Zechariah 7:9
Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 7:9-12. Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts — Or did speak, that is, to your fathers, and thus he speaks to you now; Execute true judgment — I often put your fathers in mind that judgment and mercy were more acceptable to me than fasting, or any external performances; (see the margin;) and I repeat the same admonition to you of the present age. And let none of you imagine evil against his brother, &c. — Neither think ill of, nor wish ill to, nor plot evil against one another. But they refused to hearken — But your fathers refused to obey the admonitions of the former prophets, and were often reproved by them for their refractory disposition; and pulled away the shoulder — Withdrew their shoulder from the yoke of the law. The metaphor is taken from oxen that refuse to put their necks under the yoke. See the margin. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant-stone — So that no arguments could make any impression upon them; lest they should hear the law — Of God by Moses, which they were peremptorily required to do, but to do which they as peremptorily refused; and the words — The counsels and commands; which the Lord hath sent in his Spirit by the former prophets — Inspired and commissioned his prophets to declare; therefore — For this great obstinacy; came a great wrath — Which consumed the whole land, and burned against the people that had inhabited it seventy years together in Babylon; from the Lord of hosts — In all which the hand of the Lord was most evidently seen, rendering unto them according to their ways.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.Thus spake the Lord - that is, through the former prophets, for he goes on to speak of their rejection in the past. "Execute true judgment." He retains the words of Ezekiel. The injunction itself runs throughout the prophets. "Shew mercy" (as Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 58:6-7; Jeremiah 7:5; Ezekiel 18:8; Hosea 12:6, etc.), that is, tender love, to all; compassion, to the unhappy. Omit no act of love, God so loves the loving. Lap.: "Like Paul to the Romans Rom 13:9, he names only the duties to the neighbor, but understands what relates to God. For the love of our neighbor presupposes the love of God, from which it springs." Jerome: "After strictness of justice, let mercy to all follow, and specially to brethren, of the same blood and of one faith. Brother and neighbor we ought to account the whole human race, since we are all born of one parent, or those who are of the household of faith, according to the parable of the Gospel, "which willeth us to understand by neighbor, nor our kin, but all men" (Luke 10:30 ff). 9. speaketh—implying that these precepts addressed to their ancestors were the requirements of Jehovah not merely then, but now. We must not only not hurt, but we must help our fellow men. God is pleased with such loving obedience, rather than with empty ceremonies. Thus speaketh, or did speak, i.e. to your fathers, and thus he doth speak to you now.

Execute true judgment: God required former judges, and he requireth present judges, without hatred, prejudice, partiality, or bribery to give true sentence.

Show mercy and compassions; be kind and beneficent to such as need; wrong none if you could; do good to all you can with tenderest and most abundant pity, with a heart that feels their miseries.

Every man; as this is every man’s duty, let it be every one’s practice.

To his brother, i.e. to every one that needs you. Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying,.... The same things as he had before; for the things following are ever in force, and always to be attended to, and to be regarded and preferred before anything merely ritual and ceremonial; and especially before the traditions and commandments of men, of which nature the above fasts were:

Execute true judgment; or, "judge judgment (e) of truth"; this is addressed to the judges of the people, that when any cause came before them between man and man, that they would judge righteously, according to the law of God; and, without respect to persons, pass sentence as the truth of the case required:

and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother; whether in want of food, raiment, or in whatsoever distress, whether of body or mind; which is much more acceptable to God than any legal sacrifices, or outward abstinences and humiliations, Hosea 6:6.

(e) "judicium veritatis", Montanus, Calvin, Cocceius, Burkius; "jus veritatis", Junius & Tremellius, Tarnovius.

Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, {k} Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother:

(k) He shows that they did not fast with a sincere heart, but because of hypocrisy, and that it was not done from a pure religion, because they lacked these offices of charity which should have declared that they were godly; Mt 23:23.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. thus speaketh] Rather, thus saith. Some would render, thus said the Lord of hosts, i.e. to your fathers by the former prophets (Zechariah 7:7), a summary of whose teaching is then given, Zechariah 7:9-10. But a comparison of Zechariah 8:1-2 sq. supports the rendering, thus saith, &c. always, to you now, as to your fathers of old. Let their disobedience and its consequences, Zechariah 7:11-14, be your warning. The rendering, Thus hath the Lord of hosts spoken, R. V., comes much to the same thing.

