Zechariah 9:6
And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Zechariah 9:6-7. And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod — Newcome reads, strangers, understanding by the expression, “a strange and spurious race; a despicable race; born of harlots.” But Blayney, who reads, a stranger, observes, that the Hebrew word, ממזרhere used, does not imply an illegitimate offspring. In proof of which he quotes Psalm 69:8, where מוזר, a word from which the above is derived, is translated a stranger, so that he supposes the sense of this clause to be, that the city of Ashdod should be peopled with strangers, not descended from its present possessors. The LXX. and Chaldee understand the expression in the same sense. And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines — Ashdod, or Azotus, was burned and destroyed by Jonathan, brother of Judas Maccabeus, and eight thousand of its men burned or slain, 1Ma 10:84-85. These were probably intended here by the pride of the Philistines, that is, the pride, or excellence, of the ancient inhabitants, in whose room the strangers were introduced. And I will take away his blood out of his mouth — The Philistine shall be brought down so low, that he shall not be in a condition to molest or threaten slaughter to his neighbours, as he did formerly. And his abominations from between his teeth — He shall be reduced to such poverty, that he shall no more make banquets in honour of his idols, and feast upon them. “The idolatrous and abominable practices of the Philistines shall cease. The metaphor is taken from beasts of prey, who gorge themselves with blood.” Ashdod is mentioned by Josephus among the cities of the Phenicians which were under the dominion of the Jews; and it is well known that they exacted of all who were under their authority, a conformity, in a certain degree, to their religious rites and ceremonies. This will explain what is meant by taking his blood, &c. The stranger was required to abstain from eating blood, and from such things as were held in abomination by the Jewish law. But he that remaineth, even he shall be for our God — This was fulfilled in the times of the Maccabees, and also in the times of Alexander Jannæus, who subdued their principal cities, as Josephus relates, (Antiq., lib. 13. cap. 23,) and made them part of the Jewish dominions, the inhabitants of several of which embraced the Jewish religion. And he shall be as a governor in Judah — Shall be regarded and honoured. Blayney renders it, Shall be as a citizen in Judah, considering the expression as being used in contrast to the word which he renders stranger, Zechariah 9:6; and signifying that the stranger who should come to dwell in Ashdod, would, after renouncing all his heathenish practices, become a convert to the true God, and, as a governor in Judah, entitled to all the same privileges in that city, as a prime citizen enjoyed among the Jews: terms these which exactly correspond with those used by St. Paul, who, having called the unconverted Gentiles, ξενοι και παροικοι, strangers and foreigners, entitles them, after their conversion, συμπολιται των αγιων και οικειοι του Θεου, fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, Ephesians 2:19. And Ekron as a Jebusite — And the Philistines shall have the same privileges allowed them, and be put on the same footing, as the Jebusites, the ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem were, when the Israelites conquered them: see Jdg 1:21.9:1-8 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 a bastard shall dwell at Ashdod - o The "mamzer" was one born unlawfully, whether out of marriage, or in forbidden marriage, or in adultery . Here it is, probably, like our "spurious brood" ; whether it was so itself or in the eyes of the Ashdodites; whence he adds.

I will cut off the pride of the Philistines - Pride would survive the ruin of their country, the capture of their cities, the less of independence. It would not survive the loss of their nationality; for they themselves would not be the same people, who were proud of their long descent and their victories over Israel. The breaking down of nationalities, which was the policy of Alexander, was an instrument in God's hands in cutting off their pride.

6. bastard—not the rightful heir; vile and low men, such as are bastards (De 23:2) [Grotius]. An alien; so the Septuagint; implying the desolation of the region wherein men shall not settle, but sojourn in only as aliens passing through [Calvin]. A bastard; some say Alexander the Great was by Olympia’s confession declared to be a bastard, and that he is here pointed at; but I think rather strangers, who have no right of inheritance, yet did dwell here, are meant, called bastards because not the rightful heirs, but intruders.

