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Let us say with constant and lively gratitude, How great is his goodness! and be careful never to pervert or abuse it : but when we eat, and are satisfied, let us bless the name of the Lord, who dealeth so bountifully with us.
An exhortation to seek 10 God, and not to idols ; as he visited his
fiock for sin, so he will save and restore them. The former part of this chapter refers still to the Maccabees; the latter part to the final restoration of the Jews.
1 A SK ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain,
11 about March, (so) the LORD shall make bright clouds,
and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field ; 2 all kinds of vegetables. For the idols have spoken vanity, and
the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain ; the favourable predictions of the false prophets before the captivity, all proved groundless and injurious : therefore they went their way as a flock, driven by their enemies into the wide places of the desert ; they were troubled, because
(there was) no shepherd, no king or ruler over them. 3 Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, against the
kings and rulers, and I punished the goats, or great men : for, or nevertheless, the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, hath returned to his people in mercy, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle ; given them strength and courage, and disposed them to submit to his will, like the eastern horses, which were remarkably obedient to their riders:
this refers to his prospering their arms under the Maccabees. 4 Out of him, from Judah, came forth the corner stone, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together ; God will raise up among them those who
shall be like corner stones and nails in a building, and who shall 5 bear down the united force of their enemies. And they shall be
as mighty [men,] which tread down (their enemies) in the mire of the streets in the battle : and they shall fight, because the LORD [is] with them, and the riders on horses shall be
confounded; they shall gain many signal victories over the Syria 6 an princes, whose chief strength lay in their cavalry. And I
will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them ; for I have mercy upon them : and they shall be as though I had not cast them off : for 1 [am] the LORD their God, and will
hear them; many of the ten tribes, encouraged by these suca 7 cesses, shall return. And (they of) Ephraim shall be like a
mighty [man,) and their heart shall rejoice as through wine : yea, their children shall see [it] and be glad ; their heart shall rejoice in the LORD ; they shall have lasting peace, and their
children shall reap the benefits of the victories, in great pirosperity 8 and happiness. I will hiss for them, or whistle, as the eastern
shepherds call their sheep, and gather them ; for I have redeemed them : and they shall increase as they have increased ;
that is, even during their captivity. This and the following 9 verses probably relate to the Jews in the latter day. And I will
sow them among the people ; I will multiply them among the nations where they are dispersed : and they shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live with their children, and
turn again to their obedience to God by their conversion to chrisi. 10 ianity. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt,
and gather them out of Assyria ;* and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon ; and a sufficient [place] shall
not be found for them ; they shall be more numerous than their 11 ancient boundaries can contain. And he, that is, God, shall
pass through the sea with affliction, or, with distress unto it, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up ; God's mighty arm shall be displayed again, in as wonderful a manner as in bringing their fathers out of Egypt : and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and
the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away ; Assyria and Egypt, 12 all their opposers, shall be humbled. And I will strengthen
them in the LORD ; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD; they shall be formed to an humble de. pendence upon God, be devoted to him, and supported by him.t
1. THE providence of God is to be sought and owned in sea
1 sonable weather. "Sunshine and rain in their seasons, are God's gifts, and are to be asked of him. None of the vanities of the heathen can give or restrain rain. Let us be careful to observe the course of his providence, that we may adore him as the God of nature, and give him the glory of all his bounties
2. Let us look to him to raise up fit persons to support the interests of our country, who shall be as corner stones, to sustain and adorn the building, and as nails, to keep the frames of it together, such are wise and faithful ministers of state, active magistrates, and skillful, valiant commanders. God is the fountain of skill and
. This is proverbial; Egypt and Assyria are put for all the places where they were dispersed ; so it is said, Out of Egypt I called my Son.
+ This last chapter Mr. Orton did not deliver from the pulpit : here his manuscript copy ends. The remaining chapters of Zechariah, and the book of Malachi are drawn up by the Editor, from the materials found in Mr. Ort n's interleaved Bible ; fiom Dr. Doddridye's Hotos, and Bp. Nowcene's improved version.
power ; can endow men with qualifications for great offices, fix them in them, and make their attempts to serve the public suc. cessful. We should have our public affairs better managed, and have less faction and contention, if we were more sensible of this, and more careful to pray for the prosperity of our country.
3. Let us look to God for wisdom and strength for ourselves, that we may walk up and down in his name ; act by his direction, and aim at his glory ; seeking success and comfort from him, and giving him the honour when we obtain them. Our concern should be to engage faithfully in his service, and daily to perform all the duties of the christian life. We need his assistance for this purpose ; and should earnestly seek it, and hope for it : for the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power to his people. Bless ye the Lord.
The three first verses of this chapter relate to the destruction of Je.
rusalem. The prophet then gives an account of the manner in which he discharged his office, and the little value that was pul upon his labours. He is then directed to take instruments of destruction, expressive of the judgments which God was about to inflict on the Jews by wicked rulers and guides, who would first destroy the flock, and, in the end, be destroyed themselves.
