Zechariah 14 Commentary Verses 12-21

Let’s turn one last time to the book of Zechariah. We’ll finish the 14th chapter of this book today.

Last time we studied the first 11 verses of chapter 14. We see there that God was foretelling the destruction of all the nations who will attack Jerusalem at the end of the Great Tribulation, the foretelling of a unique day at that time in terms of the day being like night and vice versa, we were told of living waters coming from Jerusalem in the ensuing Millennial reign of Christ, at that time the land will literally be flattened even as Jerusalem is physically elevated, and so Jerusalem will be safely inhabited.

And that leads us to what we’ll be studying today – verses 12-21 of chapter 14. So, let’s read those verses and then study the details.

{Read Zec 14:12-21…}

Zechariah 14 Commentary Plague of the Nations

So, the Lord describes the plague with which he’s going to strike the nations who at the end of the Great Tribulation come up against Jerusalem to attack it – and who by this point have actually already conquered it.

KJV Zechariah 14:12 ¶ {And this/Now this/But this/This} {shall be/will be} the {plague/nature of the plague} {wherewith/with which} the LORD will {smite/strike} all the {people/peoples/nations} {that/who} have {fought/gone to war} against Jerusalem;

Their flesh {shall/will} {consume away/rot/decay} while they {stand/are still standing} {upon/on} their feet,

{and their/their} eyes {shall consume away/will rot/will rot away} in their {holes/sockets},

and their tongue {shall consume away/will rot/will dissolve} in their mouth.

So, there is this initial rotting of tissue that will occur. And usually you might expect flesh to rot on people after they die. But in this case, the people are still standing as this will happen, which is very unusual.

And you would think that this kind of plague would be absolutely fatal and kill everyone instantly. And yet, verse 13 goes on to describe some who will survive that plague. And for those that do survive, God will send confusion to them so that they end up attacking each other.

13 {And it shall come to pass in/It will come about in/On} that day, {that a great tumult/that a great panic/there will be great confusion/men will be stricken with great panic} {from/by} the LORD {shall be among/will fall on/among} them;

{and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour,/ and they will seize one another’s hand,/they will seize each other/Each man will seize the hand of another,}

{and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour./and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another./and attack one another violently./and they will attack each other.}

So, maybe not everyone who attacks Jerusalem at the end of the Great Tribulation will get the flesh-rotting effects of the plague that the Lord mentioned in verse 12 and so, these people in verse 13 are those who did not receive that plague and are thus stronger and still able to fight against each other.

In fact, I think that that has to be the case somehow – that not everyone is subject to the plague of verse 12. Because there will be some of these Gentile nations who enter into the Millennial Kingdom of Christ and I assume that their flesh is intact – at least intact enough to survive and to continue living. So, it seems to me that the plague of verse 12 is perhaps not going to affect each individual but is rather going to effect a great many of the enemy combatants of the nations – though not all of them.

Well, in the end when Jesus returns to deliver the Jews, we’ve seen so far that he is going to send a very strange flesh-eating plague, and a great deal of those who haven’t been finished-off by that will be thrown into confusion and will end up fighting each other instead of the Jews.

And so, with all of that going on, the Jews at the end of the Tribulation will have no problem defending themselves and even advancing on their Gentiles attackers. And not only will they be able to fight-off their attackers, but they’re even going to be able to take the possessions of those nations.

14 {And Judah also/Judah also/Moreover, Judah/Judah, too} {shall/will} fight at Jerusalem;

{and the/the} wealth of all the {heathen round about/surrounding nations} {shall be gathered together/will be gathered/will be gathered up/will be collected},

gold, and silver, and {apparel/garments/clothing}, in great {abundance/quantities}.

So, even though earlier in this chapter we heard about the plunder taken from the Jews, now the focus is on the fact that the aggressive attacking nations – their plunder will be taken and given to the Jews when Jesus returns.

And to end this small section from verse 12 to verse 15 that has been focused on the plague that will befall the nations and their subsequent confusion and defeat at the hands of the Jews, the Lord wants to reemphasize that he is indeed going to be sending that plague that he mentioned at the beginning of this section back in verse 12.

15 {And so shall be the plague/So also like this plague will be the plague/This is the kind of plague that will devastate/A similar plague will strike} {of/on} {the horse/horses}, {of the mule/the mule/mules}, {of the camel/the camel/camels}, {and of the ass/the donkey/donkeys}, and {of all the beasts/all the cattle/all the other animals/all the animals} {that shall be in these tents,/in those camps} {as this plague/(blank)}.

So, the flesh-rotting effects of this plague and the resulting confusion that the Lord will send – these things are not just going to effect humans. According to verse 15 that we just read, even the animals of the attacking nations will experience these things from the Lord.

Zechariah 14 Commentary Nations’ Worship the Lord

But the Lord doesn’t want us to get the wrong impression. You can read verses 12-15 and imagine that absolutely everyone besides the Jews will be killed when Jesus returns. And that’s simply not the case. In fact, according to verses 16-19, there will be a number of people from the nations that live through Jesus’ return and will be required to return to Jerusalem every year to worship Jesus Christ.

16 ¶ {And it shall come to pass, that/Then it will come about that/Then} {every one that is left/any who are left/all who survive/the survivors} {of/from} all the nations {which came against/that went against/that came to attack/that have attached} Jerusalem {shall even/will} go up {from year to year/annually/year after year} to worship the King, the LORD {of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty}, and to {keep/celebrate/observe} the feast of tabernacles.

Let’s just note to begin who the nations are going to go up to Jerusalem to worship. They are going to worship the Lord of Hosts. Yahweh who commands armies. Jehovah.

And what position will the Lord of Hosts hold on this earth at this point in earth’s history? He will be the King.

And who do we know will be the King in the Millennial Kingdom? Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the king of the Millennial Kingdom and Jesus Christ is therefore the Lord of Hosts who will receive worship by Jews and Gentiles forever.

Now, the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths or the Feast of Temporary Shelters was to be held every year. During that time the people were supposed to make these booths or temporary shelters made of branches and other materials like that.

The feast lasted seven days and then on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly. No work was to be performed on these eight days. And every male Israelite was required to come.

The significance of this festival seems to have been to remind the Israelites that they had wandered in the wilderness for forty years and that during that time of chastisement from the Lord they were perfectly provided for – that even in judgement God showed them mercy.

Now, historically, the Jews had not been very good about keeping this festival. They observed it during Moses and Joshua’s times. And then it was really not until Solomon reigned about 500 years later that Solomon kept this ordinance. And yet, it seems like the people didn’t wholeheartedly follow Solomon in this practice until the time of Nehemiah when the Jews returned from Babylon.

So, the Jews’ – God’s people’s – keeping of this ordinance has been very spotty.

But that’s not going to be the case when Jesus returns. Not only will all the Jews be celebrating this festival. The Gentiles who survive Jesus’s return will also participate in this event.

17 {And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth/And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up/But if any of the nations anywhere on earth refuse to go up/If any of the people of the earth do not go up} {unto/to} Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD {of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty}, {even upon them shall be no rain/there will be no rain on them/they will get no rain/they will have no rain}.

So, it’s interesting to note that this passage allows for the possibility that some in the Millennium will disobey Jesus. Your perception might be that in the Millennium when Jesus is physically reigning on the earth that no one will disobey. Or if they do disobey then there will be immediate death for them.

But this verse teaches us that there will possibly be some nations or people – probably a while after the great battle of Armageddon, I would imagine – and they’re not going to obey Jesus perfectly.

So, there is the possibility of sin and outward disobedience in the Millennium.

However, we also noted in verse 17 that there will be immediate and robust retribution for that sin and disobedience. But the punishment for every sin is not going to be death in the Millennium. Rather, it’s a guarantee that rain will not fall on those who do not go up to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles and to worship the Lord Jesus Christ.

Currently, the way that God operates in this regard is found in what we call Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In these days, to whom does God send rain?

God sends rain on the just and on the unjust. If you obey, he tends to send rain on you. If you disobey you generally get the same treatment.

But in the Millennium, rain will be directly tied to one’s obedience. There will be resurrected saints like you and me and it will be impossible for us to sin. But there will also be those who survive the battle of Armageddon and they’ll have children and so on – and those folks will still be able to sin and disobey. And if they do, no rain.

And of course, no rain means no crops. And it means no grass. And no cattle. And no trees. And no fruit. And on and on.

So, the people of the Millennium will have great encouragement to obey the Lord and to go up to Jerusalem yearly and worship his Son.

And as we’ve seen before, sometimes the Lord is really wanting to make sure that we don’t somehow spiritualize or treat as metaphorical some statement that he makes in terms of a future promise that seems impossible to come to pass in our minds.

Like when the Lord says that there will be great mourning in Israel over the Jews’ treatment of their Messiah whom they pierced. And then it went on in great detail about all of these different families and how they and their wives separately will all mourn. God really wants us to know that that will actually happen.

A similar thing happens with this threat of withholding rain from those who don’t celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. They really will not get rain. And God makes that abundantly clear as he continues to focus on that theme in verse 18.

18 {And if/If} the {family of Egypt/Egyptians} {go not up, and come not,/does not go up or enter/will not do so/do not go up and take part} {that have no rain;/then no rain will fall on them/they will get no rain/they will have no rain}

{there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite/it will be the plague with which the LORD smites/instead there will be the kind of plague which the LORD inflicts on/The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on} {the heathen/the nations/any nations} {that/who} {come not up/do not go up} to {keep/celebrate} the {feast/Feast} of {tabernacles/Booths}.

So, that verse is saying one of two things. First, depending on how it’s translated, the lack of rain will be a plague to the people who don’t obey Jesus. Second, it could be saying that in addition to the lack of rain, the Lord will send that plague that he mentioned earlier in this passage about the flesh rotting on people and such.

I think it’s best to see this as the Lord saying that the rain is the plague on these people. The flesh-rotting plague was for those who were attacking Jerusalem at the end of the Great Tribulation. And then on into the Millennium the Lord will send another plague to those who disobey – but it won’t involve flesh rotting – it will involve rain not falling, which is a little more merciful than that first plague.

Well, again, once more the Lord emphasizes that – seriously – he really is going to withhold the rain from these nations in the Millennium if they don’t come up to Jerusalem and worship Jesus Christ as they celebrate that feast.

19 This {shall/will} be the punishment of Egypt, and {the punishment of/of} all {nations/the nations} {that/who} {come not/do not go} up to {keep/celebrate} the {feast/Feast} of {tabernacles/Booths}.

So, what’s interesting about this whole reality of immediate retribution against sinners in the Millennium is that this is so different than what we experience today – and really – what has been experienced by all people since the fall of Adam.

Think of the premise of the book of Job. Remember the way in which both Job and his friends were thinking that God works in this world. According to them, God works this way – he punishes disobedience and rewards righteousness. And he does this pretty much immediately.

But is that the way that this life works right now? Or, I should say, is that how God works in this world right now? No. That’s one of the main teachings of the book of Job. The Retribution Principle as it’s called does not work in this life. Sometimes or many times, sinners do well, and righteous people suffer and they’re poor and they’re afflicted.

But the glorious reality of the Millennium is that finally the Retribution Principle will in fact work. God will bless good and curse evil. He will immediately punish wickedness and reward righteousness.

Now, we all hate the Prosperity Gospel – or we should – which is the teaching that you can have “your best life now” as Joel Osteen puts it – or that if you’re godly in whatever way those teachers would define that term, then you’ll be blessed materially. And we hate that teaching because it’s totally false in this life.

But you know what? The basic principles behind the Prosperity Gospel are actually going to be true in the Millennium. You do good in the Millennium – you get good. And you do wrong when Jesus is reigning on the earth – and it will affect you right away.

Zechariah 14 Commentary Total Devotion of Everything to the Lord

And that’s not the only thing that will be so different when Jesus comes to rule this world. In fact, the last two verses of this entire book of prophecy focuses on how in the Millennium everything will be entirely devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ.

20 ¶ {In/On} that day {shall there be upon the bells of the horses,/there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses/the bells of the horses will bear the inscription} {HOLINESS/ “HOLY} {UNTO/TO} THE {LORD;/LORD”}

and the {pots/cooking pots} in the LORD’S {house/temple} {shall/will} be {like/as holy as} the {bowls/sacred bowls} {before/in front of} the altar.

So what does this mean? It means that everything – whether you’re talking about animals or about dishes – everything in the Millennium will be holy. It will be set apart to the Lord – set apart for the Lord’s service and pleasure.

Bells on horses and pots – everything will be rightly related to the Lord. And as we’ve seen, if anything isn’t rightly related to the Lord, there will be swift consequences that will hopefully have the effect of turning those people or things back to a right relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

And the Lord repeats this promise in verse 21.

21 {Yea, every/Every} {pot/cooking pot} in Jerusalem and in Judah {i.e., not just in the Lord’s House or the Temple…} {shall/will} {be/become} {holiness/holy} {unto/to/in the sight of} the LORD {of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty}:

{and/so that} all {they that sacrifice/who offer sacrifices} {shall/may} come and take {of them,/some of the pots} {and/to} {seethe therein/boil their sacrifices in them/cook in them}:

So, as the nations and Jews come yearly to worship the Lord Jesus Christ they will have these bowls to boil their sacrifices in – and they’ll all be ceremonially clean. Further, they’ll be holy and set apart for the Lord’s use.

No more sordidness. No more stuff over which the Lord rules which will be set against him. No – everything will be his – as it truly is in reality. For so long, God has been patiently enduring all the things that he’s created being against him and at odds with him.

But there’s a day coming when everything will be set apart for him.

And the Lord ends this book with this related statement that can be a bit puzzling at first…

and in that day there shall be no {more/longer} {the/a} Canaanite in the house of the LORD {of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty}.

And the point here is not to say that the Lord is going to exclude the Canaanites from his temple. Remember the context – everything will be the Lord’s. Therefore, what this passage is saying is that any Canaanite that survives the battle of Armageddon – really, anyone from any nations – will be one of God’s people. There won’t be Jews vs. Canaanites. They will all be holy to the Lord – all God’s people.

And so that’s how this book ends – with a reminder that eventually everything will belong to the Lord. Everything will be set apart for him.

And for those of us who know this coming king, Jesus Christ, you need to ask yourself if you’re wholly the Lord’s right now? Everything in this world will some day belong to Jesus and be set apart for his use. Are you today belonging to Jesus? Are you set apart for his use?

This is basically the purpose for the whole Great Tribulation. It’s to get everything to the point where it belongs to Jesus Christ. Once more, do you belong to Jesus Christ? Have you willingly received him? And are you living for him? Is your life his?

Zechariah 14 Commentary Verses 1-11

Let’s turn our attention to the 14th – and last! – chapter of the book of the Old Testament prophet Zechariah.

This 14th chapter of Zechariah continues what was started back in chapter 12of this book. It’s an oracle or burden concerning Israel.

And what we’ve seen is that so far most of this three-chapter section has dealt with what’s to come for Israel at the end of what we know as the Great Tribulation – that seven-year period of time in which God pours out his wrath on this world that continually rejects him – and at the end of which he sends Jesus Christ to put down all his enemies and to establish his kingdom on earth for a thousand years.

We’ll study the first eleven verses of chapter 14 today. And I expect that next time we’ll finish this book.

So, let’s read Zechariah 14 and then get into the details.