Ashdod; Azotus, now a strong town, a city of the Philistines, but still of the same temper with the rest against the Jews, and now, as before, Zephaniah 2:4, must suffer with them.

I will cut off the pride of the Philistines, in these strong cities did the Philistines glory, and boast themselves as having been too hard for the Jews, even at their first coming to Canaan, who could not take their cities from them; but now the fatal change is foretold, God will cut off this pride of theirs, as he did in the times of the Grecians, the Seleucidae, and the Maccabees. And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod,.... Some (p) take "mamzer", the word for "bastard", to be the name of a people that should dwell in Ashdod; this is the same place with Azotus, Acts 8:40 and was also one of the five lordships of the Philistines, Joshua 13:3 some, by the "bastard" here, understand Alexander the great, who gave out that he was not the son of Philip, but of Jupiter Ammon: others think Jonathan the Maccabee is intended, who took this place and burnt it with fire, and the temple of Dagon in it,

"83 The horsemen also, being scattered in the field, fled to Azotus, and went into Bethdagon, their idol's temple, for safety. 84 But Jonathan set fire on Azotus, and the cities round about it, and took their spoils; and the temple of Dagon, with them that were fled into it, he burned with fire.'' (1 Maccabees 10)

and though he was not a bastard, yet was a stranger to the Philistines; in which sense the Jewish commentators, Jarchi and Kimchi, interpret the word, and understand it of the Israelites who should dwell in this place; even those, as Aben Ezra says, who were abject, mean, and despised among the Israelites; which would be a great mortification to the proud Philistines, as is suggested in the next clause: and to this sense the Targum paraphrases the words,

"and the house of Israel shall dwell in Ashdod, who shall be in it as strangers:''

but it is best to understand this of Israelites indeed, of true Christians, who are accounted spurious, not the children of God, but aliens and strangers, the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things; who should dwell here when the Gospel was preached in it, as doubtless it was by Philip, Acts 8:40 and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render the words, "and strangers shall dwell in Ashdod"; men of another religion, and despised and not owned even by their relations, as if they were bastards.

And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines; by Alexander, and by the Jews in the times of the Maccabees, bringing them into subjection, which their haughty spirits could not well bear; or through the abolition of their old Heathenish religion, in which they prided themselves. It may be observed, that all along the conversion of these various people to Christianity is expressed in terms which seem to signify the destruction of them; and that partly because, in the literal sense, reference is had to the conquest of them by Alexander, by which means the Greek language obtained in Syria and Phoenicia, into which, a little after, the Bible was translated, which paved the way for the bringing of these people to the knowledge of Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel; and partly because Paganism was abolished in these places when Christianity prevailed.

(p) R. Judah ben Bileam apud Aben Ezram in loc.

And a {g} bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.

