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!
9. From the coming of the Grecian conqueror, Zechariah makes a sudden transition, by the prophetical law of suggestion, to the coming of King Messiah, a very different character.
daughter of Zion—The theocratic people is called to "rejoice" at the coming of her King (Ps 2:11).
unto thee—He comes not for His own gain or pleasure, as earthly kings come, but for the sake of His Church: especially for the Jews' sake, at His second coming (Ro 11:26).
he is just—righteous: an attribute constantly given to Messiah (Isa 45:21; 53:11; Jer 23:5, 6) in connection with salvation. He does not merely pardon by conniving at sin, but He justifies by becoming the Lord our righteousness fulfiller, so that not merely mercy, but justice, requires the justification of the sinner who by faith becomes one with Christ. God's justice is not set aside by the sinner's salvation, but is magnified and made honorable by it (Isa 42:1, 21). His future reign "in righteousness," also, is especially referred to (Isa 32:1).
having salvation—not passively, as some interpret it, "saved," which the context, referring to a "king" coming to reign, forbids; also the old versions, the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, give Saviour. The Hebrew is reflexive in sense, "showing Himself a Saviour; … having salvation in Himself" for us. Endowed with a salvation which He bestows as a king. Compare Margin, "saving Himself." Compare Mt 1:21, in the Greek, "Himself shall save His people"; that is, not by any other, but by Himself shall He save [Pearson On the Creed]. His "having salvation" for others manifested that He had in Himself that righteousness which was indispensable for the justification of the unrighteous (1Co 1:30; 2Co 5:21; 1Jo 2:1). This contrasts beautifully with the haughty Grecian conqueror who came to destroy, whereas Messiah came to save. Still, Messiah shall come to take "just" vengeance on His foes, previous to His reign of peace (Mal 4:1, 2).
lowly—mild, gentle: corresponding to His "riding on an ass" (not a despised animal, as with us; nor a badge of humiliation, for princes in the East rode on asses, as well as low persons, Jud 5:10), that is, coming as "Prince of peace" (Zec 9:10; Isa 9:6); the "horse," on the contrary is the emblem of war, and shall therefore be "cut off." Perhaps the Hebrew includes both the "lowliness" of His outward state (which applies to His first coming) and His "meekness" of disposition, as Mt 21:5 quotes it (compare Mt 11:29), which applies to both His comings. Both adapt Him for loving sympathy with us men; and at the same time are the ground of His coming manifested exaltation (Joh 5:27; Php 2:7-9).
colt—untamed, "whereon yet never man sat" (Lu 19:30). The symbol of a triumphant conqueror and judge (Jud 5:10; 10:4; 12:14).
foal of an ass—literally, "asses": in Hebrew idiom, the indefinite plural for singular (so Ge 8:4, "mountains of Ararat," for one of the mountains). The dam accompanied the colt (Mt 21:2). The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem at His first coming is a pledge of the full accomplishment of this prophecy at His second coming. It shall be "the day of the Lord" (Ps 118:24), as that first Palm Sunday was. The Jews shall then universally (Ps 118:26) say, what some of them said then, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (compare Mt 21:9, with Mt 23:39); also "Hosanna," or "Save now, I beseech thee." "Palms," the emblem of triumph, shall then also be in the hands of His people (compare Joh 12:13, with Re 7:9, 10). Then also, as on His former entry, shall be the feast of tabernacles (at which they used to draw water from Siloam, quoting Isa 12:3). Compare Ps 118:15, with Zec 14:16.