{Read Zec 14…}

Now, let’s get into the details.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v1 Destruction of Nations who Attack J’lem

In verse 1 we saw that the Lord foretells a time when all the things that have been taken from the Jews are returned to them.

KJV Zechariah 14:1 ¶ Behold, {the/a} day {of the LORD cometh/is coming from the LORD/of the LORD is about to come},

{and/when} {thy spoil/the spoil taken from you/your possessions/your plunder} {shall/will} be divided {in the midst of thee/among you/in your midst/among you}.

Well, what’s this business about stuff being taken from the Jews? When is that going to happen?

According to verse 2, the Jews will be attacked by numerous nations – and for the most part – for a while at least – it will look like the nations are winning against Israel.

2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to {battle/wage war/fight against it};

and the city {shall be taken/will be captured},

and the houses {rifled/plundered/ransacked},

and the women {ravished/raped};

{and/then} half of the city {shall go forth into captivity/exiled},

{and/but} the {residue/rest/remainder} of the people {shall/will} not be {cut off from the city/taken away}.

So, despite the devastation and destruction, about half of the city will remain in it and not be sent out.

And I suppose that if the destruction mentioned in verse 2 were to continue to occur then that remaining half would be sent out of there as well. Except in verse 3 we’re told that at that moment – when all of these awful things are happening – the Lord will fight for Israel.

3 Then {shall the LORD/the LORD will} go {forth/to battle}, and fight against those nations, {as when/just as} he {fought/fights/fought battles} {in/on} {the day of battle/ancient days}.

And we know this to be a reference to Jesus Christ – the Jews’ pierced Messiah whom they’ll look upon as we saw in Zechariah 12. He’s going to come and fight against these nations that are attacking the Jews toward the end of the Tribulation and who are taking spoil from them.

Now, once again, notice who Jesus Christ is identified as being. He’s the LORD – Jehovah – Yahweh – the God of Israel – the God who created everything.

Now, some might think that the Lord’s return is spiritual only. They think that he’s not coming back physically. The Church is somehow going to bring in the Millennium – rather than Jesus Christ coming and doing that. That way of thinking is called Post-Millennialism. Jesus will return after the thousand year reign.

The problem is that verse 4 doesn’t allow for that way of thinking. No – the Lord’s feet are literally going to touch down on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in those days according to verse 4.

4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is {before/in front of} Jerusalem on the east,

and the mount of Olives {shall cleave in the midst thereof/will be split in its middle/will be split in half} {toward the/from} east {and toward the/to} west, {and there shall be/by/leaving} a very {great/large} valley;

{and/so that} half of the mountain {shall remove/will move} {toward the north/northward}, and {half of it/the other half} toward the south.

Now, the Mount of Olives goes north to south and it’s on the east side of Jerusalem – the city which these nations are going to attack at the end of the Tribulation.

So, what verse 4 is saying is that Jesus Christ – when he returns – is going to set foot on the Mount of Olives. This is the very place from which he ascended according to Acts 1:12. And you remember that those angels who appeared to his disciples who were gazing up into the sky told them that Jesus was going to return just like he left this earth – that is, on this very mountain that Zechariah is speaking of.

So, Jesus will set foot on this hill east of Jerusalem. And when he does, it will cause this hill – the Mount of Olives – to cleave from east to west.

And the Lord describes this with such detail as would prevent us from taking this metaphorically. Think of what happens if you sink your foot into an area of semi-dry mud. Your foot goes down and the mud moves from under your foot.

In the case of Jesus putting his feet down on the Mount of Olives – his touchdown will be east to west. And therefore, the earth underneath him will move up to the north and down to the south.

And the result will be this valley that will stretch from east to west.

Now, on the west side of that valley is going to be where a city is located. What is that city?

It’s Jerusalem which we’ve been discussing.

And what is happening to Jerusalem? Well, the city is being attacked.

And what needs to happen when a city is under attack and overwhelmed and unable to win against its enemy? The inhabitants of the city need to flee.

And so, thankfully the inhabitants of Jerusalem will now have a nice valley through which to flee – this very one described for us already in verse 4. So, that’s what now verse 5 says – these people the Jews will flee through that valley that Jesus’ feet will create.

5 {And ye/You/Then you} {shall/will} {flee/escape}{to/by/through} the valley of {the/My} mountains;

for the valley of the mountains {shall reach unto/will extend to} {Azal/Azel}:

{yea/yes/Indeed}, ye shall flee, {like/just} as ye fled {from before/before/from} the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah:

{and/then} the LORD my God shall come, and all the {saints/holy ones} with {thee/him}.

Now, Azal or Azel is a location that isn’t known with any certainty. It seems that it’s a location on the opposite side of the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem – so it would be to the east of the Mount of Olives. Because that’s where this newly-created valley will extend to from Jerusalem. And the people are making their escape from the city of Jerusalem through this new valley in the Mount of Olives. So, apparently Azal/Azel is eastward.

And Zechariah mentions the earthquake of king Uzziah’s time. This is another fairly obscure reference in this verse – but this earthquake is actually mentioned in the book of Amos and chapter 1 and verse 1 mentions this earthquake. It apparently happened at the city of Hazor in northern Israel in or around 760 B.C. There’s a tel there – or a mound that archaeologists have dug into and there’s a layer in that mound that indicates some massive destruction around that time.

But the point is that the people about 300 years prior to this prophecy had this event that caused them to flee – and the event was so awful that hundreds of years didn’t erase it from their memories. And they’re going to flee at the end of the Tribulation just like they did for this earthquake.

And then the best part – the Lord returns. And he’ll be with his holy ones – his saints. That certainly will include us. But even more amazingly it will include angels.

And of course as we’ve been reminded of several times in this book, this is Jesus Christ who is to come – yet again at the end of the Tribulation. He will come with his holy ones and deliver his people the Jews who had fled eastward through the new valley carved into the Mount of Olives which he had just created for them.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v6 Unique Day

And when Jesus returns there will be at least one very unusual day in terms of celestial activity, according to verses 6 and 7.

6 ¶ {And it shall come to pass in/In/On} that day, {that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:/there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle./there will be no light– the sources of light in the heavens will congeal./there will be no light, no cold or frost.}

7 {But it/For it/It} {shall be one day which shall be/will be a unique day which is/will happen in one day (a day} known to the LORD,

{not day, nor night:/neither day nor night/not in the day or the night/without day time or night time} {but it shall come to pass, that at/but in the} evening time {it shall/there will} be light.

So, apparently when Jesus returns to deliver the Jews there will be this disturbance in the heavens that would be visible from earth. The details of how this is going to work isn’t clear – and that’s to be expected because after all this will be a day “known to the Lord” – as in, known to him and understood by him alone.

And yet, the Lord gives us this general notice that in that day, the earth’s atmosphere will be dark during the day and bright at night. It’s as if the current order will be totally switched around in that regard – at least for a time surrounding these events.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v8 Living Waters

And not only will the sky be presenting some very interesting phenomena, but the ground will be as well, according to verse 8.

8 ¶ {And it shall be in/And in/Moreover on/On} that day, that living waters shall {go/flow} out {from/of} Jerusalem;

half of them {toward/to} the {former/eastern} sea, and half of them toward the {hinder/western} sea:

{in/both in} summer {and/as well as} in winter shall it be.

Now, the former or eastern sea would be the Dead Sea. And the hinder or western sea is the Mediterranean Sea. There is going to be water coming out of Jerusalem pouring out into both of these seas.

Now, Jerusalem is about 32 miles away from the Mediterranean Sea and 23 miles away from the Dead Sea – just for perspective and help in understanding how far this water is going to be flowing when Jesus returns.

There is a spring in Jerusalem today called the Gihon Spring. It provides water for the city and has done so for as long as there’s been civilization there. But the Gihon Spring is not sending out water to both of these seas mentioned in verse 8. So, in the future either something is going to happen to this spring to make it pour our more water – or this living water is something else that God has planned for this city.

By the way, the Gihon Spring is what they call an intermittent or a rhythmic spring, which means that it doesn’t constantly flow. It flows three to five times each day in winter, twice a day in summer, and once a day in autumn.

But this living water that will flow in the last days will be constant. It won’t dry up. It will be constantly running and flowing and providing water to these two seas “in summer and in winter.”

Now, there’s one problem with this arrangement. Currently to get from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, a stream of water would need to climb uphill to get over the Mount of Olives. And water doesn’t do that.

But why won’t that be a problem in the last days when Jesus returns? Because as we’ve learned already Jesus is going to make a valley through that Mountain, allowing the water to flow from Jerusalem into the Dead Sea.

In addition to that, the Lord is going to physically elevate Jerusalem and flatten the surrounding areas as we’re going to hear about later in this chapter.

So, you might look at this promise in verse 8 and think it’s metaphorical because you can’t see how it would happen right now. But I think it’s quite literal and we can expect it to happen when Jesus returns.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v9 Jesus Will Reign

And return he will – according to verse 9.

9 ¶ And the LORD {shall/will/will then} be king over {all the/the whole} earth:

{in/on} that day {shall there be one LORD, and his name one./the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one./the LORD will be seen as one with a single name./there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.}

The Jews will see Jesus in those days and they will no longer pretend that Jesus is not Yahweh. They will be seen to be one. To see Jesus is to see the Father. Jesus and the Father are one. The Word was with God and the Word was God.

In that day when Jesus reigns over his people the Jews and over the whole world there won’t be any folks claiming, “Well, I believe God, and I think Jesus was a good teacher, but I don’t believe he’s God.” No, Jesus’ true character will be known and undeniable by all.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v10 The Land Flattened

And then as we’ve noted already, the topography of the land will change when Jesus returns, according to verse 10.

10 ¶ {All the/The whole} land {shall/will} {be turned as/be changed into/change and become like} {a plain/the Arabah} from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem:

{and it/but Jerusalem/and Jerusalem} {shall/will} {be lifted up,/rise/be raised up} and {inhabited in her place/remain on its site/stay in its own place}, from {Benjamin’s/the Benjamin} gate {unto/as far as/to} the {place/site} of the first gate, {unto/and on to} the corner gate, and from the tower of {Hananeel/Hananel} {unto/to} the {king’s/royal} winepresses.

So, we’ve already seen how the living water from Jerusalem will empty into the Dead Sea. And now this verse explains how water will get from Jerusalem to the Mediterranean Sea.

Geba and Rimmon are both west of Jerusalem – between that city and the Mediterranean Sea. That area west of Jerusalem will be flattened but Jerusalem will actually be elevated.

And the geographical references in Jerusalem given in verse 10 – especially the last two references of the tower of Hananeel and the king’s winepresses – seem to indicate a north-to-south orientation. From the point farthest to the north to the point farthest to the south, Jerusalem will be raised topographically.

So, that’s how the water is going to get from Jerusalem into the Mediterranean Sea.

Zechariah 14 Commentary v11 J’lem Safely Inhabited

Now, we shouldn’t get the wrong picture – as if Jerusalem is going to be suspended dangerously up into the air and thus be uninhabitable. Somehow, the elevation will not detract people from dwelling in that city when Jesus Christ returns, according to verse 11.

11 {And men shall dwell/People will live/And people will settle} in it,

and there {shall/will} {be no more utter destruction/no longer be a curse/no longer be the threat of divine extermination};

{but/for} Jerusalem {shall be safely inhabited/will dwell securely}.

So, with Christ dwelling in the midst of that city there will be no more threat of destruction – either from hostile man or from the Lord. There will be true safety and security and peace. This is a happy ending in the truest sense of that phrase.

And yet, we’re not at the end just yet – the end of this book, at least. So, next time we’ll Lord-willing get through to the end of this chapter and this book and, really, the end of the world as we know it – a world apart from Christ’s rule over what’s rightfully his.

Zechariah 13 Commentary

Let’s turn our attention to Zechariah 13.

Last time we heard about the Jews at the end of the Tribulation looking upon their pierced Messiah – Jesus Christ, whom they had pierced and rejected. And we heard how they were all going to mourn and lament their treatment of him.

And so, chapter 13 is following-up on those events. So, let’s read Zechariah 13 and then attempt to explain the details.

{Read Zec 13…}

Zechariah 13 Commentary Cleansing for Jews

So, after all of the mourning that we heard about in chapter 12 with all the families of Israel mourning their pierced Messiah, the reality of verse 1 will materialize.

KJV Zechariah 13:1 ¶ {In/On} that day there shall be a fountain opened {to/for} the house of David and {to/for} the inhabitants of Jerusalem {for/to cleanse them from} sin and for {uncleanness/impurity}.

So, the order of events presented to us in chapters 12 and 13 so far is this – Jesus returns and delivers the Jews from their enemies that have surrounded them to destroy them. Then the Jews look on him whom they’ve pierced, and they mourn for the way they treated him. And now, we see in verse 1 of chapter 13 that a fountain as it were is opened to them to cleanse them from their sin.

Now, the Scripture does teach us that in the Millennium there will be a river of water flowing from Jesus’ throne in Jerusalem east toward what is called today the Dead Sea.

But I’m uncertain as to whether that’s the same thing as this fountain mentioned here.

If this fountain in Zechariah 13 is the same thing as the River that flows from the Messiah’s throne in Jerusalem, then I suppose we are being told that at the end of the Tribulation there will be this literal physical river that can somehow result in the cleansing of these Jews from their sins.

But I’m a little uncertain as to whether the Lord is really going to use a literal fountain of water to cleanse his people of their sin. He does that nowadays through our believing in Christ. He promises to cleanse us from our sin as we confess them to him. So, is he all of a sudden going to change his approach in the last days and allow people to be cleanse of their spiritual sins by dipping themselves into a physical fountain?

The other possibility is that this is a metaphorical fountain. So, when the Lord here speaks of opening a fountain for the cleansing of the Jews’ sin, he’s speaking of his forgiving them as they receive his son as if he were plunging them into a cleansing fountain. Just like going into a fountain of water cleanses the skin of dirt, God is saying that he is going to cleanse the souls of the Jews as if he were putting them into a fountain of water. I think this is more likely what the Lord is promising – not a literal fountain in the last days, but total forgiveness of sins, the effect of which mirrors on a spiritual level the cleansing benefits of a fountain of water.

So, once these Jews receive their pierced Messiah and demonstrate their faith in him by mourning for the way they treated him – the Lord will forgive their sins. He will cleanse them spiritually just like a fountain pouring out fresh water would do for a person’s body.

Zechariah 13 Commentary God will Remove Idolatry

And with past sins cleansed and forgiven, the Lord will begin to remove the sources of sin from the land of Israel after Jesus returns to earth to set up his Millennial kingdom.

2 ¶ And it shall come to pass in that day,

{saith/declares} the LORD {of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty},

that I will {cut off/remove/banish/utterly destroy} the names of the idols {out of/from} the land, and they shall {no more/never again} be remembered:

{and also/Moreover} I will {cause/remove} the {prophets/false prophets} and the {unclean spirit/spirit of impurity} {to pass out of/from} the land.

So, idols and false prophets will be done away with. Things – other than God – that demand people’s worship, and the unscrupulous seemingly-religious folks who advocate that kind of worship will be a thing of the past when Jesus returns to setup his kingdom.

