Zechariah 8:10
For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
8:9-17 Those only who lay their hands to the plough of duty, shall have them strengthened with the promises of mercy: those who avoid their fathers' faults have the curse turned into a blessing. Those who believed the promises, were to show their faith by their works, and to wait the fulfilment. When God is displeased, he can cause trade to decay, and set every man against his neighbour; but when he returns in mercy, all is happy and prosperous. Surely believers in Christ must not trifle with the exhortation to put away lying, and to speak every man peace with his neighbour, to hate what the Lord hates, and to love that wherein he delights.There was no hire for man - Literally, "hire for man came not to pass." It was longed for, waited for and came not. So little was the produce, that neither laborer nor beast of burden were employed to gather it in.

Neither was there peace to him who went out or came in because of the affliction, better, of the adversary - In such an empire as the Persian, there was large scope for actual hostility among the petty nations subject to it, so that they did not threaten revolt against itself, or interfere with the payment of tribute, as in the Turkish Empire now, or in the weak government of Greece. At the rebuilding of the walls, after this time, the Samaritans, "Arabians, Ammonites, Ashdodites conspired to fight against Jerusalem," and to "slay them" Nehemiah 4:7-11. They are summed up here in the general title used here, "our adversaries".

For I set - Literally, "and I set." Domestic confusions and strife were added to hostility from without. Nehemiah's reformation was, in part, to stop the grinding usury in time of dearth or to lear the king's taxes, through which men sold lands, vineyards, even their children Nehemiah 5:1-12.

(literally) let them loose, each against his neighbor - in that He left them to their own ways and did not withhold them.

10. before these days—before the time in which ye again proceeded with the building of the temple (Zec 8:9), namely, at the time that the temple lay neglected.

no hire for man … beast—that is, no produce of the field to repay the labor of man and beast on it (Hag 1:6, 9, 10; 2:16).

neither … peace to him that went out or came in—(2Ch 15:5). No one could in safety do his business at home or abroad, in the city or in the country, whether going or returning.

because of the affliction—so sorely pressed were they by the foe outside. Maurer translates, "Because of the foe" (Ezr 4:1).

every one against … neighbour—There was internal discord, as well as foes from without.

For before these days, for eighteen years together, there was no hire; reward or recompence, no profit by the labour of man or beast, sowing or planting: see Haggai 1:6-11 2:15-17 Malachi 3:10,11. Or else, though the poor Jew laboured and received wages, it profiled him not, God blasted it.

Neither was there any peace; no safety, or content, and rest, at home or abroad; nothing prospered as might be hoped, in field or house; if they went out it was trouble to see all unprosperous there, if they came home it was not one whit better: perhaps it may intimate troubles by war, but I incline to interpret Mwlv Nya as I have done, with respect partly to the Hebrew, partly to the 12th verse.

Because of the affliction; distress, or straitness, and want, through such great barrenness as attended all their labour.

For I; God just and holy.

Set all men every one against his neighbour; let out or took off the restraints which kept men in some order; and when they were thus let out, they did discompose all, fell into seditions, and taking of parties, and breaking their own and others’ peace.

For before these days, for eighteen years together, there was no hire; reward or recompence, no profit by the labour of man or beast, sowing or planting: see Haggai 1:6-11 2:15-17 Malachi 3:10,11. Or else, though the poor Jew laboured and received wages, it profiled him not, God blasted it.

Neither was there any peace; no safety, or content, and rest, at home or abroad; nothing prospered as might be hoped, in field or house; if they went out it was trouble to see all unprosperous there, if they came home it was not one whit better: perhaps it may intimate troubles by war, but I incline to interpret Mwlv Nya as I have done, with respect partly to the Hebrew, partly to the 12th verse.

Because of the affliction; distress, or straitness, and want, through such great barrenness as attended all their labour.

For I; God just and holy.

Set all men every one against his neighbour; let out or took off the restraints which kept men in some order; and when they were thus let out, they did discompose all, fell into seditions, and taking of parties, and breaking their own and others’ peace.

For before these days,.... That the temple began to be built:

there was no hire for men, nor any hire for beasts; that turned to any account; the wages earned by the one, and with the other, were as if they were put into a bag with holes, did not prosper with them, or do them any service, Haggai 1:6,

neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in, because of the affliction; there was no safety in passing to and fro, nor any peaceable enjoyment of what a man had, because of affliction and oppression by the enemy on every side, and from every quarter:

for I set all men everyone against his neighbour; expressive of the internal divisions and contentions among themselves, which are said to be of the Lord, because he permitted them as a chastisement upon them for their sins.

For before these days there was no hire for {g} man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.

