Zechariah 9:13
When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you as the sword of a mighty man.
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Zechariah 9:13-16. When I have bent Judah for me — “A strong and sublime manner of expressing that God would use Judah and Ephraim as his instruments of destruction.” — Newcome. As if he had said, When I have made Judah my bow, and Ephraim my arrow, have used them as my instruments of war. Judah and Ephraim are equivalent to Judah and Israel. The men of Ephraim being expert archers, the expression of filling the bow with Ephraim, seems to allude to that circumstance. And raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece — Enabled the Jews, under the conduct of the Maccabees, to destroy the forces of the Syrian kings, Antiochus Epiphanes, and others, who were the successors of Alexander, the founder of the Grecian monarchy: see note on Daniel 8:22. And made thee as the sword of a mighty man — Given success to thy arms, that none shall withstand thee. And the Lord shall be seen over them — Shall give conspicuous tokens of his presence with them, and his presiding over them and directing them in all their enterprises, leading them on and protecting them, as when they came out of Egypt. And his arrow shall go forth as the lightning — He shall fight for them with a force that shall be irresistible: the lightning is often called God’s arrow. And the Lord shall blow the trumpet — Shall give the signal of war, shall animate them to, and assist them in battle. And shall go with whirlwinds of the south — Shall discomfit his enemies as a whirlwind tears in pieces every thing that stands in its way; or shall scatter them as the dust is scattered by the whirlwind. The most vehement storms to which Judea was subject came from the great desert country to the south of it: see note on Isaiah 21:1. The Lord of hosts shall defend them — The hand of God shall visibly appear in protecting the Maccabees. And they shall devour and subdue with sling- stones — They shall conquer their enemies with as unequal a force as that of David, in respect of Goliath, when he subdued him with a sling-stone. And they shall drink and rejoice — In their festivals, when they shall offer sacrifices of thanksgivings for their victories; and make a noise as through wine — Raise shouts of triumph, as men are wont to do whose hearts are glad with success, and cheered with wine. And they shall be filled like bowls, &c. — They shall be filled, or shall fill themselves, with the spoil of their enemies; and as the corners of the altar. — As the horns of the altar are with the blood of the victims. And the Lord shall save them as the flock of his people — Or, shall save them, his people, as a flock. He shall take care of them and preserve them, as a shepherd does his flock. They shall be as the stones of a crown — Precious in his sight; lifted up as an ensign, or trophy, upon his land — In other words, God shall make it known to the world how dear they are to him, and his favour toward them shall be an encouragement to others to become proselytes to the true religion: see Isaiah 62:3; Malachi 3:17.9:9-17 The prophet breaks forth into a joyful representation of the coming of the Messiah, of whom the ancient Jews explained this prophecy. He took the character of their King, when he entered Jerusalem amidst the hosannas of the multitude. But his kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. It shall not be advanced by outward force or carnal weapons. His gospel shall be preached to the world, and be received among the heathen. A sinful state is a state of bondage; it is a pit, or dungeon, in which there is no water, no comfort; and we are all by nature prisoners in this pit. Through the precious blood of Christ, many prisoners of Satan have been set at liberty from the horrible pit in which they must otherwise have perished, without hope or comfort. While we admire Him, let us seek that his holiness and truth may be shown in our own spirits and conduct. These promises have accomplishment in the spiritual blessings of the gospel which we enjoy by Jesus Christ. As the deliverance of the Jews was typical of redemption by Christ, so this invitation speaks to all the language of the gospel call. Sinners are prisoners, but prisoners of hope; their case is sad, but not desperate; for there is hope in Israel concerning them. Christ is a Strong-hold, a strong Tower, in whom believers are safe from the fear of the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the assaults of spiritual enemies. To him we must turn with lively faith; to him we must flee, and trust in his name under all trials and sufferings. It is here promised that the Lord would deliver his people. This passage also refers to the apostles, and the preachers of the gospel in the early ages. God was evidently with them; his words from their lips pierced the hearts and consciences of the hearers. They were wondrously defended in persecution, and were filled with the influences of the Holy Spirit. They were saved by the Good Shepherd as his flock, and honoured as jewels of his crown. The gifts, graces, and consolations of the Spirit, poured forth on the day of Pentecost, Ac 2 and in succeeding times, are represented. Sharp have been, and still will be, the conflicts of Zion's sons, but their God will give them success. The more we are employed, and satisfied with his goodness, the more we shall admire the beauty revealed in the Redeemer. Whatever gifts God bestows on us, we must serve him cheerfully with them; and, when refreshed with blessings, we must say, How great is his goodness!When - or For I have bent Judah for me As a mighty bow which is only drawn at full human strength, the foot being placed to steady it. It becomes a strong instrument, but only at God's Will. God Himself bends it. It cannot bend itself. "And filled the bow with Ephraim." The bow is filled, when the arrow is laid upon it. God would employ both in their different offices, as one. "And raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece." Let people place this prophecy where they will, nothing in the history of the world was more contradictory to what was in human sight possible. "Greece was, until Alexander, a colonizing, not a conquering, nation. The Hebrews had no human knowledge of the site or circumstances of Greece. There was not a little cloud, like a man's hand, when Zechariah thus absolutely foretold the conflict and its issue. Yet here we have a definite prophecy later than Daniel, fitting in with his temporal prophecy, expanding part of it, reaching on beyond the time of Antiochus, and fore-announcing the help of God in two definite ways of protection;

