Zechariah 9:7
And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.
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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."In that day, saith the Lord,

I will smite every horse with astonishment,

And his rider with madness;

And upon the house of Judah I will open my eyes,

And every horse of the nations I will smite with blindness."

Zechariah 9:7And I will take away his blood out of his mouth - The "abominations" being idol-sacrifices , the "bloods" will also be, the blood mingled with the wine of sacrifices, of which David says, "Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer" Psalm 16:4; and Ezekiel unites the offences, "Ye eat With the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood" Ezekiel 33:25.

But he that remaineth - Better, "And he too" shall remain over to our God." Of the Philistines too, as of Israel, "a remnant shall be saved." After this visitation their idolatry should cease; God speaks of the Philistine nation as one man; He would wring his idol-sacrifices and idol-enjoyments from him; he should exist as a nation, but as God's.

And he shall be as a governor in Judah - Literally, "a captain of a thousand," merged in Judah as in a larger whole, as each tribe was divided into its "thousands," yet intimately blended, in no inferior position, with the people of God, as each converted nation became an integral yet unseparated whole in the people of God.


7. take … his blood out of … mouth—Blood was forbidden as food (Ge 9:4; Le 7:26).

abominations—things sacrificed to idols and then partaken of by the worshippers (Nu 25:2; Ac 15:29). The sense is, "I will cause the Philistines to cease from the worship of idols."

even he shall be for our God—"even he," like Hamath, Damascus, Tyre, &c., which, these words imply, shall also be converted to God (Isa 56:3, "son of the stranger joined himself to the Lord") [Rosenmuller]. The "even," however, may mean, Besides the Hebrews, "even" the Philistine shall worship Jehovah (so Isa 56:8) [Maurer].

he shall be as a governor in Judah—On the conversion of the Philistine prince, he shall have the same dignity "in Judah as a governor"; there shall be no distinction [Henderson]. The Philistine princes with their respective states shall equally belong to the Jews' communion, as if they were among the "governors" of states "in Judah" [Maurer].

Ekron as a Jebusite—The Jebusites, the original inhabitants of Jerusalem, who, when subjugated by David, were incorporated with the Jews (2Sa 24:16, &c.), and enjoyed their privileges: but in a subordinate position civilly (1Ki 9:20, 21). The Jebusites' condition under Solomon being that of bond-servants and tributaries, Calvin explains the verse differently: "I will rescue the Jew from the teeth of the Philistine foe (image from wild beasts rending their prey with their teeth), who would have devoured him, as he would devour blood or flesh of his abominable sacrifices to idols: and even he, the seemingly ignoble remnant of the Jews, shall be sacred to our God (consecrated by His favor); and though so long bereft of dignity, I will make them to be as governors ruling others, and Ekron shall be a tributary bond-servant as the Jebusite? Thus the antithesis is between the Jew that remaineth (the elect remnant) and the Ekronite.

I will take away his blood out of his mouth; though proud and warlike nations have delighted to shed blood, nay, (if some judge aright,) to eat the blood of their slain enemies; yet now God will restrain, nay, overthrow their power, and take the prey out of their mouth, they shall neither breathe out slaughter, nor act it with their hands.

And his abominations from between his teeth: this may possibly be explanatory of the former, but I think it rather is meant of their abominable sacrifices which they offered and feasted on: so the word in Deu 7:26, with Deu 5:25 1 Kings 11:5,7 2 Kings 23:13; and by Hoses, Hosea 9:10. God will punish for these sins, idolatries, and by his destroying the people and cities of those abominations will remove them for ever.

He that remaineth, even he; the remnant, even that (so it might be read): if so read, it points out that small select number who escape the sword, and are reserved to be for God, to worship, obey, honour, and love him; such a remnant as Isaiah 4:3, or as Isaiah 17:6, or Isaiah 24:6.

Shall be for our God; those few Jews whom God preserved from the rage and cruelty of these bloody idolaters shall be the Lord’s peculiar ones. As a governor, for respect and honour which shall be given to them; it is not said they shall be governors, but they shall be as like governors.

And Ekron as a Jebusite; the city for the people, and this one city and people for all the other: all the Philistines shall be as Jebusites, servants to the people of God, or slain.