Zechariah 13 Commentary The People Will Cooperate

And of course, the Lord has always forbidden these practices. But people generally wouldn’t cooperate. In fact, numerous kings of Israel would try their hardest to get rid of idolatry and false prophets. But they would always return. Why? Because people want idolatry and religious teachers who speak falsehood!

But things are going to be different when Jesus returns to reign. His people – all of them – will reject idolatry and false teaching, according to verse 3.

3 {And/Then} {it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy,/if anyone still prophesies/if anyone prophesies in spite of this} then his father and his mother {that begat him/who gave birth to him/to whom he was born} shall say unto him,

Thou {shalt/can} not live; for thou {speakest lies/have spoken falsely/lie} in the name of the LORD:

{and/then} his father and his mother {that begat/who gave birth to} him {shall thrust/will pierce/will with a sword run} him through {i.e., pierce…12.10} when he {prophesieth/prophesies}.

So, people in the Millennial kingdom will be so much in agreement with the Lord’s directives and desires that even parents will not tolerate idolatrous behavior from their own children. In fact, they will be so serious about obeying the Lord and so opposed to the dangerous practices of idolatry and false religion that they will take actions that will be sanctioned by the Lord in those days to even end the life of the one who would dare to attempt idolatrous prophesying.

Zechariah 13 Commentary Shame for False Prophets

And because of this cold reception that idolatry and false prophesying will receive in the Millennial kingdom, false prophets will be ashamed of themselves. Whereas they run rampant in our day and deceive numerous people, these false teachers will attempt to hide their true nature, according to verses 4-6.

4 {And it shall come to pass in/Therefore, on} that day, {that the prophets/each prophet} {shall be ashamed every one/will each be ashamed/will be ashamed} of his vision, when he {hath prophesied/prophesies};

{neither shall they/and they will not} {wear a rough garment/put on a hairy robe in order/a prophet’s garment of hair in order to} to deceive:

So, the false prophet might think-up some false prophesy in his mind, but when Jesus returns to rule that false prophet is going to keep his mouth shut on that matter.

In times past a practice of prophets would apparently be to put on a robe made of hair in order to indicate that he was a prophet. And false prophets – who would have wanted to trick people into believing that they were true prophets of the Lord – they would wear this clothing as well. But the Lord states that when his Son is reigning in Jerusalem on earth for a thousand years that these false prophets will not even attempt to look like a true prophet. They won’t put on the typical prophet’s attire.

Instead, any person who might be inclined to give false prophesies will try to hide their identity. They’ll pretend to be something else – a farmer perhaps, according to verse 5.

5 {But/Instead} he {shall/will} say,

I am {no/not a} prophet,

I am {an husbandman/a tiller of the ground/a farmer};

for {man/a man} {taught me to keep cattle/sold me as a slave/made me his indentured servant} {from/in/since} my youth.

So, the Lord gives this almost-humorous picture of how false prophets will behave in the Millennium. They will attempt to hide what they had done or were inclined to do.

And so, we have this interesting confession of a false prophet in the Millennium. He declares that he is not a prophet but rather he’s a farmer. He then continues to elaborate on his story, claiming either that someone taught him how to take care of cattle or that someone sold him as a slave when he was a child.

And this behavior of this false prophet is so contrary to how such people have behaved in the past and do behave even now. False prophets – those who speak lies in God’s name – are usually not ashamed at all of their behavior. It makes them a lot of money. It brings them a lot of fame and notoriety. What’s to be ashamed of?

Well, when Jesus returns these people will fear for their life because they are disobeying God’s orders and Jesus is there to execute swift justice. And so, these people will be forced to make up stories about themselves and their sordid pasts.

Currently these people make up stories about God. But in the Millennium they will make up stores about themselves.

But people are going to be fairly astute in those days – unlike those in our day who blindly accept what false prophets tell them. And Millennial folks are going to ask some questions of these people, according to verse 6.

6 {And/Then/If}{one shall say unto/someone will ask/someone asks} him,

What are these wounds {in thine hands/between your arms/on your chest/on your body}?

Then he shall answer,

{Those with which/Some that} I {was wounded/received} in the house of my friends.

Now, we see elsewhere in Scripture that one practice of false prophets was to cut themselves. Think of the incident with Elijah and the prophets of Baal. They were cutting themselves quite a bit. And as a result, they had some scars or wound marks.

Well, the discerning folks of the Millennium are going to see those – wherever they might be – on their hands or arms or chest or their body in general – and they are going to ask about those.

And it seems like this whole discourse between the false prophet and these unidentified people in verses 5 and 6 has been a context of their questioning and even interrogating this false prophet. And so, the people are examining to determine whether there’s any guilt on the part of this man and so he’s lying and trying to cover-up his old profession or his secret hidden lifestyle of speaking lies in the Lord’s name.

So, his excuse for the wounds on his body is that his buddies injured him. He isn’t involved in cutting himself as part of a perverse inclination to prophesy falsely. No, indeed, his buddies did this to him. Maybe they were wrestling around and things got out of hand and some cuts and scars ensued. Yeah, that’s what happened… 😉

At any rate, the difference between now and then is noticeable. Now and since the beginning of the world after the fall of Adam falsely speaking in the Lord’s name happens. It’s common. And in numerous cases, there is no repercussion to these false prophets.

But things are going to change when Jesus returns. Idolatry and false prophesy will be things of the past.

Zechariah 13 Commentary The Sword, the Shepherd, & the Sheep

Well, some things needed to happen before idolatry and false prophesy pass away – before Jesus returns and stops false religion. In particular, Jesus – the Good Shepherd – needed to be struck, according to verse 7.

7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,

and against the man {that is my fellow/My Associate/who is my associate/who is close to me},

{saith/declares} the LORD {of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty}:

{smite/Strike} the shepherd, {and/that} the {sheep/flock} {shall/may} be scattered:

and I will turn mine hand {upon/against} the {little/insignificant} ones.

Notice who is commanded to do what here. The Lord is commanding a sword – an instrument of death – to do something. The instrument of death is supposed to awake and take action against a man – against the Lord’s fellow or associate or one who is close to him. This man is further revealed to be “the shepherd.”

And both Matthew (26:31) and Mark (14:27) record this prophecy on the lips of Jesus Christ. And he’s speaking of himself as the shepherd of Zechariah 13:7 who is struck. Jesus says that this is why the disciples would flee from him on the night of his betrayal and trials.

And so, that’s the result that both Jesus and Zechariah are pointing to. If you strike a shepherd, the sheep will scatter.

So, this happened with the disciples. The Lord struck Jesus and the sheep scattered.

And in a sense, this is what has happened to Israel. A few decades after the Lord struck Jesus – and raised him up again – the nation of Israel was scattered by the Romans. They’re still somewhat scattered, though they’re gradually returning. But they have no shepherd. They will seek for one and receive the Anti-Christ before Jesus the true and good Shepherd returns for them.

But the Lord predicted this scattering. And he says that he will turn his hand upon the little or insignificant ones. I think that’s probably a reference to the Jews who did not receive Jesus.

Zechariah 13 Commentary Fractional Salvation

Now, and it’s at this point in the text where the Lord finishes this chapter talking about a kind of “fractional salvation” in verses 8 and 9.

8 {And it shall come to pass, that/It will happen}in all the land,

saith the LORD,

two {parts/thirds of the people} {therein/in it} {shall/will} be {cut off/struck down} and {die/perish};

but {the/one} third shall be left {therein/in it}.

So, two-thirds of the people in the land of Israel in the Tribulation – as I interpret this – will die. And that means that one-third of the Jewish people will survive to the end of the Tribulation.

Well, what happens to that one-third that survives? Verse 9.

9 And I will bring the {third part/remaining third/this third} {through/into} the fire,

and will refine them {as/like} silver is refined,

and {will try/test} them {as/like} gold is {tried/tested}:

they {shall/will} call on my name,

and I will {hear/answer} them:

I will say,

{It is/They are/These are}my people:

and they {shall/will} say,

The LORD is {my/our} God.

So, the third of the Jews whom God will deliver at the end of the Tribulation will have a special close relationship to their God whom they had rejected for a long time.

They will look on him whom they’ve pierced – Jesus their Messiah. They’ll mourn for him. They’ll receive him. And Jesus will be their God and they will be his people.

And we non-Jewish Gentiles thank the Lord for sending his Son the Messiah – not just for the Jews – but for those whom he has chosen from every tribe and people and race – so that we too can say with the Jew at the end of the Tribulation, “The LORD is my God.”

Zechariah 12 Commentary

Zechariah 12 Commentary: Let’s turn our attention to the Old Testament minor prophet Zechariah… and the 12th chapter of his prophecies. Zechariah 12.

We’re entering the last main section of this book today as chapters 12-14 comprise one main section of this book.

So, let’s read Zechariah 12 and then attempt to explain what it all means.

{Read Zec. 12}

Zechariah 12 Commentary Verse 1 Burden for Israel

First of all, I’d like to point your attention to Zechariah 9:1 for a moment. Look at what that said.

KJV Zechariah 9:1 ¶ The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach…

And then we saw that the Lord went on to speak of a future invasion by Greece into the area surrounding Israel. And that prophecy went on to end of Zechariah 11.

So, Zechariah 9-11 is one unit and it was all subsumed under the label, “The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach.”

And now, we see something similar in Zechariah 12:1. We see that the Lord has another “burden” or “revelation” for a piece of land and the people that live in it. And that piece of land is Israel.

KJV Zechariah 12:1 ¶ {The/This is the} {burden/revelation} of the word of the LORD {for/concerning} Israel,

And the “burden” or the “revelation of things to come” concerning the land of Israel is what we expect to hear now. And we will to the end of this book. But first the Lord wants to remind us of who he really is and what he’s really like in the rest of verse 1.

{saith the LORD/Thus declares the Lord/the Lord declares}, {which/who}

{stretcheth forth/stretches out} the {heavens/sky},

and {layeth/lays} the {foundation/foundations} of the earth,

and {formeth/forms} the {spirit of man/human spirit} within {him/a person} {this is what he says…}.

And we’re going to see what this one says in a moment. But first, we notice that the Lord wants people to remember who he is and what he does – especially when it comes to his human creatures. He puts a sky above us. And he puts the earth below us. And he puts that animating force known as our spirit within us.

Above us. Below us. Within us. There is nothing in the life of mankind that the Lord isn’t involved with.

And the Lord is going to reveal some pretty amazing things in this prophecy that covers chapters 12-14 to end this book. So, he starts this last section reminding us – and his original Hebrew audience of Zechariah’s time – that there is nothing in the life of mankind that the Lord isn’t involved in and familiar with and able to accomplish.

Zechariah 12 Commentary Verse 2 J’lem to Become a Source of Destruction for the Godless

And so, in verses 2 and 3 what this all-powerful God wants to tell us is that in the last days – days that are yet to come even for us– God will make Jerusalem a source of destruction for the godless.

2 {Behold, I will/I am about to} make Jerusalem a cup {of trembling/that causes reeling/that brings dizziness} {unto/to} all the {people round about/peoples around/surrounding nations},

So, the effect that Jerusalem will have on the world – on all the people and nations that will surround Israel in the last days – is to make them tremble and reel and dizzy.

And that’s going to involve those nations coming and attacking Jerusalem according to the end of verse 2.

{when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem./and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah./indeed, Judah will also be included when Jerusalem is besieged./Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.}

So, it’s not just Jerusalem that these surrounding nations will target. They will also attack Judah – the broader territory surrounding and encompassing Jerusalem.

So, Jerusalem will be like a cup, the contents of which cause people to reel and to be dizzy.

But in addition to that, the Lord says that Jerusalem will be like a really heavy stone in verse 3.

3 {And/It will come about/Moreover} {in/on} that day {will I/that I will} make Jerusalem {a burdensome stone/a heavy stone/a heavy burden/an unmovable rock} for all {people/the peoples/the nations}:

{all/and all} {that burden themselves with/who lift/who try to carry/who try to move} it {shall be cut in pieces/will be severely injured/will be seriously injured/will injure themselves},

So, God pictures these nations coming to attack Jerusalem as if they were attempting to pick up an incredibly heavy stone. And when they come to attack Jerusalem – or to lift that stone – they will be injured severely.

And yet, according to the end of verse 3 these nations will not be able to resist the temptation to attack Jerusalem. It’s bad for them. They shouldn’t do it. But they’re going to do it anyway.

{though/And/yet/when} all the {people/nations/peoples} of the earth {be/will be/are} {gathered together/gathered/assembled} against {it/her}.

And so, despite the fact that the whole world is going to gather troops to attack Jerusalem, it will stand like a heavy stone, ultimately. Not that Jerusalem will be totally invincible and experience no loss. But Jerusalem will remain – even in the face of this massive onslaught from the nations.

Zechariah 12 Commentary Verse 4 The Lord to Destroy the Nations

And here’s why Jerusalem will remain – because the Lord will actively fight for them in the last days, according to verse 4.

4 {In/On} that day,

{saith/declares/says} the LORD,

I will {smite/strike} every horse with {astonishment/bewilderment/confusion/panic}, and {his/its} rider with madness:

{and I/But I/I} will {open mine eyes upon/watch over/pay close attention to/keep a watchful eye over} the house of Judah,

{and will/while I/but will} {smite/strike} {every horse/all the horses} of the {people/nations} with blindness.

By the way, if this battle were to happen today, do you suppose they would use horses? Are modern militaries actually using horses as they go to war?

The answer is no – horses are not the asset in times of war that they used to be during the time that Zechariah wrote this prophecy given to him by the Lord.

So, we have two options in interpreting this part of the prophecy.

One option is to interpret this reference to horses as the Lord speaking in terms that his original readers would understand. They wouldn’t understand tanks and helicopters and drones. And so, the Lord speaks of horses to refer to vehicles used in war. That’s one option for interpreting this passage.

But then the Lord speaks of striking these horses with astonishment and blindness and striking their riders with madness. I’m not sure how you can strike a tank with blindness, for example.

So, that makes me more comfortable with the second option for interpreting this part of this prophecy – which is that in the end times the nations will not have tanks and fighter jets. They will have horses.

But what would make industrialized nations of our day go from stealth bombers to… horses as their chosen vehicle for war? Well, how about 7 years of God pouring his wrath out on them? How about the events we read about in the book of Revelation and all the death and destruction that’s foretold there? I think that would do it.

And so, this is the second option in interpreting this passage. And that is that the horses are literal. The horses are going to be around in the last days whereas the tanks and bombers will be all destroyed by that point from the destruction that God will release on this world before these events that Zechariah is speaking of.

Alright, so there will be literal horses that the nations will use as they surround Jerusalem and Judah to attack them. And God is going to blind those horses and make their riders crazy.

And when the Lord does that, everyone in the surround area of Judah will recognize that they are strong – through God’s power alone – and not their own! Verse 5.

5 {And/Then} the {governors/clans/leaders} of Judah {shall/will} say {in their heart/in their hearts/to themselves},

The {inhabitants/people} of Jerusalem {shall be my strength/are a strong support for us/are a means of strength to us/are strong} {in/through/because} the LORD {of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty} {their/is their} God.

So, there’s some special relationship between the people living in Jerusalem at that time and the Lord. The Lord is going to be their God. They won’t be resisting him anymore.

And what we know from other Scripture is that Jesus Christ will be ruling among them. The Lord will be literally physically dwelling in their midst and providing them strength.

