved of by Sanctius on the place; which is not only contrary to the accounts of Ezra and Nehemiah, but is incredible; that such a number that went into captivity, which was not very large, should, under all the distresses and oppressions they laboured, in seventy years time so multiply, and that two tribes only, as to be almost eight times more than all the twelve tribes were at their coming out of Egypt; a number large enough to have overrun the Babylonian monarchy; and too many to be supported in so small a country as the land of Canaan: wherefore, upon the whole, it must be best to interpret this of spiritual and mystical Jerusalem, and of the populousness of the church of Christ in the latter day.

(b) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 2.((c) Antiqu. l. 11. c. 3. sect. 10. (d) Apud Hudson in ib.

And said to him, Run, speak to this {b} young man, saying, {c} Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle in it:

(b) Meaning himself, Zechariah.

(c) Signifying the spiritual Jerusalem and Church under Christ, which would be extended by the Gospel through all the world, and would need no material walls, nor trust in any worldly strength, but would be safely preserved and dwell in peace among all their enemies.

4. and said unto him] Rather, and he said unto him; i.e. the interpreting angel said to the second angel whom he met. That he might remain himself near the prophet, whose interpreter he was appointed to be throughout the whole series of visions, he sent his brother angel instead of going himself in pursuit of the man with the measuring line, who by this time had passed on his errand out of the field of view, giving him a message for him in the hearing of the prophet, and so discharging his interpreting function, so far as this vision is concerned.

this young man] Some commentators refer this to Zechariah himself, and understand it to be the second angel in Zechariah 2:3, who meeting the interpreting angel bids him run back to the prophet with the announcement that follows. It is difficult, however, to see why on this view the angel should be told to “run;” whereas on the view taken above the messenger is directed to hasten after one who has already started on his errand, and the scenic character of the vision is altogether better maintained.

as towns without walls] as open, unwalled country villages. The word is rendered, “unwalled villages,” Ezekiel 38:11, and is there explained to be places where men are “at rest and dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates.” Comp. Deuteronomy 3:5; Esther 9:19. The prophecy of this and the next verse, however it may include, yet far exceeds the rebuilding of the walls by Nehemiah, or any prosperity and extension into suburbs of Jerusalem, that has yet taken place.

Verse 4. - And said unto him; i.e. the second angel said to the interpreter. Run. He was to hasten and deliver the message, because it was a joyful one and calculated to allay the prophet's solicitude. This young man. The Prophet Zechariah. The term applied to him is thought to show that he was still young when the vision appeared; but the word is used also for minister, or servant, or disciple, without necessarily defining the age. Others, not so suitably, consider that the measuring angel is meant, who is thus stopped in his intention of measuring Jerusalem, as being ignorant of God's counsels. Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls. Jerusalem shall be as open villages in a plain country. The word perazoth is used in Ezekiel 38:11, meaning "unwalled villages" where men dwelt "without walls, having neither bars nor gates." So Esther 9:19, where it means, "country towns," in contrast to the metropolis, which was walled and fortified. The idea in the text is that Jerusalem in the future shall be so extended that walls shall no longer contain its inhabitants, but they shall spread themselves in the open country on every side. It is certain that the city did greatly increase in after time, if we may believe Aristeas's account in his famous letter to his brother Philocrates; and the annunciation of this prosperity would be a comfort to the prophet (comp. Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 5:04, 2). But no material increase of this nature satisfies the prophecy, which can only have its fulfilment in the spiritual Jerusalem, whose Builder is Christ, in whose light the nations of them that are saved shall walk (Revelation 21:24; see Isaiah 49:18, etc.; Isaiah 54:2, 3). This open condition implies not only extent, but peace and safety also. The reason of this quiet security is given in the next verse. Septuagint, Κατακάρπως κατοικηθήσεται Ἰερουσαλὴμ, "Jerusalem shall be abundantly inhabited." Zechariah 2:4Whilst 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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