And I will take away his blood out of his mouth,.... The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read "their blood"; not the blood of the bastard, but of the Philistines. The Targum is, "I will destroy them that eat blood"; the meaning may be, that they shall no more thirst after blood, nor drink it; nor breathe out threatenings and slaughter against the saints, or persecute the people of God: or that they should no more offer the blood of their sacrifices upon the altars to their deities, or eat things sacrificed to them:

and his abominations from between his teeth; their idols and idolatries they were tenacious of, as a man is of his food, or of any thing that is grateful to him; it may design things sacrificed to idols, eaten by them:

but he that remaineth, even he shall be for our God: the Targum paraphrases it,

"and the proselytes that remain among them, they also shall be added to the people of our God:''

Jarchi interprets it of the synagogues and schools in the captivity of Edom or Rome; but Aben Ezra's note is much better, that there shall be none remaining of the Philistines, but only such who serve the blessed God openly: but the true sense is, that here should be a remnant, according to the election of grace, who should evidently appear to be the Lord's people, by their conversion and effectual calling:

and he shall be as a governor in Judah; the Targum is,

"they shall be as the princes of the house of Judah;''

that is, as the heads of the families in that tribe; see Micah 5:2 compared with Matthew 2:6 all true Christians are as princes, yea, they are kings and priests unto God; and some of them are as a guide, teacher; and instructor of others; who go before them, and instruct them in the doctrines of the Gospel, as pastors and ministers of the word:

and Ekron as a Jebusite; that is, the inhabitant of Ekron, that shall be converted to Christ, shall be as an inhabitant of Jerusalem, which was called Jebus, 1 Chronicles 11:4 shall have a dwelling in the church, the city of God, and enjoy all the privileges and immunities of it. Kimchi says this refers to the times of the Messiah, when, he supposes, the Ekronites will be tributary to the Israelites, as the Jebusites were in the days of David. The Targum is,

"and Ekron shall be filled with the house of Israel, as Jerusalem.''

The Syriac version is, "and Ekron shall be as Hebron".

And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his {h} teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and {i} Ekron as a Jebusite.

(h) He promises to deliver the Jews when he will take vengeance on their enemies for their cruelty, and the wrongs they did to them.

(i) As the Jebusites had been destroyed, so would Ekron and all the Philistines.

7. his blood out of his mouth, &c.] Lit., bloods, i.e. blood as shed (comp. Genesis 4:10). According to Calvin the Philistine, the nation personified, is here compared to a wild beast from whose jaws the prey which he is devouring is torn. “Abominationes enim intelligit quicquid injusta violentia ad se traxerant. Et comparat eos feris bestiis, quæ non modum carnem devorant, sed etiam hauriunt sanguinem ipsum, et lacerant crudas carnes.” The objection to this interpretation is that the word rendered “abominations” can hardly refer to the victims or the spoils of the cruelty or rapacity of the Philistine. It is a word of frequent occurrence in the O. T. and is used almost always (Nahum 3:6, “abominable filth,” is an exception) of “idols in that they were abominations.” (Comp. 1 Kings 11:5; 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13; and Daniel 11:31 with Matthew 24:15, τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως). It is probably best therefore, with the majority of modern commentators, to understand the reference to be to idolatrous sacrifices eaten by the worshippers with the blood. From these pollutions the survivors of the Philistines should be cleansed and so prepared for that incorporation into the commonwealth of Israel, which the remainder of the verse predicts.

but he that remaineth] Rather, and he too shall remain (or, be a remnant, R. V.) for our God. “Of the Philistines too, as of Israel” (but may it not be, as of the other nations mentioned in these verses?), “a remnant shall be saved. After this visitation their idolatry should cease; God speaks of the Philistine nation as one man; He would wring his idol-sacrifices and idol-enjoyments from him; he should exist as a nation, but as God’s.” Pusey.

as a governor] Lit., the head over a thousand, a chiliarch. A chieftain, R. V. The tribes of Israel both during the Exodus (Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4), and after their settlement in Canaan (Joshua 22:21; Joshua 22:30; 1 Samuel 10:19; Micah 5:1) were divided into thousands. The word here used for the chief of such a division is used again for a Jewish chief in this Book (Zechariah 12:5-6). Elsewhere it is commonly used of the chiefs of Edom (Genesis 36:15 seq.; 1 Chronicles 1:51-54). The meaning is that the Philistine, the nation personified as before, shall take his place, ruler and people, as one of the divisions of the Jewish nation.

Ekron as a Jebusite] The Jebusites had held their own in the midst of the chosen people, possessors of the stronghold of Sion up to the time of David (Joshua 15:63); but at last had been merged and lost in Israel. So should it be with the Philistines, who are here intended by Ekron. They too shall be absorbed into the Jewish church and nation, when the ultimate goal of the prophecy is reached.

