Zechariah 6:1
And I turned, and lifted up my eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 6:1. And I turned and looked, &c. — “The main design of this eighth and last vision is to confirm the Jews in their faith in, and dependance upon God, by showing them that, weak and defenceless as they seemed to be, they had nothing to fear from the greatest earthly powers, while they remained under the divine protection; since all those powers originally proceeded from the counsels of the Almighty, were the instruments of his providence, and could not subsist, nor act, but under his permission.” — Blayney. And behold there came four chariots — Horses and chariots are the usual emblems of conquerors: see Isaiah 21:7-9; Zechariah 10:3. The four chariots, here mentioned, denoted the four great empires, which either had subdued, or were to subdue the greater part of the then known world, namely, the Assyrian, or Babylonian, the Persian, Grecian, and Roman. They are here represented as coming from between two mountains, because mountains are the natural barriers which divide kingdoms; which, though they be strong as brass, are here supposed to be broken through by those that invade and conquer their neighbours. And it is observable, that several of the mighty conquerors of the world owed the beginning of their greatness to their successful passage through the straits of mountains, where a small force might have maintained the passes against a powerful army. Thus the beginning of Alexander’s success against the Persians, was his passing without opposition through the straits of Cilicia; through which also the Babylonians and Persians had passed before, when they marched into Syria and Judea.6:1-8 This vision may represent the ways of Providence in the government of this lower world. Whatever the providences of God about us are, as to public or private affairs, we should see them all as coming from between the mountains of brass, the immoveable counsels and decrees of God; and therefore reckon it as much our folly to quarrel with them, as it is our duty to submit to them. His providences move swiftly and strongly as chariots, but all are directed and governed by his infinite wisdom and sovereign will. The red horses signify war and bloodshed. The black, signify the dismal consequences of war, famines, pestilences, and desolations. The white, signify the return of comfort, peace, and prosperity. The mixed colour, signify events of different complexions, a day of prosperity and a day of adversity. The angels go forth as messengers of God's counsels, and ministers of his justice and mercy. And the secret motions and impulses upon the spirits of men, by which the designs of Providence are carried on, are these four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from God, and fulfil what the God of the spirits of all flesh appoints. All the events which take place in the world spring from the unchangeable counsels of the Lord, which are formed in unerring wisdom, perfect justice, truth, and goodness; and from history it is found that events happened about the period when this vision was sent to the prophet, which seem referred to therein.Behold, four chariots going forth - Alb.: "By the secret disposal of God into the theater of the world," "from between two mountains of brass." Both Jews and Christians have seen that the four chariots relate to the same four empires, as the visions in Daniel.

"The two mountains." It may be that the imagery is from the two mountains on either side of the valley of Jehoshaphat, which Joel had spoken of as the place of God's judgment, Joel 3:2, and Zechariah afterward Zechariah 14:4. It may then picture that the judgments go forth from God. Anyhow the powers, symbolized by the four chariots, are pictured as closed in on either side by these mountains, strong as brass, unsurmountable, undecaying, (Ribera), "that they should not go forth to other lands to conquer, until the time should come, fixed by the counsels of God, when the gates should be opened for their going forth." The mountains of brass may signify the height of the Divine Wisdom ordering this, and the sublimity of the power which putteth them in operation; as the Psalmist says, "Thy righteousnesses are like the mountains of God" Psalm 36:6.

CHAPTER 6

Zec 6:1-8. Eighth Vision. The Four Chariots.

1. four chariots—symbolizing the various dispensations of Providence towards the Gentile nations which had been more or less brought into contact with Judea; especially in punishing Babylon. Compare Zec 6:8 ("the north country," that is, Babylon); Zec 1:15; 2:6. The number "four" is specified not merely in reference to the four quarters of the horizon (implying universal judgments), but in allusion to the four world kingdoms of Daniel.

from between two mountains—the valley of Jehoshaphat, between Moriah and Mount Olivet [Moore]; or the valley between Zion and Moriah, where the Lord is (Zec 2:10), and whence He sends forth His ministers of judgment on the heathen [Maurer]. The temple on Mount Moriah is the symbol of the theocracy; hence the nearest spot accessible to chariots in the valley below is the most suitable for a vision affecting Judah in relation to the Gentile world powers. The chariot is the symbol of war, and so of judgments.

