Zechariah 6:8
Then cried he on me, and spoke to me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 6:8. Then cried he unto me, Behold, these that go toward the north — Namely, the black horses, denoting the Persian empire; have quieted my spirit in the north country — That is, by conquering the Babylonians, and executing upon them the punishment which they deserved for their cruelty and other crimes, they have satisfied the wrath which I had conceived against that people. So the LXX., ανεπαυσαν τον θυμον μου εν γη Βορρα, they have caused my wrath to cease in the land of the north. Instead of these that go toward the north, it would be better to translate the words, those who have gone toward the north; because it is spoken of the Persians overturning the Babylonian empire, which happened before the prophet was favoured with this vision.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.Then God, or the Angel of the Lord - who speaks of what belonged to God alone, "called me" (probably "loudly" Judges 4:10, Judges 4:13; 2 Samuel 20:4-5), so as to command his attention to this which most immediately concerned his people.

These have quieted My spirit in the north country - Or rather, "have made My anger to rest" on, that is, have carried it thither and deposited it there, made it to rest upon them, as its abode, as John saith of the unbelieving, "The wrath of God abideth on him" John 3:36. Babylon had been the final antagonist and subduer of the people of God. It had at the outset destroyed the temple of God, and carried off its vessels to adorn idol-temples. Its empire closed on that night when it triumphed over God , using the vessels dedicated to Him, to the glorifying of their idols. "In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldaeans slain." This final execution of God's anger upon that their destroyer was the earnest of the rest to them; and in this the visions pause.

8. north … quieted … my spirit—that is, caused My anger to rest (Jud 8:3, Margin; Ec 10:4; Eze 5:13; 16:42). Babylon alone of the four great world kingdoms had in Zechariah's time been finally punished; therefore, in its case alone does God now say His anger is satisfied; the others had as yet to expiate their sin; the fourth has still to do so. Then, when the prophet had been informed about the former vision,

cried he; the Angel that talked with the prophet, i.e. the Lord Christ, spake aloud. and called to him.

These that go, or are gone, for he speaks of what was already past; it is likely he meaneth the red horses.

Toward the north country; into Babylon.

Have quieted my spirit; either by doing what I appointed them against the cruel Chaldeans, in revenge of my people’s injuries, or bringing my people back out of Babylon into Canaan. Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying,.... That is, the Lord of the whole earth spoke to the prophet with a loud voice, and uttered the following words:

Behold, these that go toward the north country; meaning the Medes and Persians, which went towards Babylon:

have quieted my spirit in the north country; by executing the judgments of God upon the Chaldeans, and by helping, favouring, and delivering the people of the Jews; which were very agreeable to the will of God, and well pleasing in his sight, signified by the quieting or refreshing his Spirit.

Then he cried upon me, and spoke to me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my {k} spirit in the north country.

(k) By punishing the Chaldeans my anger ceased, and you were delivered.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. cried he upon me] The word is used of a royal proclamation cried aloud through the city. Jonah 3:7. Here the loud call of the Angel was probably intended to rouse the prophet’s attention to what was the chief point of the vision.

quieted my spirit] Lit. have caused my spirit to rest, which was perturbed before with sore displeasure against my enemies (Zechariah 1:15), but is now at rest because the righteous retribution is completed. Others take “spirit” to be equivalent here, as it is elsewhere (Ecclesiastes 10:4; Proverbs 29:11, in which latter place, as here, the LXX have θυμός), to anger. “Have made my anger to rest on, i.e. have carried it thither and deposited it there, made it to rest upon them as its abode, as St John says of the unbelieving, ‘the wrath of God abideth on him.’ ” Pusey. See Ezekiel 5:13; Ezekiel 16:42.