Zechariah 12 Commentary Verse 6 Strength Given to Judah

So, the timeline so far seems to be that God brings these godless nations to attack Jerusalem. And then God himself strikes these nations so that they’re fairly easy to defeat.

And now, with these nations weakened by the Lord himself, Judah is going to go on the offensive. Verse 6.

6 ¶ {In/On} that day will I make the {governors/clans/leaders} of Judah like {an hearth of fire/a firepot/an igniter} {among the wood/among pieces of wood/among sticks/in a woodpile},

{and like a torch of fire/and a flaming torch/and a burning torch/like a flaming torch} {in a sheaf/among sheaves};

{and they shall/so they will/and they will/they will} {devour/consume/burn up} all the {people round about/surrounding nations/surrounding peoples}, {on the right hand and on the left/right and left}:

So, compare a big pile of wood and a small little flame. The pile of wood is much larger. And yet that flame can consume it all in an instant.

And that’s how Judah will deal with the nations that will come to destroy her. Judah – although they’re small – will just burn through them – though they’re massive.

And then at that point, Jerusalem – the city of peace – will finally be at peace, according to the end of verse 6.

{and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem./while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem./Then the people of Jerusalem will settle once more in their place, the city of Jerusalem./but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.}

So, Jerusalem and her people will be unmoved as the surrounding nations will be overthrown.

And yet, the Lord makes it a point to ensure that Jerusalem won’t think of herself more highly than she ought. There will apparently be some temptation for Jerusalem to gloat over Judah in those last days as Jesus Christ dwells in her midst. And according to verse 7 the Lord is going to prevent that gloating.

7 ¶ The LORD {also shall/also will/will} {save/deliver} the {tents/homes/dwellings} of Judah first,

That’s Judah – not Jerusalem. Why? Continue in verse 7…

that the {glory/splendor/honor} of the {house/kingship} of David and {the glory of/of} the {inhabitants/people} of Jerusalem {do not magnify themselves against/will not be magnified above/may not exceed that of/may not be greater than that of} Judah.

So, God says that in those last days when the nations surround Jerusalem and Judah to do away with the Jewish people – that God is going to deliver his people – but he’s going to start with Judah, not Jerusalem.

And it’s an interesting give-and-take or back-and-forth that the Lord communicates here.

The Lord will deliver Jerusalem and the result of that is that Judah will marvel at God’s protection of that city. We saw that in verse 5.

And yet, on the other hand, God makes this point of saving Judah first in some way that I don’t quite understand. And he’s going to do so in order that Jerusalem won’t boast over Judah.

God is showing this desire of his that his people in those days not be in competition, but be unified. They’re happy for the victory of each other. They’re not seeking their own glory. And God will see to it that that’s the case.

And yet, in verse 8, God gets right back to exalting Jerusalem. The strength of the people living in that city in those last days when Jesus Christ is among them will be tremendous.

8 {In/On} that day {shall the LORD defend/the LORD (himself) will defend/the LORD will shield} {the inhabitants of/those who live in} Jerusalem;

And here’s the result of that defense and shielding of these people…

{and he that is feeble/and the one who is feeble/so that the weakest/so that the feeblest} among them {at that day shall be as David/will be like mighty David};

and the {house/dynasty} of David {shall be as/will be like} God, {as/like} the angel of the LORD {before/going before} them.

So, that’s the result of God’s shielding and defending the people who will live in Jerusalem at that time. They will all be very powerful. The weakest and feeblest among them will be like the mighty warrior-king David of old. And the house or dynasty of David will – and you would think that this is surely hyperbolic – but they’ll be like God. As strong as the Angel of the Lord, who in the Old Testament is frequently an appearance of Jesus before his incarnation in Bethlehem.

And this indicates something very interesting. In the last days, there will be a house of David or a dynasty of David. In other words, there will be a Davidic king.

Now, there will surely be descendants of David. And at this very moment some Jews are able to trace their lineage back to King David (https://www.loebtree.com). So, there will be normal Jewish people who are recognized as being of “the house of David.”

And yet, who is going to be heading up this dynasty of David?

Again, we need to think about the timing in terms of Bible chronology here. It’s the end of the Tribulation. Now, who is going to return at the end of the Tribulation to deliver his people, the Jews? Jesus Christ. From whom did Jesus descend? From David.

So, when verse 8 speaks of the house or dynasty of David being like God – well, yes, the head of that dynasty will be there – Jesus Christ – and he is God! I don’t know that the people who originally received this prophecy understood all of that. I don’t know that we even understand all of how this is completely going to work. And yet, this is what God has been getting these people the Jews ready for for thousands of years at this point.

They will have a descendent of David on the throne in Jerusalem and he is “as God.” He – Jesus Christ – is “as the Angel of the Lord.” And its his strength that will turn the feeblest of the Jews into the mightiest of warriors – even as mighty as Jesus’ ancestor according to the flesh – King David.

Zechariah 12 Commentary Verse 9 Nations Destroyed

Now, in the next few verses of chapter 12 to end this chapter, the Lord is going to contrast his treatment of two groups.

The first group is in verse 9 and gets very brief treatment.

9 {And it shall come to pass in/And in/So on/On} that day, {that I/I} will {seek/set about/set out} to destroy all the nations that {come against/attack} Jerusalem.

So, the first group that God deals with at the end of the Tribulation is these nations that we’ve been discussing. And they’re going to come to Jerusalem to attack it. What is God going to do to them? He will destroy them.

Zechariah 12 Commentary Verse 10 Jesus Received & Mourned

But here’s the thrilling part. The second group. And this group is identified as David’s house and the people who are living in Jerusalem in the last days. And the wonderful truth we’re going to hear revealed about them is that they are finally going to receive their Messiah.

10 ¶ And I will {pour/pour out} {upon/on} the {house/kingship} of David, and {upon the/on the/the} {inhabitants/population} of Jerusalem, {the/a} spirit {NASB capitalizes…} of grace and {of supplications/supplication}:

These people are going to have this spirit about them. They will be given grace from God. And they will finally plead for mercy – make supplications to the Lord. And here’s the result of those activities…

{and/so that} they {shall/will} look {upon/on/to} me

Stop right there! Who do you think is speaking of here in Zechariah 12:10?

Is it Zechariah the prophet? Not ultimately!

It’s the Lord, right? One result of God pouring out a spirit of grace and supplication upon these Jews of the last days is that they will look upon “me” – the Lord says. They will look upon Jehovah / YAHWEH / the Lord of Hosts who is giving this prophecy and has been since the first verse of chapter 12.

But, what secular Jew today is ready to accept how the Lord describes himself in the very next four words of this verse? Look at how the Lord describes how the Jews have treated him.

The Jews of David’s house and of Jerusalem will in a very special way look upon the Lord, continue in verse 10…

{whom/the one} they have pierced,

There’s no getting around this for the Jew who rejects his Messiah Jesus Christ. What other figure in history could this be referring to? This is the Lord – the God of heaven. And he’s been pierced. Who ever in the world could claim this about himself?

None other than Jesus Christ. The Lord, who was pierced for his people.

And the Jews will look upon him, just like they did the serpent in the wilderness. They will look and they will live. Just like every one of us who has looked to Jesus Christ with a saving faith. The Jews – who by and large reject this pierced Messiah – they will look on or to him and they will live.

And this is literal. Jesus Christ will be standing in their midst! After delivering them from numerous enemies. Here he is! Behold the man!

And they will have no choice but to look and live.

But between the looking and the living, there is going to be a great deal of mourning, according to the rest of verse 10.

{and they shall/and they will/They will} {mourn/lament} for him, as one {mourneth/laments} for {his/an}only {son/child},

and {shall be in bitterness for/they will weep bitterly over/there will be a bitter cry for/grieve bitterly for} him, {as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn./like the bitter weeping over a firstborn./like the bitter cry for a firstborn./as one grieves for a firstborn son.}

Can you imagine this? After thousands of years of these people rejecting their Messiah who was pierced for them and after they will have accepted a false Messiah – an Anti-Christ – at that very moment, Jesus comes – the one they reject and pierced – and he will save them.

They have rejected him. He will receive them. What grace!

Let me ask you, when you first trusted Jesus to save you from your sin, what was your reaction? There was surely some emotion to it, I have to assume. Wasn’t there quite a bit of grief?

Oh, there was joy! But you had been so wicked to him… and he’s going to turn around and save you? Forgive you all your sins that put him on the cross? He who would be justified in just ending your miserable life and consigning you to hell for all your sins – that one is going to die for those sins and justify you and receive you as a child of his?

That’s amazing! How incredible this transaction is! He dies and you live. You spit on him and he heals you. You put him on the cross and you mocked him and he willingly stayed there and died for you.

Didn’t that cause in you a little of what the song-writer labels “joyful grief?”

Well, that’s what a new convert experiences. And it’s certainly what these Jews in the last days will experience as the Lord saves all of Israel in a day – as they look on him whom they’ve pierced.

And the Lord can’t be more emphatic about the grief-saturated response of these people. Because in verses 11-14 – 4 entire verses – the Lord goes on to describe at length the grieving of these Jews in the last days as they look on Jesus.

11 {In/On} that day {shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem/the lamentation in Jerusalem will be as great/the weeping in Jerusalem will be great}, {as/like} the {mourning/lamentation/weeping} of Hadadrimmon in the {valley/plain} of Megiddon.

Now, this location Hadadrimmon is a combination of the names of two Canaanite deities. It’s likely the location where King Josiah was mourned and lamented by the Israelites when he was killed in battle by the Egyptians. In fact, King Josiah was killed in the valley of Megiddo (2Ch 35:22). And so, apparently this is what this refers to – the death of Josiah – the last good and righteous king of Israel.

So, the Jews of the last days will lament and mourn over their treatment of their King Jesus Christ just like they mourned for the righteous King Josiah.

And though this mourning will start in Jerusalem, it won’t end there. In fact, the whole land will mourn – all of the Jews will lament according to verse 12.

12 {And the/The} land {shall/will} mourn, {every family apart/every family by itself/clan by clan/each clan by itself};

So, every family of Israel – every Jewish family in those last days will mourn over their treatment of Jesus. Each family will do this.

And so, in the rest of verse 12 and all of verse 13 the Lord foretells of a few different families who with “joyful grief” will mourn their pierced Messiah.

David’s family goes first…

the {family/clan} of the {house/royal household} of David {apart/by itself}, and their wives {apart/by themselves};

Now, it’s not explained to us in this chapter why the wives are going to mourn by themselves. It seems that the men and women will be mourning separately within the family of David and within the other families listed in this prophecy.

My best understanding of the reason behind this is that this mourning is going to be so solemn, that this kind of separation – that really approaches the nature of a fast – will be the only approach worthy of this momentous occasion.

In the Old Testament there were a few times where something so important was going to happen that God commanded the men and women to stay separate. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells husbands and wives to not withhold themselves from each other from intimate relations – except it’s by agreement for the solemn purpose of fasting and praying – of diligently seeking the Lord’s mercy and grace.

And that’s what these people will be experiencing – an occasion so significant and crucial that they are going to separate themselves from their own spouses for a time to deal with the Lord appropriately. So, that’s what’s happening here and why I think these folks are separating themselves from their spouses for a time.

So, David’s family will do this. In addition, the family of David’s son Nathan will be involved in this mourning, according to the end of verse 12…

the {family/clan} of the {house/family} of Nathan {apart/by itself}, and their wives {apart/by themselves};

So, Solomon’s family isn’t mentioned here. Instead, David’s other son Nathan is mentioned. Both sons are mentioned in the New Testament genealogies of Jesus Christ. One is Mary’s line and the other is Joseph’s. But Zechariah focuses on Nathan.

Alright, so we’ve seen the lamenting of the rulers of the Jews – David’s house and lineage.

But now in verse 13, we’re going to see the mourning of the religious leaders of Israel. The Lord begins with Levi in verse 13.

13 The {family/clan} of the {house/descendants} of Levi {apart/by itself}, and their wives {apart/by themselves};

And last to be mentioned is one of Levi’s grandson’s, Shimei.

{the/and the} {family/clan} of {Shimei/the Shimeites} {apart/by itself}, and their wives {apart/by themselves};

So, the genealogy there goes Levi to Gershon to Shimei.

These are the religious leaders of Israel and they too are going to mourn their pierced Messiah and how they’ve rejected him for so long and yet how much he loves and cares for them.

And then verse 14 ends this chapter reiterating the fact that not only these four named families will mourn – but that every Jewish family will mourn and lament their Messiah.

14 All the {families that remain/clans that remain/rest of the clans}, {every family apart,/every family by itself/each separately} {and their wives apart/and their wives by themselves/with their wives}.

So, there is coming a day when all Israel will be saved. It will necessitate an unparalleled period of suffering and God’s wrath being poured out on this world. It will take Jesus Christ himself coming to earth and destroying all of his enemies and saving his weak little people – the Jews.

But this is the testimony of Scripture. Jesus is coming again. And he’s coming in wrath for those who reject him. But for those who receive him, it’s all mercy and salvation.

If there’s anyone listening to this who is apart from Christ, receive him today. Trust him. He will save you from that coming wrath.

And for those of us who know Jesus Christ, are you struggling? Is life hard? Are you dissatisfied with the way your life is going? Take courage! You are working for this kingdom that’s surely coming – no matter how menial and monotonous your life’s work feels. Your seemingly ho-hum life and mine are all working toward this final end – the coming of Jesus and us reigning with him.

So, don’t give up! Don’t quit! Refuse to allow Satan to trick you into thinking that your life doesn’t matter or that it’s too hard or that you need some wonderful fulfillment that’s outside of God’s will. Jesus is coming again. And it will all be worth it when we see him.

Zechariah 11 Explained Verses 12-17

Zechariah 11 Explained Verses 12-17 | We’ll be considering Zechariah 11 today. Now, last time we studied up to verse 11 of this chapter and so today we’ll continue in verse 12 and study to the end of the chapter.

So, what we saw in those first 11 verses was the Lord putting Zechariah into another vision setting in which he is a shepherd who basically symbolizes God’s dealing with his sheep – the people of Israel. And so that vision continues to the end of this chapter.

So, let’s read Zechariah 11.

{Read Zec. 11}

Zechariah 11 Explained Verse 12

Now, verse 12 seems to have Zechariah speaking to that flock that was doomed to be slaughtered that we heard about in the first 11 verses of this chapter. And so, the prophet tells those sheep to pay him for his services to them as a shepherd.

12 And I said unto them,

If {ye think good/it is good in your sight/it seems good to you/you think it best}, {give/pay} me my {price/wages/pay};

{and/but} if not, {forbear/never mind!/forget it/keep it}.

There’s an interesting level of disinterest from the shepherd in this verse. Notice how he expresses a “who cares” kind of mentality. If the sheep want to pay him for his services, that’s fine. But if they don’t then, “never mind” or “forget it” or “keep your money.” It’s almost as if he really doesn’t care. He’s leaving the decision to these sheep that he has stopped shepherding.

And the reason that this seems so strange is because as we know throughout Scripture the laborer – the worker – is worthy of his wages. This shepherd worked – for at least a month in this vision. And therefore, he ought to be paid.

But the shepherd is going to allow the sheep to do what they think is right. Normally the shepherd would impose his will on the sheep. But in this case, the shepherd is allowing the sheep to choose what to do.