of brass—the metal among the ancients representing hard solidity; so the immovable and resistless firmness of God's people (compare Jer 1:18). Calvin explains the "two mountains" thus: The secret purpose of God from eternity does not come forth to view before the execution, but is hidden and kept back irresistibly till the fit time, as it were between lofty mountains; the chariots are the various changes wrought in nations, which, as swift heralds, announce to us what before we knew not. The "two" may thus correspond to the number of the "olive trees" (Zec 4:3); the allusion to the "two mountains" near the temple is not necessarily excluded in this view. Henderson explains them to be the Medo-Persian kingdom, represented by the "two horns" (Da 8:3, 4), now employed to execute God's purpose in punishing the nations; but the prophecy reaches far beyond those times.The vision of the four chariots, Zechariah 6:1-8. By the crowns of Joshua the high priest are showed Christ the Branch, and his church and kingdom, Zechariah 6:9-15.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes: see Zechariah 5:1.

There came four chariots: the appearance or emblem is plain enough, we can easily conceive that; but the things signified hereby are most difficultly found out, and perhaps not found when we think they are: here then, if any where, all are bound to write modestly, and all are bound to read carefully, and to judge candidly. Whether by these chariots are meant,

1. The various changes made by wars in the nations; the chariots, as some say, were chariots for war, and drawn by several-coloured horses, and thus wars and mutations thereby might be signified: or,

2. The four monarchies, of different temper and carriage toward the Jews and others, whom they ruled, as very many learned expositors think: or,

3. The four Gospels, with the apostles and preachers of the gospel sent by Christ, as others.: or,

4. Angels, who are sometimes styled chariots of God, and who are by the prophets, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and by the Apocalypse, introduced as great ministers and servants of Christ in the affairs of his church, —I determine not; though perhaps all these might fairly be woven into one web, in which angels, as employed in the affairs of church and empire, act their part in the revolution and changes of things, be these of what temper soever they will in both, till the gospel be preached by the Messiah and his apostles.

Out from between two mountains; out of a deep; shady, and dark valley, which here is laid between two mountains; so God’s judgments are a great deep, whilst his righteousness is as the great mountains, Psalm 36:6.

The mountains were mountains of brass: these mountains appear to the prophet very wonderful; for they were of brass, to denote the immovable decrees of God, his steady executions of his counsels, the insuperable restraints upon all empires and councils, which God keeps within the barriers of such impregnable mountains, whence not one can start till he open the way: and possibly it may import the pressures, difficulties, and distresses of the times signified hereby.

ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 6

The vision of the four chariots, Zechariah 6:1-8. By the crowns of Joshua the high priest are showed Christ the Branch, and his church and kingdom, Zechariah 6:9-15.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes: see Zechariah 5:1.

There came four chariots: the appearance or emblem is plain enough, we can easily conceive that; but the things signified hereby are most difficultly found out, and perhaps not found when we think they are: here then, if any where, all are bound to write modestly, and all are bound to read carefully, and to judge candidly. Whether by these chariots are meant,

1. The various changes made by wars in the nations; the chariots, as some say, were chariots for war, and drawn by several-coloured horses, and thus wars and mutations thereby might be signified: or,

2. The four monarchies, of different temper and carriage toward the Jews and others, whom they ruled, as very many learned expositors think: or,

3. The four Gospels, with the apostles and preachers of the gospel sent by Christ, as others.: or,

4. Angels, who are sometimes styled chariots of God, and who are by the prophets, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and by the Apocalypse, introduced as great ministers and servants of Christ in the affairs of his church, —I determine not; though perhaps all these might fairly be woven into one web, in which angels, as employed in the affairs of church and empire, act their part in the revolution and changes of things, be these of what temper soever they will in both, till the gospel be preached by the Messiah and his apostles.

Out from between two mountains; out of a deep; shady, and dark valley, which here is laid between two mountains; so God’s judgments are a great deep, whilst his righteousness is as the great mountains, Psalm 36:6.

The mountains were mountains of brass: these mountains appear to the prophet very wonderful; for they were of brass, to denote the immovable decrees of God, his steady executions of his counsels, the insuperable restraints upon all empires and councils, which God keeps within the barriers of such impregnable mountains, whence not one can start till he open the way: and possibly it may import the pressures, difficulties, and distresses of the times signified hereby.

ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 6

The vision of the four chariots, Zechariah 6:1-8. By the crowns of Joshua the high priest are showed Christ the Branch, and his church and kingdom, Zechariah 6:9-15.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes: see Zechariah 5:1.