(g) For God cursed your work, so that neither man nor beast had profit from their labours.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. these days] Rather, those days, in which you began to build again.

hire] i.e. return for his labour. See Haggai 1:6; Haggai 1:9-11.

the affliction] Rather, the adversary. Ezra 4:4.

every one against his neighbour] This was the third evil which prevailed—dearth, harassing by their enemies, their own dissensions—in those days when the Temple lay neglected.

Verse 10. - The prophet reminds the people of the sad condition of affairs during the cessation of the good work, and how things began to improve directly they showed diligence and zeal. There was no hire for man, etc. Either the yield was so small that no labour of men or beasts was needed to gather it in, or the general poverty was so great that labourers could not get their wages nor the oxen their well earned share of provender (Haggai 1:11; Haggai 2:17, 18). Neither was there any peace...because of the affliction; rather, because of the adversary. They could not go about their usual occupations, or pass in safety from place to place, on account of the enemies that compassed them about (Ezra 4:4). The rendering of the Authorized Version is supported by the Septuagint and Vulgate, but the word (tsar) is often used for the concrete, "adversary." So the Syriac here. I set all men every one against his neighbour. There were internal dissensions as well as outward opposition. God had allowed this for his own wise purposes. Zechariah 8:10After these promises the prophet admonishes the people to be of good courage, because the Lord will from henceforth bestow His blessing upon them. Zechariah 8:9. "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words from the mouth of the prophets, on the day that the foundation of the house of Jehovah of hosts was laid, the temple, that it may be built. Zechariah 8:10. For before those days there were no wages for the men, and no wages of cattle; and whoever went out and in had no peace because of the oppressor: and I drove all men, one against the other. Zechariah 8:11. But now I am not as in the former days to the remnant of this people, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts. Zechariah 8:12. But the seed of peace, the vine, shall yield its fruit, and the land shall yield its produce, and the heaven give its dew; and to the remnant of this people will I give all this for an inheritance." Having the hands strong, is the same as taking good courage for any enterprise (thus in Judges 7:11; 2 Samuel 2:7, and Ezekiel 22:14). This phrase does not refer specially to their courageous continuation of the building of the temple, but has the more general meaning of taking courage to accomplish what the calling of each required, as Zechariah 8:10-13 show. The persons addressed are those who hear the words of the prophets in these days. This suggests a motive for taking courage. Because they hear these words, they are to look forward with comfort to the future, and do what their calling requires. The words of the prophets are the promises which Zechariah announced in Zechariah 8:2-8, and his contemporary Haggai in ch. 2. It will not do to take the plural נביאים in a general sense, as referring to Zechariah alone. For if there had been no prophet at that time beside Zechariah, he could not have spoken in general terms of prophets. By the defining phrase, who are or who rose up at the time when the foundation of the temple was laid, these prophets are distinguished from the earlier ones before the captivity (Zechariah 7:7, Zechariah 7:12; Zechariah 1:4), and their words are thereby limited to what Haggai and Zechariah prophesied from that time downwards. בּיום does not stand for מיּום (Hitzig), but yōm is used in the general sense of the time at which anything does occur or has occurred. As a more precise definition of יום יסּד the word להבּנות is added, to show that the time referred to is that in which the laying of the foundation of the temple in the time of Cyrus became an eventful fact through the continuation of the building. In Zechariah 8:10. a reason is assigned for the admonition to work with good courage, by an exhibition of the contrast between the present and the former times. Before those days, sc. when the building of the temple was resumed and continued, a man received no wages for his work, and even the cattle received none, namely, because the labour of man and beast, i.e., agricultural pursuits, yielded no result, or at any rate a most meagre result, by no means corresponding to the labour (cf. Haggai 1:9, Haggai 1:9-11; Haggai 2:16, Haggai 2:19). The feminine suffix attached to איננּה refers with inexactness to the nearest word הבּהמה, instead of the more remote שׂכר (cf. Ewald, 317, c). In addition to this, on going out and coming in, i.e., when pursuing their ordinary avocations, men came everywhere upon enemies or adversaries, and therefore there was an entire absence of civil peace. הצּר is not an abstract noun, "oppression" (lxx, Chald., Vulg.), but a concrete, "adversary," oppressor, though not the heathen foe merely, but, as the last clause of Zechariah 8:10 shows, the adversaries in their own nation also. In ואשׁלּח the ו is not a simple copula, but the ו consec. with the compensation wanting, like wa'agaareesh in Judges 6:9 (cf. Ewald, 232, h); and שׁלּח, to send, used of a hostile nation, is here transferred to personal attacks on the part of individuals.
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