Zechariah 12

 

                                    THE SECOND BURDEN.

                                               ch. 12:1-14:21

 

In vs. 1-9, the prophet proceeds to announce Israel’s conflict with

heathen powers. Hostile nations gather together against Jerusalem, but

shall themselves be overthrown; for the people and their leaders, trusting

in the Lord, overcome all opposition.

 

1 “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD,

which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the

earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.”

The burden of the word of the Lord for (concerning) Israel.

This is the title of the second oracle, corresponding to that at the head of

ch. 9. Though the literal Israel has been rejected, as we saw in the last

burden,” a new people of God. arises (Hosea 1:10), the Messianic

theocracy, which is also called Israel, whose fortunes the prophet herein

delineates, describing its probation, its contests, triumph, and development.

The body is like its Head; as the good Shepherd, Christ, was persecuted

and rejected, so His members, the true Israelites, suffer at the hand of the

world and Satan, before they are finally glorified. Some critics suppose that

Israel here is written by mistake for “Jerusalem,” as possibly in

Jeremiah 23:6 (see note on ch. 1:19). It is best to put a full

stop after “Israel,” and begin a new sentence with “Thus saith the Lord,”

or “The saying of Jehovah.” Which stretcheth forth the heavens, etc.

(compare Isaiah 42:5; Amos 4:13). The attributes of God. are

mentioned here that all may believe that what He has promised, that He is

able to perform. He is not only the Creator, but also the Preserver of all

things (Psalm 104:2-4; Hebrews 1:10. Formeth the spirit of man

within him. God creates the souls of men, and molds and guides them. In

life and death men work out His purposes (Numbers 16:22; Hebrews 12:9).

 

 

                                                The Universe (v. 1)

 

“The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which

stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and

formeth the spirit of man within him.” This chapter, and on to v. 6 of the

following, most expositors regard as referring to Israel’s conflict and

victory, conversion and ultimate holiness. The first verse announces how

the conflict against Jerusalem and Judah will result in THE CONQUEST

OF ALL ENEMIES!   The passage before us suggests a few thoughts

concerning the universe.

 

  • THAT THE UNIVERSE INCLUDES THE EXISTENCE OF

            MATTER AND OF MIND. The phrase “heavens” and “earth” is used

            here and elsewhere to represent the whole creation.

 

Ø      It includes matter. Of the essence of matter we know nothing; but

      by the word we mean all that comes within the cognizance of our

      senses, all that can be felt, heard, seen, tasted. HOW EXTENSIVE

      IS THIS MATERIAL DOMAIN!  Science shows that it baffles all

      efforts and methods of mensuration.

 

Ø      It includes the mind. Indeed, mind is here specified. “And formeth

      the spirit of man within him.” Man has a spirit. Of this he has

      stronger evidence than he has of the existence of matter. He is

      conscious of the phenomena of mind, but not conscious of the

      phenomena of matter. Man’s mind is only an insignificant part

      and a humble representative of THE IMMEASURABLE

      UNIVERSE OF THE SPIRIT!

 

  • THAT THE UNIVERSE ORIGINATED WITH ONE PERSONAL

            BEING. “The Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens,” etc. It had an

            origin; it is not eternal. The idea of its eternity involves contradictions. It

            had an origin; its origin is not fortuitous; it is not the production of chance.

            The idea of its springing from chance may live in the region of speculation,

            but never in the realm of INTELLIGENT CONVICTION!   It had an origin;

            its origin is not that of a plurality of creators; it has one, and only one

            “THE LORD!”  This is the only philosophic account of its origin, “Thou,

            Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the

            heavens are the works of thy hands.”  (Hebrews 1:10)

 

  • THAT THIS ONE PERSONAL CREATOR HAS PURPOSES

            CONCERNING THE HUMAN RACE. “The burden of the word of the

            Lord for Israel, saith the Lord.” This may mean, “the sentence of the word

            of the Lord concerning Israel.” Now, this chapter, this book — nay, a large

            portion of the Bible — purports to be A REVELATION OF HIS PURPOSE

            TO MANKIND!   He has not created us without an object, nor placed us on

            this earth without an object; both in OUR CREATION and PRESERVATION

             HE HAS A PURPOSE!   This being so:

 

Ø      No events in human history are accidental.

Ø      The grand purpose of our life should be the fulfillment of His will.

      “Not my will, but thine be done.”

 

  • THAT HIS PURPOSE TOWARDS MANKIND HE IS FULLY

            ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH. His creative achievements are here mentioned

            as a pledge of the purposes hereafter announced. EVERY PURPOSE OF

            THE LORD WILL BE PERFORMED!   Has He purposed that all mankind

            shall be converted to His Son? It shall be done. “There is nothing too hard

            for the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 32:17; Luke 1:37)

 

2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the

people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against

Judah and against Jerusalem.”  A cup of trembling; a bowl of reeling

a bowl whose contents cause staggering and reeling, ὡς πρόθυρα σαλευόμενα

 hos prothura saleuomena - as tottering porticoes (Septuagint); superliminare

crapulae (Vulgate). This Jerome explains to mean that any one who crosses the

threshold of Jerusalem in hostile guise shall totter and fall. Jerusalem is the capital

and type of the Messianic theocracy; the hostile powers of the world crowd

round her, like thirsting men round a bowl of wine; but they find the

drought is fatal to them; they stagger back discomfited and destroyed. The

figure of the cup and drunkenness is often employed to denote the

judgment of God upon transgressors, which makes them incapable of

defence or escape (compare Isaiah 51:17;  Jeremiah 25:15, etc.; 51:39,

57; Habakkuk 2:16). The people; the peoples (so vs. 3-4, 6). The

heathen nations who war against God’s people. When they shall be in the

siege, etc. This gives a good sense, but the Hebrew will not allow it.

Septuagint, Ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἔσται περιοχὴ ἐπὶ ἹερουσαλήμEn Ioudaia

estai periochae epi Ierousalaem - In Judaea there shall be a blockade against

Jerusalem; Vulgate, Sed et Juda erit in obsidione contra Jerusalem, which may

mean that Judah shall be among those that besiege Jerusalem, or when Jerusalem

is beset Judah shall suffer the same calamity. The Revised Version renders

“And upon Judah also shall it [i.e. ‘the burden’] be in the siege against Jerusalem.”