There came four chariots: the appearance or emblem is plain enough, we can easily conceive that; but the things signified hereby are most difficultly found out, and perhaps not found when we think they are: here then, if any where, all are bound to write modestly, and all are bound to read carefully, and to judge candidly. Whether by these chariots are meant,

1. The various changes made by wars in the nations; the chariots, as some say, were chariots for war, and drawn by several-coloured horses, and thus wars and mutations thereby might be signified: or,

2. The four monarchies, of different temper and carriage toward the Jews and others, whom they ruled, as very many learned expositors think: or,

3. The four Gospels, with the apostles and preachers of the gospel sent by Christ, as others.: or,

4. Angels, who are sometimes styled chariots of God, and who are by the prophets, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and by the Apocalypse, introduced as great ministers and servants of Christ in the affairs of his church, —I determine not; though perhaps all these might fairly be woven into one web, in which angels, as employed in the affairs of church and empire, act their part in the revolution and changes of things, be these of what temper soever they will in both, till the gospel be preached by the Messiah and his apostles.

Out from between two mountains; out of a deep; shady, and dark valley, which here is laid between two mountains; so God’s judgments are a great deep, whilst his righteousness is as the great mountains, Psalm 36:6.

The mountains were mountains of brass: these mountains appear to the prophet very wonderful; for they were of brass, to denote the immovable decrees of God, his steady executions of his counsels, the insuperable restraints upon all empires and councils, which God keeps within the barriers of such impregnable mountains, whence not one can start till he open the way: and possibly it may import the pressures, difficulties, and distresses of the times signified hereby.

And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked,.... When he saw another vision, as follows:

and, behold, there came four chariots; by which are meant, not the four Gospels; rather the apostles of Christ, who had their commission from Christ; were sent into all the world by him, and carried his name and Gospel thither; were the instruments Christ made use of in bringing many souls to him, and into his church, and for the defence of his Gospel, and of his interest; and were military chariots, who fought the good fight of faith; and triumphal ones, who were made to triumph in Christ, being more than conquerors through him; though others think angels are here meant, the chariots of the Lord, Psalm 68:17 since they are called the four spirits of the heavens; and are said to go forth from standing before the Lord of the earth, and are sent by him into each of the parts of it, Zechariah 6:5 and are represented by horses of various colours, as in Zechariah 1:8 these may be signified by chariots, for their glory, strength, and swiftness, in which Jehovah rides about the world, and executes his will; and are made use of for the destruction of the church's enemies, and for its protection and defence. The Jewish writers, after the Targum, generally interpret them of the four monarchies, the Persian, Grecian, and Roman, by whom were done the will of God in the world; and seem to be greatly the design of the vision:

these came out from between two mountains: and the mountains were mountains of brass; such in which this metal is found, as in Chalcis, where it is said to be first found (o); and from thence it has its name in the Greek tongue; or in the island of Cyprus, from whence it may be is the name of copper; and such mountains were in Judea, Idumea, and Arabia, formerly; as Carmel, according to Hesychius (p); and Phinon in Idumea; and some mountains in Arabia, about eleven miles from Horeb, which, Jerom says (q), formerly abounded with veins of gold and brass: these may intend the decrees and purposes of God, which, like "mountains", are very ancient, earlier than the everlasting hills, high and deep, not to be reached and searched into; are dark, obscure, and hidden to men, till made known; and are firm, solid, and immovable, and are lasting and durable; and, like mountains of "brass", are never to be broken in pieces, revoked, made null and void; for they stand upon the unalterable will of God, upon the basis of infallible wisdom; are supported by uncontrollable power, and can not be disannulled by all the men on earth, and devils in hell: and, according to these fixed and immutable decrees, the said monarchies in succession have took place in the world; unless rather it should be thought, that by these mountains of brass are designed the power and providence of God, by which the several people that first founded those empires were restrained for a while from going forth to make war upon others, and subdue their kingdoms; until the time was come, it was the will of God they should. The allusion may be to race horses in chariots, formerly used for such exercises, which were held within the circus or bars, till the sign was given when they should start: in like manner these nations were kept within bounds for a while, just as the four angels were bound by the providence of God at the river Euphrates, until they were loosed; which signify the Saracens, and their numerous army of horsemen under their four leaders, who were restrained from overrunning the "eastern" empire of the Romans, until it was the pleasure of God to loose them, and give them liberty, Revelation 9:14. Grotius understands this literally of the straits of Cilicia, and the vastness of the mountains there, through which the Babylonians and Persians, Alexander and his generals, used to pass into Syria, Judea, and Egypt; but rather these visionary chariots seemed to steer their course through a valley, which lay between two mountains, whereby they escaped the difficulties that lay in their way by the mountains; and may denote the low estate of these monarchies in their original, and the difficulties they grappled with, and got over, before they rose to the grandeur they did. Some interpret the two mountains of brass of the kingdom of Israel, after the Babylonish captivity, and the kingdom of the Messiah; and the four chariots, of the four kingdoms, in this order; the Persian, the Grecian, that of the Lagidae and Seleucidae, and the Roman, which is in course last; but was seen first by the prophet, because utter destruction was brought upon Israel by it (r): according to this interpretation, the red horses are the Romans; and the other, the above mentioned. So Cocceius is of opinion that the two mountains are two powerful and unshaken kingdoms, set up by God; or rather two manifestations of the same kingdom; the one the kingdom of the house of David; the other the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual, but as to the effect earthly, in the subjection of all nations to it, Daniel 7:22 the kingdom of the house of David, as to the external form, is abolished, but notwithstanding remains in the root, until it appears in another mountain; and between these two, or in the middle space of time, four kingdoms with their armies would possess the promised land; and he observes, that in Daniel 2:35, mention is made of two mountains, and, that these chariots in part agree with the several parts of the image there.