(1) "without war," against the army of Alexander Zechariah 9:1-8;

(2) "in the war" of the Maccabees; and these, two of the most critical periods in their history after the captivity Zechariah 9-16.

Yet, being expansions of part of the prophecy of Daniel, the period, to which they belong, becomes clearer in the event by aid of the more comprehensive prophecies. They were two points in Daniel's larger prediction of the 3rdempire."

And I will make thee as the sword of a mighty man - The strength is still not their own. In the whole history of Israel, they had only once met in battle an army, of one of the world-empires and defeated it, at a time, when Asa's whole population which could bear arms were 580,000 (2 Chronicles 14:8-10 ff), and he met Zerah the Ethiopian with his million of combatants, besides his 500 chariots, and defeated him. And this, in reliance on the "Lord his God, to whom he cried, Lord, it is nothing to Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power; help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go against this multitude" 2 Chronicles 14:11. Asa's words found an echo in Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 3:16-19), when the "small company with him asked him, How shall we be able, being so few, to fight against so great a multitude and so strong?" "It is no hard matter," Judas answered, "for many to be shut up in the hands of a few, and with Heaven it is all one to deliver with a great multitude or a small company. For the victory of battle standeth not in the multitude of an host; but strength cometh from Heaven." But his armies were but a handful; 3,000, on three occasions (1 Macc. 4:6; 7:40; 9:5), on one of which they are reduced by fear to 800 (1 Macc. 9:6); 10,000 on two occasions (1 Macc. 4:29; 10:74); on another, two armies of 8,000 and 3,000, with a garrison, not trusted to fight in the open field (1 Macc. 5:17-20); on one, 20,000 (1 Macc. 16:4); once only 40,000, which Tryphon treacherously persuaded Jonathan to disperse ; these were the numbers with which, always against "great hosts," God gave the victory to the lion-hearted Judas and his brothers. But who except He, in whose hands are the hearts of people, could foresee that He, at that critical moment, would raise up that devoted family, or inspire that faith, through which they "out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens?" Hebrews 11:34.

13. bent Judah—made Judah as it were My bow, and "filled" it "with Ephraim," as My arrow, wherewith to overcome the successor of the Grecian Alexander, Antiochus Epiphanes (compare Notes, see on [1185]Da 8:9; [1186]Da 11:32; 1 Maccabees 1:62; 2:41-43), the oppressor of Judah. Having spoken (Zec 9:1-8) of Alexander's victories, after the parenthesis (Zec 9:9, 10) as to Messiah the infinitely greater King coming, he passes to the victories which God would enable Judah to gain over Alexander's successor, after his temporary oppression of them.

O Zion … O Greece—God on one hand addresses Zion, on the other Greece, showing that He rules all people.

When I have bent Judah for me; in the days when Judah shall have recovered strength and courage, and be in my hand as a strong bow, ready bent.

Filled the bow with Ephraim; Ephraim, the remainder of the ten tribes, (which returned with Judah,) shall be for supply of warriors; as the quiver filled is supply of arrows to the bow-man.

And raised up thy sons, O Zion; explicatory to the former.

