Page images

Verse 4. “Take away the filthy garments from him."—There are sufficient intimations in Scripture that it was a custom among the Hebrews for persons in a condition of mourning, humiliation, or degradation, to clothe themselves in mean and neglected attire; but, on the contrary, to express a state of rejoicing, happiness, and relief, by rich and gay apparel. The ideas connected with this custom appear to be involved in the present passage. The practice still prevails in the East, and in ancient times was not by any means confined to the Orientals. It was common among the Romans, whose usages in this matter are applied by Gill with good effect to the illustration of the present passage. When a man was charged with capital crimes, it was usual for him to neglect his hair and beard, and to wear filthy, ragged garments, presenting altogether a very sordid and dirty appearance. Hence such persons were called sordidati. In such attire he appeared before his judges to take his trial; and not only himself, but his friends and relations appeared with him, with hair dishevelled, and in garments old and foul, weeping and deprecating punishment, hoping thus to move the compassion of the people. Hence history does not omit to record the fact of certain eminent men (as Scipio Africanus) who, in the pride of conscious innocence of the crimes laid to their charge, refused to assume the mean attire and appearance of arraigned persons, but continued to wear their customary dress, and shaved their beards as usual, or even put on attire richer than their customary wear. A somewhat remarkable illustration, with a reverse application, might perhaps be taken from the instance of the Rhodian ambassadors, who put on the white robes of congratulation when they heard of a victory gained by the Romans; but instantly changed them for sordid and mean attire as soon as they understood that the Rhodian people had not been thought to have acted the part of friends and allies, or to have deserved well of the Roman people. (Liv. Hist. 1. xlv. c. 20.)


1 By the golden candlestick is foreshewed the good success of Zerubbabel's foundation. 11 By the two olive trees the two anointed ones.

AND the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,

2 And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, 'with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and 'seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:

3 And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.

4 So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?

5 Then the angel that talked with me. answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.

6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

7 Who art thou, O great mountain? be

1 Heb. with her bowl. Heb. stone of tin.

fore Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace into



1 By the flying roll is shewed the curse of thieves and swearers. 5 By a woman pressed in an ephah, the final dumnation of Babylon.

8 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

9 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.

10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the 'plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; "they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

11 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?

12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which 'through the two golden pipes 'empty 'the golden oil out of themselves?

13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.

14 Then said he, These are the two 10anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

"Or, army.

■ Or, seven several pipes to the lamps, &c.
Or, sith the seven eyes of the LORD shall rejoice.
Chap. 3. 9. 7 Heb. by the hand. 8 Or, empty out of themselves oil into the gold. • Heb. the gold.
10 Heb. sons of oil.

2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.

3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse

THEN I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and that goeth forth over the face of the whole looked, and behold a flying roll. earth for 'every one that stealeth shall be

1 Or, every one of this people that stealeth, holdeth himself guiltless, as it doth.

cut off as on this side according to it; and | every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.

4 I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.

5 Then the angel that talked with me. went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.

6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.

7 And, behold, there was lifted up a 'ta

"Son of Epicydes! your oath retains,

Just for the moment, all the plundered gains. Swear then; for death alike the just-the knave Lay's undistinguished in the silent grave.

2 Or, weighty piece.

Verse 4. "It shall enter into the house of the thief, and...of him that sweareth falsely...and shall consume it.”— Calmet observes that under the two names of thief and false swearer, the Hebrews and Chaldeans comprehended all other crimes; theft denoting every kind of injustice and violence executed against men; and perjury, all crimes against God. Grotius and others have observed a considerable resemblance between this text and a passage in Herodotus (Erato, 86), in which Leotychides relates to the Athenians an anecdote of a man called Glaucus, who being desirous of appropriating to his own use a sum of money which had been entrusted to him, consulted the Pythian oracle whether he might do so by taking a false oath-the money having been claimed by the sons of the owner. The oracle answered:


1 The vision of the four chariots. 9 By the crowns of Joshua are shewed the temple and kingdom of

Christ the Branch.

lent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

8 And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.

AND I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.

2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;

3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and 'bay horses.

4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?

5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four 'spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the LORD of all the earth.

6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white

1 Or, strong.

10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?

11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

But the False Oath a direful monster sends,
Which, footless, hastens-which, though handless, rends
His house and offspring whom the gods detest,
While his, who fears an oath, are ever blest."
TAYLOR's translation.

go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.

7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.

8 Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.

9 ¶ And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

10 Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;

11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;

12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus

Or, winds.

speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:

14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.

15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.

Or, branch up from under him.

13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Chap. 3. 8.

Verse 1. "Four chariots."—It is generally understood, both by Jewish and Christian interpreters, that these chariots denote the four great empires-the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman - which successively arose in the world. The larger commentaries sometimes seek reasons for the distinguishing colours in the horses of the several chariots; but we do not see that any reliance can be placed on the explanatory conjectures which have been offered.