Verse 7. - Personifying Philistia, the prophet declares that she shall cease to practise idolatry, and shall be incorporated in Israel. I will take away his blood out of his mouth. This refers to the practice of drinking the blood of sacrifices as an act of worship, or of eating the victims with the blood - a practice strictly forbidden to the Israelites (see Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26; Leviticus 17:10, 12; and comp. Genesis 9:4). Abominations. Sacrifices offered to idols, and afterwards eaten. The two clauses intimate the entire abolition of idolatry. Many see in this prediction a reference to the doings of the Maccabees; how, e.g., Judas destroyed the altars and idols in Azotus (1 Macc. 5:68); Jonathan again took that city, and burned it and the neighbouring towns, and, besieging Ashkelon, was received with great honour by the inhabitants, and confirmed in the possession of this place and Ekron (1 Macc. 10:84, etc.); and Simon stormed Gaza (? Gazara, a place near Ashdod), cleansed the houses of idols, "put all uncleanness out of it, and placed such men there as would keep the Law" (1 Macc. 13:47, 48). But though such events partially fulfil the prophecy, the seer looks forward to a greater issue, and in these comparatively petty details beholds the working of the great principle that all nations shall be subdued to the faith. He that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God; better, he too shall be left (or, a remnant) for our God. The Philistine shall become a choice and elect remnant unto the God of the Israelites, and no longer regarded as alien and impure. As a governor; Septuagint, χιλίαρχος, "head over a thousand." which the word alluph means (Zechariah 12:5, 6). It is used of the chiefs of Edom in Genesis 36:15, 16, etc., where the Authorized Version gives "dukes." The tribes of Israel were divided into thousands, consisting of families, each of which was held together by closer affinities than the mere tribal bond (see note on Micah 5:2). The meaning is that the Philistine shall be admitted into the commonwealth of Israel as one of her chiefs. Ekron as a Jebusite. "Ekron" is equivalent to "the Ekronite," who again stands in the place of all the Philistines. The Jebusites were the ancient possessors of Zion, who held their position till the days of David, and, when at last conquered by him (2 Samuel 5:6, etc.), were incorporated into his nation, and, as we may infer from Araunah's conduct, adopted his religion (2 Samuel 24:22; 1 Chronicles 21:23). God promises here that the Philistines, like the Jebusites, shall be absorbed into the Jewish Church. Mr. Drake ('Speaker's Commentary,' in loc.) curiously renders, "He shall be as Eleph (Joshua 18:28) in Judah, and Ekron as Jebusi," explaining that the cities of Philistia were to be incorporated into Judaea. The conquests of Alexander conduced to the conversion of the heathen and their reception into the Church of God; and the general principle enunciated by all the prophets was tiros abundantly confirmed. But it is rot easy to discover the exact historical fulfilment of the latter part of this prophecy, concerning the merging of the Philistines in the Jewish nation. Josephus ('Ant.,' 13:15. 4) tells us that, about B.C. 100, the Jews held most of their cities, destroying some whose inhabitants refused to become proselytes. In the time of our Lord, by reason of intermarriage and social intercourse, the Philistines had ceased to be regarded as a separate nation; and a little later Philistia, far from being considered as alien and hostile, under the form Palestine, gave its name to the whole country. Christianity, too, made rapid progress in this district, so that the psalmist's words received herein a fulfilment, "Behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Gush; this one was born there" (Psalm 87:4). Zechariah 9:7Zechariah 9:5. "Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza, and tremble greatly; and Ekron, for her hope has been put to shame; and the king will perish out of Gaza, and Ashkelon will not dwell. Zechariah 9:6. The bastard will dwell in Ashdod; and I shall destroy the pride of the Philistines. Zechariah 9:7. And I shall take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth; and he will also remain to our God, and will be as a tribe-prince in Judah, and Ekron like the Jebusite." From the Phoenicians the threat turns against the Philistines. The fall of the mighty Tyre shall fill the Philistian cities with fear and trembling, because all hope of deliverance from the threatening destruction is thereby taken away (cf. Isaiah 23:5). תּרא is jussive. The effect, which the fall of Tyre will produce upon the Philistian cities, is thus set forth as intended by God. The description is an individualizing one in this instance also. The several features in this effect are so distributed among the different cities, that what is said of each applies to all. They will not only tremble with fear, but will also lose their kingship, and be laid waste. Only four of the Philistian capitals are mentioned, Gath being passed over, as in Amos 1:6, Amos 1:8; Zephaniah 2:4, and Jeremiah 25:20; and they occur in the same order as in Jeremiah, whose prophecy Zechariah had before his mind. To ועזּה we must supply תּרא from the parallel clause; and to עקרון not only תּרא, but also ותירא. The reason for the fear is first mentioned in connection with Ekron, - namely, the fact that the hope is put to shame. הובישׁ is the hiphil of בּושׁ (Ewald, 122, e), in the ordinary sense of this hiphil, to be put to shame. מבּט with seghol stands for מבּט (Ewald, 88, d, and 160, d), the object of hope or confidence. Gaza loses its king. Melekh without the article is the king as such, not the particular king reigning at the time of the judgment; and the meaning is, "Gaza will henceforth have no king," i.e., will utterly perish, answering to the assertion concerning Ashkelon: לא תשׁב, she will not dwell, i.e., will not come to dwell, a poetical expression for be inhabited (see at Joel 3:20). The reference to a king of Gaza does not point to times before the captivity. The Babylonian and Persian emperors were accustomed to leave to the subjugated nations their princes or kings, if they would only submit as vassals to their superior control. They therefore bore the title of "kings of kings" (Ezekiel 26:7; cf. Herod. iii. 15; Stark, Gaza, pp. 229, 230; and Koehler, ad h. l.). In Ashdod will mamzēr dwell. This word, the etymology of which is obscure (see at Deuteronomy 23:3, the only other passage in which it occurs), denotes in any case one whose birth has some blemish connected with it; so that he is not an equal by birth with the citizens of a city or the inhabitants of a land. Hengstenberg therefore renders it freely, though not inappropriately, by Gesindel (rabble). The dwelling of the bastard in Ashdod is not at variance with the fact that Ashkelon "does not dwell," notwithstanding the individualizing character of the description, according to which what is affirmed of one city also applies to the other. For the latter simply states that the city will lose its native citizens, and thus forfeit the character of a city. The dwelling of bastards or rabble in Ashdod expresses the deep degradation of Philistia, which is announced in literal terms in the second hemistich. The pride of the Philistines shall be rooted out, i.e., everything shall be taken from them on which as Philistines they based their pride, viz., their power, their fortified cities, and their nationality. "These words embrace the entire contents of the prophecy against the Philistines, affirming of the whole people what had previously been affirmed of the several cities" (Hengstenberg).

