Zechariah 9:1
The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.
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Zechariah 9:1. The burden, &c. — A heavy judgment appointed of God to be borne: or, a prophecy of a calamitous kind. See the note on Isaiah 13:1. The word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach — Hadrach is not elsewhere mentioned as the name of a country; the context however shows it must have been some part of Syria, of which Damascus was the capital city. According to some Jewish rabbis it was a place near Damascus. The prophecy is thought to relate to Alexander the Great conquering Syria; Damascus being at the same time betrayed to him, and all Darius’s treasure, which was laid up there, delivered into his hands. And Damascus shall be the rest thereof — Or, It shall rest upon Damascus; that is, the burden of the word of the Lord. Damascus shall in particular be afflicted with the judgment now threatened; when — Or rather, for the eyes of man, as of all Israel, shall be toward the Lord — For as all men’s appeals, in case of wrong, are made to Heaven, so they who have been wronged by Syrian injustice shall look to Heaven for right, and the Lord will right them. The words however may be better translated: When the eyes of men, even of all the tribes of Israel, &c.; when the Jews saw the conqueror approach Jerusalem it was proper for them to look up to God, and to implore his protection. This, according to Josephus, (Antiq., lib. 11. cap. 8,) when Alexander was besieging Tyre, Jaddua the Jewish high-priest did, and was directed by a vision to meet the conqueror in his pontifical robes, by whom he was received very graciously. The clause however will admit of yet another translation, namely, For the eyes of the Lord are upon man, as well as upon all the tribes of Israel. That is, God is the ruler and judge of all the nations of the earth, as well as of the tribes of Israel, and will punish the heathen for their sins, as well as his professing people. This, considering the context, seems to be the most probable interpretation.

9:1-8 Here are judgements foretold on several nations. While the Macedonians and Alexander's successors were in warfare in these countries, the Lord promised to protect his people. God's house lies in the midst of an enemy's country; his church is as a lily among thorns. God's power and goodness are seen in her special preservation. The Lord encamps about his church, and while armies of proud opposers shall pass by and return, his eyes watch over her, so that they cannot prevail, and shortly the time will come when no exactor shall pass by her any more.The burden - o of the word of the Lord in (or, upon) the land of Hadrach The foreground of this prophecy is the course of the Victories of Alexander, which circled round the holy land without hurting it, and ended in the overthrow of the Persian empire. The surrender of Damascus followed first, immediately on his great victory at the Issus; then Sidon yielded itself and received its ruler from the conqueror, Tyre he utterly destroyed; Gaza, we know, perished; he passed harmless by Jerusalem. Samaria, on his return from Egypt, he chastised.

It is now certain that there was a city called Hadrach in the neighborhood of Damascus and Hamath, although its exact site is not known. "It was first found upon the geographical tablets among the Assyrian inscriptions." "In the catalogue of Syrian cities, tributary to Nineveh, (of which we have several copies in a more or less perfect state, and varying from each other, both in arrangement and extent) there are three names, which are uniformly grouped together and which we read Manatsuah, Magida (Megiddo) and Du'ar (Dor). As these names are associated with those of Samaria, Damascus, Arpad, Hamath, Carchemish, Hadrach, Zobah, there can be no doubt of the position of the cities" . In the Assyrian Canon, Hadrach is the object of three Assyrian expeditions , 9183 (b.c. 818), 9190 (811) and 9200 (801). The first of these follows upon one against Damascus, 9182 (817). In the wars of Tiglath-pileser II.((the Tiglath-pileser of Holy Scripture,) it has been twice deciphered;

(1) In the war b.c. 738, 737, after the mention of "the cities to Saua the mountain which is in Lebanon were divided, the land of Bahalzephon to Ammana" (Ammon), there follows Hadrach ; and subsequently there are mentioned as joined to the league, "19 districts of Hamath, and the cities which were round them, which are beside the sea of the setting sun."