Against thy sons, O Greece; against the Grecians, or Ionians, the sons of Javan, who had formerly oppressed the Jews, and bought them for slaves, and did again oppress them in the reigns of the Selucidae and the Lagidae, against whom the Jews took arms and courage under the conduct of the Maccabees, to whom Christ made good much of this promise.

And made thee, O Zion, or Jerusalem, you, O Jews,

as the sword of a mighty man; a sharp sword of a mighty man or giant, who cuts down all that stands in his way, as the Maccabees did. When I have bent Judah for me,.... By whom are meant the apostles, who were Jews, and whose ministrations were made use of as a bow with arrows, to strike the hearts of men, and bring them into subjection to Christ: they were a bow of the Lord's bending and preparing, and which abode in strength, being made strong and effectual through the hands of the mighty God of Jacob:

filled the bow with Ephraim: or rather, "filled Ephraim with the bow" (p); filled his hand with it; meaning, that some out of the ten tribes, as were the apostles, should be employed in drawing the bow of the Gospel, and shooting its arrows, the doctrines of it; which are comparable to them for swiftness, suddenness, and secrecy, and for their piercing and penetrating nature:

and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece; that is, persons of the land of Judea, as such the apostles were, and who belonged to Zion the church of Christ; who were raised up, qualified, and sent forth by him into the Gentile world, with weapons of warfare, not carnal, but spiritual; against the Gentiles in general, and the wise men of Greece, as at Athens, in particular, to confound some, and to conquer others, and bring them to the obedience of Christ. Some understand this of the Maccabees raised up against Antiochus, and the Greeks that possessed the kingdom of Syria:

and made thee as the sword of a mighty man; that is, made the Gospel in the hands of the church, and of her sons, as a sword in the hand of a mighty man, by whom execution is done with it; this is the sword of the Spirit, even the word of God; and is sharp and cutting, and is the power of God unto salvation; as it is girt upon the thigh, and is in the hands of Christ the most Mighty; and as it is accompanied with the Spirit of God, and of power.

(p) "arcu implebo manum Ephraim", Vatablus; so Ben Melech.

When I have bent Judah for me, filled the {y} bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.

(y) I will make Judah and Ephraim, that is, my whole Church, victorious against all enemies, which he here means by the Greeks.

13. bent] Lit. trodden, because the foot was placed on the bow in bending it. The warriors of Israel are weapons in the hand of God. Judah is the bow, Ephraim the arrow, the sons of Zion are now raised or lifted up by Him as a spear (comp. 2 Samuel 23:18, where the Heb. word is the same), now wielded as a sword.

The R. V. gives the tenses in this verse more accurately: For I have bent, I have filled, &c., and I will stir up, and will make, &c.