PEN thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour
thy cedars ; the temple was built of cedar.* Howl, fir tree ; for the cedar is fallen ; ye mean ones, mourn for the great ; because the mighty is spoiled : howl, O ye oaks of Bashan ; for the forest of the vintage, the defenced forest, or,
Jerusalem, which was as full of houses as a forest of trees, is 3 come down. [There is) a voice of the howling of the shep
herds, of the rulers and governors ; for their glory is spoiled : a voice of the roaring of young lions ; for the pride of Jordan
is spoiled.t 4 Thus saith the LORD my God ; Feed the flock of the
slaughter ; the flock that has been wasted by many,! and must 5 be given up to slaughter ;t Whose possessors slay them, and
hold themselves not guilty ; have no sense of the enormity of
• The Jewish writers tell us, that the great eastern gate of the temple was so heavy, that many inen were necessary to open and shut it ; yet that a little before the last siege ic opened and shut of itself, and that Rabbi Johannan said on that occasion, Now is the temple near to be destroyed, since that word is fulfilled, Open thy gates, O Lebanon.' Fosephus, L. viii. chap. 12.
+ Great men are compared to shepherds and lions, to intimate their superiority, and to young lions hiding themselves in thickets, till Jordan, highly enraged, overflowed and drove them out.
These words were directly spoken to Zechariah, and are intended as a figure of Christ.
this conduct : and they that sell them say, Blessed [be] the LORD ; for I am rich; they have the show of piety, while they
practise the greatest injustice and cruelty : and their own 6 shepherds pity, or spare, them not. For I will no more pity
the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD : but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of his king : and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver (them.*] And I will feed the flock of slaughter, [even] you, or, because of you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves, or, two crooks ; I assumed the appearance of a shepherd ; the one I called Beauty, to denote how beautiful and pleasant the land would have been, if its inhabitants had kept their covenant with God, and the other I called Bands ; to signify the union that ought to have
subsisted between Judah and Israel, (see v. 14.) and I fed the 8 flock. Three shepherds also, that is, several evil governors, I
cut off in one month, in a little time it and my soul lothed 9 them, and their soul also abhorred me. Then said I, I will
not feed you : that that dieth, let it die ; and that that is to
be cut off, let it be cut off ; and let the rest eat every one the 10 flesh of another, and become a prey to famine. And I took my
staff, (even) Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people ; by give ing them up to destruction, I put an end to that beautiful consti
tution of things, which had before been settled among them, and 11 which I would have established. And it was broken in that
day : and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew
that it (was] the word of the LORD ; acknowledged that the 12 hand of God was therein. And I said unto them, If ye think
good, give (me) my price ; and if not, forbear ; if you think I deserve any thing from you, give me a meet recompense for all my care and pains with you. So they weighed for my price
thirty (pieces] of silver ; they rated them contemptuously : 13 thirty pieces of silver being the price of a slave. And the LORD
said unto me, Cast it unto the potter : a goodly price that I was prised at by them ; as if he had said, whatever affront they put on you they put on me, and I look on myself as injured that the services of my servant should be no more thought of. And I took the thirty (pieces] of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD ; as I received it in the temple, I threw it to the polter who sat at the gate ; to intimate that is
• This probably refers to the dreadful devastation brought on the Jews by the Romans, and by their quarrels among themselves. The hand of his king, many refer to the Rornan emperor, who was now king of Judea, and treated the fws with greater severity than eonld have been expected from the general character of Titus.
+ This may particularly refer to the severity with which Christ reproved the scribes and pharisees. There were a great number of revolutinns about this time in the high priesthood, which must occasion a revolution in other offices. Vol. VI.
14 was a fie price only for his contemptible ware.* Then I cut
asunder mine other staff, [even] Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel ; when I had received this affront, I conceived there was nothing more for me to do as a shepherd; I therefore broke my staff, and declared, that since they had despised my endeavours to unite them, they should
be left to a spirit of discord. 15 And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instru
ments of a foolish shepherd ; a scrip that would contain noth
ing useful to the sheep, and a heavy staff that would hurt them. 16 For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, come wicked
king, (which) shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still through weakness, but he shall eat the
flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces; wear out their 17 hoofs with over driving them. Wo to the idol shepherd that
leaveth the flock ! the shepherd that acts in so foolish a manner, as to be but the useless image of a shepherd ! the sword [shall be] upon his arm, and upon his right eye : his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened ; the sword of God's wrath shall fall upon him ; God shall weaken his power, confound his understanding, and leave him under a stale of blindness and impotence.
1. Ï ET us be very thankful that the fire of God's wrath is
U not sent out against us, v. I. Our sins are many, and aggravated, like those of the Jews of old ; and God might justly have consumed us in his anger, as he did them ; have given our temples to the flames, and our dwellings to the fury of the enemy: he might have turned the roarings of those who revel, into howlings and lamentations. May we hear, and fear, and do no more wickedly ; else the mercies we have received will not prevent the judgments we have deserved ; but the more God has done for us, the heavier will those judgments be : and wicked princes and priests, who instead of being shepherds, have been lions, may justly expect peculiar indignation.
2. Let us guard against every thing that looks like an association of devotion and immorality, v. 5. It is bad enough when men do ill, and get their gains by unrighteous methods, or by the oppression and sale of others ; but it is worse, when they justify themselves in those methods, and say, We are not guilty ; but most abominable of all, when they do this under the cloak of religion, and say, Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich ; though they
. This is applied by the evangelist to Christ, the great Shepherd, who was valued at no more than thirty pieces, which were thrown down in the temple, and taken fron thence, and given to the potter.