Prophecy Of Zechariah (Zacharias)
The prophet exhorts the people to return to God, and declares his visions, by which he puts them in hopes of better times.
1 In the eighth month, in the second year of king Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zacharias the son of Barachias, the son of Addo, the prophet, saying: 2 The Lord hath been exceeding angry with your fathers. 3 And thou shalt say to them: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Turn ye to me, saith the Lord of hosts: and I will turn to you, saith the Lord of hosts. 4 Be not as your fathers, to whom the former prophets have cried, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Turn ye from your evil ways, and from your wicked thoughts: but they did not give ear, neither did they hearken to me, saith the Lord. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, shall they live always?
6 But yet my words, and my ordinances, which I gave in charge to my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers, and they returned, and said: As the Lord of hosts thought to do to us according to our ways, and according to our devices, so he hath done to us. 7 In the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month which is called Sabath, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zacharias the son of Barachias, the son of Addo, 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 horses, red, speckled, and white. 9 And I said: What are these, my Lord? and the angel that spoke in me, said to me: I will shew thee what these are: 10 And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered, and said: These are they, whom the Lord hath sent to walk through the earth.
8 "A man"... An angel in the shape of a man. It was probably Michael, the guardian angel of the church of God.
10 "These are they"... The guardian angels of provinces and nations.
11 And they answered the angel of the Lord, that stood among the myrtle trees, and said: We have walked through the earth, and behold all the earth is inhabited, and is at rest. 12 And 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 Juda, with which thou hast been angry? this is now the seventieth year. 13 And the Lord answered the angel, that spoke in me, good words, comfortable words. 14 And the angel that spoke in me, said to me: Cry thou, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I am zealous for Jerusalem, and Sion with a great zeal. 15 And I am angry with a great anger with the wealthy nations: for I was angry a little, but they helped forward the evil.
12 "The seventieth year"... Viz., from the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem, in the ninth year of king Sedecias, to the second year of king Darius. These seventy years of the desolation of Jerusalem and the cities of Juda, are different from the seventy years of captivity foretold by Jeremias; which began in the fourth year of Joakim, and ended in the first year of king Cyrus.
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord: I will return to Jerusalem in mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts: and the building line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. 17 Cry yet, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts: My cities shall yet flow with good things: and the Lord will yet comfort Sion, and he will yet choose Jerusalem. 18 And I lifted up my eyes, and saw: and behold four horns. 19 And I said to the angel that spoke to me: What are these? And he said to me: These are the horns that have scattered Juda, and Israel, and Jerusalem. 20 And the Lord shewed me four smiths.
18 "Four horns"... The four horns represent the empires, or kingdoms, that persecute and oppress the kingdom of God.
20 "Four smiths"... The four smiths, or carpenters (for faber may signify either) represent those whom God makes his instruments in bringing to nothing the power of persecutors.
21 And I said: What come these to do? and he spoke, saying: These are the horns which have scattered Juda every man apart, and none of them lifted up his head: and these are come to fray them, to cast down the horns of the nations, that have lifted up the horn upon the land of Juda to scatter it.
Under the name of Jerusalem, he prophesieth the progress of the church of Christ, by the conversion of some Jews and many Gentiles.
1 And I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold a man, with a measuring line in his hand. 2 And I said: Whither goest thou? and he said to me: To measure Jerusalem, and to see how great is the breadth thereof, and how great the length thereof. 3 And behold the angel that spoke in me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him. 4 And he said to him: Run, speak to this young man, saying: Jerusalem shall be inhabited without walls, by reason of the multitude of men, and of the beasts in the midst thereof. 5 And I will be to it, saith the Lord, a wall of fire round about: and I will be in glory in the midst thereof.
4 "Jerusalem shall be inhabited without walls"... This must be understood of the spiritual Jerusalem, the church of Christ.
6 O, O flee ye out of the land of the north, saith the Lord, for I have scattered you into the four winds of heaven, saith the Lord. 7 O Sion, flee, thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon: 8 For thus saith the Lord of hosts: After the glory he hath sent me to the nations that have robbed you: for he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of my eye: 9 For behold I lift up my hand upon them, and they shall be a prey to those that served them: and you shall know that the Lord of hosts sent me. 10 Sing praise, and rejoice, O daughter of Sion: for behold I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee: saith the Lord.