13–17. The prophecy now moves forward, and takes for its groundwork a later epoch in the future history of the Jews. As their deliverance from their enemies without fighting, in the times of Alexander (Zechariah 9:1-8), was foretold as the pledge and type of Messiah’s kingdom of peace (Zechariah 9:9-12), so their victories over the Seleucidæ, in the times of the Maccabees, are in these verses foretold as the pledge and type of Messiah’s victories over all His enemies.Verse 13. - The Lord proceeds to explain the promised blessings in detail. First is signified the victorious resistance of the Maccabees against the Seleucidae - a figure of Messiah's victory over all the enemies of God. When (for) I have bent Judah for me. The verbs are in the prophetical perfect, and may be rendered future By a grand figure God is represented as a warrior armed for battle, who uses his people for the weapons of his warfare. The Hebrews speak of "treading" the bow, where we say "bend," because they used the foot in bending it. In the present case Judah is God's bow. Filled the bow with Ephraim. Ephraim is the arrow (comp. Psalm 127:4, 5). Judah and Ephraim, the united people, are God's instruments, and fight against the world power in his strength. And raised up; better, and I will stir up; Septuagint, ἐξεγερῶ: Vulgate, suscitabo. Greece; Javan. Not a vague term for the tar west, whither some prisoners had been carried, but to be taken strictly as the appellation of Greece. Nothing but inspiration could have enabled Zechariah and Daniel to foresee the rise of the Macedonian dynasty, and the struggle between the Jews and the Syro-Grecian power in Maccabean times, which is here plainly announced. The earlier the date assigned to this part of Zechariah's prophecy, the more incredible is it that any mere human sagacity or prescience should have enabled a man to fore. tell these events, or to see in Greece a power arrayed in conflict with the people of God. And made thee; rather, and I will make thee. God will make his people into a hero's sword to execute vengeance on the enemy. Jehovah can fill this house with glory, because the silver and gold which the heathen nations possess belong to Him. By shaking all kingdoms He can induce the nations to present their treasures to Him as gifts for the glorification of His house. Thus (the promise closes with this in Haggai 2:9), the later glory of this house will be greater than the former was. Hâachărōn might be regarded as belonging to habbayith hazzeh, in the sense of "the glory of this latter house;" and the majority of the commentators have taken it so, after the Itala, Vulgate, and Peschito. But it is quite as admissible to connect it with kâbhōd, in the sense of "the later glory of this house," inasmuch as when one substantive is determined by another which is connected with it in the construct state, the adjective belonging to the nomen regens follows with the article (cf. 2 Samuel 23:1; 1 Chronicles 23:27; and Ewald, 289, a). This is the rendering adopted by Michaelis, Maurer, Hitzig, and others, after the lxx. According to the first construction, the distinction would be drawn between a former and a later house; according to the second, simply between the earlier and later glory of the same house; and the passage would be based upon the idea, that through all ages there was only one house of Jehovah in Jerusalem existing under different forms. Haggai 2:3 is decisive in favour of the second view, for there an earlier glory is attributed to this house, and contrasted with its present miserable condition. The first or former glory is that of Solomon's temple, the later or last that of Zerubbabel's. The difference of opinion as to the true rendering of the words has no material influence upon the matter itself; except that, if the latter view be adopted, the question so often discussed by earlier writers - namely, whether by the second temple we are to understand the temple of Zerubbabel or the temple as altered by Herod, which many have erroneously taken to be the third - falls to the ground as perfectly unmeaning. The final glory of the temple will also be a lasting one. This is implied in the closing words of the promise: "And in this place will I give peace." "This place" is not the temple, but Jerusalem, as the place where the temple is built; and the "peace" is not spiritual peace, but external peace, which does indeed in its perfect form include spiritual peace as well. This is perfectly evident from the parallel passages, Micah 5:4, Joel 3:17, and Isaiah 60:18.

If we also take up the question as to the fulfilment of this prophecy, we must keep the two features quite distinct - (a) the shaking of heaven and earth and all nations; (b) the consequence of this shaking, the coming of the heathen with their possessions to the glorification of the temple - although they both stand in close connection. The earlier commentators were no doubt generally right, when they sought for the fulfilment in the establishment of the new covenant through Christ; they simply erred in referring the predicted shaking of the nations and the promised glorification of the temple in too one-sided and exclusive a manner to the coming of Christ in the flesh, to His teaching in the temple, and to the establishment of the kingdom of heaven through the preaching of the gospel. They were thereby compelled, on the one hand, to force upon the prophecy a meaning irreconcilable with the words themselves, and, on the other hand, to seek for its fulfilment in historical particulars to some extent of very subordinate importance. Even the predicted nearness of the time ("it is a little while") does not suit the exclusive reference to the establishment of the new covenant, or the founding of the Christian church. The period of 520 years, which elapsed before the birth of Christ, cannot be called a little or short time, as Calovius supposes, "in comparison with the time that had passed since either the promulgation of the law or the promulgation of the protevangelium," inasmuch as five hundred are not מעט in relation to fifteen hundred, and the proposal to go back to the protevangelium is evidently merely a loophole of perplexity. Nor can מעט היא be explained on the hypothesis that the measure of time here is not a human one, but the divine measure, according to which a thousand years are equal to one day. "For whoever speaks to men, must speak of things according to a human method of thinking; or if he do not, he must make it clear that this is the case. The prophet lays stress upon the brevity of the time, for the purpose of comforting. And only what is short in the eyes of men is fitted for this" (Hengstenberg). The shaking of the heathen world did not first begin with the birth of Christ, but commenced shortly after the time of Haggai. It is true that under Darius Hystaspes the Persian empire was still standing at the summit of its power; but its shaking began under his successor Xerxes, and came very plainly to light in his war against Greece. "Even then there were forebodings that the time of this empire would soon be accomplished, and the rapid conquests of Alexander gave fulfilment to this foreboding. And even his power, which seemed destined to last for ever, very speedily succumbed to the lot of all temporal things. Inde (says Livy) morte Alexandri distractum in multa regna, dum ad se quisque opes rapiunt lacerantes viribus, a summo culmine fortunae ad ultimum finem centum quinquaginta annos stetit. The two most powerful kingdoms that grew out of the monarchy of Alexander, viz., the Syrian and Egyptian, destroyed one another. The Romans now attained to the government of the world; but at the very time when they appeared to be at the summit of their greatness, their shaking had very considerably advanced" (Hengstenberg). The circumstance that the prophet mentions the shaking of heaven and earth before the shaking of all the heathen, cannot furnish any valid ground for objecting to these allusions; nor can it force us to the conclusion that the words are only to be understood as denoting "great political shakings, whereby the power of the heathen would be broken, their pride humbled, and so the susceptibility for salvation be evoked among them." For even if such events do shake the world, and are poetically represented as earthquakes, even if they were regarded by the nations as heralds of the approaching destruction of the world, because the impression they produced upon the mind was as if heaven and earth were falling to pieces; all this does not satisfy the words, which do not express the subjective emotion, but announce real facts. The shaking of heaven and earth, of the sea and of the dry land, is indeed partially effected by violent earthquakes and wonderful signs in the sky, and was typified by such judgments as the flood; but it is only fully accomplished at the breaking up of the present condition of the world in the destruction of this heaven and this earth.

