Zechariah 7:14
But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
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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.But I scattered them - Rather, "And I will scatter them." The saying continues what God had said that he had said, and which had come to pass. Among all nations whom they knew not. So God had repeatedly said by Jeremiah, "I will cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, ye nor your fathers; where I will not show you favor" (Jeremiah 16:13; add Jeremiah 15:14; Jeremiah 17:4). This was the aggravation of the original woe in the law: "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand, a nation of fierce countenance" Deuteronomy 28:49-50. There was no mitigation of suffering, when the common bond between man and man, mutual speech, was wanting.

That no man passed through nor returned - Literally, "from passer through and from returner;" as in the prophecy of Alexander's march and return, "because of him that passeth by and of him that returneth" Zechariah 9:8; and of Seir God saith, "I will cut off from him, passer-through and returner" . As we say, there shall be no traffic more through her.

And they made the pleasant land desolate - They were the doers of what they by their sins caused, by bringing down the judgments of God. Heretofore the land which God had given them, had been in our language "the envy" of all who knew it now they had made it into a desolation, one wide waste Joel 1:7; Isaiah 13:9; Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 4:7; Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 50:3; Jeremiah 51:29.

Dionysius: "What is said in the beginning of the chapter against Jews who abstained indiscreetly, applies mystically to all, not inward, but rude Christians, who not being diligent enough but rather negligent about acts of piety and inward prayer and reformation of the powers of the soul, account highly of bodily exercises and outward observances, and use no slight scrupulosity as to things of less moment, and do not attend to the chief things, charity, humility, patience meekness. On these it must be inculcated, that if they wish their fasts and other outward exercises to please God, they must judge true judgment, and be compassionate, kind, liberal to their neighbors, keep their mind ever steadfast in God, cast away wholly all hardness of heart, and be soft and open to receive within them the word of God. Otherwise their land will be desolate, that is, deprived of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and they scattered amid various vices." Jerome: "That which was formerly a pleasant land, and the hospice of the Trinity, is turned into a desert and dwelling-place of dragons."

14. whirlwind—of wrath (Na 1:3).

nations whom they knew not—foreign and barbarous.

desolate after them—after their expulsion and exile. It was ordered remarkably by God's providence, that no occupants took possession of it, but that during the Jews' absence it was reserved for them against their return after seventy years.

they laid … desolate—The Jews did so by their sins. The blame of their destruction lay with themselves, rather than with the Babylonians (2Ch 36:21).

pleasant land—Canaan. Literally, "the land of desire" (Jer 3:19).

But I scattered them; when they had so provoked me, I cast them out of their habitations, pursued them with the tempest of wrath that scattered them as I threatened.

With a whirlwind; irresistibly, suddenly, and tearing all into pieces, as whirlwinds do.

Among all the nations; all the heathen, that hated them and their ways.

Whom they know not; where they could have no pity, nor any relief, nor common commerce; but as barbarous usage as fierce and unintelligible enemies can give them.

Thus the land, once flowing with milk and honey, once full of cities, men, and cattle, now waste as a wilderness,

was desolate after them; either the Jews cast out, or the Chaldeans who cast them out.

No man passed through nor returned: it was not fit to make a road through a land so void of all necessaries, so full of wild and ravenous beasts, so unwholesome as to the air, &c.

For they, sinful Jews by their sins, fierce Chaldeans by their sword, and God by his just displeasure, laid the pleasant land most desolate and waste.

But I scattered them with a whirlwind,.... Denoting the fierceness of his wrath, and the strength of his fury, seen in their dispersion:

among all the nations whom they knew not; such as the Babylonians, Medes, and Persians, people before unknown to the Jews:

thus the land was desolate after them; that is, the land of Judea was destitute of inhabitants, or had but few remaining in it, after the Jews were carried captive into Babylon; for the rest, after the death of Gedaliah, fled into Egypt:

that no man passed through, nor returned; neither from Egypt, nor from Babylon, until the seventy years of captivity were ended; nor indeed did any from other nations pass through and fro, or settle in it, during this time, that we have any account of:

for they laid the pleasant land desolate; either the Israelites by their iniquities, which were the cause of it; or the Babylonians, as the instruments of God's vengeance. This pleasant land is the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey; the glory of all lands, for its great fruitfulness, and delightful situation; and especially for being the seat of the divine Majesty, and where his people dwelt, and where his temple was, and he was worshipped; see Ezekiel 20:6 Deuteronomy 8:7.

