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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Zechariah 6

 

 

Verses 1-15

Zechariah 6:1. Four chariots. The four great monarchies seen in vision by Daniel, under the form of four beasts: chap. 7. The mountains of brass are expressive of the strength of those empires. Daniel also designates their opulence and splendour by gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay: chap. 2.

Zechariah 6:2. In the first chariot were red horses, pointing out the bloody character of the Assyrians. In the second were black horses, indicative of the terror of the Persian armies.

Zechariah 6:3. In the third chariot white horses, characteristic of the Grecian power. Alexander would not allow his soldiers to burn houses, nor destroy trees, alleging that it was destroying their own property. The fourth chariot had horses grisled and bay. The Vulgate reads, horses various and strong, which strikingly indicate the diversified character of the Roman conquests. No nation could be more cruel than they were, in the storming of towers, and the slaughter of their enemies, though they were sometimes magnanimous and humane to admiration. The black Persians conquered in the north. The white Greeks conquered the Persians in the east. The grey Romans, under Augustus, conquered Egypt in the south. Then they walked to and fro in the earth, having all the world for their empire. Luke 2:1. How could Zechariah know all this without inspiration! St. John improves this vision. Revelation 6.

Zechariah 6:12. Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts. We have here a special revelation to encourage the jews to return with vigour to the work of the temple, for that work, glorious in itself, was made a figure of the more glorious work of the spiritual temple, which the Lord himself would build.

Behold the man. Ecce vir—Ecce homo, the words of Pilate to the jews, when he presented the Saviour, crowned with thorns and clothed with purple. Behold the man, whose name is the BRANCH, the root of Jesse, as Isaiah had called him. Such also was the special revelation to Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 23:5-6. “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”—This Branch was not Zerubbabel; he was not allowed to wear the crown; neither was he a priest on the regal throne. He was an aged and retiring man; for these prophecies were delivered only four years before the temple was finished. The Chaldaic reads, Ecce vir cujus nomen est Messias: Behold the man whose name is Messiah. It was common for the jews to denominate the Messiah, after the prophets by the word צמח, tsemach, the rising sucker or branch, shooting forth of himself, and without human aid, being God as well as man. Rabbi Jonathan reads here in a comment, “Messiah the Just and Righteous,” words coincident with the Holy One of Israel.

He shall build the temple of the Lord. Another hemistich or broken line follows here: “even he shall build the temple of Jehovah.” Repetitions in Hebrew form the superlative degree. Here then is the true sublime; all temples compared with his retire to the dust. This is founded on the rock of ages; apostles and prophets are the gems, the brilliant stones; all believers are superadded, growing to a holy temple in the Lord. See more on Isaiah 2, 28. Micah 4. Ephesians 4. Revelation 21.

Zechariah 6:13. He shall bear the glory of all his regal and mediatorial throne. He shall receive the glory and the worship of heaven and earth. The Father hath said, “Worship him all ye gods,” angels and men. To him every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He shall sit and rule upon his throne. All power in heaven and earth being given to him, our prophet had in his eye the glorious vision of David, in Psalms 110. The Lord said, Jehovah said to my Adonai, sit thou on my right hand till all thy enemies are made thy footstool. The government shall be upon his shoulders, and he shall reign over the house of David for ever.

He shall be a priest upon his throne. The Hebrew here is verbatim as the English. “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.” On these words we have the luminous comment of St. Paul. Hebrews 5. That Christ dies no more; that by the one offering of himself he hath for ever perfected our redemption; that he is touched with the feeling of our infirmities; that he ever liveth to make intercession for us, and we may therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, seeing he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him.

And the counsel of peace shall be between them both. Christ’s title is the prince of peace: He shall publish peace to the heathen, as this prophet says: Zechariah 9:10. The apostle’s elucidation of the text is to the same effect. Ephesians 2:14. Colossians 2:13-14. He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, which had so long vexed the gentiles in the outward court.

But amidst all this glory which the prophets, the rabbins, and the christians give to the Redeemer, where are our arians and unitarians? Why do not they put in a word to correct the prophets, and set us right? Where is Grotius, Houbigant, and Calmet abroad, and Blaney, Newcome, and Tomline at home? They have hitherto stoutly contended that there is not one text in the old testament by which the Divinity of Christ can properly be proved. By giving up this prophecy, they give up all; and to be defeated at the close of the battle, is a complete defeat and route. They will not have courage to rally again.

They appear indeed no longer our opponents, but seem all on our side. They all declare the prophecy belongs to Christ. They are afraid and ashamed to fight openly against the world, yet they mutter a little in the rear of Immanuel’s army. On the words, in Zechariah 6:15, “they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord,” they have something to offer; and it is, that strangers shall come as the Tyrians did, to assist in the building of Solomon’s temple! On the words, “he shall receive glory,” they say it is such as Moses gave to Joshua. Numbers 27:20. Isaiah gives a much better answer: “upon all the glory shall be a defence:” Isaiah 4:5.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Zechariah 6:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/zechariah-6.html. 1835.

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