The prophet mentions at the very outset the utmost and the last that God will do, to clear away all existing hindrances to the completion of His kingdom in glory, and then passes on to the shakings of the world of nations which prepare the way for and lead on to this result, just as Micah in Micah 4:1-13 comes back from the most remote future to the less remote, and then to the immediate future. For the shakings of the heathen, by which their power will be broken and the dissolution of heathenism and of the ungodly power of the world will be effected, do not reach their end with the coming of Christ and the establishment of the Christian church: but just as the kingdom of the world maintains its standing by the side of the kingdom of heaven established by Christ upon the earth, until the return of our Lord to judgment; so does the shaking of the heathen and of the kingdoms of the nations continue till every power which rises against the Almighty God and His Christ is broken, and the world which has been thrown into confusion by the sin of men, and is made subject to corruptibility on their account, shall perish, and the new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, for which we are looking, shall be established (2 Peter 3:12-13).

(Note: Aug. Koehler also assumes that the ultimate fulfilment of our prophecy will not take place till the second coming of Christ, although he is of opinion that, generally speaking, it has not been fulfilled in the manner originally intended. Starting, for example, with the fact that the fulfilment of the events predicted by Haggai and the coming of the day of Jehovah are one and the same, and that according to Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5 the day of Jehovah was to be preceded by the coming of a messenger, to prepare the way for Jehovah to come to His temple, Koehler assumes that the fulfilment of these events ought to have taken place with the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, to establish the new covenant as the Messiah. But, inasmuch as Israel was still without such moral preparation as would allow of the coming of Jehovah being a blessing to it, and rejected its Messiah, there occurred an event in connection with this rejection of Jesus on the part of Israel, which not only put a stop to the fulfilment of the prophecies, the realization of which had commenced with the coming of Jesus, but introduced a partial modification. "The new covenant," he says, "which was established by the Lord in His incarnation, was not at first a blessing to Israel, but to the heathen world. Instead of setting up His kingdom over the earth, with Zion as the centre, the Lord returned to heaven, and there took possession of the throne above all thrones. But Israel was smitten with the ban, and scattered among the heathen nations. The sacred places which were to be glorified by the valuables of all the heathen, had become unclean through Israel's sin, and were given up to destruction in consequence." In his opinion there is a coming of Jehovah still in the future. Jesus will return from heaven again, but not till Israel shall have been converted to the Messiah it rejected. Then will the prophecies of Haggai that remained unfulfilled at the first coming of Jesus be accomplished, but in the only way that is still possible, since the former holy places of Israel have been destroyed, and the heathen world has already participated in the new covenant, and has at any rate in part already become the people of God. Consequently the events predicted by Haggai (Haggai 2:6-9) have not been fulfilled; for the valuable possessions of all the heathen have not been applied to the glorification of the sanctuary of Jehovah built by Zerubbabel, and there has not been a place of peace created there in the midst of the judgments that were to fall upon the heathen world. But the fault of this rests purely upon Israel. And so also it is in the impenitence of Israel that we have to look for the reason why the shaking of the heaven and the earth, and all the heathen, which Haggai announced as מעט היא, has been postponed for more than 500 years. This is Koehler's view. But if there had really been any foundation in the Scriptures for this view, and the predictions of our prophet had not been fulfilled in the manner intended, the fault would not rest entirely in the impenitence of Israel, but would fall in part upon God Himself, for having sent His Son, not at the proper time, or when the time was accomplished, but too early, namely, before Israel was in that moral condition which would allow of the coming of the Messiah to become a blessing to it, whether God was mistaken as to the proper time for sending His Son, or in His judgment as to the moral condition of Israel. If Koehler had put this clearly to his own mind, he would certainly have hesitated before he built up a view on the basis of an erroneous idea of the day of the Lord which necessarily leads to the denial not only of the divine prescience or the πρόγνωσιη τοῦ Θεοῦ, but also of the supernatural character of the old Testament prophecy.)

