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ument of divine vengeance, O house of Judah, and house of Israel ; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing ; partakers of my blessing, (Hag. ii. 19.) accounted a people that
God hath blessed with extraordinary favours : fear not, [but] 14 let your hands be strong. For thus saith the Lord of hosts ;
As I thought, that is, resolved, to punish you, when your
fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and 15 I repented not, but did punish them ; So again have I thought
in these days to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah : fear ye not ; I will be as good as my word, if you expect and seek my presence and blessing.
These [are) the things ye shall do; Speak ye every man' the truth to his neighbour ; execute the judgment of truth 17 and peace in your gates : And let none of you imagine evil
in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath ; neither practise falsehood, nor countenance it in others : 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,]
when Jerusalem was taken, and the fast of the fifth, when the temple was burnt, and the fast of the seventh, when Gedaliah was slain, and the fast of the tenth, in which the siege of Jerusalem was begun, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts ; you shall now lay them aside as days of mourning, and remember them with joy and gladness;
therefore love the truth and peace ; be true to God and religion, 20 and live in peace with one another. Thus saith the LORD of
hosts ; (It shall] yet (come to pass,] that there shall come
people, and the inhabitants of many cities ; that is, many Jews 21 going up in companies to Jerusalem : And the inhabitants of
one (city) shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts : I will go also ; a spirit of serious piety shall prevail; they shall ex
hort one another to religious duties, set a good example, and find 22 many ready to join them. Yea, many people and strong nations
shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to 23 pray before the LORD.* 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 ; many heathens of different nations shall eagerly join with them as proselyles, when God 80 remarkably favours them.
• As there is nothing said of sacrifices, some suppose this refers to the latter day, per, laps to the proselytes who shall be added to the Jews after their return).
REFLECTIONS, 1. T ETus learn not to doubt of the fulfilling of God's promises,
I though there be a strong probability against it, (v. 6.) He silences all their doubts with this question, Should it be marvellous in mine eyes ? Therefore, fear ye not, is often repeated. God is not only faithful, but he can overcome the greatest difficulties ; nothing is too hard for him. And the remembrance of his power and truth should prevent our staggering at his largest promises ; be ye therefore strong in faith, giving glory to God.
2. Let us cultivate those dispositions and graces, to which the promises of God are made ; be careful to maintain truth in our dealings, in our conversation, and especially in our religious exercises. Let us study the things that make for peace ; give up many things for it; and not imagine evil; for this law extends to the heart. God hates these things ; therefore it is ungrateful and dangerous in us to practise them; and if we do, he will show his hatred, by punishing them.
3. It is our duty to invite and encourage others to attend chris. tian ordinances, and to seck the Lord. This is an essential part of a good character. Those who have experienced the benefits of religion and its ordinances, will invite others to engage in them; will urge them to do it speedily, and without delay. It is a melancholy proof of the decay of religion, that there is so little zeal to do good, and to admonish one another. Let us therefore stir up ourselves and one another : which will be for their ben'efit, for our own comfort, and be followed with a great reward.
4. Let us be examples of every good word and work which we recommend to others. I will go also. An important hint for ministers and parents not to be like those who say, and do not : let us set a good pattern before others, which will be more forcible than any arguments without it. Thus shall we recommend religion ; and others will see, by our piety, humility, and cheerfulness, that God is indeed with us ; and so be led, by the concurrence of his grace, to accompany us in the way of holiness and eternal life.
CHAP. IX. The beginning of this chapter is a firophecy of the expedition of Alex
ander the Great, about three hundred years before Christ.* THE burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Had
rach, concerning the kingdom of Syria, in which Hadrach was a principal city, and Damascus, [shall be) the rest thereof;
• This and the five remaining chapters of this book, though annexed to the prophecies of Zechariah, and bcaring the same title, (owing perhaps to their having been first write
the anger of the Lord shall fall with peculiar weight on Damascus its capital, and shall rest, or remain there : when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, [shall be) toward the
LORD ; when the eyes of all Israel shall be directed to the Lord, 2 to seek protection from him.* And Hamath also shall border
thereby; or, that borders upon it ; Tyrus, and Zidon, though
it be very wise ; famous for trade, politics, and skill in naviga. 3 tion. And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped
up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. 4 Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and he will smite her
power in the sea ; and she shall be devoured with fire.to 5 Ashkelon shall see [it,) and fear ; Gaza also [shall see it,]
and be very sorrowful, and Ekron ; for her expectation shall be ashamed ; the neighbouring coasts shall be alarmed for them.
selves ; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon 6 shall not be inhabited. And a bastard, one of foreign birth,
shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the 7 Philistines.ll And I will take away his blood out of his mouth,
and his abominations from between his teeth ; will wrest the prey from these fierce beasts, and take away his power to do fur. ther mischief : but he that remaineth, even he, (shall be] for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite ; several of them shall be converted to the Jewish
religion, and incorporated with them, as the Jebusites were per. 8 mitted to dwell among the Jews.* And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth ; and no oppressor shall pass through them any more ; referring probably to the quietnes8 which Jerusalem enjoyed under Alexander ; as if he had said, I will prevent all hostile approaches to the city in which my temple is placed. Or, to God's favouring the Maccabees in their expectations against their enemies : for now have I seen with mine eyes ; my cye discerns all future events, and
ten on the same scroll of parchment) seem not to be his ; the three first do not sait his time, but agree with that of Jeremiah, to whom a citation from then in the New Testa. ment is ascribed. (Matt, xxvii. 9, 10.) The three last chapters form a distinct prophecy, and were written soon after the death of fosiab, (chao. xii. 11.) and probably before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, (chap. xiii. 2-6.) but by whai prophet, if not by Jeremiah, is uncertain. There are two citations from them in the New Testament, (chap. xii. 10. and sii. 7.) See Bp. Newcome.