(2) In his "War in Palestine and Arabia" , "the city of Hadrach to the land of Saua," and six other cities are enumerated, as "the cities beside the upper sea," which, he says, "I possessed, and six of my generals as governors over them I appointed." No other authority nearly approaches these times. The nearest authority is of the second century after our Lord, 116 a.d. : "R. Jose, born of a Damascene mother, said," answering R. Yehudah ben Elai, , "I call heaven and earth to witness upon me, that I am of Damascus, and that there is a place called Hadrach." Cyril of Alexandria says that "the land of Hadrach must be somewhere in the eastern parts, and near to Emath (now Epiphania of Antioch) a little further than Damascus, the metropolis of the Phoenicians and Palestine." A writer of the 10th century says that there was "a very beautiful mosque there, called the Mesjed-el-Khadra, and that the town was named from it." The conjecture that Hadrach might be the name of a king , or an idol , will now probably be abandoned, nor can the idea, (which before seemed the most probable and which was very old), that it was a symbolic name, hold any longer.

For the prophets do use symbolic names ; but then they are names which they themselves frame. Micah again selects several names of towns, now almost unknown and probably unimportant, in order to impress upon his people some meaning connected with them , but then he does himself so connect it. He does not name it (so to say), leaving it to explain itself. The name Hadrach would be a real name, used symbolically, without anything in the context to show that it is a symbol.

The cities, upon which the burden or heavy prophecy tell, possessed no interest for Israel. Damascus was no longer a hostile power; Hamath had ever been peaceable, and was far away; Tyre and Sidon did not now carry on a trade in Jewish captives. But the Jews knew from Daniel, that the empire, to which they were in subjection, would be overthrown by Greece Daniel 8:20-21. When that rapid attack should come, it would be a great consolation to them to know, how they themselves would fare. It was a turning point in their history and the history of the then known world. The prophet describes (see below at Zechariah 9:8) the circuit, which the conqueror would take around the land which God defended; how the thunder-cloud circled round Judaea, broke irresistibly upon cities more powerful than Jerusalem, but was turned aside from the holy city "in going and returning," because God encamped around it.

"The selection of the places and of the whole line of country corresponds very exactly to the march of Alexander after the battle of Issus, when Damascus, which Darius had chosen as the strong depository of his wealth, of Persian women of rank, confidential officers and envoys, , was betrayed, but so opened its gates to his general, Parmenio. Zidon, a city renowned for its antiquity and its founders, surrendered freely; Tyre, here specially marked out, was taken after a 7 months' siege; Gaza too resisted for 5 months, was taken, and, as it was said, 'plucked up.'"

And Damascus shall be the rest thereof - God's judgment fell first upon Damascus. But the word "resting-place" is commonly used of quiet peaceful resting, especially as given by God to Israel; of the ark, the token of the Presence of God, after its manifold removals, and of the glorious dwelling-place of the Christ among people . The prophet seems then purposely to have chosen a word of large meaning, which should at once express (as he had before) Zechariah 6:8, that the word of God should fall heavily on Damascus and yet be its resting-place. Hence, about the time of our Lord, the Jews interpreted this of the coming of the Messiah, that "Jerusalem should reach to the gates of Damascus. Since Damascus shall be the place of His rest, but the place of His rest is only the house of the sanctuary, as it is said, "This is My rest for ever; here will I dwell." Another added, , "All the prophets and all prophesied but of the years of redemption and the days of the Messiah." Damascus, on the conversion of Paul, became the first resting-place of the word of God, the first-fruits of the Gentiles whom the Apostle of the Gentiles gathered from east to west throughout the world.

When (or For) the eyes of man - As (literally, and that is, especially beyond others) "of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord." This also implies a conversion of Gentiles, as well as Jews. For man, as contrasted with Israel, must be the pagan world, mankind . "The eyes of all must needs look in adoration to God, expecting all good from Him, because the Creator of all provided for the well-being of all, as the Apostle says, "Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yea, of the Gentiles also" Romans 3:29. God's time of delivering His people is, when they pray to Him. So Jehoshaphat prayed, "O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we have no strength against this great company, which is come against us, and we know not what we shall do; but our eyes are on Thee" 2 Chronicles 20:12; and the Psalmist says, "The eyes of all wait toward Thee; and, "toward them that fear Him." Psalm 33:18, or in Ezra's Chaldee, "The eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews" Ezra 5:5., or, "the eyes of the Lord thy God are upon it" (the land), Deuteronomy 11:12; but there is no construction like "the Lord hath an eye on (obj.) man" (as 70: Jonathan, Syr.) The passages, "whose eyes are opened upon all the ways of the sons of men, to give etc." Jeremiah 32:19, "his eyes behold the nations," are altogether different. "The eye of" must be construed as "his own eye.") "as the eyes of servants are unto the hand of their masters, add as the eyes of a maiden are unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes are unto the Lord our God, until He have mercy upon us."