But if the shaking of the heathen commenced before the coming of Christ in the flesh, and will continue till His second coming in glory, we must not restrict the fulfilment of the predicted moral consequences of this shaking - namely, that the heathen come and consecrate their possessions to the Lord for the glorification of His house, to the conversion of the heathen to Christ, and their entrance into the Christian church - but must also regard the desire for the living God, awakened by the decay of heathendom and its religions, which was manifested in the adoption of Judaism by the more pious heathen, as a prelude to the fulfilment which commenced with the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles, and must include not only the presentation of dedicatory offerings τῶν ἀλλυφύλων and of gifts ἔξωθεν ἐθνῶν, with which the temple was adorned according to Josephus, de Bell. Jud. ii. 17, 3, but also the presents of king Artaxerxes and his counsellors, which Ezra received on his return to Jerusalem to carry with him for the temple (Ezra 7:15.).

(Note: We must not, however, include the additions to Zerubbabel's temple undertaken by Herod the Great for the sake of beautifying it, because, although Herod was a Gentile by descent, the work was not undertaken from any love to the Lord, but (as Calvin; and Hengstenberg, Christol. iii. pp. 289-90, have already observed) with the intention of securing the fulfilment of Haggai's prophecy, in order to prevent the coming of the kingdom of God, his fear of which was that it would put an end to his earthly sway. His intention is obvious enough from the address communicated by Josephus (Ant. xv. 11, 1), through which Herod endeavoured to win over the people to his plan. After telling them that the temple built after the return of the fathers from exile was still sixty cubits lower than that of Solomon, which he proposed to add, he proceeded thus: "But since I am now by God's will your governor, and I have had peace a long time, and have gained great riches and large revenues, and, what is the principal thing of all, I am at amity with and well regarded by the Romans, who, if I may so say, are the rulers of the whole world," etc. The allusion to our prophecy, as Hengstenberg says, is unmistakeable here. He tries to prove that all the conditions which it lays down for the glorifying of the temple have now been realized. "All nations," by whom the building of the temple is to be promoted, are equivalent in his esteem to "the Romans, who are the rulers of the whole world." He whom God has called to the government has gold and silver enough. And the words "in this place will I give peace" are now fulfilled. The manner in which he strained every nerve to fulfil the words "the glory will be greater," is evident from 3, where it is stated that "he laid out larger sums of money upon them than had been done before him, till it seemed that no one else had so greatly adorned the temple as he had done.")

Yea, even the command of king Darius Hystaspes to his vicegerent, which no doubt reached Jerusalem after our prophecy had been uttered, not only to allow the work at this house of God to continue, but also to deliver to the elders of Judah what was required for the building as well as for the requirements of the daily sacrificial worship out of the moneys raised by taxation on this side the river (Ezra 6:6-10), may at any rate be regarded as a pledge of the certain fulfilment of the divine promise uttered by Haggai.

