Zechariah 7:10
And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
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7:8-14 God's judgements upon Israel of old for their sins, were written to warn Christians. The duties required are, not keeping fasts and offering sacrifices, but doing justly and loving mercy, which tend to the public welfare and peace. The law of God lays restraint upon the heart. But they filled their minds with prejudices against the word of God. Nothing is harder than the heart of a presumptuous sinner. See the fatal consequences of this to their fathers. Great sins against the Lord of hosts, bring great wrath from his power, which cannot be resisted. Sin, if regarded in the heart, will certainly spoil the success of prayer. The Lord always hears the cry of the broken-hearted penitent; yet all who die impenitent and unbelieving, will find no remedy or refuge from miseries which while here they despised and defied, but which they then will not be able to bear.And oppress not - He had commanded positive acts of love; he now forbids every sort of unlove. "He that oppresseth the poor," Solomon had said, "reproacheth his Maker. The widow, the orphan, the stranger, the afflicted" Proverbs 24:31, are, throughout the law, the special objects of God's care. This was the condition which God made by Jeremiah; "If ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; if ye oppress not the stranger the fatherless and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt, then will I cause you to dwell in this, place" Jeremiah 7:5-7. It was on the breach of the covenant to set their brethren free in the year of release, that God said; "I proclaim a liberty for you to the sword, to the pestilence and to the famine, and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth" Jeremiah 34:17.

And let none of you imagine - that is, "devise, as, by Micah, God retorted the evil upon them. They "devised evil on their beds; therefore, behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks" Micah 2:1, Micah 2:3.

10. imagine evil—that is, devise evil. The Septuagint takes it, Harbor not the desire of revenge (Le 19:18). "Devise evil against one another" is simpler (Ps 36:4; Mic 2:1). Oppress not; do not first misreport their persons, their actions, and their cases, and on that pretence do them wrong, and oppress them: it is double oppression, to oppress by false information, and then condemn; the first is an oppression of righteousness, the next is oppression of the righteous.

The widow, i.e.: a catalogue of helpless ones, who are under the peculiar tutelage of God, Exodus 22:21,22 Deu 10:18,14:29 24:17,19 Isa 1:17,23, &c.

Let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart; neither think ill of, nor wish ill to, nor plot evil against, one another.

And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor,.... Such as have no husband to provide for them, nor father and mother to care for them, and are in a strange land, where they have no friends or acquaintance, and are poor, and can not help themselves. Laws of this kind were frequently inculcated among the Jews; see Deuteronomy 24:14,

and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart; thoughts of evil are sinful, and forbidden by the law of God, as well as actions, which agrees with our Lord's sense of the law, Matthew 5:22, see Leviticus 19:17.

And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
Verse 10. - Oppress not the widow, etc. (Exodus 22:21, 22; Deuteronomy 10:18, 19); Vulgate, nolite calumniari, where calumniari is used in the sense "to vex, torment." Imagine evil against his brother in year heart. God's Law forbids even a thought of revenge or injury against a neighbour, for this is only the first step to wrong doing (comp. Micah 2:1). Septuagint, Κακίαν ἕκαστος τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ μὴ μνησικακείτω ἐν ταῖς καρδίας ὑμῶν, "Let none of you remember in your hearts the malice of your brother." Zechariah 7:10The second word of the Lord recals to the recollection of the people the disobedience of the fathers, and its consequences, viz., the judgment of exile, as a warning example. The introduction of the prophet's name in the heading in Zechariah 7:8 does not warrant the strange opinion held by Schmieder and Schlier - namely, that our prophet is here reproducing the words of an earlier Zechariah who lived before the captivity - but is merely to be attributed to a variation in the form of expression. This divine word was as follows: Zechariah 7:9. "Thus hath Jehovah of hosts spoken, saying, Execute judgment of truth, and show love and compassion one to another. Zechariah 7:10. And widows and orphans, strangers and destitute ones, oppress not; and meditate not in your heart the injury of every brother. Zechariah 7:11. But they refused to attend, and offered a rebellious shoulder, and hardened their ears that they might not hear. Zechariah 7:12. And they made their heart diamond, that they might not hear the law and the words which Jehovah of hosts sent through His Spirit by means of the former prophet, so that great wrath came from Jehovah of hosts." כּה אמר is to be taken as a preterite here, referring to what Jehovah had caused to be proclaimed to the people before the captivity. The kernel of this announcement consisted in the appeal to the people, to keep the moral precepts of the law, to practise the true love of the neighbour in public life and private intercourse. Mishpat 'ĕmeth, judgment of truth (cf. Ezekiel 18:8), is such an administration of justice as simply fixes the eye upon the real circumstances of any dispute, without any personal considerations whatever, and decides them in accordance with truth. For the fact itself, compare Exodus 22:20, Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:6-9; Leviticus 19:15-18; Deuteronomy 10:18-19; Deuteronomy 24:14; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 7:5-6; Jeremiah 22:3; Ezekiel 18:8; Hosea 12:7, etc. רעת אישׁ אחיו, the injury of a man who is his brother (as in Genesis 9:5); not "injury one towards another," which would suppose a transposition of the אישׁ equals אישׁ רעת אחיו. In Zechariah 7:11, Zechariah 7:12 the attitude of the people towards these admonitions of God is described. Nâthan kâthēph sōrereth: to give or offer a rebellious shoulder, as in Nehemiah 9:29. The figure is borrowed from an ox, which will not allow a yoke to be placed upon its neck (cf. Hosea 4:16). To make the ears heavy (hikhbı̄d), away from hearing, i.e., so that they do not hear (cf. Isaiah 6:10). To make the heart diamond (shâmı̄r), i.e., as hard as diamond. A stony heart is a heart not susceptible to impressions (cf. Ezekiel 11:19). The relative אשׁר before shâlach refers to the two nouns named before, viz., tōrâh and debhârı̄m, though we need not on that account take tōrâh in the general sense of instruction. God also sent the law to the people through the prophets, i.e., caused them to preach it and impress it upon their hearts. The consequence of this obduracy of the people was, that "there arose great wrath from Jehovah" (cf. Zechariah 1:2; 2 Kings 3:27).
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