"For in those days," says a Jew, who represents the traditional interpretation, (Rashi), man shall look to his Creator, and his eyes shall look to the Blessed One, as it was said above, we will go with you, and they shall join themselves, they and their cities, to the cities of Israel." And another; (Kimchi), "In those days the eyes of all mankind shall be to the Lord, not to idols or images; therefore the land of Hadrach and Damascus, and the other places near the land of Israel - shall be included among the cities of Judah, and shall be in the faith of Israel."


Zec 9:1-17. Ninth to Fourteenth Chapters Are Prophetical.

Written long after the previous portions of the book, whence arise the various features which have been made grounds for attacking their authenticity, notwithstanding the testimony of the Septuagint and of the compilers of the Jewish canon in their favor. See [1184]Introduction.

Alexander's Conquests in Syria (Zec 9:1-8). God's People Safe because Her King Cometh Lowly, but a Saviour (Zec 9:9-10). The Maccabean Deliverance a Type Thereof (Zec 9:11-17).

1. in … Hadrach—rather, concerning or against Hadrach (compare Isa 21:13). "Burden" means a prophecy BURDENED with wrath against the guilty. Maurer, not so well, explains it, What is taken up and uttered, the utterance, a solemn declaration.

Hadrach—a part of Syria, near Damascus. As the name is not mentioned in ancient histories, it probably was the less-used name of a region having two names ("Hadrach" and "Bikathaven," Am 1:5, Margin); hence it passed into oblivion. An ancient Rabbi Jose is, however, stated to have expressly mentioned it. An Arab, Jos. Abassi, in 1768 also declared to Michaelis that there was then a town of that name, and that it was capital of the region Hadrach. The name means "enclosed" in Syrian, that is, the west interior part of Syria, enclosed by hills, the Cœlo-Syria of Strabo [Maurer]. Jerome considers Hadrach to be the metropolis of Cœlo-Syria, as Damascus was of the region about that city. Hengstenberg regards Hadrach as a symbolical name of Persia, which Zechariah avoids designating by its proper name so as not to offend the government under which he lived. But the context seems to refer to the Syrian region. Gesenius thinks that the name is that of a Syrian king, which might more easily pass into oblivion than that of a region. Compare the similar "land of Sihon," Ne 9:22.

Damascus … rest thereof—that is, the place on which the "burden" of the Lord's wrath shall rest. It shall permanently settle on it until Syria is utterly prostrate. Fulfilled under Alexander the Great, who overcame Syria [Curtius, Books 3 and 4].

eyes of man, as of all … Israel … toward the Lord—The eyes of men in general, and of all Israel in particular, through consternation at the victorious progress of Alexander, shall be directed to Jehovah. The Jews, when threatened by him because of Jaddua the high priest's refusal to swear fealty to him, prayed earnestly to the Lord, and so were delivered (2Ch 20:12; Ps 23:2). Typical of the effect of God's judgments hereafter on all men, and especially on the Jews in turning them to Him. Maurer, Pembellus and others, less probably translate, "The eyes of the Lord are upon man, as they are upon all Israel," namely, to punish the ungodly and to protect His people. He, who has chastised His people, will not fail to punish men for their sins severely. The "all," I think, implies that whereas men's attention generally (whence "man" is the expression) was directed to Jehovah's judgments, all Israel especially looks to Him.Amidst the judgments of the neighbouring nations God will defend his church, Zechariah 9:1-8. Zion is exhorted to rejoice for the coming of Christ, and his peaceable kingdom, Zechariah 9:9-11. God’s promises of victory and defence, Zechariah 9:12-17.

The burden, i.e. the heavy, sad, and grievous, the menacing prediction of future evils coming upon a people; so burden in prophetic style, Isaiah 13:1 15:1 Nahum 1:1 Habakkuk 1:1, signifieth.

The word; in which from God’s own mouth Zechariah threateneth. This might be read in apposition thus, The burden the word, for when the word of the Lord threateneth sad afflictions, they will come as a heavy burden, which they cannot decline without repentance, nor shake off by their own strength.

Of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who determines what he will do against Israel’s enemies, and none can alter his purpose.