Cheyne, “And also on [or, ‘over ‘] Judah it [i.e. the protection and deliverance

implied in the first clause of the verse] shall be, in the siege,” etc. Any

interpretation of the passage which makes Judah join with the enemy in

attacking Jerusalem is precluded by the very intimate union between Judah

and Jerusalem denoted in vs. 4-7, and by the hostility of the nations

against Judah. Cheyne’s explanation is hardly a natural one, however

suitable. Lowe (‘Hebr. Stud. Comm.’) renders, “And also on Judah [shall

fall this reeling] during the siege [which is to take place] against

Jerusalem.” It seems best to render, with Alexander, “Also against Judah

shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem,” i.e. not only the mother city, but

all the country, shall be exposed to hostile invasion. This suits v. 5, where

the chieftains of Judah are represented as trusting in the valor of the

inhabitants of Jerusalem when they are incurring the same danger.

 

3 “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all

people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces,

though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

A burdensome stone. Jerusalem shall prove to all the nations

that attack it a weight not only too heavy to lift, but one which, itself

remaining unhurt, shall wound and injure those who attempt to carry it.

Jerome supposes here an allusion to a custom in the towns of Palestine,

which prevailed to his day (and, indeed, in Syria even now), of placing

round stones of great weight at certain distances, by lifting which the

youths tested their bodily strength. But we do not know that this custom

existed in Zechariah’s time, and the nations are not gathered together for

amusement or display of strength, but for hostile attack. Septuagint,

λίθον καταπατούμενονlithon katapatoumenon -  a stone trodden down,

which reminds one of Luke 21:24, Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἔσται πατουμένη ὑπὸ ἐθνῶν

Ierousalaem estai patoumenae hupo ethnonJerusalem shall be trodden

down by nations; by the Gentiles -  Shall be cut in pieces; i.e. by the sharp

edges of the stone, or, as the Revised Version, shall be sore wounded.  Though;

rather, and; Septuagint, καὶ ἐπισυναχθήσονται kai episunachthaesontai

: Vulgate, et colligentur. All the people (peoples) of the earth. This indicates

that the struggle spoken of is no mere local conflict, waged in Maccabean or

other times, but the great battle of the world against the Church, which shall

rage in the Messianic era.

 

 

                                    Sin Self-Punishment (vs. 2-3)

 

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people

round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against

Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for

all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though

all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” There is in this

passage a principle by which the Governor of the world punishes malicious

men. That principle is this — the reaction of their efforts to injure others

causing injury of themselves. It is here said that Jerusalem would become

confusion and destruction to the men who sought it, ruin. It is here said

that:

 

1. Jerusalem would become to them “a cup of trembling,” or, as some

render it, “a cup of intoxication.” It does not say that Jerusalem will put

forth any active efforts to wreak vengeance on its enemies, but that its

effect upon the enemies would be as an intoxicating cup; it will make them

reel and stagger in confusion. The thought of their own malicious conduct

towards it would produce an effect upon their own minds that would make

them tremble and become confused.  (Once Christianized America should

know better! – CY – 2015)

 

2. Jerusalem would become to them “a burdensome stone.” The idea is

that, in their endeavors to injure Jerusalem, they would crush themselves.

I make three remarks in relation to this punishment by reaction.

 

  • IT IS WELL ATTESTED.

 

Ø      It is attested by every mans consciousness. Every man who

      attempts to injure another feels sooner or later that he has injured

      himself. There is a recoil and a regret. In truth, the malign passion

      itself is its own punishment.  A man who cherishes anger towards

      another injures himself more than he can by any effort injure the

      object of his displeasure. In every malign emotion there is misery.

 

Ø      It is attested by universal history. It is a law that runs through all

                        history, that the “mischief” of a man “shall return upon his own head,

                        and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate” (Psalm

                        7:16).  The conduct of Joseph’s brethren and of Haman may be cited as

                        illustrations; but the conduct of the Jews towards THE MESSIAH  is an

                        example for all times, most mighty and impressive. The blows which the

                        old Jewish nation struck on Him rebounded on their own heads and

                        ruined them. “Whoso diggeth the pit,” says Solomon, “shall fall therein;

                        and whoso rolleth the stone, it will return on him” (Proverbs 26:27).

 

  • IT IS MANIFESTLY JUST. What man thus punished can complain of

            the righteousness of his sufferings? He must feel, and feel deeply, that he

            has deserved all and even more than he endures. Indeed, it is true that the

            punishment of the sinner is self-punishment; it is the fruit of his own

            doings. Witness Cain, Belshazzar, Judas, etc.  (I recommend

           

 

  • IT IS ESSENTIALLY BENEFICENT. It serves:

 

Ø      To guard men from the injuries of others.

Ø      To restrain the angry passions of men.

 

·         CONCLUSION. Let us in all our conduct to our fellow men practically

            recognize the principle that with what measure we mete it shall be

            measured to us again. (Matthew 7:2)  “He that rolleth the stone, it shall

            return upon him.” as above.  The stone of revenge and malice which

            you have rolled at another shall come back upon the head of you that

            rolled it — come back with a terrible momentum, come back to crush you.

 

4 “In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with

astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine

eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the

people with blindness.”  I will smite every horse with astonishment

(consternation).  Cavalry represents the forces of the enemy. Astonishment,

madness, and blindness are threatened against Israel in Deuteronomy 28:28;

here they arc inflicted on the enemy. Madness. The riders should be so panic

stricken that they knew not what they did, and shall turn their arms against

each other (Haggai 2:22). Open mine eyes upon the house of Judah;

i.e. will regard with favor and protect (Deuteronomy 11:12; I Kings 8:29;

Psalm 32:8). With blindness. They shall be blinded with terror.

The previous threat is repeated with this emphatic addition.

 

 

                                    A Wonderful Siege.  (vs. 1-4)

 

“The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord,” etc. These

three concluding chapters seem to refer to one principal topic (“the burden

of the Lord for Israel, v. 1) and to one principal time (see the fifteen

times repeated expression, “in that day” vs. 3,4,6,8,9,11: ch. 13:1,2,4;

ch. 14:6,8,9,13,20,21). The general preface or introduction to the special

succession of wonders which they announce to us is contained in v. 1,

setting forth, as it does, the wonder working nature of the God who foretells

them, in regard:

 

(1) to all above (the “heaven”);

(2) all beneath (the “earth”); and

(3) all within (the “spirit of man”).