A new and important feature is added to this in Zechariah 9:7. Their religious peculiarity - namely, their idolatry - shall also be taken from them, and their incorporation into the nation of God brought about through this judgment. The description in Zechariah 9:7 is founded upon a personification of the Philistian nation. the suffixes of the third pers. sing. and the pronoun הוּא in Zechariah 9:7 do not refer to the mamzēr (Hitzig), but to pelishtı̄m (the Philistines), the nation being comprehended in the unity of a single person. This person appears as an idolater, who, when keeping a sacrificial feast, has the blood and flesh of the sacrificial animals in his mouth and between his teeth. Dâmı̄m is not human blood, but the blood of sacrifices; and shiqqutsı̄m, abominations, are not the idols, but the idolatrous sacrifices, and indeed their flesh. Taking away the food of the idolatrous sacrifices out of their mouth denotes not merely the interruption of the idolatrous sacrificial meals, but the abolition of idolatry generally. He also (the nation of the Philistines regarded as a person) will be left to our God. The gam refers not to the Phoenicians and Syrians mentioned before, of whose being left nothing was said in Zechariah 9:1-4, but to the idea of "Israel" implied in לאלהינוּ, our God. Just as in the case of Israel a "remnant" of true confessors of Jehovah is left when the judgment falls upon it, so also will a remnant of the Philistines be left for the God of Israel. The attitude of this remnant towards the people of God is shown in the clauses which follow. He will be like an 'alluph in Judah. This word, which is applied in the earlier books only to the tribe-princes of the Edomites and Horites (Genesis 36:15-16; Exodus 15:15; 1 Chronicles 1:51.), is transferred by Zechariah to the tribe-princes of Judah. It signifies literally not a phylarch, the head of an entire tribe (matteh, φυλή), but a chiliarch, the head of an 'eleph, one of the families into which the tribes were divided. The meaning "friend," which Kliefoth prefers (cf. Micah 7:5), is unsuitable here; and the objection, that "all the individuals embraced in the collective הוּא cannot receive the position of tribe-princes in Judah" (Kliefoth), does not apply, because הוּא is not an ordinary collective, but the remnant of the Philistines personified as a man. Such a remnant might very well assume the position of a chiliarch of Judah. This statement is completed by the addition "and Ekron," i.e., the Ekronite "will be like the Jebusite." The Ekronite is mentioned fore the purpose of individualizing in the place of all the Philistines. "Jebusite" is not an epithet applied to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but stands for the former inhabitants of the citadel of Zion, who adopted the religion of Israel after the conquest of this citadel by David, and were incorporated into the nation of the Lord. This is evident from the example of the Jebusite Araunah, who lived in the midst of the covenant nation, according to 2 Samuel 24:16., 1 Chronicles 21:15., as a distinguished man of property, and not only sold his threshing-floor to king David as a site for the future temple, but also offered to present the oxen with which he had been ploughing, as well as the plough itself, for a burnt-offering. On the other hand, Koehler infers, from the conventional mode of expression employed by the subject when speaking to his king, "thy God," and the corresponding words of David, "my God" instead of our God, that Araunah stood in the attitude of a foreigner towards the God of Israel; but he is wrong in doing so. And there is quite as little ground for the further inference drawn by this scholar from the fact that the servants of Solomon and the Nethinim are reckoned together in Ezra 2:58 and Nehemiah 7:60, in connection with the statement that Solomon had levied bond-slaves for his buildings from the remnants of the Canaanitish population (1 Kings 9:20), viz., that the Jebusites reappeared in the Nethinim of the later historical books, and that the Nethinim "given by David and the princes" were chiefly Jebusites, according to which "Ekron's being like a Jebusite is equivalent to Ekron's not only meeting with reception into the national fellowship of Israel through circumcision, but being appointed, like the Jebusites, to service in the sanctuary of Jehovah." On the contrary, the thought is simply this: The Ekronites will be melted up with the people of God, like the Jebusites with the Judaeans. Kliefoth also observes quite correctly, that "there is no doubt that what is specially affirmed of the Philistians is also intended to apply to the land of Chadrach, to Damascus, etc., as indeed an absolute generalization follows expressly in Zechariah 9:10.... Just as in what precedes, the catastrophe intended for all these lands and nations is specially described in the case of Tyre alone; so here conversion is specially predicted of the Philistines alone."