And in some ways this is how Jesus Christ was in his first coming. He wasn’t forcing anyone to accept him. In a way, he put the kind of question that we see here to the people of his day. He said, “Whosoever will may come.” It’s their choice.

And it still is today. It’s still the decision of each individual to receive Jesus Christ or to reject him. And if you want to reject him, he will allow you to do so. But there are consequences for both obedience and for disobedience.

Well, sure enough – the flock seems to make the right decision and it does indeed end up paying Zechariah for his shepherding of them.

So they {weighed for my price/weighed out as my wages/weighed out my payment/paid me} thirty pieces of silver.

So, my question as I arrive at this last part of verse 12 is – is that a lot of money? Thirty pieces of silver – is that an insult or is that a decent wage for a month’s work?

Well, Exodus 21:32 speaks of this amount of money being the amount to be paid to the owner of a slave from the owner of the ox that gores that slave to death. The slave’s owner loses the life of his slave and so he should be recompensed 30 pieces of silver.

And that’s actually all we have in terms of biblical data regarding this unit of money. It’s basically the cost of the life of a slave.

And we remember that Jesus Christ came to be a slave to all in his first coming. He came not to be served but rather to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. This is how the Son of Man came the first time – as a slave – taking on himself the form of a slave and being made in the likeness of man.

Zechariah 11 Explained Verse 13

Well, next in verse 13 the Lord gives Zechariah a command concerning that money that he was paid by the flock. He needs to throw that money to the potter in the Temple of the Lord.

13 {And/Then} the LORD said unto me,

{Cast it unto/Throw it to} the potter:

So, the Lord wants Zechariah to throw the thirty pieces of silver to this previously-unknown potter. Again, this is one more reason to think of this as a vision – that all of a sudden there’s this potter that is mentioned without any sort of proper introduction.

But then, very interestingly, the Lord says that this price of 30 pieces of silver is the price that this flock – whom we know to represent Israel – valued – not Zechariah – but the Lord himself. Zechariah is supposed to throw…

{a goodly price/that magnificent price/that exorbitant sum/the handsome price} {that I was prised at of them/at which I was valued by them/at which they valued me/at which they priced me}.

And there’s a little sarcasm employed by the Lord here. Thirty pieces of silver – the value of a slave’s life – is not at all close to a fitting payment for the Lord’s shepherding of his people Israel. And so, when the Lord identifies this price as “goodly” or “magnificent” or “exorbitant” he is in a way mocking the small estimation that his people had for his being their shepherd.

And so, the value that Israel placed on the Lord was paltry. And yet, the Lord’s ministry to Israel was and is priceless. Think about Jesus’ ministry to Israel as he came to them the first time. Think of how he wanted to gather them under his wing like a hen would her chicks. But they would have none of it. And they eventually with the Romans crucified their Good Shepherd.

And it’s this passage that the Gospel-writer Matthew points to as he speaks of one particular event associated with Christ’s crucifixion.

As we know, Jesus was betrayed by Judas to the corrupt religious leaders of Israel. But afterward, when Judas saw what happened to Jesus he felt remorse according to Matthew 27. So, Judas went to the chief priests to whom he betrayed Jesus and he tried to return his 30 pieces of silver that they gave him for handing Jesus over to them. Well, they basically told him that that’s his problem, so he went and killed himself. Those priests then took the money and realized that they couldn’t put it into the temple treasury because it was “blood money” and so, they bought a potter’s field with those thirty silver pieces. And that’s when Matthew references this passage here in Zechariah.

So, think about it – Jesus’s ministry – ultimately even his death for the sins of his people – was so lowly valued by Israel that Zechariah speaks of it in terms of 30 pieces of silver. And the Lord here in Zechariah speaks of this price as the price that he was valued by Israel – that he himselfthe Lord himself was valued by Israel.

Who was valued by Israel at the price of 30 pieces of silver?  The Lord (YAHWEH) Jesus Christ.

And so, back to Zechariah – the prophet now obeys in this vision the Lord’s command concerning those silver pieces at the end of verse 13.

{And/So} I took the thirty pieces of silver, and {cast/threw} them to the potter {in/at} the {house/temple} of the LORD.

And it’s interesting to me that even though it’s Zechariah who does this casting of the silver pieces to the potter in this vision – it’s Judas who ends up doing this in real life.

Well, at this point, Zechariah has quit shepherding the flock in his vision. He has broken his first staff which represents the covenant between God and Israel made at Sinai under Moses. And then we just saw Zechariah getting his pay for shepherding this flock and throwing it to the potter in the temple.

Zechariah 11 Explained Verse 14

But you may recall that Zechariah started off with two staffs. And so next, we see Zechariah breaking his second in verse 14.

14 Then I {cut asunder/cut in pieces/cut/broke} {mine other/my second/the second} staff, {even Bands/Union/“Binders”},

So, what does the breaking of this staff represent?

The breaking of the first staff represented God’s breaking of his covenant with Israel.

And so, here’s what the breaking of this second staff means.

{that I might break/to break/in order to annul/breaking} the {brotherhood/covenant of brotherhood} between Judah and Israel.

So, the breaking of this second staff represents God breaking the brotherhood between the two kingdoms of Israel – the northern and southern kingdoms.

Now, it could be that God is speaking of what happened in the time following Solomon where the two kingdoms split apart. I would think that’s unlikely because most everything else in these chapters has been describing things future to Zechariah.

So, this could also be referring to something that’s going to happen in times to come – maybe during the Tribulation where there will again be a northern and southern kingdom in Israel and God will break them apart again. I don’t know for sure – but I would tend to think that this is going to happen in the future.

Zechariah 11 Explained Verse 15

So moving on, with Zechariah being without any shepherding instruments in his vision – since he destroyed his two staffs – the Lord now in verse 15 commands him to get some more shepherding equipment.

15 ¶ {And/Again/Then} the LORD said unto me,

Take {unto thee yet/again for yourself/up once more/again} the {instruments/equipment} of a foolish shepherd.

But why would God want Zechariah to take up the equipment that would characterize a foolish shepherd?

It’s because – just like everything else in this chapter – there’s some meaning behind the actions that Zechariah takes in this vision. And as we’ve seen, the meaning is usually a veiled reference to something that would happen in the future.

Zechariah 11 Explained Verse 16

So, in the case of Zechariah arming himself with the equipment of a foolish shepherd – God is foretelling a time when he will place a foolish leader over his people in the future in verse 16.

16 {For, lo,/For behold/Indeed} I {will/am going to/am about to} raise up a shepherd {in/over/against} the land,

And the Lord is now going to describe four ways in which this foolish shepherd will negatively not care for his sheep. Here’s what he is not going to do for his flock which any shepherd who is not a total fool would indeed do positively.

The first thing he won’t do…

{which shall/who will} not {visit those that be cut off,/care for the perishing/take heed to the sheep headed to slaughter/care for the lost}


{neither shall seek/seek/will not seek} the {young one/scattered/young},


{nor heal/heal/and will not heal/or heal} {that that is broken/the broken/the injured},

And fourth…

{nor feed/or sustain/Moreover, he will not nourish} {that that standeth still:/the one standing/the one that is healthy}

So, that’s how this future leader of God’s people won’t care for those whom he is charged with leading. He won’t care for those in need of care and the ones who are doing alright won’t receive any help from him either so that they get to the point where they are in need of care. And so the cycle continues as the ones who were fine become sickly for lack of shepherding. The ones who are sickly just die without any help from the one called to be a shepherd over them.

Now, this is just the opposite of what you would expect from a shepherd of literal sheep and it’s just the opposite of what you’d expect from the leader of people. These individuals – the shepherd and the leader – they look out for their own. They care for those who are hurting. They look to sustain and strengthen their flocks. But not this guy whom Zechariah is representing in this vision – he’s going to be a foolish shepherd.

But then positively this leader is going to do two thing that also display his foolishness. We had four negative actions this guy will take. And now we have two positive ways in which this foolish shepherd will demonstrate his foolishness.

Here’s the first of those things…

but {he shall eat/will devour/instead will eat} the {flesh/meat} of the {fat,/fat sheep/choice sheep}

And second…

{and tear/tearing} their {claws in pieces/hoofs}.

So, this shepherd of God’s people will only seek his benefit at the expense of his sheep. He will eat them as it were and be cruel to them.

Now, if you’re wondering who this might be outside of this vision – in real life – this is likely a reference to Anti-Christ – the one who will come in Christ’s name and pretend to be the Messiah of God’s people the Jews. But he’ll be false and will show himself to be a foolish shepherd when he starts destroying the people over whom he’s charged with caring.

The sheep in this vision didn’t care for the shepherding of the real shepherd who was good to them. And so, they get a shepherd who is foolish and evil. And that’s just how God will deal with his people the Jews. They rejected his shepherd for them, Jesus Christ. And so, he will send them an evil wicked shepherd – the Anti-Christ, whom they will receive to their own harm.

Zechariah 11 Explained Verse 17

Well, even though God is the one taking credit for raising up this kind of worthless foolish shepherd, yet, he denounces this man in verse 17 and pronounces woe upon him.

17 Woe to the {idol/worthless} shepherd {that leaveth/who leaves/who abandons/who deserts} the flock!

{the/A/May a/May the} sword {shall be upon/will be on/fall on/strike} his arm,

and {upon his/on his/his} right eye:

And here are the effects of a sword on the arm and eye of this man spelled out for us…

{his/May his} arm {shall be clean dried up,/will be totally withered/wither completely away/be completely withered}

{and his/his} right eye {shall be utterly darkened/will be blind/become completely blind/totally blind}.

And these are poetic ways of saying that God will deal decisively with this man someday. The Lord will destroy the Anti-Christ and throw him into the Lake of Fire forever.

And so that’s the end of this section that’s covered chapters 9 to 11 in the book of Zechariah.

The next time that we return to considering Zechariah we’ll plan to start on the last major section of the book which consists of chapters 12-14.

Zechariah 11 Commentary Verses 1-11

Zechariah 11 Commentary verses 1-11: Let’s turn our attention to Zechariah 11. We made it all the way through the 10th chapter of this book last time.

And yet in some ways I think that the chapter break at the end of Zechariah 10:12 is minorly unfortunate. Because it seems to me that the Lord is continuing to speak on the same topic into Zechariah 11 as he’d been speaking in chapter 10.

And you can see this from reading Zechariah 10:10. Let’s read that for a moment

KJV Zechariah 10:10 I will bring {them/the formerly exiled Jews at the end of the tribulation} again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; {So, that’s where God will rescue these Jews from at the end of the Tribulation. But where is he going to put them?}

and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; {Why?} {and/because} place shall not be found for them.

In other words, God will bring back Jewish people at the end of the Tribulation from various nations to which they will be driven once more even future to us. But there’s somewhat of a problem. When they come back, there will be so many of them that there won’t be room for them.

And that’s why the Lord says in Zechariah 10:10 that these Jews will be placed in territory that’s adjacent to Israel – to the north in Lebanon and to the east in Gilead.

Zechariah 11 Commentary verses 1-3

But the question in your mind should be – well, what about the people who will be in those places in the future at the end of the Tribulation? Where are they going to go? How will there be room for both the residents of those two areas plus the incoming Jews?

Zechariah 11 Commentary Video

And that’s what Zechariah 11:1-3 help us understand. The Lord in those future times will clear those lands of their people in order to make room for his people the Jews.

So, let’s read Zechariah 11:1-11 right now in order to see the whole passage. And then we’ll try to see the details of the Lord clearing the land for his people.

{Read Zec 11:1-11…}

So, to begin with, the Lord predicts that he will clear out these two regions – the one to the north of Israel and the one to the east of it in verses 1 and 2.

KJV Zechariah 11:1 ¶ Open {thy doors/your gates}, O Lebanon, {that/so that} {the/a} fire may {devour/feed on/consume} thy cedars.

2 |Howl/Wail|, |fir tree/O cypress/O pine tree|; |for/because| the cedar |is/has| fallen; because the |mighty/glorious trees/majestic trees/stately trees| |are/have been| |spoiled/destroyed/ruined|:

|howl/Wail|, O ye oaks of Bashan; |for/because| the |forest of the vintage/impenetrable forest/dense forest| |is come down/has come down/has fallen/has been cut down|.

And so, we want to notice first that this language is highly poetic. Any time that you have God commanding trees to make noise you are immediately aware of the fact that God is not being literal here. We’re not to expect a time in the future in which trees literally have a voice and they wail.

So, the Lord is communicating in poetic fashion that the people of Lebanon and of Bashan will lament some future destruction that will clear the way for these Jews to return to this land. And by the way, Bashan was not mentioned in Zechariah 10:10, but it’s just north of Gilead. So, it’s very close in terms of proximity to Gilead. In fact, it’s possible that Gilead was considered the southern part of Bashan.

But anyway, these lands were known for their trees and forests. And so, God speaks of their mighty trees being cut down and he uses that to picture the destruction that’s going to clear the way for the Jews to take over that land at the end of the Tribulation.

So, the Lord spoke poetically of the trees of these two areas. And now in verse 3, the Lord will speak of these two territories as shepherds and lions.

3 |There is a/Listen to the| |voice of the howling/sound of the wail/howling/wail| of the shepherds;
|for their glory/because their magnificence/their rich pastures| |is spoiled/is ruined/has been destroyed|:

|a voice of/There is a sound of/Listen to| the roaring of young lions;
|for/because| the |pride/thickets/lush thicket| of |Jordan/the Jordan| |is spoiled/is ruined/has been devastated|.

So, just like the trees of these areas are commanded to howl and wail, now we’re told to listen – as if it were happening right now in our ears – the howling and wailing of these two groups.

The shepherds of Lebanon and Bashan are to lament because their pastures are ruined.

And the young lions – who would normally enjoy hiding in the brush surrounding the Jordan River – they’re lamenting because those tickets surrounding that river are destroyed. And of course, the Jordan River literally formed the western boundary for the land of Bashan.

So, with the end of verses 1-3 in this chapter I think that the Lord is done with his treatment of those matters. He was simply continuing his discussion of causing the exiled Jews to return to their land at the end of the Tribulation.

Zechariah 11 Commentary verses 4-17

So, with that, we enter into the larger part of chapter 11. And we’ll only be able to cover verses 4-11. And hopefully we’ll get verses 12-17 next time.

So, this section starts with the Lord seeming to give the prophet Zechariah a command in verse 4.

4 ¶ Thus saith the LORD my God;

{Feed/Pasture/Shepherd} the flock {of the/doomed to/set aside for/marked for} slaughter;

So, Zechariah is commanded to shepherd a flock. And this flock is apparently marked for slaughter. The plan for this flock of sheep is that they would be butchered and killed. That’s their doom.

Who is this flock? We don’t know yet, so let’s just keep trying to pick up clues that would help us identify who these sheep represent.

So, in verse 5 we’re told more about this flock. They’re slaughtered by others – even their own shepherds – and nobody cares.

5 {Whose possessors/Those who buy them} {slay/slaughter} them, and {hold themselves not guilty/go unpunished/are not held guilty}:

{and they that/those who} sell them say,

{Blessed be/Praise} the LORD; for I {am/have become} rich:

and their own shepherds {pity them not/have no pity on them/have no compassion for them/do not spare them}.