 

See somewhat similar preface to a somewhat similar announcement of

wonderful doings in Revelation 21:5. After this introduction, in vs. 2-4,

we have described to us, as the opening wonder of all, a certain future

wonderful “siege.” In which description we may notice three principal

things, viz.

 

(1) the many enemies of the city besieged;

(2) its one Defender; and

(3) its complete defense.

 

  • ITS MANY ENEMIES. Herein, evidently, is to be one leading

            peculiarity of this “siege” of Jerusalem. It is not only to be a complete

            investment, “all the people” being “round about” (v. 2; see also Luke

            19:43), but it is also to be an investment by an exceedingly large

            assemblage of “peoples… gathered together” from all parts of the world.

            Considering, indeed, the frequent use in these verses (some six times in all)

            of the expressions “all” and “every,” and the apparent definiteness of

            comprehension of the language in the end of v. 3, we seem justified in

            believing that every separate Gentile nation or people will be employed in

            this siege. All the rest of the world against Jerusalem.  (Are we seeing the

            beginnings of this prophecy with Barak Obama, snubbing the prime minister

            of Israel, last month, this being April, 2015?  America has long been a

            supporter of Israel!  We shall find that the Bible is true!  Matthew 24:35 –

            CY – 2015)  Such is what we seem to see here. Such is what we seem to see

            also in such passages as Ezekiel 38:1-16 (where note special mention, as in

            v. 4 here, of “horses” and “horsemen”); Joel 3:9-17; Revelation 16:14-16;

            20:8-9. Whether or not we consider all these passages to refer to exactly the

            same times and events, at any rate they illustrate, if they do not apply to,

            the universal league described here.

 

  • ITS ONE DEFENDER. With all the rest of mankind against the people

            of Jerusalem, there can be no man, of course, on their side. But they are

            not to be on that account without a defender. On the contrary, they will

            have the best of all, even JEHOVAH HIMSELF!   Five times over, and

            in two separate ways He gives them to understand this. He declares:

 

Ø      That God will give heed to their case. “I will open mine eyes upon the

                        house of Judah (see Psalm 33:18; 34:15-16; Deuteronomy 11:12;

                        perpetually” - I Kings 9:3; Daniel 9:18; and ch. 9:8 above).

 

Ø      That He will give help in their need. He will give help by “making”

                        Jerusalem (vs. 2-3) that which it requires to be “made” in this time of

                        EXTREMITY!   God will give help also by “smiting” those many

                        enemies (v. 4) who are leagued together for their destruction, and who,

                        therefore, require to be “SMITTEN” on their behalf; and what, of its

                        kind, could be more satisfactory than this double assistance? this

                        weakening of their enemies? this concurrent strengthening of

                        themselves (compare II Samuel 3:1)?

 

  • ITS COMPLETE DEFENSE. This twofold assistance was sufficient

            in degree as well as satisfactory in nature. What it proposed to do, that it

            did. In particular, God, in this manner:

 

Ø      Bewildered the minds of all the enemies of Jerusalem. He made

                        Jerusalem, to these enemies, such a cup of trembling and of stupor and

                        slumber that they were not able, and did not dare, in many respects, to

                        attack them. (There is such a demand for drugs in our culture and in

                        many of the nations of the world, where individuals desire to get

                        stoned out of their minds, how ironical, that this could be one of

                        God’s ways of taking man in his own craftiness [I Corinthians 3:19],

                        a la – supernatural hallucination in their minds????!!!!! – CY – 2015) 

                        Completely as they seemed, by being “round about” the city,

                        to have it in their power, they were like men appalled and stupefied, and

                        left it alone (compare Genesis 35:5; II Kings 6:13-20).

 

Ø      Also, when these enemies did find themselves able to devise measures

                        against Jerusalem, God crushed their efforts. They were as men trying

                        their strength by endeavoring to lift a heavy stone from the ground, the

                        only result being to crush themselves by its weight. So would Jerusalem

                        be made to do thus to its foes — to all its foes, however numerous. It

                        would not only bruise, but destroy them, as though the sword had

                        cutthem “in pieces.”

 

Ø      Besides which, so we may perhaps understand v. 4, God would

                        Himself overwhelm their spirits. Having failed so fatally in their efforts,

                        those who survived, and their agents also, in utter panic, folly, and

                        ignorance, would be so far from being able to do further injury that they

                        would themselves be in need of defense. So surpassingly well can that

                        One Defender do for those that are His.

 

We learn something here, in conclusion:

 

1. As to the possibilities of the future. Who can say that such a gigantic

conspiracy of evil against a literally restored and renovated Jerusalem, and

such a triumphant delivery from it, may not MARK THE END OF THIS

AGE?  Certainly far greater things, both in the way of manifested evil and

good, than have ever been witnessed hitherto, may yet be seen on this earth.

 

2. As to the true character of the present. This last conflict will be but the

fully developed result of a long previous conflict of a similar kind.

Compare the conspiracy and deliverance in long ago days described in

Psalm 83. (compare also, on the one side, Acts 28:22; and on the other,

Matthew 28:20).

 

5 “And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants

of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.”

The governors (chieftains) of Judah shall say in their heart.

The leaders of Judah have a profound, settled conviction that Jehovah is on

His people’s side. The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be (are) my

strength. When they see the enemy discomfited (vs. 2-4) each of them

shall have confidence in the Divine election of Jerusalem, foregoing their

former jealousy, and see in her success a token of God’s protection and

their own final victory.

 

6 “In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire

among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall

devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the

left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even

in Jerusalem.”  A hearth; literally, a pan. The victory should be easy and

complete. The chieftains of Judah shall be like a chafing dish full of fire set

among dry faggots (compare Obadiah 1:18; Nahum 1:10). In a sheaf;

among sheaves. Jerusalem shall be inhabited again; rather, Jerusalem

shall yet again dwell. Jerusalem is personified as a female. In spite of all

the attacks of the enemy, who tried to destroy and remove her, she shall

remain firm and unshaken in her own place. In Jerusalem, the center of

the theocracy where God has set her. So against the Church the gates of

hell shall not prevail, and the persecutions which she suffers increase her

stability and add to her numbers.

