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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

Zechariah 9



Verses 1-17

THE WORD of the Lord that opens chapter 9 is spoken of as a 'burden', since it starts with solemn words of judgment on peoples that surrounded the land of Israel. Some of these judgments took place soon after the predictions were uttered; that upon Tyre, for instance, and upon the cities of the Philistines. Darby's New Translation tells us that an alternate rendering to 'bastard', is one 'of a foreign race'. But even so there will apparently be a remainder, or a remnant, who will be for God and belong to Him. Moreover, however powerful oppressors may appear to be, God will encamp about His house in protecting mercy. And how will this be brought to pass?

Verses Zechariah 9:9-10 answer this question, for in these two verses the two advents of the Lord Jesus are brought before us. The coming of the King will settle everything, but we can imagine how the reader of Zechariah's day might pause at this ninth verse in amazement, feeling that in the presence of powerful outside foes, and the inward defection so plainly manifested amongst the Jews, some great and majestic and powerful Deliverer was needful, and the King is announced as lowly in His person and in His approach. True, He is to have salvation, but this was not the kind of King that was popularly expected.

The Spirit of God, who inspired this prophecy knew very well that there was a deeper question to be settled before there could be the intervention in power that was so ardently desired. First must come the bearing of the full penalty of human sin, and hence the Divinely reached settlement of that dreadful matter, and, that accomplished, there could be emancipation from sin's power. This had been set forth typically in Exodus 12:1-51 and Exodus 14:1-31. First the blood of the lambs in Egypt, and then deliverance by the overthrow of Egypt. The latter is more spectacular, but the former a far deeper thing.

In the Gospels we see how the more spectacular filled the minds of the disciples. Even when they acted and played their part in the fulfilment of verse Zechariah 9:9, they did not realize they were doing it. This we are plainly told in John 12:16. Only when Jesus was glorified and the Holy Spirit was given did they realize the true significance of what they had done. Again, in Acts 1:6, we see how the coming of the kingdom in power filled their thoughts before the Spirit was given. The coming of the King in lowly grace was but little understood or anticipated by the great majority.

But the Messiah will come in power and have dominion over all the earth, as verse Zechariah 9:10 declares. The way His widespread kingship is stated here agrees exactly with the inspired statement through David centuries before written in Psalms 72:8. When David foresaw this by the Spirit, every desire of his heart was satisfied, and he had nothing left to pray for, as the last verse of the psalm tells us. What our prophet tells us is that the days of warfare will be over — chariot and battle bow cut off, and peace imposed upon the nations.

Verse Zechariah 9:11 appears to be a word specially addressed to the sons of Israel, for Ephraim is addressed in verse Zechariah 9:13, as well as Judah. They have all been like prisoners, entrapped in a waterless pit, waiting and hoping for deliverance. When Messiah comes in power deliverance will reach them but only through 'the blood of thy covenant'. Here we see an allusion to that new covenant of grace, predicted in Jeremiah 31:31, illuminated for us by the words of the Lord Jesus at the institution of His Supper, when He spoke of, 'My blood of the new testament' (Matthew 26:28). On that basis only will the deliverance and the blessing be brought in and firmly established.

When Zechariah wrote these things, Greece, mentioned in verse Zechariah 9:13, was hardly a power to be reckoned with, though not long after, under Alexander the Great, it was destined to overthrow the Persian power. We may see therefore in the closing verses of this chapter predictions which had a partial fulfilment not long after the prophecy was given, though in their fulness they look on to the end of the age.


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Zechariah 9:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

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