So, this flock is bought and sold. And those who buy them just slaughter them. The Lord mentions that they go unpunished for doing this, which would seem to indicate that these people should be punished and that what they’re doing to this flock is not right.

And then even more bizarre is that those buyers after slaughtering these sheep they bless and praise the Lord for becoming rich. Their slaughtering of these sheep makes them rich. And even though it seems that the Lord does not at all agree with what they’re going, yet these buyers mindlessly believe that it’s the Lord’s will to destroy this flock.

And then this flock has shepherds, but these shepherds have no interest in showing mercy and kindness to these sheep. Maybe that’s why they don’t mind selling them to these others folks who just end up slaughtering them. And maybe this is why the Lord commands Zechariah to assume their job from them and to shepherd this flock – because their own shepherds are so neglecting their duties.

So, the point seems to be that this flock has it hard. They are not protected. They’re not safe. The ones in charge of their protection and safety are cruel to them.

So, do we know yet who this flock is? Maybe not yet. So, let’s continue on into verse 6.

And this is where I think things become a great deal clearer. Because God in verse 6 is going to stop his talk about this flock and start speaking of the people of the land. That’s really who God is meaning when he talks about this flock.

6 {For/Indeed} I will no {more pity/longer have pity on/longer have compassion on} the {inhabitants/people} of the land, saith the LORD:

but, {lo/behold/instead}, I will {deliver the men every one/cause the men to fall/turn every last person over/hand everyone over} {into/to} {his neighbour’s hand/another’s power/his neighbor}, and into the {hand/power} of his king:

and they {shall smite/will devastate/will oppress} the land, and {out of their hand/from their power/from them} I will not deliver them.

So, God cuts from talking about a flock of sheep to a land full of people. And I think it’s safe to assume that God is speaking not just of any people or even of all people – but that he’s speaking of the people of his land – of Israel.

And he says that he won’t have compassion on them – just like the shepherds of the flock that was destined to slaughter in verses 4 and 5.

And instead, God says that he will give each of them over to the power of his neighbor and his king – just like the sheep of that flock that God was talking about will be bought by others for the intent of slaughtering them and becoming rich.

And in terms of the timing of this, I would again guess that God is talking about the Tribulation when he pours out his wrath on this world that is in total rebellion to him. And it’s not just the world that rebels against God. Israel does and has as well. And they will even in the Tribulation.

And so, God says that he will not have pity on them and he will not deliver them in that time. Though of course we know that he will at the end of the Tribulation when all Israel is saved in a day as they behold their Good Shepherd who was slain for them.

So, at this point, Zechariah starts reporting that he begins to act out the command that God had given him back in verse 4 – to shepherd this flock – which we now know to be symbolic of the people of the land – that is, Israel. But somehow Zechariah starts shepherding them in verse 7.

7 ¶ {And/So} I {will feed/pastured/began to shepherd} the flock {of/doomed to/destined for/marked for} slaughter, {even you, O poor/hence the afflicted/the most afflicted/particularly the oppressed} of {the/all the} flock.

So, that first part of the verse is a little confusing. Is it God speaking or Zechariah?

I tend to think it’s Zechariah. And in that case, he says that he started to shepherd this flock that God commanded him to shepherd – that afflicted flock, as we heard about in the previous verses.

So, the questions come – How does Zechariah shepherd this flock? Who is this flock? Are they sheep or people? And is he doing this in real life or in a vision?

My assumption is that Zechariah is shepherding literal sheep but is doing so in a vision.

And in that vision, he gets some shepherd staffs.

{And/Then} I {took unto me/took for myself/took} two {staves/staffs};

the one I called {Beauty/Favor/Pleasantness},

and the other I called {Bands/Union/Binders};

{and/so} I {fed/pastured/tended} the flock.

Every shepherd needs staffs. And so, as Zechariah shepherds this flock in this vision he picks up two staffs. With one being called Beauty and the other Bands or one Favor and the other Union or one Pleasantness and the other Binders.

It seems that the first staff – Beauty or Favor or Pleasantness – has to do with God’s covenant with the people or people or nations as we’ll see in verse 10.

And the second staff – Bands or Union or Binders – has to do with the brotherhood between the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel as we’ll see in verse 14.

So, Zechariah picks up these literal staffs that have some symbolic meanings tied to them in this vision.

Well, then it seems that in this vision Zechariah gets rid of three people in verse 8.

8 {Three shepherds also I cut off/Then I annihilated the three shepherds/Next I eradicated the three shepherds/I got rid of the three shepherds} in one month;

{and/for} {my soul lothed/my soul was impatient with/I ran out of patience with/I grew weary of} {them/the shepherds/the flock},

and {their soul/they} {also/indeed/as well} {abhorred/was weary of/detested} me.

Now, this word that Zechariah uses to describe what he did to these three shepherds in this vision of his can refer to hiding. But more often it refers to total destruction – wiping someone off this earth.

So, it seems like he’s saying that he killed these three shepherds in this vision. I don’t know who these shepherds are or whom they’re supposed to represent. Some people suggest that these are three of the kings from either Israel or Judah before the Babylonian Exile. And if that’s the case it still isn’t very helpful because we don’t know who they are anyway. They could be the last three kings of Judah or the last three of Israel or they could just be any progression of three kings at any time in the history of Israel.

I think that in terms of this vision, these three shepherds probably would have been in that group of shepherds who didn’t have any pity on the flock. So, Zechariah doesn’t care for these shepherds.

But actually, then in verse 9 Zechariah also expresses disdain for the sheep of the flock in his vision as well.

9 Then said I,

I will not {feed/pasture/shepherd} you:

{that that dieth/what is to die}, let {it/the dying} die;

and {that that/what} is to be {cut off/annihilated/eradicated}, let it be {cut off/annihilated/eradicated};

and let {the rest/those who are left/those who survive} eat {every one the flesh of another/each other’s flesh}.

So, Zechariah is addressing both the flock and the shepherds. If the shepherds are to be cut off or annihilated or eradicated, then that is exactly what will happen. If the sheep are to die from now being shepherded, then that will happen. And then of course the rest who don’t die and who aren’t cut off, then they are just going to be left to harm each other like God said he would allow Israel to do back in verse 6.

And it’s interesting that Zechariah says that he won’t shepherd this flock that God called him to shepherd after just one month in this vision. Is he disobeying God? I don’t think so.

Zechariah in a way is standing in the place of God in this vision. What God will do to his nation Israel in real life during the Tribulation, Zechariah is doing symbolically in this vision.

God will not have pity on his people Israel during that time. Likewise, Zechariah in this vision is refusing to shepherd this group of sheep of whom he is tired or leading – and they also are tired of his leading them.

And since Zechariah is quitting his job as shepherd in this vision, he won’t need one of those staffs that he picked up and started using.

10 {And I/Then I/I} took my staff, {even Beauty/Favor/“Pleasantness”/called Favor}, and {cut/broke it} it {asunder/in pieces/in two}, {that I might break/to break/to annul/revoking} my covenant which I had made with all the {people/people/nations}.

The word translated “people” here is not the word that tends to mean “nations” – as in non-Jews. So, this reference to the people and the covenant that God made with them is referring to a covenant he made with Israel.

I tend to think that this is the Mosaic Covenant. Some people think that that covenant is already broken. And certainly for those of us who are in Christ, we are not under the Mosaic Law. We are under the grace that Jesus Christ purchased for us in the New Covenant.

And yet, that New Covenant is not fully in effect because if you read the wording of that covenant in the Old Testament you see that it is applicable directly to the Jews, most of whom have not yet entered into that covenant. So, which covenant are people like that still under?

If unbelieving Jews are not yet in the New Covenant, what agreement are they under? I think that they’re still under the Old Covenant or the Mosaic Covenant. It’s a tutor that is intended to lead them to Christ and to the New Covenant. But most of them are not there yet.

And so, perhaps this passage is telling us that in the Tribulation – before all the Jews are brought into the New Covenant – that God is going to do a special work of breaking finally that Old Mosaic Covenant.

And so, we see in the last verse that we’re going to cover that the symbolic action of breaking that staff that symbolizes the Mosaic Covenant is reacted to by the flock in Zechariah’s vision.

11 {And it/So it/It} was {broken in/broken on/annulled/revoked on} that {day/very day}:

and {so/thus/then} the {poor/afflicted/most afflicted} of the flock {that waited upon/who were watching/who kept faith with} me {knew/realized} that it was the word of the LORD.

So, in Zechariah’s vision, these afflicted sheep in the flock – the ones who apparently kept fait with Zechariah or were watching him or waited on him – these sheep realized that it was the word of the Lord that was coming to Zechariah and which then Zechariah carried out in front of them in this vision.

Hopefully this consideration has made everything as clear as possible so far. But I really do think that visions like these are intentionally vague and obscured, so that in the end when the Lord brings about whatever he’s prophesying it will be totally clear and will bring maximum glory to God as really no one was ever until that time able to fully decipher his message.

Anyway, we’ll continue to try to decipher this message next time.

Zechariah 10 Meaning

Zechariah 10 Meaning: Let’s turn our attention to Zechariah 10.

Last time we finished studying the 9th chapter of this book in which we’re brought from the time of Alexander the Great in the 300s BC… to Jesus’ first coming about 300 years later… all the way to the Millennium which is at some future point even to us, of course.

And I think that the Lord dwells on that future time of the Millennium in this 10th chapter of this book. So, let’s read Zechariah 10 in its entirety before we study its details.

|Read Zec 10…|

Zechariah 10 Meaning Ask for Rain

So, this chapter begins with the Lord challenging the people to ask him for rain. Read verse 1 again.

KJV Zechariah 10:1 ¶ Ask ye of the LORD rain in the |time/season| of the |latter/spring/late spring| rain;
|so the/The/It is the| LORD |shall make bright clouds/who makes the storm clouds/who causes thunderstorms|,

and |give/he will give/he gives| |them/everyone/men| showers of rain,
to every one |grass/vegetation/green growth/plants| in the field.

And so, the Lord seems to make the point that he alone sends rain and that’s why he’s the one to be asked to send rain.

Zechariah 10 Meaning Others Are Vain

Well, why does the Lord need to emphasize the fact that he alone sends rain?

That’s because there were other entities that claimed to be able to send rain. Verse 2 speaks of them as idols and diviners.

And the reality is that they are false.

2 For the |idols/teraphim/household gods| |have spoken/speak| |vanity/iniquity/wickedness/deceit|,
and the |diviners/soothsayers| |have seen a lie/see lying visions|,

and have |told false dreams/disclosed emptiness|;
they comfort in vain:

therefore |they/the people| |went their way/wander/set out| |as a flock/like sheep|,
they |were/are| |troubled/afflicted/scattered/oppressed|, because there was no shepherd.

And so, you see the result of lying visions and trusting false gods. It’s not simply that the people ended up asking idols and their purveyors to send rain and they didn’t get any because they were seeking it from the wrong source.

The result of idolatry like this is that the people wander morally. Because idolaters don’t just look to their idol for rain or whatever other kind of material desire they have. Idolaters seek their idols to give them guidance in this life.

And when you seek life-guidance from a source that is not true but is rather a lie, you don’t stay on the path. You wander.

You might even get some comfort from your idol. But ultimately that supposed comfort will evaporate. It’s a mirage.

And you’ll end up seeking some other source of comfort. But unless that source is the Lord you will come up disappointed again. And you will do what the Israelites did. You will wander.

The Israelites had those who claimed to be shepherds. But they were no shepherds. And God’s people who don’t have true shepherds tend to wander.

And you know what it’s like to wander. I’m sure that you would agree that the way that God describes it – as affliction and trouble – are indeed the side effects of wandering without God shepherding you.

Zechariah 10 Meaning Punish the False Shepherds

And it’s not as if God holds those false shepherds blameless. No, he’s as angry at them just as we ought to be.

And this is why the Lord vows in verse 3 to punish those false shepherds and to care once more for his flock who had so foolishly gone after those false guides.

3 |Mine anger was kindled against/I am enraged at| the shepherds,
and I |punished/will punish| the |goats/male goats/lead goats/leaders|:

for the LORD of hosts |hath visited/has brought blessing to/will care for| his flock the house of Judah,
and |hath made/will make/will transform| them |as/into| his |goodly/majestic/proud| |horse in the battle/war horse|.

So, God says that he either punished or will punish these false prophets who led Israel astray. And then the Lord says that he’ll take over for them and lead his people in the right direction.

And as he’s speaking of the Jews in what I believe to be the timeframe of the future Millennium, the Lord goes on and we saw him speak of using these formerly disobedient people as weapons in his future holy war.

Zechariah 10 Meaning What’s to Come Through Judah

And so, I think that this emphasis on Judah and what the Lord is going to bring about through that tribe continues in verse 4.

4 |Out of/From| |him/them/Judah| |came forth/will come| the |corner/cornerstone|,
|out of/from| |him/them| the |nail/tent peg/wall peg|,
|out of/from| |him/them| the battle bow,
|out of/from| |him/them| every |oppressor together/ruler, all of them together/ruler|.

So, we see the Lord repeat four times what will come “out of” or “from” Judah.

The first two items seem to have to do with building materials. The corner or cornerstone would be the foundation upon which an edifice is built. And then the nail or perhaps even tent or wall peg speaks of the material that is built upon that foundation.

Or perhaps the emphasis is on the effect that each of these things has on a building. The corner holds it up and the tent peg holds it down. But both serve to steady and secure the building.

Well, what is the building in this metaphor and who is the one who will serve to steady and secure it? Jesus Christ – the king of the Jews who was rejected by them as a stone but was chosen by God to be the chief corner. He’s the one who will secure and steady the building which is God’s people.

Well, then the second two items – the battle bow and every oppressor or every ruler – have to do with military and political power. And of course, it’s easy to see this as yet another reference to the King of the Jews – Jesus Christ.

He will come from Judah and will secure and steady Israel and will protect them and rule them.

Zechariah 10 Meaning Victory for Judah

Well, with such a king as Jesus Christ promised to the Jews, the Lord continues by speaking of giving Judah victory over their enemies in verse 5.

5 And they shall be |as/like| |mighty men/warriors|, |which tread down/treading down/trampling| |their enemies in the mire of the/the enemy in the mire of the/the mud of/the muddy| streets |in the/in| battle:

and they shall fight, because the LORD |is/will be| with them, and the |riders on horses/enemy cavalry/horsemen| shall be |confounded/put to shame/defeated/overthrown|. |i.e., by Judah…|

And so what else would you expect as the Jews are led by the LORD their King than total victory over all their enemies? And this will indeed happen at the end of the Tribulation and going into the Millennial reign of Christ.

Those nations that come against Israel will receive this kind of destruction at the hands of Jesus and his people who will uniformly receive him in the future.

Zechariah 10 Meaning God Turns Back to His People

And with such wonderful promises given to Judah, the Lord continues in verse 6 by speaking of his turning back to Judah and Joseph – that is, all the Jews – even though in times past he rejected them.

6 And I |i.e., the Lord…| will strengthen the |house/kingdom| of Judah,
and I will |save the house/deliver the people| of Joseph,

and I will |bring them again to place them/bring them back/restore them|;
|for I have mercy/because I have had compassion/because of my compassion| |upon/on/for| them:

and they shall be as though I had |not cast them off/not rejected them/never rejected them|:
for I am the LORD their God, |and/and therefore I| will |hear/answer| them.