In, or, on, against, Heb.,

the land of Hadrach; not Messiah’s land, as some, nor the land of an idol called Hadrach, i.e. the sun, as others, nor yet the land or countries that lie round about Judea, as others, nor yet is Arabia here meant, as others; but it is the name both of a city in Coelosyria, and here signifieth the country also. This town was not far from Damascus, and about twenty-five miles distant from Bostra, a sea town of Phoenicia, which is not far from Byblos, now called Giblee, or Gibelletto, says my author; no further mention is made of it in Scripture. It was likely all enemy to the Jews, and had sinned therein, and now must account for it and be punished.

And Damascus; chief city of that part of Syria; and whether Abel were slain there or not, or whether that murder gave it the name, or whether the etymology be rightly given, (dam, blood, sack, a bag,) I say not; but it was no friend to God’s people, Isaiah 7, and here it is threatened among other their enemies: the country is intended here as well as the city.

Shall be the rest thereof; this burden shall lie long as well as heavy on Damascus.

When; rather, for, Heb.

The eyes, Heb. eye: as we read it, it is of some difficult interpretation, but more easy if read, as it may be, thus, for unto the Lord is the eye of man, and of the tribes of Israel; i.e. unto the Lord it belongeth in look to, and by his providence to dispose of, all men as well as of Israel, and all men’s appeals in cases of wrong are to Heaven; so they who have been wronged by Syrian injustice look to Heaven for right, and to be avenged, and God will do it.

The burden of the word of the Lord,.... A prophecy, as in Proverbs 31:1 which is sometimes of things sorrowful and distressing, as the destruction of people, as in Isaiah 31:1 and sometimes of things joyful, as in Zechariah 13:1 and here it contains good news to the church of Christ, Zechariah 9:9, &c.; and is called a "burden", because the word of the Lord is often so to carnal men; see Jeremiah 23:33 the words may be rendered, a "declaration", or "a publication", of "the word of the Lord" (u); it signifies a publishing of it or bringing it forth; and so the Arabic version renders it "a revelation of the word of the Lord"; a carrying of it about: which was made

in the land of Hadrach; this is either the name of a man; of some king, as Aben Ezra observes; and some Jewish writers (w) say the King Messiah, who is "sharp" to the nations of the world, and "tender" to the Israelites: or rather the name of a place, and may design Syria, to which Damascus belonged; see Isaiah 7:8 or some place near it: says R. Jose (x),

"I am of Damascus, and I call heaven and earth to witness that there is a place there, the name of which is Hadrach.''

Hillerus (y) takes it to be the same with Coelesyria, or hollow Syria, a vale which lay between Libanus and Antilibanus, and goes by many names; the same that is called Hoba, Genesis 14:15 the plain of Aren, and the house of Eden, Amos 1:5 and here Hadrach; and thinks it had its name from Hadar, a son of Ishmael, Genesis 25:15 and observes what is said, Genesis 25:18, that the "Ishmaelites dwelt from Havilah", which is to the south of Palestine, "unto Shur", a town situated over against Egypt, "as you go to Assyria"; that is, to the Agra of Ptolemy in Susiana. The Targum renders it

"in the land of the south.''

There was a city in Coelesyria, called Adra by Ptolemy (z); which, as Jerom says (a), was distant from Bostra twenty five miles; since called the city of Bernard de Stampis; where were Christian churches in the fourth and fifth centuries, whose bishops were present at councils held in those times (b); and, according to this prophecy, here the word of the Lord was to be published; and it may have respect to the conversion of the inhabitants of it in future times: though some take it to be not the proper name of a place, but an appellative, and render it, "the land about", or "the land about thee" (c); that is, about Judea; the nations round about it, particularly Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine.

And Damascus shall be the rest thereof; either of the Lord himself; his glorious Shechinah shall rest there, as Kimchi interprets it; and so the Targum paraphrases it,

"and Damascus shall be converted, that it may be of the house of his Shechinah;''

see Isaiah 11:10 or of the word of the Lord, which should be declared and published there, as it was by the Apostle Paul, who was converted near it, and preached in it, Acts 9:3 or of Hadrach, or the adjacent country: unless it is to be understood of the burden of the Lord resting on it, or of the taking of this city in the times of Alexander the great; which, with the destruction of the cities after mentioned, some make a type or symbol of the abolition of Paganism in the Roman empire; but the former sense seems best.