(o) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 4. c. 12. Vid. l. 7. c. 56. & l. 34. c. 2.((p) Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 6. col. 886. (q) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 90. A. (r) Vid. Gurtler. Voc. Typ. Prophet. Explic. p. 58, 177.

And I turned, and lifted up my eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four {a} chariots out from between {b} two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

(a) By chariots here, as by horses before, he means the swift messengers of God to execute and declare his will.

(b) By the mountains he means the external counsel and providence of God, by which he has from before all eternity declared what will come to pass, and that which neither Satan nor all the world can alter.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. turned, and lift up] Rather, lifted up again. Comp. Zechariah 5:1.

looked] Rather, saw.

four chariots] These have very commonly been identified with the four great powers or kingdoms of Daniel’s visions (chap. 2, 7). The first chariot, as to the destination of which the vision is silent, will then represent the Babylonian empire, of which the power was already broken, and which had therefore no future to be foretold. The second and third chariots are, on this supposition, the Medo-Persian and Macedo-Grecian empires, by which successively the overthrow of Babylon, “the north country,” was to be completed; while the fourth chariot, the power of Rome, triumphing first over Egypt, “the south country,” extends its victorious sway over all the earth. This view, however, is not without its difficulties, and some commentators prefer to regard the chariots generally, in accordance with the interpretation put upon them by the Angel (Zechariah 6:5), as swift and mighty engines of destruction (four in number like “the winds of heaven”), which fall with twofold vengeance (Zechariah 6:6) on Babylon the latest enemy of Israel, while they execute wrath also upon Egypt (Ib.), her earlier oppressor, and thus cause that “shaking of all nations,” which was the promised precursor of good. Haggai 2:7.

two mountains] Lit. the two mountains. The use of the definite article has been held to indicate the (well-known) mountains, either of Zion and Moriah (which, however, do not appear to have been generally regarded by the Jews as two), or more commonly of Zion and Olives. The chariots would then travel along the valley of Jehoshaphat. This is not, however, necessarily the force of the article (comp. “the ephah,” Zechariah 6:6). It may only mean that the prophet saw the chariots coming into view between “the two mountains,” which he had previously noticed though he has not previously mentioned them, as the side-scenes of the picture.