 

7 “The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of

the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do

not magnify themselves against Judah.”  Shall save the tents of Judah first.

Instead of “first,” a preferable reading, supported by the Greek, Latin, and Syriac

Versions, is “as in the beginning,” or “as in former days.” The prophet declares

that the open towns and villages of Judah, which can offer no effectual resistance

to an enemy like the fortified city Jerusalem, shall be saved BY THE AID OF

GOD as so often has happened in old time. If “first” be the genuine reading, the

meaning is that the country people shall first be saved in order to prevent

Jerusalem glorifying herself at their expense. That the glory…do not

magnify themselves against (be not magnified above) Judah. God will

save the chosen nation in such a manner that each part shall have its share

in the glory and honor. The leaders, represented by “the house of David”

and “the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” as the sanctuary of Cod and a strongly

fortified city, shall not be able to exalt themselves as more favored than

the rest of the people. BY GOD’S HELP ALONE is the victory won, and all

alike share in this. 

 

8 “In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem;

and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and

the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD

before them.”  He that is feeble (literally, that stumbleth) among them ...

shall be as David. God shall endue the inhabitants of Jerusalem with

marvelous strength and courage, so that the weakest among them shall be

a hero such as David, who killed the lion and bear and overcame the giant

(compare Psalm 18:32). The house of David shall be as God (Elohim).

The chiefs of the theocracy shall be endowed with supernatural might, the

expression, “as God,” being explained in the next clause. Septuagint,

ὡς οϊκος Θεοῦ - hos oikos Theou - as the house of God, as if it were of the

heavenly family.  The translators seem to have thought the genuine expression

too unqualified. As the angel of the Lord before them. Even as the angel of

the Lord, who led the Israelites in all their wanderings (compare Exodus 14:19;

23:20; 32:34; Joshua 5:13-15). We see in this description an intimation of the graces

and endowments bestowed upon every faithful member of the Church of Christ.

 

 

                                    A Wonderful People (vs. 5-8)

 

“And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of

Jerusalem shall be my strength,” etc. In the preceding verses the dominant

idea is that of Jerusalem as a city besieged. In these we have a vision of it

as a city inhabited (note end of v. 6, and the thrice-recurring expression,

the inhabitants of Jerusalem). And there are three aspects in which, when

so regarded, we seem called upon to admire it, viz.

 

(1) as perfectly safe;

(2) as properly humble; and

(3) as amazingly strong.

 

  • JERUSALEM SAFE. See:

 

Ø      In the end of v. 6, how this condition of safety is described. Jerusalem

                        is spoken of as “inhabited again;” not deserted, i.e. as previously,

                        because of the attacks of its foes. Also as “inhabited again in her own

                        place, even in Jerusalem;” as now, therefore, not even claimed as

                        belonging to any but those who had been identified with it for so many

                        generations.

 

Ø      How this description of safety is justified.

                       

o       It is so if we take v. 5 as it stands, by the thorough confidence

      of the “governors” in the people of Jerusalem. They acknowledge

      this people to be their “strength” not with their lips only, but in

      their “heart.”

 

o       Such confidence is a great element of safety, especially when

      combined, as in this instance, with an equal amount of confidence,

      on the part of both rulers and ruled, in Jehovah Himself (see end

      of v. 5).

 

o       For such a combination renders those rulers, like that famous

      general who spoke of his well tried army as “able to go anywhere

      and do anything,” an amazing power to their city in the way of

      protection and defense. At any rate, so it was God made them to

      be in this instance. Like flame when applied to things most

      inflammable, so would He make them amidst the foes of His

      people, viz. equally sure and equally swift to consume. How

      safe a city when all those who threaten it can thus effectually

      be destroyed!

 

  • JERUSALEM HUMBLE. See:

 

Ø      Why this humility was secured; viz. because of its vital importance. If

                        either the leaders (“the house of David”) or the people should begin to

                        magnify themselves” on account of those effectual means of defense

                        just described, they would at once be in danger again (Proverbs 28:26;

                                                Jeremiah 17:5-6, etc.).

 

Ø      How this humility was secured. The beginning of deliverance was to be

                        in something apart from Jerusalem, as it were. In something, also, that

                        at first sight she might be inclined to despise. Such deliverance will,

                        therefore, be like a “soldiers’ victory” in its way. Rather, like that

                        deliverance we read of in II Kings 7, which began with certain

                        despised outsiders, and was clearly not their work, BUT GOD’S!

                         “The Lord shall save the tents of Judah first.Observe the triple

                        emphasis in these words.

 

  • JERUSALEM STRONG. Strong:

 

Ø      Because of the gracious continuance of Gods care, Whatever He had

                        already done for His people, so long as they are enabled to remain truly

                        humble and trustful, that He will go on to do still (see Hosea 13:1;

                                                Proverbs 18:12; Isaiah 66:2).

 

Ø      Because of the abundant results of Gods blessing. The very feeblest

                        amongst them should be made, in desire and intention, like the very

                        strongest, in that way, previously known (I Samuel 13:14; I Kings

                        9:4-5; 15:3, etc.). The leaders amongst them should be leaders indeed —

                        persons deserving to be followed as closely and fully as the

                        Angel-Jehovah, of whom we afterwards read, as in I Peter 2:21-22;

                                                John 13:15; Philippians 2:5; I Corinthians 11:1, etc. This state of things

                        (apparently) the complete fulfillment of Deuteronomy 33:29.

 

These passages, though often obscure, serve to teach us the

three great Christian duties of:

o       patience before God,

o       humility as to ourselves, and

o       forbearance towards others.

So far as plain, they are fitted to animate our hope and sustain our courage and

direct both our faith and our walk (II Thessalonians 3:5; II Peter 3:14;

Romans 15:4, etc.).

 

9 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all

the nations that come against Jerusalem.  It shall be always my aim and my

care to destroy the enemies of the Church, that they shall never prevail against it.

The words cannot apply to the literal Jerusalem, against which no such

confederacy of nations was ever formed.

 

 

                                    The Security of Zion (vs. 1-9)

 

  • MIGHT OF HER KING. The worlds of matter and of mind are under

            His control. If so, there is no such thing as chance. Then whatsoever God

            has promised He will certainly perform. Then to trust and to obey God

            must be THE GREAT END OF OUR BEING!   God’s friends are

            blessed (vs. 2, 4).  His enemies, intoxicated by pride, muster for the fight.