(g) Meaning, that all would be destroyed, save a very few, that would remain as strangers.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. a bastard] The word only occurs here and in Deuteronomy 23:2 (3, Heb.). There it is probably used of one born of incest or adultery. (Speaker’s Commentary, Vol. I. pt. ii. p. 884.) Here perhaps it is employed rather as a term of contempt, “a mixed and ignoble race” (a bastard race, R. V. margin), than in its strictly literal sense. The LXX. who render ἐκ πορνῆς in Deut. have here ἀλλογενής.Verse 6. - A Bastard. The word (mamzer) occurs in Deuteronomy 23:2 (3, Hebrew), where it may possibly mean "a stranger." It is generally considered to signify one whose birth has a blemish in it - one born of incest or adultery. In Deuteronomy the LXX. renders, ἐκ πόρης, "one of harlot birth;" here, ἀλλογενής, "foreigner." The Vulgate has separator, which is explained as meaning either the Lord, who as Judge divides the just from the unjust, or the Conqueror, who divides the spoil and assigns to captives their fate. Here it doubtless signifies "a bastard race" (as the Revised Version margin translates); a rabble of aliens shall inhabit Ashdod, which shall lose its own native population. The Targum explains it differently, considering that by the expression is meant that Ashdod shall be inhabited by Israelites, who are deemed "strangers" by the Philistines. Ashdod (see note on Amos 1:8). The pride. All in which they prided themselves. This sums up the prophecy against the several Philistine cities. Their very nationality shall be lost. Glory of the New Temple- Haggai 2:1 and Haggai 2:2. "In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came through Haggai," viz., to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the remnant of the nation, that is to say, to the whole of the congregation that had returned from exile; whereas the first appeal was only addressed to Zerubbabel and Joshua (see the introduction to Haggai 1:1), although it also applied to the whole nation. Just as in the second year of the return from Babylon, when the foundation for the temple, which was about to be rebuilt, was laid in the reign of Cyrus, many old men, who had seen the temple of Solomon, burst out into loud weeping when they saw the new foundation (Ezra 3:10.); a similar feeling of mourning and despair appears to have taken possession of the people and their rulers immediately after the work had been resumed under Darius, and doubts arose whether the new building was really well-pleasing to the Lord, and ought to be carried on. The occasion for this despondency is not to be sought, as Hitzig supposes, in the fact that objections were made to the continuance of the building (Ezra 5:3), and that the opinion prevailed in consequence that the works ought to be stopped till the arrival of the king's authority. For this view not only has no support whatever in our prophecy, but is also at variance with the account in the book of Ezra, according to which the governor and his companions, who had made inquiries concerning the command to build, did not stop the building while they sent word of the affair to the king (Ezra 5:5). Moreover, the conjecture that the people had been seized with a feeling of sadness, when the work had so far advanced that they were able to institute a comparison between the new temple and the earlier one (Hengstenberg), does not suffice to explain the rapid alteration which took place in the feelings of the people. The building could not have been so far advance din three weeks and a half as that the contrast between the new temple and the former one could be clearly seen, if it had not been noticed from the very first; a fact, however, to which Ezra 3:12 distinctly refers. But although it had been seen from the very beginning that the new building would not come up to the glory of the former temple, the people could not from the very outset give up the hope of erecting a building which, if not quite equal to the former one in glory, would at all events come somewhat near to it. Under these circumstances, their confidence in the work might begin to vanish as soon as the first enthusiasm flagged, and a time arrived which was more favourable for the quiet contemplation of the general condition of affairs. This explanation is suggested by the time at which the second word of God was delivered to the congregation through the prophet. The twenty-first day of the seventh month was the seventh day of the feast of tabernacles (cf. Leviticus 23:34.), the great festival of rejoicing, on which Israel was to give practical expression to its gratitude for the gracious guidance which it had received through the wilderness, as well as for the blessing of the ingathering of all the fruits of the ground, which ended with the gathering of the orchard-fruits and with the vintage, by the presentation of numerous burnt-offerings and other sacrifices (see my biblische Archologie, i. p. 415ff.). The return of this festal celebration, especially after a harvest which had turned out very miserably, and showed no signs of the blessing of God, could not fail to call up vividly before the mind the difference between the former times, when Israel was able to assemble in the courts of the Lord's house, and so to rejoice in the blessings of His grace in the midst of abundant sacrificial meals, and the present time, when the altar of burnt-sacrifice might indeed be restored again, and the building of the temple be resumed, but in which there was no prospect of erecting a building that would in any degree answer to the glory of the former temple; and when the prophecies of an Isaiah or an Ezekiel were remembered, according to which the new temple was to surpass the former one in glory, it would be almost sure to produce gloomy thoughts, and supply food for doubt whether the time had really come for rebuilding the temple, when after all it would be only a miserable hut. In this gloomy state of mind consolation was very necessary, if the hardly awakened zeal for the building of the house of God was not to cool down and vanish entirely away. To bring this consolation to those who were in despair was the object of the second word of God, which Haggai was to publish to the congregation. It runs as follows:
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