mountains of brass] Denoting, perhaps, that the great powers or agencies, which overthrow empires and shape the destinies of nations, as they come forth from God (Zechariah 6:5), so also have their course defined by the counsels of His irresistible and immutable will.Verses 1-8. - § 10. The eighth vision: the four chariots. Verse 1. - I turned, and lifted up mine eyes (see note on Zechariah 5:1). Four chariots. These are war chariots. The angel explains, in vers. 5, etc., what these chariots mean, how that they represent God's judgments on sinners in all the world. Though evil is removed from the Church, God's vengeance pursues it wherever it is located. If we compare this vision with the first (Zechariah 1:8-11), we shall see that the quiet there spoken of is here broken, and that the shaking of the nations, which is to accompany Messiah's advent (Haggai 2:7), has begun. That the four chariots are to be identified with the four powers of Daniel's visions (2 and 7.) - the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Macedonian, and Roman - is an opinion that does not commend itself. These four kingdoms and their fate have been already symbolized in the horns of the second vision (Zechariah 1:19-21), and it is most unlikely that they should be again introduced under a different figure. This would mar the orderly development of the revelation. And how could these kingdoms, such as they were, be said to issue from the seat of the theocracy and to be attentive to God's commands? Further, how could the chariots symbolize the kingdoms which were to be the objects of punishment, when at the same time they are themselves the instruments which inflict the chastisement? Neither does the angel's explanation suit this notion; for kingdoms are nowhere found under the figure of winds, and such a symbol would have been unintelligible to the prophet without further elucidation. Two mountains. The Hebrew has the article, "the two mountains," two well known mountains. The scene of the vision is Jerusalem or its neighbourhood; hence the two mountains mentioned are thought to he those of Zion or the temple mount, and Olives (comp. Zechariah 14:4; Joel 3:16). It is impossible to identify them; end probably nothing more is meant than that the chariots came forth from a defile between the two mountains which appeared in the vision. Mountains of brass; or, copper. These impregnable, undecaying mountains represent the immovable, invincible nature of the theocracy and of God's decrees respecting it. From it the chariots go forth, because for the sake of God's kingdom and to promote its objects the world powers are destroyed (Knabenbauer) (Isaiah 66:15). The number "four" represents completeness; the judgment shall leave no quarter unvisited. The debauchees and rioters generally will also not remain free from punishment. Zephaniah 1:12. "And at that time it will come to pass, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and visit the men who lie upon their lees, who say in their heart, Jehovah does no good, and no evil. Zephaniah 1:13. Their goods will become plunder, and their houses desolation: they will build houses, and not dwell (therein), and plant vineyards, and not drink their wine." God will search Jerusalem with candles, to bring out the irreligious debauchees out of their hiding-places in their houses, and punish them. The visitation is effected by the enemies who conquer Jerusalem. Jerome observes on this passage: "Nothing will be allowed to escape unpunished. If we read the history of Josephus, we shall find it written there, that princes and priests, and mighty men, were dragged even out of the sewers, and caves, and pits, and tombs, in which they had hidden themselves from fear of death." Now, although what is stated here refers to the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus, there can be no doubt that similar things occurred at the Chaldaean conquest. The expression to search with candles (cf. Luke 15:8) is a figure denoting the most minute search of the dwellings and hiding-places of the despisers of God. These are described as men who sit drawn together upon their lees (קפא, lit., to draw one's self together, to coagulate). The figure is borrowed from old wine, which has been left upon its lees and not drawn off, and which, when poured into other vessels, retains its flavour, and does not alter its odour (Jeremiah 48:11), and denotes perseverance or confirmation in moral and religious indifference, "both external quiet, and carelessness, idleness, and spiritual insensibility in the enjoyment not only of the power and possessions bestowed upon them, but also of the pleasures of sin and the worst kinds of lust" (Marck). Good wine, when it remains for a long time upon its lees, becomes stronger; but bad wine becomes harsher and thicker. Shemârı̄m, lees, do not denote "sins in which the ungodly are almost stupefied" (Jerome), or "splendour which so deprives a man of his senses that there is nothing left either pure or sincere" (Calvin), but "the impurity of sins, which were associated in the case of these men with external good" (Marck). In the carnal repose of their earthly prosperity, they said in their heart, i.e., they thought within themselves, there is no God who rules and judges the world; everything takes place by chance, or according to dead natural laws. They did not deny the existence of God, but in their character and conduct they denied the working of the living God in the world, placing Jehovah on the level of the dead idols, who did neither good nor harm (Isaiah 41:23; Jeremiah 10:5), whereby they really denied the being of God.

(Note: "For neither the majesty of God, nor His government or glory, consists in any imaginary splendour, but in those attributes which so meet together in Him that they cannot be severed from His essense. It is the property of God to govern the world, to take care of the human race, to distinguish between good and evil, to relieve the wretched, to punish all crimes, to restrain unjust violence. And if any one would deprive God of these, he would leave nothing but an idol." - Calvin.)

To these God will show Himself as the ruler and judge of the world, by giving up their goods (chēlâm, opes eorum) to plunder, so that they will experience the truth of the punishments denounced in His word against the despisers of His name (compare Leviticus 26:32-33; Deuteronomy 28:30, Deuteronomy 28:39, and the similar threats in Amos 5:11; Micah 6:15).

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