Symbolical Action. Crowning of the High-priest, Zechariah 6:9-15. In another of the “divers manners” (πολυτρόπως, Hebrews 1:1), which He was pleased to adopt, Almighty God now speaks by the prophet. The visions of the night give place to a literal transaction by day, which, however, repeats and confirms their message. Zechariah is directed to go to the house of Josiah in Jerusalem, and to take from certain Jews who were lodging there gold and silver, a portion of the offerings to the House of God, which they had brought from their brethren still in exile, Zechariah 6:9-10. Of this gold and silver he is to make a crown, and put it on the head of Joshua the High-priest, Zechariah 6:11. The significant action is to be accompanied by a prediction in the name of Jehovah, that in due time there shall “grow up the Branch,” who shall be the true builder of the temple of the Lord, who shall be both King and Priest, and in the exercise of those two offices the author and dispenser of peace, Zechariah 6:12-13. Meanwhile, in gracious remembrance both of those who have brought the offerings and of him who has received them into his house, the crown which has been placed on the High-priest’s head is to be hung up in the Temple at Jerusalem, Zechariah 6:14, where it will also be a silent prophecy of the day when not only Jewish exiles, but Gentiles also who are now “far off,” shall be builders in the spiritual temple. That event, when it comes to pass, will prove the divine mission of the prophet; but obedience on the part of those who hear the prophecy is the condition of their sharing in the blessings of its fulfilment, Zechariah 6:15.Verse 8. - Then cried he upon me. The angel cried aloud (like a herald announcing a proclamation, Jonah 3:7), to call the prophet's attention to what was coming, which was of most immediate consequence to his people. This angel speaks as in the person of God. Have quieted my spirit; literally, have caused my spirit to rest; LXX., ἀνέπαυσαν τὸν θυμόν μου, "quieted my anger," i.e. by satiating it. Many commentators take the clause as equivalent to "have caused my wrath to rest upon the land" (comp. John 3:36), referring to Judges 8:3; Proverbs 16:32; Ecclesiastes 10:4, for the use of the word "spirit" (ruach) in the sense of "anger." Others see here an intimation of mercy and grace to the Jews still resident in Babylonia. But it is plain that the vision is one of judgment: and the Spirit of the Lord is a Spirit of judgment and vengeance (Isaiah 4:4), which destroys evil that good may flourish. Call to conversion. - Zephaniah 2:1. "Gather yourselves together, and gather together, O nation that dost not grow pale. Zephaniah 2:2. Before the decree bring forth (the day passes away like chaff), before the burning wrath of Jehovah come upon you, before the day of Jehovah's wrath come upon you. Zephaniah 2:3. Seek Jehovah, all ye humble of the land, who have wrought His right; seek righteousness, seek humility, perhaps ye will be hidden in the day of Jehovah's wrath." The summons in Zephaniah 2:1 is addressed to the whole of Judah or Israel. The verb qōshēsh, possibly a denom. from qash, signifies to gather stubble (Exodus 5:7, Exodus 5:12), then generally to gather together or collect, e.g., branches of wood (Numbers 15:32-33; 1 Kings 17:10); in the hithpoel, to gather one's self together, applied to that spiritual gathering which leads to self-examination, and is the first condition of conversion. The attempts of Ewald and Hitzig to prove, by means of doubtful etymological combinations from the Arabic, that the word possesses the meanings, to grow pale, or to purify one's self, cannot be sustained. The kal is combined with the hiphil for the purpose of strengthening it, as in Habakkuk 1:5 and Isaiah 29:9. Nikhsâph is the perf. nipahl in pause, and not a participle, partly because of the לא which stands before it (see however Ewald, 286, g), and partly on account of the omission of the article; and nikhsâph is to be taken as a relative, "which does not turn pale." Kâsaph has the meaning "to long," both in the niphal (vid., Genesis 31:30; Psalm 84:3) and kal (cf. Psalm 17:12; Job 14:15). This meaning is retained by many here. Thus Jerome renders it, "gens non amabilis, i.e., non desiderata a Deo;" but this is decidedly unsuitable. Others render it "not possessing strong desire," and appeal to the paraphrase of the Chaldee, "a people not wishing to be converted to the law." This is apparently the view upon which the Alex. version rests: ἔθνος ἀπαίδευτον. But although nikhsâph is used to denote the longing of the soul for fellowship with God in Psalm 84:3, this idea is not to be found in the word itself, but simply in the object connected with it. We therefore prefer to follow Grotius, Gesenius, Ewald, and others, and take the word in its primary sense of turning pale at anything, becoming white with shame (cf. Isaiah 29:22), which is favoured by Zephaniah 3:15. The reason for the appeal is given in Zephaniah 2:2, viz., the near approach of the judgment. The resolution brings forth, when that which is resolved upon is realized (for yâlad in this figurative sense, see Proverbs 27:1). The figure is explained in the second hemistich. The next clause כּמוץ וגו does not depend upon בּטרם, for in that case the verb would stand at the head with Vav cop., but it is a parenthesis inserted to strengthen the admonition: the day comes like chaff, i.e., approaches with the greatest rapidity, like chaff driven by the wind: not "the time passes by like chaff" (Hitzig); for it cannot be shown that yōm was ever used for time in this sense. Yōm is the day of judgment mentioned in Zephaniah 1:7, Zephaniah 1:14-15; and עבר here is not to pass by, but to approach, to come near, as in Nahum 3:19. For the figure of the chaff, see Isaiah 29:5. In the second בּטרם is strengthened by לא; and חרון אף, the burning of wrath in the last clause, is explained by יום אף יי, the day of the revelation of the wrath of God.
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