Zec 10:1-12. PRAYER AND PROMISE.
Call to prayer to Jehovah, as contrasted with the idol-worship which had brought judgments on the princes and people. Blessings promised in answer to prayer: (1) rulers of themselves; (2) conquest of their enemies; (3) restoration and establishment of both Israel and Judah in their own land in lasting peace and piety.
1. Ask . . . rain--on which the abundance of "corn"
promised by the Lord
depends. Jehovah alone can give it, and will give it on being asked
(Jer 10:13; 14:22).
rain in . . . time of . . . latter rain--that is, the latter rain in its due time, namely, in spring, about February or March (Job 29:23; Joe 2:23). The latter rain ripened the grain, as the former rain in October tended to fructify the seed. Including all temporal blessings; these again being types of spiritual ones. Though God has begun to bless us, we are not to relax our prayers. The former rain of conversion may have been given, but we must also ask for the latter rain of ripened sanctification. Though at Pentecost there was a former rain on the Jewish Church, a latter rain is still to be looked for, when the full harvest of the nation's conversion shall be gathered in to God. The spirit of prayer in the Church is an index at once of her piety, and of the spiritual blessings she may expect from God. When the Church is full of prayer, God pours out a full blessing.
bright clouds--rather, "lightnings," the precursors of rain [MAURER].
showers of rain--literally, "rain of heavy rain." In Job 37:6 the same words occur in inverted order [HENDERSON].
grass--a general term, including both corn for men and grass for cattle.
2. idols--literally, "the teraphim," the household gods, consulted in
divination (see on
from an Arabic root, "comfort," indicating them as the givers of
comfort. Or an Ethiopian root, "relics." Herein Zechariah shows that
the Jews by their own idolatry had stayed the grace of God heretofore,
which otherwise would have given them all those blessings, temporal and
spiritual, which they are now
urged to "ask" for.
diviners--who gave responses to consulters of the teraphim: opposed to Jehovah and His true prophets.
seen a lie--pretending to see what they saw not in giving responses.
comfort in vain--literally, "give vapor for comfort"; that is, give comforting promises to consulters which are sure to come to naught (Job 13:4; 16:2; 21:34).
therefore they went their way--that is, Israel and Judah were led away captive.
as a flock . . . no shepherd--As sheep wander and are a prey to every injury when without a shepherd, so the Jews had been while they were without Jehovah, the true shepherd; for the false prophets whom they trusted were no shepherds (Eze 34:5). So now they are scattered, while they know not Messiah their shepherd; typified in the state of the disciples, when they had forsaken Jesus and fled (Mt 26:56; compare Zec 13:7).
3. against the shepherds--the civil rulers of Israel and Judah who
punished--literally, "visited upon." The same word "visited," without the upon, is presently after used in a good sense to heighten the contrast.
goats--he-goats. As "shepherds" described what they ought to have been, so "he-goats" describes what they were, the emblem of headstrong wantonness and offensive lust (Isa 14:9, Margin; Eze 34:17; Da 8:5; Mt 25:33). The he-goats head the flock. They who are first in crime will be first in punishment.
visited--in mercy (Lu 1:68).
as his goodly horse--In Zec 9:13 they were represented under the image of bows and arrows, here under that of their commander-in-chief, Jehovah's battle horse (So 1:9). God can make His people, timid though they be as sheep, courageous as the charger. The general rode on the most beautiful and richly caparisoned, and had his horse tended with the greatest care. Jehovah might cast off the Jews for their vileness, but He regards His election or adoption of them: whence He calls them here "His flock," and therefore saves them.
4. Out of him--Judah is to be no more subject to foreigners, but
from itself shall come its rulers.
the corner--stone, Messiah (Isa 28:16). "Corners" simply express governors (1Sa 14:38, Margin; Isa 19:13, Margin). The Maccabees, Judah's governors and deliverers from Antiochus the oppressor, are primarily meant; but Messiah is the Antitype. Messiah supports and binds together the Church, Jews and Gentiles.
the nail-- (Jud 4:21; Isa 22:23). The large peg inside an Oriental tent, on which is hung most of its valuable furniture. On Messiah hang all the glory and hope of His people.
bow-- (Zec 9:13). Judah shall not need foreign soldiery. Messiah shall be her battle-bow (Ps 45:4, 5; Re 6:2).
every oppressor--rather, in a good sense, ruler, as the kindred Ethiopic term means. So "exactor," in Isa 60:17, namely, one who exacts the tribute from the nations made tributary to Judah [LUDOVICUS DE DIEU].
