Zechariah 2:6
Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.
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Zechariah 2:6-9. Ho, Ho! — Ye sleepy Jews, come forth — Come out from your prisons; and flee — Make all the haste you can, from the land of the north — From Chaldea, and Babylon, the chief city of it, which lay northward of Judea. The Jews, who still remained in those parts, are here exhorted to return with all speed from them, for a reason assigned, Zechariah 2:9. For I have spread you abroad — As I executed my threats in scattering you, and your brethren of the ten tribes, all over the world; so, in due time, I will gather you from your several dispersions, of which your present restoration from Babylon shall be an earnest. Deliver thyself, O Zion, &c. — O ye citizens of Zion, that still dwell in Babylon, make haste to come out from thence. For after the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you — After that he is become your glory, saith the angel, I am to avenge you of your enemies. Or, the words may be considered as spoken by the prophet, and then the sense is, (as the Chaldee explains it,) “After I have given you the promise of restoring Jerusalem to such a glorious state, I (the Prophet Zechariah) am sent to execute God’s judgments, that is, to foretel that they shall be executed, upon the Chaldeans, who spoiled you of your wealth and ornaments. For he that toucheth you, &c. — God is very sensible of every injury offered to his people. See Psalm 105:15. It is like hurting the eye, which is the most tender and sensible part of the body: compare Psalm 17:8. And though he made the Babylonians instruments of his vengeance, yet now he will call them to an account for exceeding their commission.” — Lowth. See note on Zechariah 1:15. For behold, I will shake my hand upon, or over them, &c. — Namely, the nation that doth violence to my people, meaning chiefly the Babylonians. And they shall be a spoil to their servants — They shall be spoiled by, or become subject to, those to whom they were superior, and who were their servants. This seems to be a prediction of some new calamity to be brought upon the Babylonians. And accordingly we find from history, that, very soon after this time, the Babylonians revolting from Darius, he marched against Babylon with a great army; and having, after a siege of twenty months, made himself master of it, beat down its walls, put 3,000 of its principal inhabitants to death, and made captives, or slaves, of a great number. Before Cyrus, the Persians were subject to the Babylonians, and therefore are here called their servants. And ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me — These words are a continuation of the prophet’s speech: as if he had said, When this judgment is executed upon the Chaldeans, it will be an undoubted sign and proof of the truth of my mission. Compare Ezekiel 33:33.

2:6-9 If God will build Jerusalem for the people and their comfort, they must inhabit it for him and his glory. The promises and privileges with which God's people are blessed, should engage us to join them, whatever it costs us. When Zion is enlarged to make room for all God's Israel, it is the greatest madness for any of them to stay in Babylon. The captivity of a sinful state is by no means to be continued in, though a man may be easy in worldly matters. Escape for thy life, look not behind thee. Christ has proclaimed that deliverance to the captives, which he has himself wrought out, and it concerns every one to resolve that sin shall not have dominion over him. Those who would be found among God's children, must save themselves from this world, see Ac 2:40. What Christ will do for his church, shall be an evident proof of God's care and affection. He that touches you, touches the apple of his eye. This is a strong expression of God's love to his church. He takes what is done against her as done against the tenderest part of the eye, to which the least touch is a great offence. Christ is sent to be the Protector of his church.Ho! ho! and flee - Such being the safety and glory in store for God's people in Jerusalem, He who had so provided it, the Angel of the Lord, bids His people everywhere to come to it, saving themselves also from the peril which was to come on Babylon. So Isaiah bade them, "Go ye forth of Babylon; flee ye from the Chaldaeans with a voice of singing; declare ye, tell this, utter it to the end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed His servant Jacob" Isaiah 48:20. "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence; touch no unclean thing: go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord" Isaiah 52:11; and Jeremiah, "Flee ye out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul; be not cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance. He will render unto her a recompense" (Jeremiah 51:6, add. Jeremiah 50:8). "My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye, every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord" Jeremiah 51:45.

The words, "flee, deliver thyself," imply an imminent peril on Babylon, such as came upon her, two years after this prophecy, in the fourth year of Darius. But the earnestness of the command, its repetition by three prophets, the context in isaiah and Jeremiah, imply something more than temporal peril, the peril of the infection of the manners of Babylon, which may have detained there many who did not return. Whence in the New Testament, the words are cited, as to the great evil city of the world; "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you" 2 Corinthians 6:17; and under the name of Babylon; "I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" Revelation 18:4.

For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of heaven - The north country, although its capital and center was Babylon, was the whole Babylonian empire, called "the North" Jeremiah 1:13-14; Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 6:1, Jeremiah 6:22; Jeremiah 23:8 because its invasions always came upon Israel from the north. But the book of Esther shows that, sixty years after this, the Jews were dispersed over the 127 provinces of the Persian empire, from India (the Punjab) to Ethiopia Esther 1:1; Esther 3:8, Esther 3:12-14; Esther 8:5, Esther 8:9, whether they were purposely placed by the policy of the conquerors in detatched groups, as the ten tribes were in the "cities of the Medes" 2 Kings 17:6, or whether, when more trusted, they migrated of their own accord. God, in calling them to return, reminds them of the greatness of their dispersion. He had dispersed them abroad as the four winds of heaven . He, the Same, recalled them.