            They are discomfited and driven back in headlong rout.

 

Ø      Blindness seizes them,

Ø      terror overpowers them;

Ø      THEY PERISH

 

            as at the Red Sea (I recommend arkdiscovery.com and see the Red Sea

            Crossing) and in Midian’s evil day (compare Psalm 132:18).

 

  • ENERGY OF HER LEADERS. (Vs. 5-7.) Men of faith and capacity,

            commanding the confidence of the people. Bound together by their

            common faith in God and devotion to the highest interests of humanity.

 

  • HEROISM OF HER PEOPLE. (Vs. 8-9.) Strength, Divine in its

            source, various in degree, adequate for every emergency, making the

            weak strong, and the strong stronger. A united people, with settled

            government, equal laws, courageous and faithful for the right. Zion

            united can stand against every assault, but divided becomes the prey

            of her enemies.  (Like America today in its red and blue states.

            see I Kings 16:21 - CY – 2015) “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

            (Psalm 122:6)

 

 

                        A Good Time for Good People (vs. 4-9)

 

“In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and

his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah,

and will smite every horse of the people with blindness,” etc. These words,

which are confessedly difficult if not impossible to interpret correctly (for

some say they are to be taken literally, others spiritually; some historically,

others prophetically), may be fairly used to illustrate a good time for good

people. In relation to this good time, I observe:

 

  • IT IS A TIME WHEN THEIR ENEMIES SHALL BE VANQUISHED.

            “In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and

            his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah,

            and wilt smite every horse of the people with blindness.” Here the overthrow

            of the enemies of Jerusalem is threatened. The Lord will throw the mind and

            spirit of the military force of the enemy into such confusion that, instead of

            injuring Jerusalem and Judah, it will rush forward to its own destruction.

            Horses and riders individualize the warlike forces of the enemy. The rider,

            smitten with madness, turns his sword against his own comrades in battle.

            On the other hand, Jehovah will open His eyes upon Judah for its protection

            (I Kings 8:29; Nehemiah 1:6; Psalm 32:8). This promise is strengthened by

            the repetition of the punishment to be inflicted upon the enemy. Not only

            with alarm, but with blindness, will the Lord smite their horses. We have an

            example of this in II Kings 6:18, where the Lord smote the enemy with

            blindness in answer to Elisha’s prayer, i.e. with mental blindness, so that,

            instead of seizing the prophet, they fell into the hands of Israel. The three

            plagues, timmahon, shiggaon, and ‘ivvaron, are those with which rebellious

            Israelites are threatened in Deuteronomy 28:28. The house of Judah is

            the covenant nation, the population of Judah, including the inhabitants of

            Jerusalem, as we may see from what follows.  Now, whether this conquest

            refers to the triumphs of the Maccabees, or to some wonderful victories of

            the Jews in some future times, one thing is clear to us, that the time will

            come for all good people when their enemies shall be entirely destroyed.

            To every good man this victory is promised. “Be thou faithful unto death,

            and I will give thee a crown of life.”  (Revelation 2:10)

 

  • IT IS A TIME WHEN THEIR POWER SHALL BE AUGMENTED.

            The power here promised is:

 

Ø      The power of unity. “The governors of Judah shall say in their heart,

      The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts

      their God”  Observe here the confidence of the leaders in the people.

      Without the people’s concurrent aid, their counsels and plans

                        and directions could, of course, be of little avail This the rulers should

                        feel, and should exult in seeing what ground they had for full reliance

                        on them in time of pressure and danger, which implies unanimity and

                        intrepid valor, combined with persevering effort, on the part of the

                        inhabitants. This union and valor would be the ‘strength’ of their leaders,

                        without which they must find themselves utterly powerless. A divided,

                        dispirited. heartless, dastardly soldiery or populace, is weakness,

                        disappointment, and discomfiture to the best-conceived plans of the

                        most bold, prudent, and experienced leaders. All good people over all

                        the earth will one day be thoroughly united — united, not in opinion,

                        for this would be, if possible, undesirable; but in devotion to Christ,

                        the common Center. This union is strength, Divine strength, “strength

                        in the Lord of hosts.” “Strong in the Lord and in the power of His

                        might.”  (Ephesians 6:10)

 

Ø      The power of conquest. “In that day will I make the governors of

      Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of

      fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about,

                        on the right hand and on the left.” As the fire consumes the wood

                        and the sheaf of straw, so would the men of Jerusalem have power

                        to conquer all the people “round about, on the right hand and on

                        the left.” God invests all good men with power to conquer their

                        spiritual foes; this is the power of faith — faith that overcometh

                        the world. (I John 5:4)  This power, though weak in most, is

                        triumphant in many (see Hebrews 11.). It shall be all-conquering

                        one day.

 

  • IT IS A TIME WHEN THEY SHALL BE SETTLED IN THEIR

            HOME.And Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in

            Jerusalem.” Jerusalem, in the first instance, stands for the Jews, and in the

            second instance for the city or the country. It means, therefore, that in this

            good time — whether it is past or to come — some, if not all, the Jews

            that were scattered abroad will return and settle in their own home. The

            language expresses re-occupancy and permanent possession. Those who

            return — whether from Egypt, Babylon, or elsewhere — will return and

            settle down in their old home. A time comes for all good people when they

            shall settle down in a permanent dwelling place. Here they are “strangers

            and pilgrims,” and have “no abiding city.” (Hebrews 13:14)  But a glorious

            country awaits them, an “inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that

            fadeth not away.”  (I Peter 1:4)

 

  • IT IS A TIME WHEN THEY SHALL BE BLESSED WITH EQUAL

            PRIVILEGES.