5. riders on horses--namely, the enemy's horsemen. Though the Jews were forbidden by the law to multiply horses in battle (De 17:16), they are made Jehovah's war horse (Zec 10:3; Ps 20:7), and so tread down on foot the foe with all his cavalry (Eze 38:4; Da 11:40). Cavalry was the chief strength of the Syro-Grecian army (1 Maccabees 3:39).
6. Judah . . . Joseph--that is, the ten tribes. The distinct mention
of both Judah and Israel shows that there is yet a more complete
restoration than that from Babylon, when Judah alone and a few
Israelites from the other tribes returned. The Maccabean deliverance is
here connected with it, just as the painter groups on the same canvas
objects in the foreground and hills far distant; or as the comparatively
near planet and the remote fixed star are seen together in the same
firmament. Prophecy ever hastens to the glorious final consummation
bring them again to place them--namely, securely in their own land. The Hebrew verb is compounded of two, "I will bring again," and "I will place them" (Jer 32:37). MAURER, from a different form, translates, "I will make them to dwell."
7. like a mighty man--in the battle with the foe
(Zec 10:3, 5).
rejoice--at their victory over the foe.
children shall see it--who are not yet of age to serve. To teach patient waiting for God's promises. If ye do not at present see the fulfilment, your children shall, and their joy shall be complete.
rejoice in the Lord--the Giver of such a glorious victory.
8. hiss for them--Keepers of bees by a whistle call them together. So
Jehovah by the mere word of His call shall gather back to Palestine His
The multitudes mentioned by
JOSEPHUS [Wars of the Jews, 3:2],
as peopling Galilee two hundred years after this time, were a pledge of
the future more perfect fulfilment of the prophecy.
for I have redeemed them--namely, in My covenant purpose "redeemed" both temporally and spiritually.
as they have increased--in former times.
9. sow them among . . . people--Their dispersion was
with a special design. Like seed sown far and wide, they shall, when
quickened themselves, be the fittest instruments for quickening others
The slight hold they have on every soil where they now live, as also
the commercial and therefore cosmopolitan character of their pursuits,
making a change of residence easy to them, fit them peculiarly for
missionary work [MOORE]. The wide dispersion of
the Jews just before Christ's coming prepared the way similarly for the
apostles' preaching in the various Jewish synagogues throughout the
world; everywhere some of the Old Testament seed previously sown was
ready to germinate when the New Testament light and heat were brought
to bear on it by Gospel preachers. Thus the way was opened for entrance
among the Gentiles. "Will sow" is the Hebrew future, said
of that which has been done, is being done, and may be done afterwards
shall remember me in far countries-- (De 30:1; 2Ch 6:37). Implying the Jews' return to a right mind in "all the nations" where they are scattered simultaneously. Compare Lu 15:17, 18, with Ps 22:27, "All the ends of the world remembering and turning unto the Lord," preceded by the "seed of Jacob . . . Israel . . . fearing and glorifying Him"; also Ps 102:13-15.
live--in political and spiritual life.
10. Egypt . . . Assyria--the former the first, the latter among the
last of Israel's oppressors (or
representing the four great world kingdoms, of which it was the first):
types of the present universal dispersion, Egypt being south, Assyria
north, opposite ends of the compass.
MAURER conjectures that many
Israelites fled to "Egypt" on the invasion of Tiglath-pileser. But
and this passage rather accord with the view of the future
Gilead . . . Lebanon--The whole of the Holy Land is described by two of its boundaries, the eastern ("Gilead" beyond Jordan) and the northern ("Lebanon").
place shall not be found for them--that is, there shall not be room enough for them through their numbers (Isa 49:20; 54:3).
11. pass . . . sea with affliction--Personifying the
"sea"; He shall afflict the sea, that is, cause it to cease to be an
obstacle to Israel's return to Palestine
(Isa 11:15, 16).
Vulgate translates, "The strait of the sea." MAURER, "He shall cleave and smite." English
Version is best
As Jehovah smote the Red Sea to make a passage for His people
(Ex 14:16, 21),
so hereafter shall He make a way through every obstacle which opposes
the river--the Nile (Am 8:8; 9:5), or the Euphrates. Thus the Red Sea and the Euphrates in the former part of the verse answer to "Assyria" and "Egypt" in the latter.
sceptre of Egypt . . . depart-- (Eze 30:13).
12. I . . . strengthen them in . . . Lord--
I, the Father, will strengthen them in the name, that is, the
manifested power, of the Lord, Messiah, the Son of God.
walk . . . in his name--that is, live everywhere and continually under His protection, and according to His will (Ge 5:22; Ps 20:1, 7; Mic 4:5).