11 And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they shall be my people, and I will dwell in the midst of thee: and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me to thee. 12 And the Lord shall possess Juda his portion in the sanctified land: and he shall yet choose Jerusalem. 13 Let all flesh be silent at the presence of the Lord: for he is risen up out of his. holy habitation.
In a vision Satan appeareth accusing the high priest. He is cleansed from his sins. Christ is promised, and great fruit from his passion.
1 And the Lord shewed me Jesus the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord: and Satan stood on his right hand to be his adversary. 2 And the Lord said to Satan: The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan: and the Lord that chose Jerusalem rebuke thee: Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 And Jesus was clothed with filthy garments: and he stood before the face of the angel. 4 Who answered, and said to them that stood before him, saying: Take away the filthy garments from him. And he said to him: Behold I have taken away thy iniquity, and have clothed thee with change of garments. 5 And he said: Put a clean mitre upon his head: and they put a clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments, and the angel of the Lord stood.
1 "Jesus"... Alias, Josue, the son of Josedec, the high priest of that time.
3 "With filthy garments"... Negligences and sins.
6 And the angel of the Lord protested to Jesus, saying: 7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: If thou wilt walk in my ways, and keep my charge, thou also shalt judge my house, and shalt keep my courts, and I will give thee some of them that are now present here to walk with thee. 8 Hear, O Jesus thou high priest, thou and thy friends that dwell before thee, for they are portending men: for behold I WILL BRING MY SERVANT THE ORIENT. 9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Jesus: upon one stone there are seven eyes: behold I will grave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts: and I will take away the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, every man shall call his friend under the vine and under the fig tree.
7 "I will give thee"... Angels to attend and assist thee.
8 "Portending men"... That is, men, who by words and actions are to foreshew wonders that are to come.-- Ibid.
8 "My servant the Orient"... Christ, who according to his humanity is the servant of God, is called the Orient from his rising like the sun in the east to enlighten the world.
9 "The stone"... Another emblem of Christ, the rock, foundation, and corner stone of his church.-- Ibid.
9 "Seven eyes"... The manifold providence of Christ over his church, or the seven gifts of the spirit of God.-- Ibid.
9 "One day"... Viz., the day of the passion of Christ, the source of all our good: when this precious stone shall be graved, that is, cut and pierced, with whips, thorns, nails, and spear.
The vision of the golden candlestick and seven lamps, and of the two olive trees.
1 And the angel that spoke in me came again: and he waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me: What seest thou? And I said: I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, and its lamp upon the top of it: and the seven lights thereof upon it: and seven funnels for the lights that were upon the top thereof. 3 And two olive trees over it: one upon the right side of the lamp, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4 And I answered, and said to the angel that spoke in me, saying: What are these things, my lord? 5 And the angel that spoke in me answered, and said to me: Knowest thou not what these things are? And I said: No, my lord.
2 "A candlestick"... The temple of God that was then in building; and in a more sublime sense, the church of Christ.
6 And he answered, and spoke to me, saying: This is the word of the Lord to Zorobabel, saying: Not with an army, nor by might, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. 7 Who art thou, O great mountain, before Zorobabel? thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring out the chief stone, and shall give equal grace to the grace thereof. 8 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 9 The hands of Zorobabel have laid the foundations of this house, and his hands shall finish it: and you shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me to you. 10 For who hath despised little days? and they shall rejoice, and shall see the tin plummet in the hand of Zorobabel. These are the seven eyes of the Lord, that run to and fro through the whole earth.
6 "To Zorobabel"... This vision was in favour of Zorobabel: to assure him of success in the building of the temple, which he had begun, signified by the candlestick; the lamp of which, without any other industry, was supplied with oil, dropping from the two olive trees, and distributed by the seven funnels or pipes, to maintain the seven lights.
7 "Great mountain"... So he calls the opposition made by the enemies of God's people; which nevertheless, without an army or might on their side, was quashed by divine providence.-- Ibid.
7 "Shall give equal grace"... Shall add grace to grace, or beauty to beauty.
10 "Little days"... That is, these small and feeble beginnings of the temple of God.-- Ibid.
10 "The tin plummet"... Literally, the stone of tin. He means the builder's plummet, which Zorobabel shall hold in his hand for the finishing the building.-- Ibid.
10 "The seven eyes"... The providence of God, that oversees and orders all things.