 

Ø      They were to have equal honor. “The Lord also shall save the tents of

                        Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the

                        inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah

 

Ø      They were to have equal protection. “In that day shall the Lord defend

                        the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that

                        day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the

                        angel of the Lord Before them. And it shall come to pass in that day,

                        that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

                        Here Jerusalem is promised protection against the foe, and “he that is

                        feeble among them at that day shall be as David.”  To the Jew, David

                        was the highest type of strength and glory on earth (II Samuel 17:8),

                        a man of war (ibid. ch.18:3); such shall the weakest citizen of Jerusalem

                        become (Joel 3:10). “And the house of David shall be as God, as the

                         angel of the Lord before them.”  The Divine Angel that went before

                        them through the desert, the highest type of strength and glory in heaven

                        (Exodus 23:20-22; 32:34).  The house of David is the prince and his

                        family sprung from David (Ezekiel 45:7, 9). David’s house was then in a

                        comparatively weak state.  Now, there is a time coming when all good

                        people shall have distinguished honor and complete protection. They

                        shall settle down in the heavenly Jerusalem; and what a city is that

                        (see Revelation 21)!

 

  • CONCLUSION. Though I have not been able to put forth what I feel to

            be a satisfactory interpretation of these words, or attempted to give to

            them a spiritual signification, I trust that, in using them as an illustration of

            the good time coming for the good, I have presented a legitimate and a

            useful application. A glorious time awaits all good men, in all lands,

            Churches, nations — a time when they shall be delivered from all evil and

            be put in permanent possession of all good. Seeing we look for such things,

            what manner of persons ought we to Be in all holy conversation and

            godliness?” (II Peter 3:11)

 

There shall ensue an outpouring of Gods Spirit upon Israel, which shall

produce A GREAT NATIONAL REPENTANCE.  (vs. 10-13)

 

10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants

of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall

look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for

him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for

him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”  I will pour. The word

implies abundance (compare Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28).  The house of David, etc.

The leaders and the people alike, all orders and degrees in the theocracy. Jerusalem

is named as the capitol and representative of the nation. The spirit of grace and of

supplications. The spirit which bestows grace and leads to prayer.

“Grace” here means the effects produced in man by God’s favor, that

which makes the recipient pleasing to God and delighting in His

commandments (Hebrews 10:29). They shall look upon me whom

they have pierced. The Speaker is Jehovah. To “look upon or unto”

implies trust, longing, and reverence (compare Numbers 21:9; II Kings 3:14;

Psalm 34:5; Isaiah 22:11). We may say generally that the clause intimates that the

people, who had grieved and offended God by their sins and ingratitude, should

repent and turn to Him in faith. But there was a literal fulfillment of this piercing,

i.e. slaying (ch.13:3; Lamentations 4:9), when the Jews crucified the Messiah, Him

who was God and Man, and of whom, as a result of the hypostatic union, the

properties of one nature are often predicated of the other. Thus Paul

says that the Jews crucified “the Lord of glory” (I Corinthians 2:8),

and bids the Ephesian elders “feed the Church of God, which He hath

purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28; for the reading Θεοῦ, see

the critics). John (John 19:37) refers to these words of Zechariah as

a prophecy of the Crucifixion (compare Revelation 1:7). The Septuagint

renders, Ἐπιβλέψονται πρὸς μὲ ἀνθ ῶν κατωχρήσαντοEpiblepsontai

pros me anth on katochraesanto - They shall look to me because they

insulted, either reading the last verb differently, or understanding it figuratively

in the sense of assailing with cutting words; but there is no doubt about the

true reading and interpretation. Vulgate, Aspicient ad me quem confixerunt.

 Me has been altered in some manuscripts into “Him:” but this is an evident

gloss received into the text for controversial purposes, or to obviate the supposed

impropriety of representing Jehovah as slain by the impious. That John seems to

sanction this reading is of no critical importance, as he is merely referring

to the prophecy historically, and does not profess to give the very wording

of the prophet. A suffering Messiah was not an unknown idea in

Zechariah’s time. He has already spoken of the Shepherd as despised and

ill-treated, and a little further on (ch.13:7) he intimates that He is

stricken with the sword. The prophecies of Isaiah had familiarized him with

the same notion (Isaiah 53., etc.). And when he represents Jehovah as

saying, “Me whom they pierced,” it is not merely that in killing His

messenger and representative they may be said to have killed Him, but the

prophet, by inspiration, acknowledges the two natures in the one Person of

Messiah, even as Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6) called Him the “Mighty God,” and

the psalmists often speak to the same effect (Psalm 2:7; 45:6-7; 110:1, etc.;

compare Micah 5:2). The “looking to” the stricken Messiah began

when they who saw that woeful sight smote their breasts (Luke 23:48);

it was carried on by the preaching of the apostles; it shall continue till all

Israel is converted; it is re-enacted whenever penitent sinners turn to Him

whom they have crucified by their sins.  They shall mourn for Him. There

is a change of persons here. Jehovah speaks of the Messiah as distinct in

Person from Himself. As one mourneth for his only son… for his

firstborn. The depth and poignancy of this mourning are expressed by a

double comparison, the grief felt at the loss of an only son, and of the

firstborn. Among the Hebrews the preservation of the family was deemed

of vast importance, and its extinction regarded as a punishment and a

curse, so that the death of an only son would be the heaviest blow that

could happen (see Isaiah 47:9; Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10).  Peculiar privileges

belonged to the firstborn, and his loss would be estimated accordingly (see

Genesis 49:3; Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 21:17; Micah 6:7). The mention

of “piercing,” just above, seems to connect the passage with the Passover

solemnities and the destruction of the firstborn of the Egyptians.

 

11 “In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the

mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.”

As if the above comparisons were not strong enough, the

prophet presents a new one, referring to an historical event, which

occasioned a universal mourning in Jerusalem. As the mourning of (at)

Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. This is generally supposed to

refer to the death of King Josiah of a wound received at Megiddo, in the

battle with Pharaoh-Necho (B.C. 609), and to the national lamentation

made for him and long observed on the anniversary of the calamity (see

II Kings 23:29; II Chronicles 35:20-25). This universal and perennial

mourning is a figure of the continual remembrance of the death of Christ in

the Church. There is a difficulty about the identification of Hadadrimmon.

St. Jerome says it was a place in the Plain of Megiddo, near Jezreel, and

known in his day by the name of Maximianopolis. This is supposed to be

Rummaneh, seven miles northwest of Jezreel, on the southern edge of the

Plain of Esdraelon. But the identification is far from certain. The site of

Megiddo also is undetermined, though Condor suggests Mujedda, a ruined

city about three miles south of Bethshean.

