Zechariah 9:4
Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.
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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.Behold - Such were the preparations of Tyre. Over against them, as it were, the prophet sets before our eyes the counsels of God. Theodoret: "Since they had severed themselves from the providence of God, they were now to experience His power." "The Lord will cast her out" , literally, deprive her of her possessions, give her an heir of what she had amassed, namely: the enemy; "and he will smite her power or wealth" , of which Ezekiel says, "With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: by the greediness of thy wisdom and by thy traffic thou hast increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches" Ezekiel 28:4-5. All wherein she relied, and so too the stronghold itself, God would smite in the sea. The sea was her confidence and boast. She said "I am a God; I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas" Ezekiel 28:2.

The scene of her pride was to be that of her overthrow; the waves, which girt her round, should bury her ruins and wash over her site. Even in the sea the hand of God should find her, and smite her in it, and into it, and so that she should abide in it. "They mocked at the king, as though be thought to prevail against Neptune (the sea)." "Ye despise this land-army, through confidence in the place, that ye dwell in an island," was the message of Alexander, "but soon will I show you that ye dwell on a continent."

Every device had been put in force in its defense: the versatility by which the inhabitants of an island, some 2 12 miles in circumference, held at bay the conqueror of the battle of Issus with unlimited resources, , "engineers from Cyprus and all Phoenicia," and , "a fleet of 180 ships from Cyprus," attests the wisdom in which the prophet says, she would trust. "She had already a profusion of catapults and other machines useful in a siege, and easily prepared manifold others by the makers of war-engines and all sorts of artificers whom she had, and these invented new engines of all sorts; so that the whole circuit of the city was filled with engines." Divers who should loosen the mole; grappling hooks and nets to entangle near-assailants; melted metal or heated sand to penetrate between the joints of their armor; bags of sea-weed to deaden the blows of the battering machines; a fireship navigated so as to destroy the works of the enemy, while its sailors escaped; fiery arrows; wheels set in continual motion, to turn aside the missiles against them, , bear witness to an unwearied inventiveness of defense. The temporary failures might have shaken any mind but Alexander's (who is even said to have hesitated but that he dared not, by abandoning the enterprise, lose the prestige of victory. Yet all ended in the massacre of 6,000, 7,000, or 8,000 of her men, the crucifixion of 2,000, the sale of the rest, whether 13,000 or 30,000, into slavery . None escaped save those whom the Sidonians secreted in the vessels, , with which they had been compelled to serve against her.

And she herself - When her strength is overthrown, "shall be devoured with fire." : "Alexander, having slain all, save those who fled to the temples, ordered the houses to be set on fire."

4. (Eze 26:4, 12; 27:27).

cast her out—Hebrew, "dispossess her," that is, will cast her inhabitants into exile [Grotius]. Alexander, though without a navy, by incredible labor constructed a mole of the ruins of Old Tyre (fulfilling Eze 26:4-12, &c., by "scraping her dust from her," and "laying her stones, timber, and dust in the midst of the water"), from the shore to the island, and, after a seven months' siege, took the city by storm, slew with the sword about eight thousand, enslaved thirteen thousand, crucified two thousand, and set the city on "fire," as here foretold [Curtius, Book 4].

smite her power in the sea—situated though she be in the sea, and so seeming impregnable (compare Eze 28:2, "I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the sea"). "Her power" includes not only her fortifications, but her fleet, all of which Alexander sank in the sea before her very walls [Curtius, Book 4]. Eze 26:17 corresponds, "How art thou destroyed which wast strong in the sea!"

Behold; observe it, for I tell you truth; though strange, it will be so.

The Lord will cast her out; the Lord will do this, he will eject and cast her out of her inheritance, as the word in the Hebrew, and he will inherit her, as the word also bears. God will do both, he will seize into his hand by some or other, and so put them out of all. Her fortifications shall not be able to secure her possession.

He will smite her power in the sea; the Lord declares how he will do what he threatens against Tyre, where their strength lieth; he will break them, take away their shipping, and then both treasures will waste, trade will fail, and auxiliaries will not be gotten.

And she, Tyre, probably Zidon with her,

shall be devoured with fire; that is, by the enemy in the siege, or at the taking of her. All which was done about A.M. 3672, one hundred and eighty-five years after this prophecy, when Alexander the Great mastered Tyre at sea with a fleet of one hundred and ninety or two hundred ships, took the city, slew many thousands of them, and, as Curtius reports, burnt the city. Behold, the Lord will cast her out,.... Or "inherit her" (f), or "them", as the Septuagint render the words; when, being converted, she would become the Lord's inheritance and possession, and her riches should be devoted to his service:

and he will smite her power in the sea; for Tyre was situated in the sea, at the entry of it, and was strong in it, Ezekiel 26:17. Kimchi interprets this of her humiliation and subjection in the days of the Messiah; and in a spiritual sense it has been verified in such who have been spoiled of their carnal strength, in which they trusted, and have laid down their weapons, and have submitted to the sceptre of Christ:

and she shall be devoured with fire; with the spirit of judgment, and of burning, which purges and removes the filth of sin; and with the fire of the word, which burns up and consumes its lusts; and with the flames of divine love, which make souls as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. This was literally accomplished in the burning of Tyre by Alexander (g), which injected fear and dread in cities near it, as follow:

(f) , Setp.; "possidebit eam", V. L. Munster, Castalio. So some in Vatablus. (g) Curtius, l. 4. c. 4.

Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and he will smite her {f} power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.

(f) Though those of Tyre think themselves invincible by reason of the sea that surrounds them, yet they will not escape God's judgments.

4. cast her out] Or, dispossess her, R. V. Lit. take possession of her, i.e. by ejecting her and coming into her place. Comp. Exodus 34:24. Ewald renders less satisfactorily will impoverish her.

her power in the sea] The order of the Hebrew words is, shall smite in the sea her power; where “power” does not mean only, though it may possibly include, her bastions and fortifications (Psalm 48:14; Psalm 122:7), but is to be taken in its widest sense. “The scene of her pride was to be that of her overthrow; the waves which girt her round should bury her ruins and wash over her site. Even in the sea the hand of God should find her and smite her in it and into it, and so that she should abide in it.” Pusey.

devoured with fire] “Proudly confident in the strength of their island fortress, the Tyrians mocked the attempts of Alexander to reduce their city. Every engine of war suited for defence had been stored up in their bulwarks, and every device which their skilful engineers could suggest was had recourse to, and for a time with marked success. ‘Ye despise this land army through confidence in the place that ye dwell in as an island, but I will show you that ye dwell on a continent,’ was the language of Alexander (Q. Curtius, de reb. gest. Alex. Magn. iv. 2). The shallow channel between the mainland and the island was at last bridged over by a huge dam of earth erected after repeated failures, and the city which had stood a five years’ siege from the Assyrians, a thirteen years’ siege from the Chaldæans, was taken after a short siege of seven months by Alexander. Ten thousand of its brave defenders were either massacred or crucified” (2,000 were crucified, from 6,000 to 8,000 are said to have been massacred), “the rest were sold into slavery, none escaped save those who were concealed by the Sidonians in the ships. Q. Curtius adds distinctly (Zechariah 4:4) that ‘Alexander having slain all, save those who fled to the temples, ordered the houses to be set on fire.’ ” Rev. C. H. H. Wright.Verse 4. - Will cast her out; will take possession of her; i.e. will conquer her by the hands of her enemies, as Joshua 8:7; Joshua 17:12. Septuagint, κληρονομήσει, "will inherit;" Vulgate, possidebit; Ewald and Hitzig render, "will impoverish her." Will smite her power in the sea. "Power" here includes all that made Tyre proud and confident - her riches, her fleets, her trade, her fortifications. God declares that she shall be smitten there as she stood in the midst of the sea, which formed her bulwark, and which should soon dash over her ruins. The LXX. translates, "shall smite into the sea." Zechariah seems here to have a reminiscence of Ezekiel 27:32, "What city is like Tyres, like the destroyed in the midst of the sea?" (comp. Ezekiel 26:4). With fire (comp. Amos 1:10). The city was burned by Alexander (see note on ver. 2. The siege is narrated by Arrian, 2:15-24; Quint. Curt., 4:2, etc.; Diod. Sic., 17:46, etc.). This penitential state of mind on the part of the people and their rulers was met by the Lord with the promise of His assistance, in order to elevate this disposition into determination and deed. Haggai 1:13. "Then spake Haggai, the messenger of Jehovah, in the message of Jehovah to the people, thus: I am with you, is the saying of Jehovah. Haggai 1:14. And Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, and the spirit of Joshua, and the spirit of all the remnant of the nation; and they came and did work at the house of Jehovah of hosts, their God." The prophet is called מלאך in Haggai 1:13, i.e., messenger (not "angel," as many in the time of the fathers misunderstood the word as meaning), as being sent by Jehovah to the people, to make known to them His will (compare Malachi 2:7, where the same epithet is applied to the priest). As the messenger of Jehovah, he speaks by command of Jehovah, and not in his own name or by his own impulse. אני אתּכם, I am with you, will help you, and will remove all the obstacles that stand in the way of your building (cf. Haggai 2:4). This promise Jehovah fulfilled, first of all by giving to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people, a willingness to carry out the work. העיר רוּח, to awaken the spirit of any man, i.e., to make him willing and glad to carry out His resolutions (compare 1 Chronicles 5:26; 2 Chronicles 21:16; Ezra 1:1, Ezra 1:5). Thus filled with joyfulness, courage, and strength, they began the work on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of king Darius (Haggai 1:15), that is to say, twenty-three days after Haggai had first addressed his challenge to them. The interval had been spent in deliberation and counsel, and in preparations for carrying out the work. In several editions and some few mss in Kennicott, in Tischendorf's edition of the lxx, in the Itala and in the Vulgate, Haggai 1:15 is joined to the next chapter. But this is proved to be incorrect by the fact that the chronological statements in Haggai 1:15 and Haggai 2:1 are irreconcilable with one another. Haggai 1:15 is really so closely connected with Haggai 1:14, that it is rather to be regarded as the last clause of that verse.
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