When the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be towards the Lord; or, "when the eyes of men shall be to the Lord, and to all the tribes of Israel"; so Kimchi and Ben Melech; that is, as they interpret it, when the eyes of all men shall be to the Lord, and not to their idols; and also to all the tribes of Israel, to go along with them in their ways; as it is said above Zechariah 8:23, "we will go with you": or they shall look to the Lord, even as the tribes of Israel themselves do; and which is true of sinners when converted, whether Jews or Gentiles; and particularly was true of that great man, the Apostle Paul, who was converted near Damascus, when the eyes of his understanding being enlightened, and he seeing the insufficiency of all other objects, looked to the Lord alone for pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation; even as all true Israelites do, who are after the Spirit, and not after the flesh. Though some understand these words of the eyes of the Lord being upon every man, as well as upon the tribes of Israel; upon wicked men to punish them, as upon his people to protect and defend them: and to this sense the Targum inclines, paraphrasing the words thus,

"for before the Lord are manifest the works of the children of men, and he is well pleased with all the tribes of Israel.''

(u) "prolatio verbi Jehovae", Cocceius. (w) R. Judah in Jarchi, & R. Benaiah in Kimchi in loc. & R. Nehemiah in Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 24. 1.((x) Shirhashirim ib. Siphre in Yalkut Simeoni in loc. (y) Onomast. sacr. p. 578. (z) Geograph. l. 5. c. 15. (a) De locis Hebr. fol. 97. I.((b) Reland. Palestina Illustrata, l. 3. p. 548. (c) "in terram circumstantem te", Junius & Tremellius, Tarnovius; "super terram quae te circuit", Grotius; "in terra circa te", Cocceius; "ad verbum, in terram circuitus tui", De Dieu.

The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of {a} Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the {b} rest of it: when the {c} eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.

(a) By which he means Syria.

(b) God's anger will remain upon their chief city, and not spare even as much as that.

(c) When the Jews will convert and repent, then God will destroy their enemies.

1. The burden] It is difficult to decide between the meanings burden and utterance (onus and effatum) for this word, which is of frequent occurrence, especially in Isaiah. If we translate burden, it will mean the heavy judgment of Jehovah. In favour of this is the fact that the word is almost always used (Zechariah 12:1; Malachi 1:1, are referred to as exceptions, but the second of these passages can hardly be called so) to introduce a prophecy of judgment. “The sentence issued against an individual or a community hung as a heavy weight, which at last dragged them down.” (Speak. Com. on Isaiah 13:1. Comp. 2 Kings 9:25.) On the other hand, from the use of the cognate verb in the sense of “taking up,” i.e. “uttering,” a word or speech (as, “thou shalt not take up the name of Jehovah, thy God, in vain,” Exodus 20:7; “He took up his parable,” Numbers 23:18), many prefer to render utterance, or oracle.

in the land] upon the land, R. V.

Hadrach] This word, which occurs nowhere else in the O. T., caused, till recently, much perplexity to commentators. Some of them explained it to be the name of a king, others of an idol, while others regarded it as a symbolical name composed by the prophet. The question, however, as to the meaning of the word appears to have been satisfactorily set at rest, by its being discovered in the Assyrian inscriptions “in the catalogue of Syrian cities tributary to Nineveh.” Sir H. Rawlinson, quoted by Pusey, says, “It is now certain that there was a city called Hadrach in the neighbourhood of Damascus and Hamath, although its exact site is not known … In the Assyrian Canon Hadrach is the object of three Assyrian expeditions.”

the rest thereof] Or, its resting place, R. V., i.e. the place on which it (the burden, or utterance, of the word of the Lord) shall light and settle. See Zechariah 6:8, and note there.

when the eyes of man, &c.] Or, for the eye … is, R. V. This has been explained as implying “a conversion of Gentiles, as well as Jews. For man, as contrasted with Israel, must be the heathen world, mankind. ‘The eyes of all must needs look in adoration to God, expecting all good from Him, because the Creator of all provided for the well-being of all.’ ” Pusey. Or, since the context, which is minatory in tone, seems not to admit of this interpretation, the words have been thus paraphrased: “When the fulfilment of the oracles takes place upon Hadrach and Damascus, and the wrath of God descends upon those cities and districts, the eyes of the nations as well as those of the people of Israel will look towards Jehovah, and marvel at the wonders of judgment which will then be performed in their sight in accordance with the solemn warnings of the prophet.” Rev. C. H. H. Wright. It is, possible, however, to render, for to Jehovah is (i. e. Jehovah has) an eye on man, and on all the tribes of Israel, the sense being that of such passages as Jeremiah 32:19, and Psalm 10:14.