11 And I answered, and said to him: What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick, and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered again, and said to him: What are the two olive branches, that are by the two golden beaks, in which are the funnels of gold? 13 And he spoke to me, saying: Knowest thou not what these are? And I said: No, my lord. 14 And he said: These are two sons of oil who stand before the Lord of the whole earth.
14 "Two sons of oil"... That is, the two anointed ones of the Lord; viz., Jesus the high priest, and Zorobabel the prince.
The vision of the flying volume, and of the woman in the vessel.
1 And I turned and lifted up my eyes: and I saw, and behold a volume flying. 2 And he said to me: What seest thou? And I said: I see a volume flying: the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. 3 And he said to me: This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the earth: for every thief shall be judged as is there written: and every one that sweareth in like manner shall be judged by it. 4 I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of hosts: and it shall come to the house of the thief, and to the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it, with the timber thereof, and the stones thereof. 5 And the angel went forth that spoke in me, and he said to me: Lift up thy eyes, and see what this is, that goeth forth.
1 "A volume"... That is, a parchment, according to the form of the ancient books, which, from being rolled up, were called volumes.
6 And I said: What is it? And he said: This is a vessel going forth. And he said: This is their eye in all the earth. 7 And behold a talent of lead was carried, and behold a woman sitting in the midst of the vessel. 8 And he said: This is wickedness. And he cast her into the midst of the vessel, and cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 And I lifted up my eyes and looked: and behold there came out two women, and wind was in their wings, and they had wings like the wings of a kite: and they lifted up the vessel between the earth and the heaven. 10 And I said to the angel that spoke in me: Whither do these carry the vessel?
6 "This is their eye"... This is what they fix their eye upon: or this is a resemblance and figure of them, viz., of sinners.
11 And he said to me: That a house may be built for it in the land of Sennaar, and that it may be established, and set there upon its own basis.
11 "The land of Sennaar"... Where Babel or Babylon was built, Gen. 11., where note, that Babylon in holy writ is often taken for the city of the devil: that is, for the whole congregation of the wicked: as Jerusalem is taken for the city and people of God.
The vision of the four chariots. Crowns are ordered for Jesus the high priest, as a type of Christ.
1 And I turned, and lifted up my eyes, and saw: and behold four chariots came out from the midst of two mountains: and the mountains were mountains of brass. 2 In the first chariot were red horses, and in the second chariot black horses. 3 And in the third chariot white horses, and in the fourth chariot grisled horses, and strong ones. 4 And I answered, and said to the angel that spoke in me: What are these, my lord? 5 And the angel answered, and said to me: These are the four winds of the heaven, which go forth to stand before the Lord of all the earth.
1 "Four chariots"... The four great empires of the Chaldeans, Persians, Grecians, and Romans. Or perhaps by the fourth chariot are represented the kings of Egypt and of Asia, the descendants of Ptolemeus and Seleucus.
6 That in which were the black horses went forth into the land of the north, and the white went forth after them: and the grisled went forth to the land of the south. 7 And they that were most strong, went out, and sought to go, and to run to and fro through all the earth. And he said: Go, walk throughout the earth: and they walked throughout the earth. 8 And he called me, and spoke to me, saying: Behold they that go forth into the land of the north, have quieted my spirit in the land of the north. 9 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 10 Take of them of the captivity, of Holdai, and of Tobias, and of Idaias; thou shalt come in that day, and shalt go into the house of Josias, the son of Sophonias, who came out of Babylon.
6 "The land of the north"... So Babylon is called; because it lay to the north in respect of Jerusalem. The black horses, that is, the Medes and Persians: and after them Alexander and his Greeks, signified by the white horses, went thither because they conquered Babylon, executed upon it the judgments of God, which is signified, ver. 8, by the expression of quieting his spirit.-- Ibid.
6 "The land of the south"... Egypt, which lay to the south of Jerusalem, and was occupied first by Ptolemeus, and then by the Romans.
11 And thou shalt take gold and silver: and shalt make crowns, and thou shalt set them on the head of Jesus the son of Josedec, the high priest. 12 And thou shalt speak to him, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: BEHOLD A MAN, THE ORIENT IS HIS NAME: and under him shall he spring up, and shall build a temple to the Lord. 13 Yea, he shall build a temple to the Lord: and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit, and rule upon his throne: and he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. 14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, and Tobias, and Idaias, and to Hem, the son of Sophonias, a memorial in the temple of the Lord. 15 And they that are far off, shall come and shall build in the temple of the Lord: and you shall know that the Lord of hosts sent me to you. But this shall come to pass, if hearing you will hear the voice of the Lord your God.