If we inquire now into the historical allusion or fulfilment of this prophecy, it seems most natural to think of the divine judgment, which fell upon Syria, Phoenicia, and Philistia through the march of Alexander the Great from Asia Minor to Egypt. After the battle at Issus in Cilicia, Alexander sent one division of his army under Parmenio to Damascus, to conquer this capital of Coele-Syria. On this expedition Hamath must also have been touched and taken. Alexander himself marched from Cilicia direct to Phoenicia, where Sidon and the other Phoenician cities voluntarily surrendered to him; and only Tyre offered so serious a resistance in its confidence in its own security, that it was not till after a seven months' siege and very great exertions that he succeeded in taking this fortified city by storm. On his further march the fortified city of Gaza also offered a prolonged resistance, but it too was eventually taken by storm (cf. Arrian, ii. 15ff.; Curtius, iv. 12, 13, and 2-4; and Stark, Gaza, p. 237ff.). On the basis of these facts, Hengstenberg observes (Christol. iii. p. 369), as others have done before him, that "there can be no doubt that in Zechariah 9:1-8 we have before us a description of the expedition of Alexander as clear as it was possible for one to be given, making allowance for the difference between prophecy and history." But Koehler has already replied to this, that the prophecy in Zechariah 9:7 was not fulfilled by the deeds of Alexander, since neither the remnant of the Phoenicians nor the other heathen dwelling in the midst of Israel were converted to Jehovah through the calamities connected with Alexander's expedition; and on this ground he merely regards the conquests of Alexander as the commencement of the fulfilment, which was then continued throughout the calamities caused by the wars of succession, the conflicts between the Egyptians, Syrians, and Romans, until it was completed by the fact that the heathen tribes within the boundaries of Israel gradually disappeared as separate tribes, and their remnants were received into the community of those who confessed Israel's God and His anointed. But we must go a step further, and say that the fulfilment has not yet reached its end, but is still going on, and will until the kingdom of Christ shall attain that complete victory over the heathen world which is foretold in Zechariah 9:8.

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