Chap. Zechariah 9:1-8. The punishment of Israel’s enemies

The first section opens with a prediction (Zechariah 9:1-8), from which the title of the whole of this first group of prophecies is derived, of the judgments of God upon the enemies of Israel and of the deliverance of Jerusalem, as a preparation for the coming of her King. Jehovah, whose eye is on the affairs of men, will punish the neighbours and enemies of His people on every side, the Syrians (Zechariah 9:1), the Phœnicians, in spite of their resources and their wisdom (Zechariah 9:2-4), and the Philistines (Zechariah 9:5-6). This last nation shall be converted from idolatry and incorporated into the family of God (Zechariah 9:7). Judah and Jerusalem shall be protected from the invading armies by which the surrounding nations are scourged, and shall await in safety the advent of their King (Zechariah 9:8).

Verse 1-ch. 14:21. - Part III. THE FUTURE OF THE POWERS OF THE WORLD AND OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Verse 1-ch. 11:17. - A. THE FIRST BURDEN. Verses 1-8. - § 1. To prepare the land for Israel, and to prove God's care for his people, the neighbouring heathen shall be chastised, while Israel shall dwell in safety and independence. Verse 1. - The burden (see note on Nahum 1:1). (On the circumstances connected with this prophecy, see Introduction, § I.) Destructive critics attribute ch. 9-11, to an anonymous prophet, whose utterances have been by mistake appended to the genuine work of Zechariah. We have given reasons for disputing this conclusion in the Introduction, § II. In (upon) the land of Hadrach. This expression is found nowhere else, and has occasioned great trouble to the commentators. But Assyrian inscriptions have cleared away the difficulty, and shown that it was the name of a city and district near Damascus, called in the monuments Hatarakha or Hatarika (see Schrader, 'Keilinschr. und das Alt. Test,' p. 453). Expeditions against this place are mentioned as occurring in various years, e.g. B.C. 772. 765, 755 (see G. Smith, 'Assyrian Canon,' pp. 46, etc., 63; 'Records of the Past,' 5:46; Schrader, pp. 482, 484, etc., 2nd edit.). Damascus shall be the rest thereof. The "burden" shall light upon Damascus in wrath, and settle there (comp. Ezekiel 5:13). This district should be the first to suffer. The LXX. has, Καὶ Δαμασκοῦ θυσία αὐτοῦ, "In the land of Sedrach and Damascus is his sacrifice." When the eyes of man, etc.; literally, for to Jehovah (is, or will be) the eye of man and of all the tribes of Israel. This gives the reason why Hadrach and Damascus are thus united. Because Jehovah has his eye on men and on Israel. Septuagint, "because the Lord looketh upon men" (comp. Zechariah 4:10; and ver. 8 below). We may then translate, "For to Jehovah is an eye over man," etc. He sees their evil doings and their oppression of Israel, and therefore the judgment falls upon them (comp. Jeremiah 32:19). The Authorized Version intimates a conversion of the Gentiles, of which, however, the context says nothing: and there is no sense in saying that judgment shall fall upon a particular nation when, or because, the eyes of all men look to the Lord. Wright explains thus: When the wrath of God falls on Damascus, the eyes of the heathen, as well as those of Israel, will look to the Lord, and they will marvel at the judgment and the close fulfilment of the prediction. This would be a very sound and probable exposition of the passage if the expression, "the eye of man being towards Jehovah," can mean that man marvels at his doings. All the tribes of Israel. God watches over them to guard them from evil (Deuteronomy 11:12; Ezra 5:5; Psalm 33:18). Zechariah 9:1Judgment upon the Land of Hadrach; and Zion's King of Peace. - Zechariah 9:1. The true interpretation of this section, and, in fact, of the whole prophecy, depends upon the explanation to be given to the heading contained in this verse. The whole verse reads thus: "Burden of the word of Jehovah over the land of Hadrach, and Damascus is its resting-place; for Jehovah has an eye upon the men, and upon all the tribes of Israel." There is