• This better suits Jeremiah's time than Zechariah's ; and the conquest of the Syrians by Nebuchadnezzar, than by Alexander. See Jer. xlix. 23. xlvii. 2. and Ezek. XXV. 15.
+ Old Tyre was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar; new Tyre was built on an island, and though very strong, was taken and burnt by Alexander.
These places were taken by Alexander, who destroyed Gaza because it held out long against him, and he was wounded there ; the inhabitants were treated cruelly, espec. ially the governor, who was dragged alive round the walls till he was destroyed ; and the country was left in a desolate condition : hence called Garn the dosart. But notwithstanding this, Bp. Newcome thinks, that the prophecy was fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar. See on Amosi.8. - Jonathan, one of the Maccabees, took it, and destroyed many of the Philistines,
• Many of the remnant of this people were converted to christianity ; there were many christians at Tyre, and mapy martyrs there.
I have thus determined. What follows is a famous prophecy of
the Messiah. 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion ; shout, o daughter
of Jerusalem : behold, thy King cometh unto thee : he [is] just, and having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass; though he is a king as well as a deliverer, yet he does not affect the grandeur of those princes who multiply horses and chariots, but trusts in God's protection. He shall come like the patriarchs and ancient judges, riding upon
an ass, yea, upon a foal of an a88, which, though never before 10 backed, shall carry him gently.* And I will cut off the chariot
from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off ; they shall cease from all creature depende ence, and repose themselves in the divine protection : and he shall speak peace unto the heathen ; he shall not destroy the Gentiles, as the Jews foolishly imagined : and his dominion
(shall be) from sea [even) to sea, and from the river (even) il to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, O Messiah, by
the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein [is] no water; by that covenant which the Messiah shall establish with his blood, he shall deliver poor sinners, who, like prisoners in a dungeon, are both confined and
starving, 12 Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope ; let sin
nere fly as prisoners of hope to seek refuge in him : even today do I declare (that) I will render double unto thee; I will make
them ample amends for their sorrow, Then begins a new section, 13 which contains a prophecy of the Maccabees. When I have
bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, prepared them to be my instruments, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, given success to their arms against the Syrian kings, the succe88088 of Alexander, (whom the Mac, cabees often defeated,) and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the LORD shall be seen over them, in his presiding and directing presence, and his arrows shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and
shall go with whirlwinds of the south ; bring swift and terri. 15 ble destruction on their enemies. The LORD of hosts shall de
fend them; and they shall devour and subdue with sling stones ; as David did Goliath ; and they shall drink, [and] make a noise as through wine ; they shall shout for victory, as men that are almost intoxicated ; and they shall be filled like
bowls, [and] as the corners of the altar; they shall be filled 16 with joy, as the corners of the allar are with blood. And the
LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people; as a shepherd doth his sheep; for (they shall be as]
• As horses are used in war, Christ may be supposed by this action to have shown the humble and peaceful nature of his kingdom, and the happy effects of his gospel.
the stones of a crown, lifted up; he shall raise them to honour,
and triumph in them, as a prince in his crown, or, as an ensign 17 upon his land. For how great [is] his goodness, and how
great [is] his beauty ! corn shall make the young men cheer. ful, and new wine the maids ; great plenty shall attend their victories ; the young men shall reap the corn, and the maids gather the grapes ; their joy shall be as the joy of harvest, a religious joy, that shall all centre in God.
1. THE calamities of others should engage us to look unio the
1 Lord. The eyes of all Israel, as of one man, turned to him, when his judgments fell upon the kingdoms around them. And it is a sign of God's favour when this is the case with any people, or any individual. Our eyes are apt to turn from him ; many things in the world lead us to overlook him : but to him our attention and affections ought to be principally directed.
2. Let us adore the goodness of God, in raising up for us such a deliverer and prince as the Lord Jesus Christ. This prophecy was remarkably fulfilled in his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, in his gentle character, and the happy effects of his gospel ; in his great authority in heaven and earth, and his power to subdue his enemies, and protect and reward his subjects. He was peaceable himself; and his religion abounds with pacific maxims, which tend to promote peace as far as they prevail. We have great reason to rejoice in him as our king; for he brings inestimable blessings to his subjects both for time and eternity. Let us pray that his kingdom may be supported and advanced as the happiness of the world is so connected with it.
3. Let us be thankful that there is such a foundation laid by Christ and the gospel dispensation, for the hope of sinful creatures. What an affecting view is here given us of sinners ; as prisoners in a pit ; in most distressing and hopeless circumstances ; condemned, and perishing ; yet delivered by the blood of the covenant : that everlasting covenant, which was sealed with the blood of Christ. We are now, blessed be God, prisoners of hope : our case is bad, but not desperate. There is a strong hold provided, where we may be safe, comfortable, and happy, and all sinners are invited to turn to it. May they all see their misery, so that the tidings of deliverance and salvation may be welcome to them, and they may be brought out of prison to praise God's name.
4. While we are thankful for these great mercies, let us not overlook the common bounties of Providence. When we receive the blessings of the harvest, and gather in corn, that furnishes us with nourishing meat and drink, let us observe and admire the kindness of God herein. It is constant, large, and wonderful.