Zechariah 2:8
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.After the glory - Jonathan: "Which it is promised to bring upon you." This being the usual construction, the words involve a great course of God's dealing, of first showing favor to those who will receive favor, then abandoning or punishing the rest; as, when the eight souls had been received into the ark, the flood came; when Lot and his had escaped out of Sodom, the fire came down from heaven; when Israel had passed the Red Sea, Pharaoh's hosts were drowned; the election obtained what israel sought for, the rest were blinded. "The glory" then would be the glory, of which God says, "I will be the glory in the midst of you" Romans 11:7.

But further He who speaketh is Almighty God, "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, He hath sent me; For lo I wave My hand against them - and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me; Lo I come and dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord, and many nations shall cleave unto the Lord in that day, and they shall be to Me a people and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know, that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you" Zechariah 2:8-10. In all which series of promises, the I, of whom Israel were to know that the Lord of hosts had sent Him, is the I, who affirms of Himself what belongs to Almighty God only, inflicting punishment on the enemies of Judah, indwelling the Church and people, receiving the pagan as His own; and it is precisely by all these acts of power and love, that Israel shall know that the Lord of hosts had sent Him.

(Jerome: "In what follows, 'Thus saith the Lord of hosts, After glory, He hath sent Me' etc., the Saviour is introduced speaking, who, being Almighty God, saith that He was sent by the Father Almighty, not according to that whereby He was Almighty, but according to that, that, after glory, He was sent, "who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and was made obedient unto the Father even unto death; and that, the death of the Cross" Philippians 2:6. Nor is it marvel that Christ is called Almighty, in whose Person we read in the Apocalypse of John, "These things saith the faithful Witness - I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which was and which is and which is to come, the Almighty" Revelation 1:5, Revelation 1:8, "to whom all power is given in heaven and in earth" Matthew 28:18; and who saith, "All things of the Father's are Mine" John 16:15. But if all things, that is, God from God, Lord from. Lord, Light from Light, therefore also Almighty from Almighty; for it cannot be, that diverse should be the glory of those whose Nature is One."

For he who toucheth - So as to injure , you, "toucheth the apple of His eye," that is, of Him who sent Him, Almighty God. So Jerome, Theodoret Others, as Cyril, of his own eye, turning to evil to himself; but the analogy of the other passages is against it), as in the song of Moses, "He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye" Deuteronomy 32:10; and David prays, "Keep me as the apple of the eye" Psalm 17:8.

7. O Zion … daughter of Babylon—Thou whose only sure dwelling is "Zion," inseparably connected with the temple, art altogether out of thy place in "dwelling with the daughter of Babylon" (that is, Babylon and her people, Ps 137:8; Isa 1:8).

After the glory—After restoring the "glory" (Zec 2:5; Isa 4:5; Ro 9:4) of Jehovah's presence to Jerusalem, He (God the Father) hath commissioned ME (God the Son, Isa 48:16, the Divine Angel: God thus being at once the Sender and the Sent) to visit in wrath "the nations which spoiled you." Messiah's twofold office from the Father is: (1) to glorify His Church; (2) to punish its foes (2Th 1:7-10). Both offices manifest His glory (Pr 16:4).

toucheth … the apple of his eye—namely, of Jehovah's eye (De 32:10; Ps 17:8; Pr 7:2). The pupil, or aperture, through which rays pass to the retina, is the tenderest part of the eye; the member which we most sedulously guard from hurt as being the dearest of our members; the one which feels most acutely the slightest injury, and the loss of which is irreparable.

Some refer this to what went before, as a reason why the Jews should return, for God hath commanded it. I think it is an encouragement to the Jews to return, because God had promised to make them a glory, and now assures them that he will take a very particular care of them, therefore sends his Son, as a Judge or Vindex against the nations that had spoiled the Jews; or God sends his Son to them to inform them that it is their interest to unite with the Jews, and become the people of God, and be partakers of the glory and safety of God’s Israel; however, to let them understand that it will be dangerous to do violence to Israel, as it would be dangerous to any one to violate what is most dear to him that can destroy the offender; to tell them Israel is the apple of God’s eye.

For thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Christ, who is the true Jehovah, and Lord of armies, as appears from his being sent in the next clause:

After the glory; which is promised, Zechariah 2:5 so the Targum and Kimchi; or, "afterwards" shall be "the glory" (l); or a glorious time and state; that is, after God's people are brought out of mystical Babylon, when the Jews shall be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in, then will be the latter day glory; and at the same time will be the fall and destruction of antichrist, and of the antichristian states, as follows:

hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you; the Chaldeans and Babylonians, who spoiled and carried captive the Jews; or the antichristian nations, which persecuted and wasted the people of God, the followers of the Lamb; but now Christ will be sent, and will come in a spiritual manner, and take vengeance on them; he will destroy antichrist with the breath of his mouth, and with the brightness of his coming; with the sharp sword going out of his mouth, Revelation 19:15,