13 "Between them both"... That is, he shall unite in himself the two offices or dignities of king and priest.
The people inquire concerning fasting: they are admonished to fast from sin.
1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the Lord came to Zacharias, in the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Casleu. 2 When Sarasar, and Rogommelech, and the men that were with him, sent to the house of God, to entreat the face of the Lord: 3 To speak to the priests of the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying: Must I weep in the fifth month, or must I sanctify myself as I have now done for many years? 4 And the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: 5 Speak to all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying: When you fasted, and mourned in the fifth and the seventh month for these seventy years: did you keep a fast unto me?
3 "The fifth month"... They fasted on the tenth day of the fifth month; because on that day the temple was burnt. Therefore they inquire whether they are to continue the fast, after the temple is rebuilt. See this query answered in the 19 th verse of the following chapter.
6 And when you did eat and drink, did you not eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? 7 Are not these the words which the Lord spoke by the hand of the former prophets, when Jerusalem as yet was inhabited, and was wealthy, both itself and the cities round about it, and there were inhabitants towards the south, and in the plain? 8 And the word of the Lord came to Zacharias, saying: 9 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: Judge ye true judgment, and shew ye mercy and compassion every man to his brother. 10 And oppress not the widow, and the fatherless, and the stranger, and the poor: and let not a man devise evil in his heart against his brother.
11 But they would not hearken, and they turned away the shoulder to depart: and they stopped their ears, not to hear. 12 And they made their heart as the adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts sent in his spirit by the hand of the former prophets: so a great indignation came from the Lord of hosts. 13 And it came to pass that as he spoke, and they heard not: so shall they cry, and I will not hear, saith the Lord of hosts. 14 And I dispersed them throughout all kingdoms, which they know not: and the land was left desolate behind them, so that no man passed through or returned: and they changed the delightful land into a wilderness.
Joyful promises to Jerusalem: fully verified in the church of Christ.
1 And the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: 2 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I have been jealous for Sion with a great jealousy, and with a great indignation have I been jealous for her. 3 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I am returned to Sion, and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called The city of truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, The sanctified mountain. 4 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem: and every man with his staff in his hand through multitude of days. 5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls, playing in the streets thereof.
6 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: If it seem hard in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days: shall it be hard in my eyes, saith the Lord of hosts? 7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Behold I will save my people from the land of the east, and from the land of the going down of the sun. 8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God in truth and in justice. 9 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: Let your hands be strengthened, you that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, in the day that the house of the Lord of hosts was founded, that the temple might be built. 10 For before those days there was no hire for men, neither was there hire for beasts, neither was there peace to him that came in, nor to him that went out, because of the tribulation: and I let all men go every one against his neighbour.
11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people according to the former days, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 But there shall be the seed of peace: the vine shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew: and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 And it shall come to pass, that as you were a curse among the Gentiles, O house of Juda, and house of Israel: so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing: fear not, let your hands be strengthened. 14 For thus saith the Lord of hosts: As I purposed to afflict you, when your fathers had provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord, 15 And I had no mercy: so turning again I have thought in these days to do good to the house of Juda, and Jerusalem: fear not.
16 These then are the things, which you shall do: Speak ye truth every one to his neighbour: judge ye truth and judgment of peace in your gates. 17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his friend: and love not a false oath: for all these are the things that I hate, saith the Lord. 18 And the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: 19 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Juda, joy, and gladness, and great solemnities: only love ye truth and peace. 20 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, until people come, and dwell in many cities,
19 "The fast of the fourth month"... They fasted, on the ninth day of the fourth month, because on that day Nabuchodonosor took Jerusalem, Jer. 52. 6. On the tenth day of the fifth month, because on that day the temple was burnt, Jer. 52. 12. On the third day of the seventh month, for the murder of Godolias, Jer. 41. 2. And on the tenth day of the tenth month, because on that day the Chaldeans began to besiege Jerusalem, 4 Kings 25. 1. All these fasts, if they will be obedient for the future, shall be changed, as is here promised, into joyful solemnities.