a wide divergence of opinion concerning the land of חדרך. We need not stop to give any elaborate refutation to the opinion that Hadrach is the name of the Messiah (as some Rabbins suppose), or that it is the name of an unknown Syrian king (Ges., Bleek), or of an Assyrian fire-god, Adar or Asar (Movers), or of a deity of Eastern Aramaea (Babylonia), as Hitzig maintained, since there is no trace whatever of the existence of such a king or deity; and even Hitzig himself has relinquished his own conjecture. And the view defended by J. D. Mich. and Rosenmller, that Hadrach is the name of an ancient city, situated not far from Damascus, is destitute of any tenable basis, since Hengstenberg (Christol. iii. p. 372, transl.) has proved that the historical testimonies adduced in support of this rest upon some confusion with the ancient Arabian city of Dra, Adra, the biblical Edrei (Deuteronomy 1:4). As the name Hadrach or Chadrach never occurs again, and yet a city which gives its name to a land, and occurs in connection with Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, and Sidon, could not possibly have vanished so completely, that even the earlier Jewish and Christian commentators heard nothing of it, Chadrach can only be a symbolical name formed by the prophet himself (as Jerome maintained, according to a Jewish tradition), from chad, acris, sharp, brave, ready for war (in Arabic, ḥdd, vehemens fuit, durus in ira, pugna), and râkh, soft, tender, in the sense of sharp-soft, or strong-tender, after the analogy of the symbolical names. Dumah for Edom, in Isaiah 21:11; Sheshach for Babylon, in Jeremiah 25:26; Jeremiah 51:41; Ariel for Jerusalem, in Isaiah 29:1-2, Isaiah 29:7. This view can no more be upset by the objection of Koehler, that the interpretation of the name is a disputed point among the commentators, and that it is doubtful why the prophet should have chosen such a symbolical epithet, than by the circumstance that the rabbinical interpretation of the word as a name for the Messiah is evidently false, and has long ago been given up by the Christian commentators. That Hadrach denotes a land or kingdom, is raised above all reach of doubt by the fact that 'erets (the land) is placed before it. But what land? The statement in the following sentence by no means compels us to think of a province of Syria, as Hitzig, Koehler, and others suppose. As the cities and lands which follow are quoted under their ordinary names, it is impossible to imagine any reason for the choice of a symbolical name for another district of Syria bordering upon Damascus and Hamath. The symbolical name rather points to the fact that the land of Hadrach denotes a territory, of which Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia formed the several parts. And this is favoured by the circumstance that the words, "Burden of the word of Jehovah upon the land of Hadrach," form the heading to the oracle, in which the preposition ב is used as in the expression משּׂא בּערב in Isaiah 21:13, and is to be explained from the phrase נפל דּבר ב in Isaiah 9:7 : The burdensome word falls, descends upon the land of Hadrach. The remark of Koehler in opposition to this, to the effect that these words are not a heading, but form the commencement of the exposition of the word of Jehovah through the prophet, inasmuch as the following clause is appended with ו, is quite groundless. The clause in Isaiah 14:28, "In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden," is also a heading; and the assertion that the ו before דּמּשׂק is not a ו explic., but an actual ו conjunct., rests upon the assumption that the cities and lands mentioned in the course of this prophecy have not already been all embraced by the expression ארץ חדרך - an assumption which has not been sustained by any proofs. On the contrary, the fact that not only is Damascus mentioned as the resting-place of the word of Jehovah, but Hamath and also the capitals of Phoenicia and Philistia are appended, proves the very opposite. This evidently implies that the burden resting upon the land of Hadrach will affect all these cities and lands.

