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Adam Clarke Commentary

Zechariah 1

Introduction

The prophet earnestly exhorts the people to repentance, that they may escape such punishments as had been inflicted on their fathers, Zechariah 1:1 -6. The vision of the horses, with the signification, Zechariah 1:7 -11. The angel of the Lord successfully intercedes in behalf of Jerusalem, Zechariah 1:12 -17. The vision of the four horns, and of the four carpenters, Zechariah 1:18 -21.

Verse 1

In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius - This was Darius Hystaspes; and from this date we find that Zechariah began to prophecy just two months after Haggai.Son of Iddo - There are a number of various readings on this name, ידו Iddo, and עדוא Iddo, both in MSS. and in editions; but they are only different ways of writing the same name.

Verse 2

The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers - For their ingratitude idolatry, iniquity, and general rebellion.

Verse 3

Turn ye unto me - This shows that they had power to return, if they would but use it.And I will turn unto you - I will show you mercy and grant you salvation, if you will use the grace I have already given you. Men are lost, because they turn not unto God; but no man is lost because he had not power to return. God gives this, and he will require it.

Verse 5

Your fathers, where are they? - Israel has been destroyed and ruined in the bloody wars with the Assyrians; and Judah, in those with the Chaldeans.The prophets, do they live for ever? - They also, who spoke unto your fathers, are dead; but their predictions remain; and the events, which have taken place according to those predictions, prove that God sent them.

Verse 6

Did they not take hold of your fathers? - Every thing happened according to the predictions, and they were obliged to acknowledge this; and yet they would not turn from their evil way.

Verse 7

Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month - This revelation was given about three months after the former, and two months after they had recommenced the building of the temple.Sebat - Answers to a part of our February. See Haggai 2:18 .

Verse 8

I saw by night - The time was emblematical of the affliction under which the Jews groaned.A man - An angel in the form of a man: supposed to have been the Lord Jesus; who seems to have appeared often in this way, as a prelude to his incarnation; see Joshua 5:13 ; Ezekiel 1:26 ; Daniel 7:13 ; Daniel 10:6 . The same, probably, that appeared to Joshua with a drawn sword, as the captain of the Lord's host. Joshua 5:13 -15.A red horse - An emblem of war and bloodshed.Among the myrtle trees - This tree was an emblem of peace; intimating that all war was shortly to end. But some think these trees are emblematical of the true followers of Christ.And behind him were there red horses - Probably pointing out the different orders of angels in the heavenly host, which are employed by Christ in the defense of his Church. The different colors may point out the gradations in power, authority, and excellence, of the angelic natures which are employed between Christ and men.

Verse 9

O my lord, what are these - The angel here mentioned was distinct from those mentioned in the eighth verse; he who talked with the prophet, Zechariah 1:13 .

Verse 10

The man that stood among the myrtle trees - The angel of the Covenant, as above, Zechariah 1:11 .Whom the Lord hath sent - Who are constituted guardians of the land.

Verse 11

All the earth sitteth still, and is at rest - There is general peace through the Persian empire, and other states connected with Judea; but the Jews are still in affliction; their city is not yet restored, nor their temple built.

Verse 12

Then the angel of the Lord - He who was among the myrtles - the Lord Jesus.O Lord of hosts, how long - Jesus Christ was not only the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," but was always the sole Mediator and intercessor between God and man.These threescore and ten years? - This cannot mean the duration of the captivity for that was nearly twenty years past. It must mean simply the time that had elapsed from the destruction of the temple to the time in which the angel spoke. As the temple was destroyed in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, and this vision took place in the second year of Darius, the term of seventy years was completed, or nearly so, between these two periods.

Verse 13

The Lord answered the angel - And the angel told the prophet that the answer was gracious and comfortable. This answer is given in the next verse.

Verse 14

I am jealous for Jerusalem - I have for them a strong affection; and indignation against their enemies.

Verse 15

I was but a little displeased - I was justly displeased with my people, and I gave their enemies a commission against them; but they carried this far beyond my design by oppression and cruelty; and now they shall suffer in their turn.

Verse 16

I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies - Before, he came to them in judgments; and the principal mercy is, the house of the Lord shall be rebuilt, and the ordinances of' the Lord re-established.And a line shall be stretched forth - The circuit shall be determined, and the city built according to the line marked out.

Verse 17

By cities - shall yet be spread abroad - The whole land of Judea shall be inhabited, and the ruined cities restored.

Verse 18

And behold four horns - Denoting four powers by which the Jews had been oppressed; the Assyrians, Persians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians. Or these enemies may be termed four, in reference to the four cardinal points of the heavens, whence they came: - 1. North. The Assyrians and Babylonians.2. East. The Moabites and Ammonites.3. South. The Egyptians.4. West. The Philistines.See Martin.

Verse 20

Four carpenters - Four other powers, who should defeat the powers intended by the horns. These are the same as the four chariots mentioned Zechariah 6:1 -3, Zechariah 6:6 , Zechariah 6:7 . The first was Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar, who overturned the empire of the Assyrians. The second was Cyrus, who destroyed the empire of the Chaldeans. The third was Alexander the Great, who destroyed the empire of the Persians. And the fourth was Ptolemy, who rendered himself master of Egypt. Some of these had already been cast down; the rest were to follow. Calmet gives this interpretation, and vindicates it at length.

Verse 21

These are come to fray them - To break, pound, and reduce them to powder. Fray, from the French, frayer, to rub. חרשים charashim signifies either carpenters or smiths; probably the latter are here intended, who came with hammers, files, and such like, to destroy these horns, which no doubt seemed to be of iron.From a sensible correspondent I have received the following note: -

Zechariah 1


  1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
  2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers.
  3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.
  4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD.
  5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?
  6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.
  7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,
  8 I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.
  9 Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.
  10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.
  11 And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.
  12 Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?
  13 And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.
  14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.
  15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.
  16 Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
  17 Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
  18 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.
  19 And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.
  20 And the LORD shewed me four carpenters.
  21 Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.

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