But whilst the honour paid to the temple of Zerubbabel on the part of the heathen and heathen princes by the presentation of sacrifices and dedicatory offerings must not be overlooked, as preludes to the promised filling of this house with the riches of the Gentiles, we must not look to this outward glorification of the temple at Jerusalem for the true fulfilment of our prophecy, even if it had exceeded Solomon's temple in glory. This first took place with the coming of Christ, and that not in the fact that Jesus visited the temple and taught in it, and as the incarnate Logos, in whom the "glory of Jehovah" that filled the temple of Solomon dwelt in its truest essence as δόξα ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, glorified the temple of stone with His presence, but by the fact that Christ raised up the true temple of God not built with human hand (John 2:19), i.e., that He exalted the kingdom of God shadowed forth in the temple at Jerusalem to its true essence. We must draw a distinction between the substance and form, the kernel and the shell, of the prophecy. The temple, as the place where the Lord dwelt in the midst of Israel in a visible symbol of His gracious presence, was the seat and concentration of the kingdom of God, which had its visible embodiment in the temple so long as the old covenant lasted. In this respect the rebuilding of the temple that had been destroyed was a sign and pledge of the restoration of the kingdom of God, which had been broken up through the banishment of Israel among the heathen, and the attitude of those who returned from exile towards the building of the temple was a sign of their internal attitude towards the Lord and His kingdom. If, then, the old men who had seen the temple in its former glory wept aloud at the laying of the foundation of the new building, because in comparison with the former it was as nothing in their eyes, this mourning was occasioned not so much by the fact that the new temple would not be so beautiful and majestic a building as that of Solomon had been, as by the fact that the poverty of the new building set before their eyes the wretched condition of the kingdom of God. This true or deeper ground for their mourning, which might very well give rise to the question whether the Lord would restore His former gracious relation to Israel, or at any rate would restore it now, is met by the divine promise published by Haggai to the people, which attaches itself in form to the existing circumstances, and accordingly promises for the future a glorification of the temple which will outshine the glory of the former one. If we look at the thought itself which is expressed in this form, it is the following: The Lord will one day exalt His kingdom, which is so deeply degraded and despised, to a glory which will far surpass the glory of the kingdom of God at the time of Solomon, and that by the fact that all the heathen nations will dedicate their possessions to it. This glorification of the house of God commenced with the introduction of the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus Christ preached, and of which He laid the foundation in His church. And whilst the stone-temple at Jerusalem built by Zerubbabel and splendidly finished by Herod fell into ruins, because the Jews had rejected their Saviour, and crucified Him, this has been carried on through the spread of the kingdom of God among the nations of the earth, and will be completed at the end of the course of this world; not, however, by the erection of a new and much more glorious temple in Jerusalem, but in the founding of the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God upon the new earth, after the overthrow of all the powers of the world that are hostile to God. This holy city will have the glory of God (ἡ δόξα τοῦ Θεοῦ equals כּבוד יהוה), but no temple; because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. Into this holy city of God will the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour, and the heathen who are saved will walk therein (Revelation 21:10-11, Revelation 21:22-24). Thus the promise covers the entire development of the kingdom of God to the end of days.

This was the sense in which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 12:26-27) understood our prophecy. In order, namely, to give emphasis to his admonition, not to expose themselves to still severer punishment than fell upon those who hardened themselves under the Old Testament against the incomplete revelation of God, by rejecting the far more perfect revelation of God in Christ, he quotes our prophecy, and shows from it (Hebrews 12:26), that at the founding of the old covenant only a comparatively small shaking of the earth took place; whereas for the times of the new covenant there had been predicted a shaking not only of the earth, but also of the heaven, which indicated that what was moveable was to be altered, as made for that purpose, that the immoveable might remain. The author of this epistle consequently brings out the fundamental thought of our prophecy, in which its fulfilment culminates, viz., that everything earthly must be shaken and altered, that the immoveable, i.e., the βασιλεία ἀσάλευτος, may remain, or in other words, that the whole of the earthly creation must perish, in order that the kingdom of God may be shown to be immoveably permanent. He does not, however, thereby represent the predicted shaking of heaven and earth "as still in the future," as Koehler supposes; but, as his words in Hebrews 12:28 (cf. Hebrews 12:22), "Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace," clearly show, he takes it as having already commenced, and looks upon the whole period, from the coming of Christ in the flesh till His coming again in glory, as one continuum.

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