The exposition of the burden announced upon the land of Hadrach commences with ודמּשׂק. This is attached to the heading with Vav, because, so far as the sense is concerned, massâ' is equivalent to "it presses as a burden." The exposition, however, is restricted, so far as Damascus and Hamath are concerned, to the simple remark that the burdensome word upon Hadrach will rest upon it, i.e., will settle permanently upon it. (The suffix in מנחתו refers to משּׂא דבר יי.) It is only with the lands which stood in a closer relation to Judah, viz., Tyre, Sidon, and the provinces of Philistia, that it assumes the form of a specially prophetic description. The contents of the heading are sustained by the thought in the second hemistich: "Jehovah has an eye upon men, and upon all the tribes of Israel." עין אדם with the genit. obj. signifies the rest of mankind, i.e., the heathen world, as in Jeremiah 32:20, where "Israel" and "men" are opposed to one another. The explanatory clause, according to which the burden of Jehovah falls upon the land of Hadrach, and rests upon Damascus, because the eyes of Jehovah looks upon mankind and all the tribes of Israel, i.e., His providence stretches over the heathen world as well as over Israel, is quite sufficient in itself to overthrow the assumption of Hofmann and Koehler, that by the land of Hadrach we are to understand the land of Israel. For if the explanatory clause were understood as signifying that the burden, i.e., the judgment, would not only fall upon Hamath as the representative of the human race outside the limits of Israel, but also upon the land of Hadrach as the land of all the tribes of Israel, this view would be precluded not only by the circumstance that in what follows heathen nations alone are mentioned as the objects of the judgment, whereas salvation and peace are proclaimed to Israel, but also by the fact that no ground whatever can be discovered for the application of so mysterious an epithet to the land of Israel. According to Hofmann (Schriftb. ii. 2, p. 604), ארץ חדרך signifies the whole of the territory of the kingdom of David, which is so called as "the land of Israel, which, though weak in itself, was, through the strength of God, as sharp as a warrior's sword." But if a judgment of destruction, which Hofmann finds in our prophecy, were announced "to all the nations dwelling within the bounds of what was once the Davidic kingdom," the judgment would fall upon Israel in the same way as upon the heathen nations that are named, since the tribes of Israel formed the kernel of the nations who dwelt in what was once the Davidic kingdom, and Israel would therefore show itself as a sharp-soft people. Hence Koehler has modified this view, and supposes that only the heathen dwelling within the limits of the nation of the twelve tribes are threatened with Jehovah's judgment, - namely, all the heathen within the land which Jehovah promised to His people on their taking possession of Canaan (Numbers 34:1-12). But apart from the unfounded assumption that Hadrach is the name of a district of Syria on the border of Damascus and Hamath, this loophole is closed by the fact that, according to Numbers 34:1., Hamath and Damascus are not included in the possession promised to Israel. According to Numbers 34:8, the northern boundary of the land of Israel was to extend to Hamath, i.e., to the territory of the kingdom of Hamath, and Damascus is very far beyond the eastern boundary of the territory assigned to the Israelites (see the exposition of Numbers 34:1-12). Now, if the land of Hadrach, Damascus, and Hamath were not within the ideal boundaries of Israel, and if Hamath and Hadrach did not belong to the Israelitish kingdom in the time of David, the other lands or cities mentioned in our oracle cannot be threatened with the judgment on account of their lying within the Mosaic boundaries of the land of Israel, or being subject to the Israelites for a time, but can only come into consideration as enemies of Israel whose might was to be threatened and destroyed by the judgment. Consequently the land of Hadrach must denote a land hostile to the covenant nation or the kingdom of God, and can only be a symbolical epithet descriptive of the Medo-Persian empire, which is called sharp-soft or strong-weak on account of its inwardly divided character, as Hengstenberg and Kliefoth assume. Now, however difficult it may be satisfactorily to explain the reason why Zechariah chose this symbolical name for the Medo-Persian monarchy, so much is certain, that the choice of a figurative name was much more suitable in the case of the dominant empire of that time, than in that of any small country on the border of Damascus or Hamath. All the cities and land enumerated after "the land of Hadrach," as losing their glory at the same time, belonged to the Medo-Persian monarchy. Of these the prophet simply refers to Damascus and Hamath in general terms; and it is only in the case of the Phoenician and Philistian cities that he proceeds to a special description of their fall from their lofty eminence, because they stood nearest to the kingdom of Israel, and represented the might of the kingdom of the world, and its hostility to the kingdom of God, partly in the worldly development of their own might, and partly in their hostility to the covenant nation. The description is an individualizing one throughout, exemplifying general facts by particular cities. This is also evident from the announcement of salvation for Zion in Zechariah 9:8-10, from which we may see that the overthrow of the nations hostile to Israel stands in intimate connection with the establishment of the Messianic kingdom; and it is also confirmed by the second half of our chapter, where the conquest of the imperial power by the people of God is set forth in the victories of Judah and Ephraim over the sons of Javan. That the several peoples and cities mentioned by name are simply introduced as representatives of the imperial power, is evident from the distinction made in this verse between (the rest of) mankind and all the tribes of Israel.

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