for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye; either his own eye, he hurts himself; or the eye of the Lord of hosts; "of mine eye", as some read it (m), as the Vulgate Latin version; which shows how near and dear the Lord's people are to him. The pupil or apple of the eye is a little aperture or perforation in the middle of the tunic or coat of the eye, called the uvea and iris, about which the iris forms a ring; and through this little opening the rays of light pass to the crystalline humour, to be formed on the retina or net, at the bottom of the eye. It is a very weak and tender part, and easily hurt with the least thing; and fitly describes the feeble state of Christ's people; and how soon and easily they may be disturbed, distressed, and hurt by their enemies: and as this is a principal part of the eye, and a part of a man's self, dear and valuable to him; so are the Lord's people parts, as it were, of himself; they are members of his body, closely united to him; and whatever injury is done to them he reckons as done to himself: "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Acts 9:5 and being highly esteemed by him, and having the strongest affection for them, he resents every affront given them, and will punish all that hurt them; and exceeding careful is he of them, to keep and preserve them from being hurt: "he kept him as the apple of his eye", Deuteronomy 32:10, which, being such an useful and tender part as it is, it is wonderfully provided for by nature against all events; besides the orbit in which it is placed; and the eyebrows, which prevent many nuisances; and the eyelids, which cover and defend it in sleep; and the fringes of hair on them, which break the too violent impressions of light, and keep off motes and flies; there are no less, than six tunics or coats about it (n), as so many preservatives of it: now, as the God of nature has taken so much care of this useful member of the human body, how much more careful and tender must we suppose the God of grace, and our merciful Redeemer and High Priest, to be over his dear people, parts of himself, redeemed by his blood, and designed and prepared for eternal glory and happiness; and how daring must such be who offer the least violence unto them; nor must they expect to escape his wrath and vengeance, that seek their hurt, and give them disturbance; see Psalm 17:8 and as this may respect the Jews called out of Babylon in the two preceding verses Zechariah 2:6, it may be concluded that they were obedient to the divine call, though it is not recorded; it being not likely that God, who had so great a regard for them, would suffer them to continue there to their destruction; for it was about two years after this prophecy, in the fourth year of Darius, or the beginning of the fifth, that Babylon revolted from him, and was besieged twenty months by him, before he took it; and which he did at last by the stratagem of Zopyrus, one of his generals, when he beat down its walls and gates, and put to death three thousand of the inhabitants that were most guilty (o); but, before this, it is reasonable to suppose that the people of God, so dear unto him as is expressed, were called out from hence; as those of his people, equally dear to him, will be called out of mystical Babylon before its destruction; see Revelation 18:4.

(l) "tandem erit gloria, aut postea erit gloria", De Dieu. (m) So in Siphre apud Galatin. de Arean. Cathol. Ver. l. 1. c. 8. (n) Vid. Chamber's Dictionary, in the word "Eye". (o) Vid. Prideaux's Connexion, par. 1. B. 3. p. 188, 189.

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the {i} glory hath he sent me to the nations which wasted you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the {k} apple of his eye.

(i) Seeing that God had begun to show his grace among you by delivering you, he continues the same still toward you, and therefore sends me his angel and his Christ to defend you from your enemies, so that they will not hurt you, neither along the way nor at home.

(k) You are so dear to God, that he can no more allow your enemies to hurt you, than a man can endure to be thrust in the eye; Ps 17:8.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. after the glory] rather, after glory. There is no article to shew that there is a reference, as has been supposed, to Zechariah 2:5, so that it would mean, “after the glory which I have promised has come upon Israel,” &c. The more probable meaning therefore is, “after,” i.e. in pursuit, or in prosecution of glory; to get the glory, to manifest My glory, in their punishment for having spoiled My people, and so touched Me in the apple of Mine eye.

hath he sent me] “hath He (Jehovah, the speaker), sent me (the agent commissioned).” We should have expected, “have I sent thee,” and, “of my eye,” at the end of the verse, especially as the actual words of Jehovah follow in the next verse. But such changes of person are not uncommon in Hebrew.

the apple of his eye] lit. “the cavity or gate of his eye.” Comp. Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalm 17:8, where however the Heb. word is different.

Verse 8. - After the glory hath he sent me. After glory (there is no article in the original), i.e. to win honour, hath Jehovah sent me - the superior angel who speaks. As the words, "thus saith the Lord," precede, we should have expected, "have I sent thee," but such change of persons, and indirect address, are common in Hebrew (comp. Zechariah 14:5). The angel is sent to get glory over the heathen by taking vengeance on them (comp. Exodus 14:18). Such judgments are often represented to be inflicted by angelic agency (Genesis 19:13; 2 Kings 19:35; Ezekiel 9.) The apple of his eye. The language is human. Israel is very precious to God; and they who vex and harass him are as they who hurt that which God prizes inestimably, and which a mere touch offends and injures. The word rendered "apple" is usually considered in mean "aperture," or "gate," the pupil being the entrance to the visual organ; but Dr. Wright regards it rather as a natural word of endearment, like the Latin, pupa, pupilla, indicating "a doll," "little maiden of the eye." Similar, though not identical, expressions occur in Deuteronomy 32:10; Proverbs 7:2; Psalm 17:8. Zechariah 2:8The 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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