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Zechariah: Chapter 9

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Text view alone

1An Oracle.

The word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach and will rest upon Damascus. For to the LORD belongs the capital a Or the Accuser; Heb the Adversary of Aram, b Or the Accuser; Heb the Adversary as do all the tribes of Israel; 2 Hamath also, which borders on it, Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise. 3 Tyre has built itself a rampart, and heaped up silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets. 4 But now, the Lord will strip it of its possessions and hurl its wealth into the sea, and it shall be devoured by fire. 5 Ashkelon shall see it and be afraid; Gaza too, and shall writhe in anguish; Ekron also, because its hopes are withered. The king shall perish from Gaza; Ashkelon shall be uninhabited; 6 a mongrel people shall settle in Ashdod, and I will make an end of the pride of Philistia. 7 I will take away its blood from its mouth, and its abominations from between its teeth; it too shall be a remnant for our God; it shall be like a clan in Judah, and Ekron shall be like the Jebusites. 8 Then I will encamp at my house as a guard, so that no one shall march to and fro; no oppressor shall again overrun them, for now I have seen with my own eyes.

9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 He a Cn: Heb gold will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war‐horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

11

As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. 13 For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will arouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior's sword.

14

Then the LORD will appear over them, and his arrow go forth like lightning; the Lord GOD will sound the trumpet and march forth in the whirlwinds of the south. 15 The LORD of hosts will protect them, and they shall devour and tread down the slingers; b The word falsely added from verse 4 they shall drink their blood c Heb ephah like wine, and be full like a bowl, drenched like the corners of the altar.

16

On that day the LORD their God will save them for they are the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land. 17 For what goodness and beauty are his! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.

Notes:

g Or the Accuser; Heb the Adversary

a Or the Accuser; Heb the Adversary

b Cn: Heb gold

a The word falsely added from verse 4

b Heb ephah

Text Commentary view alone

9.1–14.21 : The two burdens of Zechariah.

The remainder of Zechariah, and the whole of the subsequent book of Malachi, can be divided into three units of comparable length, each introduced by the title, “An Oracle” (lit. “Burden”) (Zech 9.1; 12.1; Mal 1.1 ).

9.1–11.17 : The first burden.

A collection of poetic speeches about the Day of the LORD (Joel 2.11; Isa 63.1–6 ) which ends, however, with an image of the community in disarray.

9.1–8 : The LORD subdues Israel's neighbors.

Note the geographic movement as the LORD moves from north to south, from Syria (v. 1 ) to my house (in Jerusalem, v. 8 ).

1–6 :

These cities of Syria (Aram), Phoenicia, and Philistia fall within the maximal ideal limits of ancient Israel (Gen 15.18–21; Ex 23.31 ).

1 :

Hadrach, a Syrian city‐state north of Damascus.

2–3 :

Tyre and Sidon were maritime Phoenician cities. For earlier oracles against Tyre, see Am 1.9–12; Ezek 27–28 .

5–7 :

Four of the five principal Philistine cities (1 Sam 6.17 ) are named, as in Am 1.6–8 . Gath, which is missing, was probably destroyed by Sennacherib in the late seventh century.

7 :

The Philistines will observe Jewish dietary laws (cf. Gen 9.4; Lev 11.2–47; Deut 14.3–21 ) and live as God's people. Jebusites, Jos 15.63; 2 Sam 5.6–9; 1 Chr 11.4–9 .

9.9–10 : The king of peace.

A song celebrating the arrival of the king in Jerusalem (cf. Ps 72 ).

9–10 :

The identity of the king is unclear. Some scholars identify him as the LORD himself (see Zeph 3.5 ), others as a historical individual (e.g., Alexander the Great), and still others as a future ruler in the Davidic line.

9 :

Donkey, colt, in the style of Hebrew parallelism, a single animal (as in Gen 49.11; Jn 12.14–15 ) is meant here. In the New Testament, Mt 21.5–7 misunderstands and assumes two animals are meant. The choice of mount, donkey instead of war‐horse (v. 10 ), indicates peaceful intentions.

10 :

This description of universal peace is rich in biblical allusion (i.e., Ps 46.9; 72.8; 76.3; cf. 1 Kings 4.24 ). The River, the Euphrates in northern Syria.

9.11–17 : The LORD liberates dispersed Israelites and leads them home.

11 :

Blood of my covenant, Ex 24.8 . Waterless pit, a dungeon (Gen 37.24; cf. Isa 42.7; 49.8–9; 61.1 ).

12 :

Double, Isa 40.2; 61.7; cf. Job 42.10 .

13 :

Judah and Ephraim, the preexilic Southern and Northern Kingdoms. Greece, Heb “yawan,” could represent the people from Greek Asia Minor (Ionia) or Greece proper (Gen 10.2; Ezek 27.13; Joel 3.6 ); see Introduction.

14 :

Cf. Hab 3.3–15 . Them, i.e., Israel.

15 :

See textual notes b and c; a banquet, not a bloodbath, is probably pictured, in which the victorious group shall eat (not devour), tread down their slingstones (not the slingers), and drink … wine (not blood).

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