12. "The BRANCH.”—Some of the Jewish writers understand that this title is applied to Zerubbabel himself. But he was already grown up in his place; and the application to him is so greatly and obviously improper, that it has not been much followed. Most of the Jewish interpreters and all the Christian apply it to the Messiah; and of the correctness of this application no reasonable doubt can be entertained. (See the marginal references.) "The Branch" is a name frequently applied to the Messiah in the Talmud and other Jewish writings.


1 The captives enquire of fasting. 4 Zechariah reproveth their fasting 8 Sin the cause of their


AND it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;

2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, 'to pray before the LORD,

3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?

4¶Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying,

5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye 'fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?

6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, 'did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?

7 Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round

[blocks in formation]

1 Heb. to intreat the face of the LORD. 2 Isa. 58. 5. 3 Or, be not ye they that, &c. 4 Or. Are not these the words. Heb. by the hand of, &c. Heb. Judge judgment of truth. 7 Exod. 22. 21, 22. Isa. 1. 23. Jer. 5. 28. Heb. they gave a backsliding shoulder. Heb, made heavy. 10 Heb. by the hand of. 11 Prov. 1. 28. Isa. 1. 15. Jer. 11. 11, and 14.12 12 Heb. land of desire.

Verse 5. "When ye fasted....... in the fifth and seventh month."-This is one of several allusions in Zechariah to anniversary fast days, concerning which we cannot do better than transcribe the following from Jahn's Archæologia Bi. blica, ch. iii. sect. 357. "The Hebrews, in the early period of their history, were in the habit of fasting whenever VOL. III. 2 T 321

they met with any adverse occurrences (Judg. xx. 26; 1 Sam. vii. 6; xxxi. 13; 2 Sam. iii. 35; Isa. lviii. 3-12). But it was not till about the time of the Captivity that they introduced anniversary fast days. The days to which we

allude are as follows:

I. The seventeenth day of the fourth month, namely, Tammux, or July. This fast was instituted in memory of the capture of Jerusalem; Jer. liii. 6, et seq.; Zech. viii. 19.

II. The ninth day of the fifth month, AB, or August, in memory of the burning of the Temple; Zech. vii. 3;

viii. 19.

III. The third day of the seventh month, TISHRI, or October, in memory of the death of Gedaliah, Jer. xl. 4; Zech. vi. 5; viii. 19.

IV. The tenth day of the tenth month, TEBETH, or January, in memory of the commencement of the attack on Jerusalem; Zech. viii. 19.

The prophet Zechariah, in reference to inquiries which were made to him, asserted that these mournful occasions were, at some future time, to be converted into festivals of joy; but the Jews, notwithstanding, have ever continued to observe them as fasts." They expect this change to take place in the days of the, by them, still expected Messiah." It will be recollected that only one annual public fast, that of the day of atonement, was instituted by the Law of Moses; but several instances occur in Scripture of extraordinary public fasts, appointed by the authority of the civil magistrate (1 Sam. vii. 5, 6; 2 Chron. xx. 3; Jer. xxxvi. 9). Thus the present were the first annual fasts, held in commemoration of public calamities which befel the nation. It is observable of the second, that the Jews fast on the ninth Ab, not only for the destruction of the first but of the second Temple; as they are persuaded that both events took place on the same day of the same month.

7. “The south and the plain.”—The south explains itself; the plain means the western part of Judea, being the same as the valley of Josh. xv. 33: see the note there.


1 The restoration of Jerusalem. 9 They are encouraged to the building by God's favour to them. 16 Good works are required of them. 18 Joy and enlargement are promised.

AGAIN the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying,

2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; 'I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.

3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.

4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand 'for very age.

5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.

6 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be 'marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts.

[blocks in formation]

days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.

10 For before these days 'there was no "hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour.

11 But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the LORD of hosts.

[blocks in formation]

8 Or, hard, or, difficult.
7 Heb. of peace. 8 Ephes, 4. £5.

Heb. the country of the going down of the sun.
9 Heb. judge truth, and the judgment of peace.

no false oath for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.

18 And the word of the LORD of hosts came unto me, saying,

19 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace. 20 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities:

10 Heb. solemn, or set times. 11 Isa. 2.3. Mic. 4. 1, 2. 12 Or, continually. 13 Heb. going. 14 Heb. to intreat the face of the LORD.

Verse 23. "Take hold of the skirt.”—This is to be understood as the act of one making a humble but fervent entreaty, or of claiming protection from him of whose skirt he takes hold. There is something of respectful and gentle violence or constraint involved, such perhaps as appears in Jacob's declaration to the angel, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me."

[blocks in formation]

1 Ezek. 28. 3, &c. Heb. bloods. Or, whose covenant is by blood.


21 And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, "Let us go is speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.

22 Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.

23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

3 Isa. 62. 11. 7 Isa. 61. 1.

[blocks in formation]

Matth. 21. 5. John 12. 15.
8 Or, subdue the stones of the sling.

Or, saving himself.

5 Psal. 72.8. 9 Or, shall fill both the bowls, &c.

« PreviousContinue »