But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate {n} after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land {o} desolate.

(n) That is, after they were taken captive.

(o) By their sins by which they provoked God's anger.

14. with a whirlwind] Amos 1:14; Job 27:21.

whom they knew not] Deuteronomy 28:33; Jeremiah 16:13.

after them] i.e. after they are removed from it.

passed through nor returned] as we say, went backward and forward. Ezekiel 35:7. See note on Zechariah 9:8.

they laid] Either to be taken impersonally, it was laid; or they (the Jews) by their sins.

Verse 14. - I scattered them; I will scatter them. What had happened in the past is a sign of what shall befall them in the future in punishment of like obduracy. The form of the sentence denotes that God is recounting what he had said to the people in past time; hence it is best to translate the verbs in the future tense. Scattered them with a whirlwind; Septuagint, ἐκβαλῶ αὐτούς, "I will cast them out;" Vulgate, dispersi eos (comp. Job 27:21; Amos 1:14). Nations whom they knew not. This is the usual phrase for people of strange tongue (Deuteronomy 28:33; Jeremiah 16:13). Thus the land was desolate. This was the result of God's threatenings. Some make the words of Jehovah continue to "nor returned," but the punctuation is against them. After them; i.e. after they were carried away in captivity. No man passed through nor returned. No one went to and fro - a picture of extreme desolation (comp. Isaiah 33:8; Jeremiah 9:12; and for the phrase, see Zechariah 9:8; Ezekiel 35:7). For they laid the pleasant land desolate. The pronoun refers to the disobedient Jews, their sin being the cause of the desolation; or the verb may be taken impersonally, "So the pleasant land was made desolate." "The pleasant land" is literally, "the land of desire." Septuagint, γῆν ἐκλεκτήν (Psalm 106:24; Jeremiah 3:19).

Zechariah 7:14This wrath is described in Zechariah 7:13, Zechariah 7:14. Zechariah 7:13. "It came to pass: as he cried and they did not hear, so will they cry and I shall not hear, said Jehovah of hosts. Zechariah 7:14. And I will scatter them with a whirlwind over all nations, who did not know them, and the land is laid waste behind them, so that no one passes to and fro. And thus they made the choice land a desert." The form of the address changes in Zechariah 7:13. Whereas in the protasis the prophet is still speaking of Jehovah in the third person, in the apodosis he introduces Jehovah as speaking (so will they cry, and I, etc.) and announcing the punishment, which He will inflict upon the rebellious and has already inflicted in their captivity. This address of God is continued in Zechariah 7:14 as far as וּמשּׁב. The opinion, that the address terminates with לא ידעוּם, and that והארץ commences the account of the accomplishment of the purpose to punish, is not so much at variance with the circumstance, that in that case the last two clauses of Zechariah 7:14 would say essentially the same thing, as with the fact that והארץ וגו cannot, from its very form, be taken as an account of the accomplishment of the divine purpose. The perfect nâshammâh in this clause does not preclude our connecting it with the preceding one, but is used to set forth the devastation as a completed fact: the land will be (not become) waste. The infliction of the punishment is expressed in Zechariah 7:13 in the form of a divine talio. As they have not hearkened to the word of God, so will God, when they call upon Him, namely in distress (cf. Hosea 5:15), also not hear (cf. Jeremiah 11:11), but whirl them like a tempest over the nations. The form אסערם is the first pers. imperf. piel for אסערם or אסערם, and Aramaic (cf. Ges. 52, 2, Anm. 2). On the nations whom they do not know, and who will therefore have no pity and compassion upon them, compare Jeremiah 22:28; Jeremiah 16:13. מעבר וּמשּׁב (cf. Zechariah 9:8), that not one goes to and fro in the desolate land; lit., goes away from a place and returns again (cf. Exodus 32:27). In the clause ויּשׂימוּ וגו the result of the stiff-necked obstinacy of the fathers is briefly stated: They have made the choice land a desert ('erets chemdâh, as in Jeremiah 3:19 and Psalm 106:24), so that they have brought upon the land all the calamity which is now bewailed upon the fast-days.
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