 

12 “And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the

house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house

of Nathan apart, and their wives apart;” The land. Not Jerusalem only, but the

whole country. Every family apart. The mourning should extend to every

individual of every family (compare Ezekiel 24:23). David… Nathan. First

the royal family is mentioned generally, to show that no one, however, high

in station, is exempted from this mourning; and then a particular branch is

named to individualize the lamentation. Nathan is that son of David from

whom descended Zerubbabel (I Chronicles 3:5; Luke 3:27, 31). Their

wives apart. In private life the females of a household dwelt in apartments

separate from the males, and in public functions the sexes were equally

kept distinct (see Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; I Samuel 18:6; II Samuel 6:5).

 

13 “The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the

family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart;”  Levi… Shimei. As before,

the priestly family is first mentioned generally, and then individualized by

naming Shimei, the son of Gershon, and grandson of Levi, of whom was the

family of the Shimeites (Numbers 3:17-18, 21).  In one sense, this prophecy

began to be fulfilled when a great company of priests were converted by the

preaching of the apostles (Acts 6:7).

 

14 “All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives

apart.” All the families that have not been mentioned already.

 

 

                        Wonderful Sorrow (vs. 9-14)

 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the

nations,” etc. There is much that is striking in the apparent connection of

this passage with that before. Just when God shall be seen by His people to

be “seeking” and bringing about (see v. 9) the overthrow and destruction

of their many enemies, they, on the other hand, will be seen to be

overwhelmed with sorrow of heart. Their souls, as it were, will be plunged

into darkness at the very breaking of day. The very thing they have hoped

for seems close at hand; and, lo! they are as men in despair. Equally

remarkable, next, with the time of this sorrow, is its character. So we shall

find, whether we consider:

 

(1) its peculiar origin; or

(2) its peculiar magnitude.

 

  • ITS PECULIAR ORIGIN. To what is it due? Not to those causes which

            bring about the ordinary “sorrow of the world” (II Corinthians 7:10).

            On the contrary, being sorrow which is “according to God” (II Corinthians

            7:10), it has the “things of God” as its cause. In other words, it is occasioned:

 

Ø      By the action of God on the hearts of his people. He “pours on” them:

 

o       “The spirit of grace.” He gives them, i.e., in overflowing

      abundance, those gracious influences of the Spirit of holiness

      by which men are enabled to believe in Him as “the God of

      all grace” (I Peter 5:10) and so are encouraged to pray

                                    (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).

 

o       The spirit of supplications.He gives them, i.e., in similar

      abundance, those other gracious influences of that same

      Holy Spirit by which He is pleased both to guide men and

      also to assist men in their prayers (Romans 8:26; Ephesians

      6:18; Jude 1:20).

 

Ø      By the consequent thoughts of Gods people about Him.

 

o       They think of Him as having been “pierced” by their sins. This is

      an especial feature, we know, in “godly sorrow” — its horror at

      having sinned against God (Psalm 51:4; Genesis 39:9; II Samuel

      12:13; perhaps also Isaiah 43:24, end; Ephesians 4:30).

 

o       They think of Him as having been alienated by their folly. They

      mourn for Him” like those mentioned in I Samuel 7:2. After

      their privileges are gone from them, they see, with sorrow, how

      much they have lost. From none of these sources, we repeat,

      is man’s natural sorrow found to flow forth.

 

  • ITS PECULIAR MAGNITUDE. Wide waters are generally shallow;

            deep waters are seldom broad; but here we have both.

 

Ø      Peculiar depth. On the one hand,

 

o       there is only one known kind of sorrow equally deep. As the

      shades of life’s afternoon thicken around us, it is to our children

      we look to give us comfort and hope, and to keep up the interest

      of life in our hearts (Genesis 5:28-29; John 16:21). How peculiarly

      great, therefore, the sorrow of losing a firstborn and only son

      (Genesis 22:2; 49:3; Proverbs 4:3-4; Luke 7:12)! The loss

      bewailed here is like that — loss of all! On the other hand,

 

o       there had never been but one previous example of sorrow equally

      deep, viz. the sorrow felt on the death of Josiah, almost the very

      best (II Kings 23:25; 18:5), and certainly the last real, king among

      the descendants of David — a sorrow the memory of which, in

      the prophet’s own day, had not at all been forgotten, and the

      sound of which is to be heard still by the world in the

      Lamentations of Jeremiah (II Chronicles 35:25; Lamentations

      4:20).

 

Ø      Peculiar diffusion. We find this sorrow described as pervading not the

                        city only, but all the “land.” We find it affecting every separate “house”

                        amongst the houses of Israel, whether in Church or state (Levi and

                        David [?]), whether well known or only little known (David and Nathan),

                        whether with good antecedents or evil ones (Levi and Shimei; see

                        Deuteronomy 33:8; II Samuel 16:5-13); also affecting every “family”

                        of every separate “house;” also every adult member of every family,

                        whether male or female. At once, therefore, in this tempest of sorrow,

                        they were all united, yet all “apart.” Even so, with their separate roots,

                        are the “trees of the wood,” when all moved by one wind (see Isaiah 7:2).

                        We see, in all this, something:

 

o       To give us comfort and hope. Without attempting to dogmatize

      on such a subject, we cannot but see, from this analysis of the

      passage, what it seems to foretell, viz. the future conversion of

      the whole people of Israel to BELIEF IN THE GOSPEL OF

      CHRIST!   (compare II Corinthians 3:13-16 with Romans

      11:25-27; see also John 19:37; Revelation 1:7; and, in addition

      to all that has been noted above, see how accurately this

      application of the passage to a future national recognition of

      Christ by Israel helps to explain the singular change of person,

      viz. from “me” to “him” in v. 10, something the same as in

      that other passage where the Angel-Jehovah is speaking, viz.

      Genesis 22:12; and note, finally, as to the peculiar time and

      character of this sorrow, the very remarkable language of

      Hosea 3:5, end; while as to the joyful importance of such

      an interpretation, see again Romans 11:12, 15).

 

o       To give us instruction and warning. Equally great, for

      example, ought to be our sorrow for sin (Romans 3:9, 29).

      Equally, also, ought it to be founded on our thoughts about

      Christ (John 16:9; Acts 9:4-5; Matthew 25:40, etc.). And

      equally, finally, can we only hope to receive it as a gift

                                    FROM ABOVE!   (Acts 5:31; II Timothy 2:25).