6. flee from the land of the north—that is, from Babylon: a type of the various Gentile lands, from which the Jews are to be recalled hereafter; hence "the four winds of heaven" are specified, implying that they are to return from all quarters (De 28:64; Jer 16:15; Eze 17:21). The reason why they should flee from Babylon is: (1) because of the blessings promised to God's people in their own land; (2) because of the evils about to fall on their foe (Zec 2:7-9). Babylon was soon to fall before Darius, and its inhabitants to endure fearful calamities (Isa 48:20; Jer 50:8; 51:6, 45). Many of the Jews in Zechariah's time had not yet returned to Judea. Their tardiness was owing to (1) unbelief; (2) their land had long lain waste, and was surrounded with bitter foes; (3) they regarded suspiciously the liberty of return given by Cyrus and Darius, as if these monarchs designed suddenly to crush them; (4) their long stay in Babylon had obliterated the remembrance of their own land; (5) the wealth and security there contrasted with Judea, where their temple and city were in ruins. All this betrayed foul ingratitude and disregard of God's extraordinary favor, which is infinitely to be preferred to all the wealth of the world [Calvin and Pembellus].

for I have spread you abroad—The reasoning is: I who scattered you from your land to all quarters, can also gather you again to it.

Ho, ho: since Jerusalem shall be safe, rich, and glorious by the presence and blessings of her God, the prophet calls to the sleepy Jews, as men that need be awakened.

Come forth; set upon your journey for your own country and city, come out from your captive prisons.

And flee; make all the haste you possibly can, and flee as men do who are pursued with danger, as men that are earnestly bent to get out of harm’s way, as the manslayer to the city of refuge. The Hebrew hath only and flee, but our translators have by that guessed at what might fill up the expression, and read, come forth, &c.

From the land of the north; Babylon, which lay north to Canaan.

For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven: as I executed my threats in scattering you, so I will perform my promise, and gather you from all quarters of the world; arise, come away, therefore.

Ho, ho,.... This word expresses a call and proclamation; and is doubled, as Kimchi observes, to confirm it; and so the Targum paraphrases it,

"proclaim to the dispersed:''

come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord; that is, from Babylon, which lay north of Judea; see Jeremiah 1:13 Jeremiah 3:12 where many of the Jews continued, and did not return with the rest when they came up out of the captivity; and are therefore called to come forth from thence in haste; and figuratively designs, either the people of God that are among the men of the world, and are called to separate from them, and have no fellowship with there; or such as will be in mystical Babylon, a little before its destruction; and will be called out of it, lest they partake of her plagues; see Revelation 18:4,

for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the Lord; meaning either the dispersion of the Jews in Babylon, and other countries; or of the people of God, being scattered up and down in the jurisdiction of Rome Papal; or the sense is, that it was his will and purpose, when they were come out of Babylon, that they should be spread in the several parts of the world, to support the cause of Christ, and strengthen his interest.

Ho, ho, come {f} forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four {g} winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.

(f) He calls to those who partly for fear, and partly for their own case, remained still in captivity, and so preferred their own personal benefits to the benefits of God promised in his Church.

(g) As it was I that scattered you, so I have power to restore you.

6. Ho, ho, come forth and flee] The words “come forth” are not in the Hebrew, and the R.V. omits them: Ho, ho, flee. Some would supply, “hear:” “Ho, ho (hear) and flee.”

the land of the north] i.e. Babylonia. Comp. Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 23:8.

have spread you abroad] Some regard this as a promise of future extension, consequent upon obedience to the call to return from Babylon. But it is rather to be understood of their past dispersion, from which the command and the providence of God are now recalling them and saying, “flee from the land of the north, and from the four winds of the heaven, for thereunto have I scattered you.” So God promises by Jeremiah that they should say, “The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them,” Jeremiah 23:8; and again, “I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth,” Jeremiah 31:8.

The north country, although its capital and centre was Babylon, was the whole Babylonian empire, called ‘the north’ because its invasions always came upon Israel from the north. But the Book of Esther shews that sixty years after this the Jews were dispersed over the 127 provinces of the Persian empire, from India (the Punjaub) to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1; Esther 3:8; Esther 3:12-14; Esther 8:5; Esther 8:9); whether they were purposely placed by the policy of the conquerors in detached groups, as the ten tribes were in the cities of the Medes, or whether, when more trusted, they migrated of their own accord.” Pusey.

the four winds] comp. Matthew 24:31.

6–13. That they may share in the promised favour to Zion, but also (and this is put first and urgently, because the judgment was imminent) that they may escape the coming punishment of Babylon, the Jews still remaining there are called upon to return to their own country.

Verse 6. - The superior angel of ver. 4 continues to speak. He calls on all the Hebrews still in dispersion to come and share this glorious state and escape the punishment which was about to fall upon the hostile kingdom. The exaltation of Jerusalem is connected with the downfall of her enemies. Ho, ho, come forth, and flee; Hebrew, "Ho, ho I and flee," or, "flee thou" (comp. Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 51:6, 45.) A great number of the exiles had remained in Babylonia, having established themselves there, according to the injunction in Jeremiah 29:5, etc., and grown rich. These people had refused to exchange their present prosperity for the doubtful future offered by a return to their desolate native land. But they are now called upon to "flee" from the danger that menaced the country of their adoption. Babylon is said to have been twice taken in the reign of Darius (see note on ver. 7). The land of the north; i.e. Babylonia (comp. Jeremiah 1:14; Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 23:8). We should have nailed the Babylonians an Eastern people if we had dwelt in Palestine; but they always invaded this land from the north, and the great caravan route entered the country from the same quarter, so they were deemed to he a northern power. I have spread you abroad as the four winds (Ezekiel 17:21). The Jews had been dispersed through all parts of the extensive Babylonian empire, and that with a violence which is compared to the force of the combined winds of heaven. Keil, Wright, and others regard the words as a promise of future extension only to be obtained by a return to the promised land, translating, "I will spread you," the perfect of the text being taken to express prophetic certainty. But it is surely incongruous to comfort the dispersed Jews by the promise of a still wider dispersion. This appears to be as erroneous as the Septuagint rendering of the verb, συνάξω, "I will gather." Zechariah 2:6The 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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