So, this set of events also could occur at the end of the Tribulation. Or I suppose it could even be happening – or at least starting to happen – in the last seventy years since 1948 since the nation of Israel was re-founded in its original land given to it by the Lord.

And this restoration has nothing to do with Israel’s performance. It has all to do with God’s mercy. Israel doesn’t deserve good any more than any other sinful people. But God’s mercy makes all the difference.

And even though the Lord has had to cast his people out of their land at least twice, the mercy to come to the will be so great that it will seem in those future days as if the Lord had never cast them away.

Zechariah 10 Meaning Great Joy

And that kind of mercy calls for a response on the part of the recipients of it. And so, that’s why verse 7 describes the joy that Ephraim and their children will have when they see how the Lord is being gracious to them.

7 |And they of Ephraim/Ephraim/The Ephraimites| |shall/will| be like |a mighty man/warriors|,
and their heart |shall rejoice/will be glad| as |through/if they had drunk/with| wine:

|yea/Indeed|, their children |shall/will| see it, and |be glad/rejoice/be joyful|;
|their heart shall rejoice/they will celebrate| in |the/the things of the| LORD.

So, the Ephraimites will be strong and mighty like warriors. And their reaction to this new-found strength will be joy. And that’s also how their children will respond to seeing their fathers possessing such strength.

Zechariah 10 Meaning Gather the Exiles

And then the Lord declares that he will gather his previously-exiled people once more at some point in the future to Zechariah and make them prosperous in verse 8.

8 I will |hiss/whistle/signal| for them, |and/to| gather |them/them together/them in|;
|for/Surely| I |have/have already/will| |redeemed/redeem| them:
and they |shall increase/will become as numerous| as they |have increased/were before|.

So, it’s God’s buying these people back – redeeming them – that will allow him to show them mercy and bestow on them all of the blessings that he has promised so far in this chapter.

And a result of all of this blessing – and even part of the blessing itself – is that these people the Jews will multiply.

Zechariah 10 Meaning Remembering God in Exile

But first, he needs to get these people back from exile outside of their land and get them back into their land. And so, in verse 9 the Lord discusses this and says that his people will remember him while they’re in exile and he will bring them back to their land.

9 |And/When/Though| I |will sow/scatter| them among the |people/peoples/nations|:
|and they/they/yet they| |shall/will| remember me in |far countries/far-off places/distant lands|;

and they |shall/will| |live/sprout forth/survive| with their children,
and |turn again/come back/return|.

So, the fact that God has scattered the Jews will not deter him from gathering them again. He will put it in their heart to remember him and to return to their land.

It’s difficult to know if this is talking about the return of the Jews to their land in 1948 or not. One difficulty is that this verse says that they will remember the Lord and return. And I’m just not sure if that’s why the Jews started returning in 1948. In fact, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the reason for their return.

So, I think this is speaking of a return right around the end of the Millennium.

Zechariah 10 Meaning Coming Back to a Full Country

And return they will. Because in verse 10 the Lord describes the places from which his exiled people will return.

In addition, the Lord is going to describe the Jews as coming back to their land – but actually having to live in adjacent territory because their land will be so full of people.

10 I will bring them |again also out of/back from| the land of Egypt,
and gather them |out of/from| Assyria;

and I will bring them |into/to| |the land of Gilead/the lands of Gilead/Gilead| and Lebanon;
|and place shall not be found for them./Until no room can be found for them./for there will not be enough room for them in their own land./and there will not be room enough for them.|

So, the Jews in the future I believe will be taken from two areas and placed into a corresponding two areas. They’re taken from Egypt and Assyria. And they’ll be transferred – some of them at least – not into Israel, but rather into Gilead and Lebanon.

Gilead is east of the Jordan River from Israel and Lebanon is north of Israel.

Well, why is they Lord not going to just put these folks in Israel proper? It’s because of what he says in last statement of verse 10. There won’t be enough room for all of them in Israel proper. That’s a good problem to have!

Zechariah 10 Meaning Out of Trouble Into Peace

And when the Lord finally brings his people Israel out of Egypt and Assyria, he’s not taking them from nice and peaceful places. No, these places of exile for the Jews can be full of affliction and distress and trouble.

And that’s why the Lord speaks in verse 11 – in the context of returning them from exile – he speaks of  bringing his people out of trouble and back into their peaceful land.

And the converse of that reality is that he’s going to punish those lands from which they flee for their troubling his people.

11 |And he/And they/The LORD| |shall pass through/will cross| the sea |with affliction/of distress/of storms/of trouble|,
|and shall smite the waves in the sea,/and will calm its turbulence/the surging sea will be subdued|
|and all the/So that all the/The| |deeps/depths| of the |river/Nile| |shall/will| dry up:

and the pride of Assyria |shall be brought down/will be humbled|,
and the |scepter/domination| of Egypt |shall depart away/will depart/will be no more/will pass away|.

So, the reference to “sea” and “river” might be purely metaphorical to describe the time of the Jews’ exile in Egypt and Assyria.

But it could also be that the “river” refers to the Nile River in Egypt and that the “sea” refers to a sea in Assyria. Now, ancient Assyria is contained in the southeastern part of modern-day Turkey and the northern part of Iran. And it so happens that there are two larger bodies of water in these two countries that the Lord might be referring to – Lake Van in Turkey and Lake Urmia in Iran.

Anyway, whether the Lord is actually thinking about those two bodies of water or not, it’s clear that while he plans to rescue his people the Jews from these nations, he is also planning a corresponding destruction on these two nations that held them captive for so long.

Zechariah 10 Meaning Strength

But that’s not where the Lord ends this discussion – with talk of destroying enemies. And so in verse 12 the Lord ends this chapter by declaring that he will strengthen his people.

12 |And/Thus| I will strengthen them |in the LORD/by my power|;
and they shall |walk up and down/walk/walk about| in |his/my| name,

|saith/declares| the LORD.

So, this chapter ends on a positive note. But what we’ll see in the next chapter is the Lord coming back to this theme of judgement on the nations and catastrophe to his people Israel.

Zechariah 9 Verse 9

So, this chapter began with an acknowledgement that at some time in the future, the eyes of everyone would be toward the Lord.

And then in verse 8 the Lord ends that verse with this enigmatic statement, “For now have I seen with my eyes…”

Well, what has he seen? What has the Lord looked down the hallway of time to see as he’s giving Zechariah this prophecy?

It’s the very one whose eyes all will be turned toward in some future day. The Lord looks forward to the coming of… the Lord. Verse 9.

KJV Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem:

behold, thy King cometh unto thee:
he is [just/legitimate], and [having salvation/victorious];

[lowly/humble/gentle/meek], and [riding upon an/mounted on a] [ass/donkey],
and upon a [colt/young donkey] the foal of [an ass/a female donkey].

So, the inhabitants of Zion / Jerusalem are commanded to rejoice greatly and to shout for joy. Why?

Because their king is coming! And he’s coming to them.

We saw in the first 8 verses of this chapter that there was going to be a king of another nation – Greece – that was going to swoop down and destroy a number of other cities north of Israel and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

But what about poor Israel? What would they do as Alexander the Great was destroying all around them?

Well, the Lord promised in this chapter to protect his house – to encamp about it. And that eventually no oppressor would pass through their land anymore.

And that will happen someday. But it didn’t happen in Zechariah’s time. And it won’t happen until the Millennium. But something else had to happen first. Their king had to come to them the first time.

And we saw in this passage how he would come that first time. In some ways, the King of the Jews was prophesied to come as you would expect a king to come – “just” or “legitimate” even. And he has “salvation” or he’s “victorious” – he’s ready to deliver his oppressed people. And of course as this refers to Jesus Christ, he literally had salvation – not just military salvation or deliverance for his people – but spiritual salvation – his ability to save people from sin. There’s no other king like that!

And yet the coming of this king is also unique for its lowliness and unassuming nature. The King of the Jews is prophesied here to come lowly or humble or meek or gentle. Now, I think that you would recognize that this is not the typical posture of a king. No – earthly kings have something to prove. And so, they amass strength of every sort to themselves as they present themselves to their people.

Think of military marches where the entire strength of a ruler’s military is on display. Think of the gusto of our president as he speaks such large swelling words about America’s power. Think of the threats of one nation against another and the strength that those missives are aiming to portray. It’s all about strength. They all have something to prove.

But Jesus Christ has nothing to prove. He doesn’t need to impress people with appearance. He doesn’t need to make a show of his strength. He is strength. He is power. He’s almighty!

And remember that this verse is given in the context God protecting his house from invading armies – this army from Greece in particular that we’re going to hear about in a few verses.

But it’s interesting that Greece’s army under Alexander the Great and Jesus’ coming were several hundred years apart. And yet, this is how biblical prophecy sometimes works. You have a section of texts with no apparent break – but in that section you could have events hundreds or even thousands of years apart.

But the idea is that these people the Jews are going to be in danger until their king comes – and here’s the key – until they receive that king.

We see Jesus doing this very thing in the Gospels. He comes into Jerusalem on a donkey. The message to those people couldn’t have been clearer. This is your king! And in fact, the Jews understood this to be what Jesus was indicating. They cried “Hosanna to the Son of David!” They knew what Jesus was claiming and some of them rejoiced.

But overall, they rejected their king. Their leaders – just like Adam so long ago who was the head and leader of the human race – these folks sinned against the Lord. They rejected their humble, lowly savior. And that’s why to this day they are in danger.

But a time is coming – as we’re told later in this very book – where these folks who have pierced their saving king will look on him and mourn their actions.

And at that point, the activities of verse 10 will commence.

Zechariah 9 Commentary Verses 9-17

Zechariah 9 Commentary Verses 9-17: Let’s turn our attention to Zechariah 9. I’d like us to read the ninth chapter of Zechariah in its entirety.

[Read Zec 9…]

So, this chapter began with an acknowledgement that at some time in the future, the eyes of everyone would be toward the Lord.

And then in verse 8 the Lord ends that verse with this enigmatic statement, “For now have I seen with my eyes…”

Well, what has he seen? What has the Lord looked down the hallway of time to see as he’s giving Zechariah this prophecy?

It’s the very one whose eyes all will be turned toward in some future day. The Lord looks forward to the coming of… the Lord. Verse 9.

KJV Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion;
shout, O daughter of Jerusalem:

behold, thy King cometh unto thee:
he is [just/legitimate], and [having salvation/victorious];

[lowly/humble/gentle/meek], and [riding upon an/mounted on a] [ass/donkey],
and upon a [colt/young donkey] the foal of [an ass/a female donkey].

So, the inhabitants of Zion / Jerusalem are commanded to rejoice greatly and to shout for joy. Why?

Because their king is coming! And he’s coming to them.

We saw in the first 8 verses of this chapter that there was going to be a king of another nation – Greece – that was going to swoop down and destroy a number of other cities north of Israel and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

But what about poor Israel? What would they do as Alexander the Great was destroying all around them?

Well, the Lord promised in this chapter to protect his house – to encamp about it. And that eventually no oppressor would pass through their land anymore.

And that will happen someday. But it didn’t happen in Zechariah’s time. And it won’t happen until the Millennium. But something else had to happen first. Their king had to come to them the first time.

And we saw in this passage how he would come that first time. In some ways, the King of the Jews was prophesied to come as you would expect a king to come – “just” or “legitimate” even. And he has “salvation” or he’s “victorious” – he’s ready to deliver his oppressed people. And of course as this refers to Jesus Christ, he literally had salvation – not just military salvation or deliverance for his people – but spiritual salvation – his ability to save people from sin. There’s no other king like that!

And yet the coming of this king is also unique for its lowliness and unassuming nature. The King of the Jews is prophesied here to come lowly or humble or meek or gentle. Now, I think that you would recognize that this is not the typical posture of a king. No – earthly kings have something to prove. And so, they amass strength of every sort to themselves as they present themselves to their people.

Think of military marches where the entire strength of a ruler’s military is on display. Think of the gusto of our president as he speaks such large swelling words about America’s power. Think of the threats of one nation against another and the strength that those missives are aiming to portray. It’s all about strength. They all have something to prove.

But Jesus Christ has nothing to prove. He doesn’t need to impress people with appearance. He doesn’t need to make a show of his strength. He is strength. He is power. He’s almighty!

And remember that this verse is given in the context God protecting his house from invading armies – this army from Greece in particular that we’re going to hear about in a few verses.

But it’s interesting that Greece’s army under Alexander the Great and Jesus’ coming were several hundred years apart. And yet, this is how biblical prophecy sometimes works. You have a section of texts with no apparent break – but in that section you could have events hundreds or even thousands of years apart.

But the idea is that these people the Jews are going to be in danger until their king comes – and here’s the key – until they receive that king.

We see Jesus doing this very thing in the Gospels. He comes into Jerusalem on a donkey. The message to those people couldn’t have been clearer. This is your king! And in fact, the Jews understood this to be what Jesus was indicating. They cried “Hosanna to the Son of David!” They knew what Jesus was claiming and some of them rejoiced.

But overall, they rejected their king. Their leaders – just like Adam so long ago who was the head and leader of the human race – these folks sinned against the Lord. They rejected their humble, lowly savior. And that’s why to this day they are in danger.

But a time is coming – as we’re told later in this very book – where these folks who have pierced their saving king will look on him and mourn their actions.

And at that point, the activities of verse 10 will commence.

10 And I will [cut off/remove/take away/destroy] the chariot from Ephraim,
and the [horse/warhorse] from Jerusalem,
and the [battle bow/bow of war] shall be [cut off/removed/broken]:

[and/Then] he shall [speak/announce/proclaim] peace unto the [heathen/nations]:
and his [dominion/rule][shall be/will extend] from sea even to sea,
and from the [river/Euphrates River] even to the ends of the earth.

So, peace is what Jesus Christ will bring – not just to the Jews – but to everyone.

But do notice the peace he will bring to the Jews. Ephraim and Jerusalem are mentioned – Ephraim is north and Jerusalem is south. And how many war implements will be left in either of these places? None – he says he will get rid of chariots and war horses and bows from these places.

Why? Well, it’s because the Jews will not need to fight anymore.

But to this day these people are fighting. Most recently, there have been hundreds of rockets fired into southern Israel from Hamas which is funded by Iran. The Jews currently need to defend themselves. They need the modern-day equivalent of chariots and bows and horses to protect themselves.

But in the Millennium they won’t need that. Because they’ll have their king living in their midst.

And what that king will do is to speak peace to the heathen. He’s going to declare peace to the nations. The nations will be greatly desiring that peace. Because they know that they stand no chance against the Lord God Omnipotent who is also the king of their former enemy – Israel.

And as these nations accept the terms of King Jesus’ peace deal, they will come under his rule. And really, there will be no nation outside of this peace agreement. Every nation will be under the dominion of Jesus Christ. Sea to sea. From the River Euphrates to the ends of the earth. Everywhere. Everyone. Everything. It will all be ruled by Jesus Christ the King of the Jews.

And so, when Jesus comes and rules over the world from Jerusalem, those Jews who had been oppressed and even taken captive – they’ll be returned, according to verses 11 and 12.

11 As for thee [also/moreover], [by/because of] [the blood of thy covenant/the blood of My covenant with you/our covenant relationship secured with blood] I [have/will] [sent forth/set free/release] thy prisoners [out of/from] the [pit wherein is no water/waterless pit].