Execute true judgment] Lit. Judge judgment of truth. The phrase, judgment of truth, occurs only here and Ezekiel 18:8.Verse 9. - Thus speaketh; thus saith. The Lord hath always so said, and saith so now. Revised Version, thus hath the Lord of hosts spoken, saying. Execute true judgment; literally, judge ye judgment of truth; i.e. judge according to truth without bias or partiality. The same phrase occurs in Ezekiel 18:8. Exhortations to this effect are often found; e.g. Exodus 23:6, etc.; Deuteronomy 24:14; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 7:5-7; Jeremiah 22:3. Show mercy. Kindness and love in general. Compassions. Pity for the afflicted. To give still greater emphasis to his exhortation to repentance, the prophet turns to Jerusalem again, that he may once more hold up before the hardened sinners the abominations of this city, in which Jehovah daily proclaims His right, and shows the necessity for the judgment, as the only way that is left by which to secure salvation for Israel and for the whole world. Zephaniah 3:1. "Woe to the refractory and polluted one, the oppressive city! Zephaniah 3:2. She has not hearkened to the voice; not accepted discipline; not trusted in Jehovah; not drawn near to her God. Zephaniah 3:3. Her princes are roaring lions in the midst of her; her judges evening wolves, who spare not for the morning. Zephaniah 3:4. Her prophets boasters, men of treacheries: her priests desecrate that which is holy, to violence to the law." The woe applies to the city of Jerusalem. That this is intended in Zephaniah 3:1 is indisputably evident from the explanation which follows in Zephaniah 3:2-4 of the predicates applied to the city addressed in Zephaniah 3:1. By the position of the indeterminate predicates מוראה and נגאלה before the subject to which the hōi refers, the threat acquires greater emphasis. מוראה is not formed from the hophal of ראה (ἐπιφανής, lxx, Cyr., Cocc.), but is the participle kal of מרא equals מרה or מרר, to straighten one's self, and hold one's self against a person, hence to be rebellious (see Delitzsch on Job, on Job 33:2, note). נגאלה, stained with sins and abominations (cf. Isaiah 59:3). Yōnâh does not mean columba, but oppressive (as in Jeremiah 46:16; Jeremiah 50:16, and Jeremiah 25:38)), as a participle of yânâh to oppress (cf. Jeremiah 22:3). These predicates are explained and vindicated in Zephaniah 3:2-4, viz., first of all מוראה in Zephaniah 3:2. She gives no heed to the voice, sc. of God in the law and in the words of the prophets (compare Jeremiah 7:28, where קול יהוה occurs in the repetition of the first hemistich). The same thing is affirmed in the second clause, "she accepts no chastisement." These two clauses describe the attitude assumed towards the legal contents of the word of God, the next two the attitude assumed towards its evangelical contents, i.e., the divine promises. Jerusalem has no faith in these, and does not allow them to draw her to her God. The whole city is the same, i.e., the whole of the population of the city. Her civil and spiritual rulers are no better. Their conduct shows that the city is oppressive and polluted (Zephaniah 3:3 and Zephaniah 3:4). Compare with this the description of the leaders in Micah 3:1-12. The princes are lions, which rush with roaring upon the poor and lowly, to tear them in pieces and destroy them (Proverbs 28:15; Ezekiel 19:2; Nahum 2:12). The judges resemble evening wolves (see at Habakkuk 1:8), as insatiable as wolves, which leave not a single bone till the following morning, of the prey they have caught in the evening. The verb gâram is a denom. from gerem, to gnaw a bone, piel to crush them (Numbers 24:8); to gnaw a bone for the morning, is the same as to leave it to be gnawed in the morning. Gâram has not in itself the meaning to reserve or lay up (Ges. Lex.). The prophets, i.e., those who carry on their prophesying without a call from God (see Micah 2:11; Micah 3:5, Micah 3:11), are pōchăzı̄m, vainglorious, boasting, from pâchaz, to boil up or boil over, and when applied to speaking, to overflow with frivolous words. Men of treacheries, bōgedōth, a subst. verb, from bâgad, the classical word for faithless adultery or apostasy from God. The prophets proved themselves to be so by speaking the thoughts of their own hearts to the people as revelations from God, and thereby strengthening it in its apostasy from the Lord. The priests profane that which is holy (qoodesh, every holy thing or act), and do violence to the law, namely, by treating what is holy as profane, and perverting the precepts of the law concerning holy and unholy (cf. Ezekiel 22:26).
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