Zechariah 9:5
Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.And I will take away his blood from his mouth;

And his abominations from between his teeth;

And he too shall be left to our God,

And he shall be as a govenor in Judah;

And Ekron as a Jebusite.

Zechariah 9:5Ashkelon shall see and fear - The words express that to see and fear shall be as one. The mightiest and wealthiest, Tyre, having fallen, the neighbor cities of Philistia who had hoped that her might should be their stay, shall stand in fear and shame. Tyre, being a merchant-city, the mother-city of the cities of the African coast and in Spain, its desolation caused the more terror Isaiah 23:5-11.

And the - (a) king shall perish from Gaza - that is it shall have no more kings. It had been the policy of the world-empires to have tributary kings in the petty kingdoms which they conquered, thus providing lot their continued tranquil submission to themselves . The internal government remained as before: the people felt no difference, except as to the payment of the tribute. The policy is expressed by the title "king of kings," which they successively bore. Sennacherib speaks of the kings of Ascalon, Ekron and Gaza .

A contemperary of Alexander mentions, that the king of Gaza was brought alive to Alexander on its capture. Alexander's policy was essentially different from that of the world-monarchs before him. They desired only to hold an empire as wide as possible, leaving the native kings, if they could; and only, if these were intractable, placing their own lieutenants. Alexander's policy was to blend East and West into one. . These petty sovereignties, so many insulated centers of mutual repulsion, were essentially at variance with this plan, and so this remnant of sovereignty of 1,500 years was taken away by him, when, after a siege in which he himself was twice wounded, he took it. Alexander wholly depopulated it, and repeopled the city with strangers.

continued...

5. Ashkelon, &c.—Gath alone is omitted, perhaps as being somewhat inland, and so out of the route of the advancing conqueror.

Ekron … expectation … ashamed—Ekron, the farthest north of the Philistine cities, had expected Tyre would withstand Alexander, and so check his progress southward through Philistia to Egypt. This hope being confounded ("put to shame"), Ekron shall "fear."

king shall perish from Gaza—Its government shall be overthrown. In literal fulfilment of this prophecy, after a two month's siege, Gaza was taken by Alexander, ten thousand of its inhabitants slain, and the rest sold as slaves. Betis the satrap, or petty "king," was bound to a chariot by thongs thrust through the soles of his feet, and dragged round the city.

Ashkelon, threatened by Zephaniah, Zephaniah 2:4, which threat was executed by the Babylonians soon after the Jews’ captivity, when Nebuchadnezzar wasted the seacoast, and besieged and took Tyre; but this threat of Zechariah was fully executed by Alexander the Great, as is most likely.

Shall see it; as cities see the fall of neighbouring cities, they shall have the news of it, and know it; perhaps some Ashkelonites may be there, and see the siege, and tell it.

And fear; as men that have no power to defend themselves, nor means left of fleeing from the enemy.

Gaza; another strong town, a principality of the Philistines, enemy to Israel; which in Nebuchadnezzar’s time suffered with Tyre, Zephaniah 2:4, and shall again so suffer in Alexander’s time, as here foretold.

Be very sorrowful; at the news of Tyre’s fall shall take a fright, and fall into sorrows of a travailing woman, as the word imports.

Ekron, a city famous for idolatry, see Zephaniah 2:4, shall as much fear and grieve as Ashkelon or Gaza.

Her expectation, her hope that Tyre would break Alexander’s power, or hold out against it, and be a refuge to her citizens, who could not hope to withstand the conqueror,

shall be ashamed; turned into shame and confusion.

The king shall perish from Gaza; the government be overthrown; and perhaps this literally was fulfilled when Alexander the Great took Gaza after two months’ siege, and two slight wounds received, and finding Boetis, the king or roitelet, advanced to that dignity by Darius, thought good to put him to a cruel death, as Curtius, l. 4.

Ashkelon shall not be inhabited, i.e. for some years it shall be as waste, or as it was laid by the Babylonian, according to Zephaniah 2:4. Ashkelon shall see it, and fear,.... That is, as Kimchi explains it, when Ashkelon shall see that Tyre humbles herself and submits, she shall humble herself and submit also: and the sense may be, that the inhabitants of Ashkelon, seeing that Tyre, with all her wisdom and strong reasoning, could not stand before the power of the Gospel, but submitted and embraced the Christian religion, were induced, through the efficacy of divine grace, to do the same; and certain it is that this place became Christian; we read (h) of a bishop of Ashkelon, in the synod of Nice, and of other bishops of this place in later councils: it belonged to Palestine, and was one of the five lordships of the Philistines, Joshua 13:3.

Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful; this was a city of Palestine, near to Ashkelon; they are mentioned together, Judges 1:18 the Gentile inhabitants of this place, when they saw the progress the Gospel made in Tyre, Zidon, and Ashkelon, were grieved at it, but many among them submitted to it: very likely Philip the evangelist first preached the Gospel here; see Acts 8:26 there was a Christian bishop of this place in the Nicene council, and others in after ones (i).

And Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; this was also one of the five lordships of the Philistines, Joshua 13:3 which, being near to Tyre, had its dependence on that, expecting it could never be taken; but when they saw that it was taken by Alexander, it was ashamed of its vain expectation, hope, and confidence: and so the inhabitants of this place, when the Gospel came to it, were "ashamed of the house of their confidence", as the Targum paraphrases the words; the confidence they had in their idols, and in the works of their own hands; and were also "ashamed because of their iniquities", as the Arabic version renders them; being convinced of them, and humbled for them, and betaking themselves to Christ for salvation from them. It is probable, that Philip preached the Gospel here, seeing it was not far from Azotus or Ashdod, next mentioned, where Philip is heard of after the baptism of the eunuch: and if Ekron is the same with Caesarea, that was called Strato's tower, as say the Jews (k); and which also Jerom (l) observes, some say are the same it is certain that Philip was there, Acts 8:40 there were several Christian bishops of this place in later times (m).

And the king shall perish from Gaza; some understand this of Batis, who was governor of Gaza, when it was taken by Alexander; who was fastened to a chariot, and dragged about the city, as Curtius (n) relates; but this man was not a king, but governor of the city under one: I rather think the idol Marnes, which signifies "the lord of man", and was worshipped in this place, is here meant; which when it became Christian was destroyed, and a Christian church built in the room of it, as is reported by Jerom (o).

And Ashkelon shall not be inhabited; by Heathens, but by Christians.

(h) Reland. Palestina Illustrata, l. 3. p. 594. (i) Ib. p. 795. (k) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 6. 1.((l) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 88. D. (m) Reland. ib. p. 676, &c. (n) Hist. l. 4. c. 6. (o) Comment in Isaiah 17.tom. 5. fol. 39. H. Epist. ad Laetam, tom. 1. fol. 19. E.

Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. her expectation] The cities of Philistia, to which (Zechariah 9:5-7) after the subjugation of Syria (Zechariah 9:1-2) and Phœnicia (Zechariah 9:3-4), the scourge passed, had naturally looked to Tyre to check the course of the invader and so save them from his onslaught.

the king shall perish from Gaza] Rather, a king. The prediction is, not that the then reigning monarch should perish, but that monarchical government should cease. No argument can be drawn from this in favour of the ante-captivity date of this prophecy. It had been the policy of the Assyrians, Chaldæans and Persians to leave tributary kings in the countries which they subdued. Hence their own monarchs assumed the title of “king of kings” (Ezra 7:12; Ezekiel 26:7; Daniel 2:37), and as Herodotus states it was the custom of the Persians to put honour upon the sons of the kings whom they had deposed and promote them to the sovereignty of their fathers (iii. 15). Alexander on the contrary pursued an entirely different plan and aimed at a consolidated empire. Such tributary monarchies were therefore abolished by him. Hegesias, a writer contemporary with Alexander, states that the king of Gaza was brought alive to the conqueror after the capture of the city, which in spite of the fate of Tyre had held out for five months. There is considerable difficulty in reconciling the statements of different writers on this point, but there seems no reason to doubt that the ruler of Gaza bore the title of “king” at that time.Verse 5. - Ashkelon shall see it. The ruin of so mighty a city as Tyre naturally filled neighbouring people with dismay. The prophet directs his attention to Philistia, and threatens its chief cities. The cities are enumerated in the same order as in Jeremiah 25:20. Gath is omitted, as in Amos 1:6-8 and Zephaniah 2:4:. It seems never to have recovered its destruction by Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:6). (For Ashkelon, Gaza, and Ekron, see note on Amos 1:6.) Her expectation shall be ashamed. The hope of aid from Tyre shall not be fulfilled. After the fall of Tyre, Alexander continued his march southwards towards Egypt, subduing the cities on his way. The siege of Gaze delayed him some months; and when it was taken, it shared the treatment of Tyre. Its governor, one Batis, a eunuch, was tied alive to the conqueror's chariot, and dragged round the walls, in cruel imitation of the fate of Hector. The king shall perish from Gaza. No particular king is meant; but the prediction says that henceforward no king should reign in Gaze. In contrast with the Eastern policy of allowing conquered nations to retain their own rulers as tributary sovereigns, Alexander always deposed or slew reigning monarchs, and consolidated his empire by replacing them with governors of his own. The various chastisements are meted out by the prophet among the various cities, though they equally apply to all. 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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