 

 

                                    The Great Mourning (vs. 11-14)

 

The scene depicted has reference first of all to the Jews. Already partially

fulfilled. But the principles involved are of universal application. Take it to

illustrate true repentance.

 

  • GOD FOR ITS CAUSE. Not man, but God. The Father of our spirits

            acting on our spirit. “The spirit of grace.”

 

  • SINNERS OF MANKIND FOR ITS SUBJECTS. Not angels. We read

            of their fall, but never of their rising again. For them there seems no place

            for repentance. Not the righteous. If man were innocent, there would be no

            need for penitence. But sinners, as all have sinned, repentance is required

            of all.

 

  • THE CROSS OF CHRIST FOR ITS INSTRUMENT. On the one

            hand, how can the sense of sin be brought home to man’s conscience? On

            the other, how can God, consistently with His righteousness, show mercy

            to the sinner? The answer is found IN THE CROSS!   Here we see, and

            here alone:

 

Ø      The exceeding sinfulness of sin.

Ø      The exceeding greatness of God’s love to sinners. “God

      commendeth His own love towards us, in that, while we

      were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)

 

  • INTENSITY AND THOROUGHNESS FOR ITS GREAT

            CHARACTERISTICS.

 

Ø      Intensity. Thought and feeling. Sorrow deep and bitter.

Ø      Thoroughness. Goes to the very root of the matter; real and abiding.

 

  • REGENERATION OF SOCIETY AS ITS BLESSED RESULT.

            Society is made up of individuals. Change them, and you change all. The

            whole lump will be leavened. When there is peace with God, purity of life,

            brotherly kindness and charity, the old glory of the land will be restored.

 

 

                                    Penitential Sorrow (vs. 10-14)

 

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of

Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon

me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one

mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is

in bitterness for his firstborn,” etc. To whatever particular event this

passage refers, the subject is obvious and most important, viz. that of

penitential sorrow. And five things in connection with it are noteworthy.

 

  • THE SUBJECTS OF THIS PENITENTIAL SORROW. They are Jews,

            and not Gentiles. “The house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem

            expressions which designate the whole Israelitish people. The Jewish

            people had often been reduced to this state of sorrow. When in Babylonian

            captivity they wept when they “remembered Zion.”  The scene depicted

            bears a very close resemblance to those recorded to have taken place on the

             restoration from Babylon, when Jehovah, having influenced them individually

            to return to Himself, and to set their faces, with longing desire, to the land

            of their fathers, inclined their hearts, when thus gathered home, to social and

            collective acts of humiliation and prayer.  The prayers of Ezra (Ezra 9:5-15),

            Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:5-11) and the Levites  (ibid. ch.9:4-38), on those

            occasions might be taken as models, in the ‘spirit and even the matter’

            of them, for the supplications of Judah and Israel when brought back

            from their wider and more lasting dispersions.

 

  • THE CAUSE OF THIS PENITENTIAL SORROW. “I will pour.” The

            Prophet Joel (Joel 2:28) refers to this outpouring of Divine influence.

            “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all

            flesh.” All genuine repentance for sin originates with God. He sends down

            into human souls the spirit of grace and of supplications. The spirit of

            grace is the spirit that produces in the mind of man the experience of the

            grace of God; and this experience works repentance and inspires prayer.

 

  • THE OCCASION OF THIS PENITENTIAL SORROW.  “And they

            shall look upon me whom they have pierced.”  The expression, “upon

            me,” is very remarkable. According to v. 1, the Speaker is the Lord, the

            Creator of heaven and earth. But it is evident from what follows that we

            are not to confine our thoughts exclusively to an invisible God who is

            beyond the reach of suffering, for the same Jehovah presently represents

            Himself as pierced by the Israelites, and afterwards lamented by them

            with bitter remorse. The enigma is solved by the Old Testament doctrine

            of the Angel and Revealer of the Most High God, to whom the prophet

            attributes even the most exalted names of God, on account of His

            participation in the Divine nature, who is described in ch.11 as undertaking

            the office of Shepherd over His people, and who had been recompensed

            by them with base ingratitude. “They shall look upon me whom they

            have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him.” The “me” and

            the “Him” are the same Person, and that Person He who says, in v. 10,

            “I will pour upon the house of David.” In the first clause He is speaking of

            Himself; in the second clause the prophet is speaking of Him. The Messiah

            was pierced, and pierced by the Jews: “They pierced my hands and my

            feet.” A believing sight of Christ produces this penitential sorrow.

 

                                    “Alas! and did my Saviour bleed,

                                        And my Redeemer die?

                                    Did He devote His sacred head

                                        For such a worm as I?”

 

  • THE POIGNANCY OF THIS PENITENTIAL SORROW. “And they

            shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in

            bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”  There are

            few states of deeper and acuter sorrow than thisthat which is felt by

            affectionate parents when bereft of those objects of their fondest affections;

            the one solitary object of their concentrated parental love; or the firstborn

            and rising support and hope of their household. As to the poignancy of

            this grief, it is further said, “In that day shall there be a great mourning in

            Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon,”

            (v. 11)   Perhaps the greatest sorrow ever known amongst the Jews was the

            sorrow in the valley of Megiddon, occasioned by the death of King Josiah

            (II Chronicles 35:24). Jeremiah composed a funeral dirge on the

            occasion, and other odes and lamentations were composed, and were sung

            by males and females. But true penitential sorrow is far more poignant than

            that occasioned by the death of an only son or a noble king. It is tinctured

            with moral remorse.

 

  • THE UNIVERSALITY OF THIS POIGNANT SORROW. “And the

            land shall mourn, every family apart,” etc. All the families of the land shall

            mourn, and all shall mourn “apart.” Deep sorrow craves loneliness.

 

CONCLUSION. There is one event in history — whether such an event is

referred to here or not — that answers better to the description here of

penitential sorrow than any other in the chronicles of the world; it is the

Day of Pentecost. Thousands of Jews assembled together on that day from

all parts of the known world. Peter preached to the vast assembly and

charged them with having crucified the Son of God. The Holy Spirit came

down upon the vast congregation, and the result was that,When they

heard this, they were pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37-40). Far on in the

future, it may be, a period will dawn in Jewish history when such

penitential sorrow as is here described will be experienced by all the

descendants of Abraham.

 

 

 

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