So, when God made a covenant – a promise or an agreement – with Israel at Mount Sinai, there was some blood involved. So, you might think that this is the covenant that God is speaking of – the covenant made at Sinai – the Mosaic Covenant.

However, if we’re talking about the Millennium, we’re not talking about Sinai and the Mosaic Covenant anymore. We’re talking about the New Covenant. That’s the covenant that God promises in books like Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Under that New Covenant, God will write his commands on the hearts of those who have entered into that covenant – rather than writing them on stone tablets like he did at Sinai with Moses. God will forgive the sins of everyone who is in that covenant.

And so, when the Lord here in verse 11 promises to send forth or set free or release these prisoners because of the blood that inaugurated the New Covenant, I tend to see him referring to spiritual bondage and spiritual freedom.

The pit out of which these folks will be freed then is perhaps the depths of sin.

Otherwise, perhaps what the Lord has in mind here is people who had been taken captive during the Tribulation before the Millennium begins and that the Lord is going to physically free these people. And he’s going to do it based on the New Covenant.

I think either interpretation is not outside of the realm of possibility.

And so, in light of this freedom promised and declared to these prisoners, God turns to directly address these folks far into the future – in verse 12.

12 [Turn you/Return] to [the strong hold/your fortress], [ye/O/you] prisoners [of/who have the/with] hope:

What hope? The hope of being released, like he was just talking about in verse 11!

[even to day/This very day/today/even now] [do I declare/I announce] that I will [render/restore/return] [double/twice as much] [unto thee/what was taken from you];

And so, this last statement here seems to indicate that God is being literal. These prisoners will have had things taken from them by their enemies. But at this point, their enemies will be subdued and their king will be ruling the whole world and they’re going to be – not just released – but they’ll have all that was stolen from them returned.

Alright, now, the Lord had said earlier in this text that there won’t be anymore weapons in his new world – the world of the Millennium. Right? Bows, war horses, and chariots will all be a thing of the past.

But that doesn’t stop the Lord from speaking of using humans as his weapons. Look at verse 13.

13 [When I/For I/I] [have/will] [bent/bend] Judah [for me/as my bow/as I bend my bow],
[filled/I will fill/I will load] the bow with Ephraim [i.e., my arrow!…],

[and raised up/And I will stir up/I will rouse] thy sons, O Zion,
against thy sons, O Greece,

and [made/I will make] [thee/you, Zion] [as/like] [the sword of a mighty man/a warrior’s sword].

So, this is – by the way – where we have some guidance as to whom the Lord is speaking of back in the first part of this chapter. I’ve mentioned that he’s talking about Greece coming down and attacking Hamath and Hadrach and then a few Philistine cities along the coast. But up until this point, we have no idea who that king there is who’s supposed to lead his army to do these things. But now we hear what nation this is that the Lord is speaking of – Greece.

And some of the references to Greece are historical – especially what we saw earlier in this chapter. Those things were going to happen after Zechariah’s time but yet from our vantage point had already happened – they’re history at this point.

But I’m not inclined to see verse 13 as having already happened. Why’s that? Well, it seems to me that Judah and Ephraim really never could be said to have been God’s bow and arrow against Greece. During and since the time of Zechariah, Zion has never really been like a sword.

Yes, the Jews did rise up against their Romans occupiers about 70 years after Jesus’ birth. But they were put down by Rome’s military might. And I can’t think of a time when Israel would have attacked and defeated Greece.

So, I see these things as happening at the end of the Tribulation right before the Millennium.

And so, this nation that had caused grief and fear to God’s people back in 300 BC or so – at a time yet future to us will be defeated by the nation of Israel.

And how is that? How is it that Israel – who has been so relatively powerless for so many centuries – that they would be in the position to attack and destroy Greece?

That’s because of what we see in verse 14.

14 [And/Then] the LORD [shall be seen/will appear] [over/above] them,
and his arrow shall [go forth/shoot forth/flash] [as the/like] lightning:

and the [Lord GOD/Sovereign LORD] shall blow the trumpet,
and shall [go/march/sally forth] [with/in/on] [whirlwinds/the storm winds] of the south.

So, the arrow that God had just described as being Ephraim – he’s going to shoot it. God is going to come from the south in Israel up north to Greece.

And it’s the fact that the Lord will be with and over his people that will cause them to be so mighty.

And we see some other exploits that the Jews will carry out when the Lord Jesus Christ is dwelling among them in those days.

15 The LORD [of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty] shall [defend/guard/shield/protect] them;
and they shall [devour/prevail/destroy], and [subdue/trample/overcome] [with/on the] sling stones;

[and/Then] they shall drink,
and [make a noise/be boisterous/will become noisy] [as/like] [through/with] [wine/drunkards]; [LXX: and they shall swallow them down as wine…]

and they shall be filled like [bowls/a sacrificial basin],
[and/drenched] as the corners of the altar.

So, you see here a fairly bloody scene. The Jews will destroy their enemies under the leadership of their King Messiah.

And I think he pictures it as if they’re drunk with blood. Now, of course, to drink the blood of anything would be an abomination to the Lord. And certainly literally drinking human blood would be even worse. And so, the Lord is being poetic here. The destruction that the Jews will bring about under Jesus’ leadership will be a blood bath. So much blood it’s as if the soldiers will be drunk with it and be making loud noises as if they were drunk.

And then the Lord says that they’ll be filled – again, with blood. As if they were the bowls that were on the sides of the altar in the Temple to catch the blood of the sacrificial animals.

And one more simile having to do with blood – the Jewish soldiers in those days right at the end of the Tribulation will be like the corners of the altar – just drenched with blood.

But enough of the violent bloody picture for now. At this point now, God wants to focus on the good that he’s going to do for his people Israel in those days.

16 [And/On that day] the LORD their God [shall/will] [save/deliver] them [in/on] that day as the flock of his people:

for they shall be as the [stones/precious stones] of a crown, [lifted up as an ensign/sparkling] [upon/in/over] his land.

And so, we see two metaphors here to describe God’s graciousness with his people in those days.

First, God is going to treat his people like a flock of sheep.

And second, the Lord is going to treat them as precious stones in a crown.

So, they will be near to God and cared for by him. And they will be prized and honored and placed on display for all the world to see his graciousness towards them.

And with all of this mercy and grace lavished upon these people, the Lord concludes this chapter this way.

17 [For how great is his goodness,
and how great is his beauty!/For what comeliness and beauty will be theirs!/How precious and fair!/How attractive and beautiful they will be!]

[corn/grain] [shall/will] make the young men [cheerful/flourish/thrive],
and new wine the [maids/virgins/young women].

So, the goodness and beauty or the comeliness and beauty or the preciousness and fairness is probably referring to these whom God will choose to lavish his grace upon.

And in a way, we who are saved by the blood of Jesus and have entered into the New Covenant already – we’re just as enviable in certain ways. And yet, for us, in this world there is oppression and there is indwelling sin and there is treachery that we are subjected to. And on and on.

But not in the world of the Millennium. Everything will be right and fair and just when Jesus rules the world.

And so, these people under Jesus’ rule are people to be envied. They’ll be provided for with grain and new wine. They will have everything they need.

What an encouragement to these Jews of Zechariah’s day who had so little. They lived amongst the ruins of a once great city. And what God wants them to be aware of is that they have a bright future. And it’s all dependent on their relationship to God’s king for them.

Praise the Lord that we have received this king and will reign with him some day and see all of these wonderful realities come to pass.

Zechariah 9 Commentary Verses 1-8

Let’s turn our attention to the ninth chapter of the book of Zechariah.

This book started out with the Lord offering to turn once again to the exile who had returned from Babylon. If they would turn to him, he promised that he would also turn to them. And it turns out that they did turn to him and so the Lord would keep his end of the deal and turn to them.

And to show his turning to these people once more he sent several visions to the prophet Zechariah. Visions declaring that God was going to deal with the nations that oppressed Israel, that God would cleanse and accept once more their civil leadership and religious leadership, and that best of all one day the Lord himself would literally dwell among his people.

Then after that we had the two chapters dealing with whether the Jews ought to have continued to fast and mourn because of their temple being destroyed 70 years ago. And there too the message – while dealing with past sins of the Jews – looked forward to God’s rich blessings on these people in the future.

And that brings us to the last major section in this book – chapters 9-14.

We’ll begin in chapter 9 today which begins with a burden or an oracle in verse 1.

KJV Zechariah 9:1 ¶ The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD.

So, this burden or oracle – really, a prophetic message of warning – is “in” or more likely “against” or “concerning” this land called Hadrach. This apparently was an ancient area that covered much of modern-day Syria.

And when the Lord says here that Damascus is the “rest” of something – it means “resting place.”

Well, what is going to be “resting” in Damascus? It’s this oracle – this prophetic message of warning. This message is against Hadrach – modern-day Syria – and the resting place or even the “focus” of this oracle is this city of Damascus – the ancient and modern-day capital of this particular region.

And this prophetic message is either for a time when the eyes of everyone will be on the Lord. That is, perhaps in the future when these things in this prophetic message will come to pass – that everyone’s attention will be turned to the Lord. Not just will Israel’s eyes be turned to the Lord but so will all mankind.

And we certainly recognize that this is not really the case at this point, right? Would you say that if you went out into the streets and started talking with people that it would be obvious from casual conversations that everyone these days is paying attention to the Lord?

No, of course not. So, it could be that most or even all of this in this prophetic message of warning is for the future.

And as with all of the prophetic warning messages that the Lord gives in the Bible, it’s interesting that the people to whom this was written probably never received it. The ancient people who lived in the area we know as Syria probably never heard this. And I suppose it wouldn’t matter if they did or not especially if what is to be revealed in this passage deals with things still to come from our vantage point.

At any rate, the Lord has one more group of geographical regions to add in verse 2 to this prophetic message of warning.

2 And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise.

Ok, so what about Hamath? It borders by what?

This is saying that Hamath was near to Hadrach. So, we’re still talking about people in this same region of modern-day Syria.

But what about them? Either it’s saying that this warning message is for these people. Or it’s saying that the eyes of these people are – or will be – on the Lord. And I think it’s saying both – these people are being warned because one day they will have their eyes on the Lord because they’re going to be in the kind of trouble that this warning message says they’re going to be in.

Now, this region called Hamath apparently has two major cities associated with it. Just like Hadrach was associated with the major city of Damascus, so this territory of Hamath is known for its relationship to two major cities – Tyre and Sidon. Apparently, this area of Hamath sat between Damascus over on the east and Tyre and Sidon over on the west.

Now, these two cities – Tyre and Sidon – apparently felt themselves to be very wise.

Well, why do these cities feel so wise and clever? Verse 3 lets us in on that bit of information.

3 And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold,
and heaped up silver as the dust,
and fine gold as the mire of the streets.

So, that would make a city feel pretty wise. Somehow figuring out how to fortify itself and to become immensely wealthy.

But all of this was done without their eyes being like the eyes of everyone will be some day – on the Lord.

And because of that, the Lord would see to it that this wisdom of Tyre’s would be thwarted.

4 Behold, the Lord will cast her out,
and he will smite her power in the sea;
and she shall be devoured with fire.

So, Tyre would be cast out. And that’s a fitting description of what happened to Tyre in the 300s BC when the Greek ruler Alexander the Great came and pushed Tyre into the Mediterranean Sea. But the Lord takes credit for that before it happened.

And as a result, Tyre’s power on the Sea – which was legendary – would be destroyed or smitten. I’ll just note that some translations take that reference to smiting Tyres’s power on the Sea to be another reference to Greece pushing Tyre into the sea.

And then of course when all of that happened, Tyre was burned with fire by Greece.

And the Lord says that this destruction of Tyre is going to have an impact on other cities along the coast.

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.

Now, these three cities were all cities on the coast of the Mediterranean Seas farther south of Tyre and Sidon.

So, the progression in this warning message has been from north to south. Hadrach is far north, Hamath is father south, Tyre and Sidon and still farther south, and now this verse is yet still farther south.

It reminds me of the progression that God predicted in the book of Jeremiah where he was envisioning Babylon coming and swooping down and destroying numerous cities.

Only now in the book of Zechariah, Babylon had already done that. So, who is this new menace that’s coming form the north? We’ve mentioned the nation before – it’s Greece. They’re coming from the north and would come down south and finally make it to these three cities.

These are Philistine cities along the coast. And what’s interesting is the way that God states these cities and what’s going to happen to them. There’s a pattern to it. It starts with Ashkelon and ends with Ashkelon. Then the second city mentioned is Gaza and that’s also the city mentioned second-to-last. And finally in the middle of those two cities is Ekron.

And you get the idea that these southern cities will be so alarmed and disappointed because the northern cities weren’t successful in stopping the onslaught of Greece. And then eventually when Greece did come then these things happened like cities not being inhabited and kings perishing.

Well, there’s one more Philistine city that the Lord wants to warn in verse 6.

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

Now, when the KJV speaks of a “bastard” it’s speaking of an illegitimate group of people. In other words, the Lord is saying that the city of Ashdod – which is a little farther north of Ashkelon and just about due west from Ekron – will no longer have Philistines living in it anymore. Rather, a group of non-Philistines will live there after Greece had invaded that city.

And all of this would happen because God had set in his heart to humiliate the Philistines – to cut off their pride.

But actually, the Lord would use this to show mercy to some of these idolaters.

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.

So, God would use this terrible event as a way to stop idolatry and bring some of these Philistines into Israel.

When God speaks of taking the blood out of their mouths, he’s referring to some idolatrous practice wherein they used to probably eat meat with the blood in it – which was abhorrent to the Lord. That kind of activity was an abomination.

But after the Lord dealt with the Philistines through Greece’s invasion, they would “be for” God. They would come to belong to the Lord.

It’s just like the Jebusites. They lived around Jerusalem before David captured that city. And they ended up being assimilated into Israel. That’s what God is saying here would happened to the Philistines.

Also – one last thing about this verse – the word “governor” in the KJV can also be translated as “clan.” So, the Philistines would be a clan in Judah just like Simeon or Ascher or Zebulun were.

So, that’s a nice part of this message finally – but it’s in the context of lots of destruction for these people.

Now, even though the Lord has thus far threatened destruction on numerous cities and geographical areas, now he’s going to contrast that with how he’s going to treat his people Israel.

8 And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.

So, this house – this temple – that the Lord insisted that these Jews rebuild – it’s this temple that he’s going to protect. He’s going to protect it from Greece whereas he didn’t protect Damascus and Tyre and Sidon and the Philistine cities.

Now, I think we have here a double-fulfillment. There’s a sense in which a number of the things said so far have their fulfillment already in the person of Alexander of Greece. But if you read the book of Daniel and the eleventh chapter you will hear a lot of back-and-forth about the king of the north and the king of the south and how this one goes here and does this and that one goes there and does that and such. And some of that record in Daniel 11 is historical – but some of it is yet future to us.

My point is that some of what we read here in Zechariah 9 is historical and some of it is future.

So, this verse ends in what I think is kind of a mysterious way. The Lord makes the statement, “Now have I seen with mine eyes…” It in my mind should have an ellipses at the end of this verse. What have you seen? What are you looking at down the corridors of time into the future from Zechariah’s timeframe?

We’re going to see that what the Lord sees is none other than the coming king of Israel who would come lowly riding on a donkey. We’ll study that next time.