21 And the inhabitants go one to another, saying: Let us go, and entreat the face of the Lord, and let us seek the Lord of hosts: I also will go. 22 And many peoples, and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to entreat the face of the Lord. 23 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: In those days, wherein ten men of all languages of the Gentiles shall take hold, and shall hold fast the shirt of one that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
23 "Ten men"... Many of the Gentiles became proselytes to the Jewish religion before Christ: but many more were converted to Christ by the apostles and other preachers of the Jewish nation.
God will defend his church, and bring over even her enemies to the faith. The meek coming of Christ, to bring peace, to deliver the captives by his blood, and to give us all good things.
1 The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and of Damascus the rest thereof: for the eye of man, and of all the tribes of Israel is the Lord's. 2 Emath also in the borders thereof, and Tyre, and Sidon: for they have taken to themselves to be exceeding wise. 3 And Tyre hath built herself a strong hold, and heaped together silver as earth, and gold as the mire of the streets. 4 Behold the Lord shall possess her, and shall strike her strength in the sea, and she shall be devoured with fire. 5 Ascalon shall see, and shall fear, and Gaza, and shall be very sorrowful: and Accaron, because her hope is confounded: and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ascalon shall not be inhabited.
1 "Hadrach"... Syria.
6 And the divider shall sit in Azotus, and I will destroy the pride of the Philistines. 7 And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: and even he shall be left to our God, and he shall be as a governor in Juda, and Accaron as a Jebusite. 8 And I will encompass my house with them that serve me in war, going and returning, and the oppressor shall no more pass through them: for now I have seen with my eyes. 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.
7 "His blood"... It is spoken of the Philistines, and particularly of Azotus, (where the temple of Dagon was,) and contains a prophecy of the conversion of that people from their bloody sacrifices and abominations to the worship of the true God.
8 "That serve me in war"... Viz., the Machabees.
11 Thou also by the blood of thy testament hast sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein is no water. 12 Return to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope, I will render thee double as I declare today. 13 Because I have bent Juda for me as a bow, I have filled Ephraim: and I will raise up thy sons, O Sion, above thy sons, O Greece, and I will make thee as the sword of the mighty. 14 And the Lord God shall be seen over them, and his dart shall go forth as lightning: and the Lord God will sound the trumpet, and go in the whirlwind of the south. 15 The Lord of hosts will protect them: and they shall devour, and subdue with the stones of the sling: and drinking they shall be inebriated as it were with wine, and they shall be filled as bowls, and as the horns of the altar.
13 "Thy sons, O Sion"... Viz., the apostles, who, in the spiritual way, conquered the Greeks, and subdued them to Christ.
16 And the Lord their God will save them in that day, as the flock of his people: for holy stones shall be lifted up over his land. 17 For what is the good thing of him, and what is his beautiful thing, but the corn of the elect, and wine springing forth virgins?
16 "Holy stones"... The apostles, who shall be as pillars and monuments in the church.
17 "The corn"... His most excellent gift is the blessed Eucharist, called here The corn, that is, the bread of the elect, and the wine springing forth virgins; that is, maketh virgins to bud, or spring forth, as it were, like flowers among thorns; because it has a wonderful efficacy to give and preserve purity.
God is to be sought to, and not idols. The victories of his church, which shall arise originally from the Jewish nation.
1 Ask ye of the Lord rain in the latter season, and the Lord will make snows, and will give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. 2 For the idols have spoken what was unprofitable, and the diviners have seen a lie, and the dreamers have spoken vanity: they comforted in vain: therefore they were led away as a flock: they shall be afflicted, because they have no shepherd. 3 My wrath is kindled against the shepherds, and I will visit upon the buck goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock, the house of Juda, and hath made them as the horse of his glory in the battle. 4 Out of him shall come forth the corner, out of him the pin, out of him the bow of battle, out of him every exacter together. 5 And they shall be as mighty men, treading under foot the mire of the ways in battle: and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them, and the riders of horses shall be confounded.
6 And I will strengthen the house of Juda, and save the house of Joseph: and I will bring them back again, because I will have mercy on them: and they shall be as they were when I had cast them off, for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them. 7 And they shall be as the valiant men of Ephraim, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: and their children shall see, and shall rejoice, and their heart shall be joyful in the Lord. 8 I will whistle for them, and I will gather them together, because I have redeemed them: and I will multiply them as they were multiplied before. 9 And I will sow them among peoples: and from afar they shall remember me: and they shall live with their children, and shall return. 10 And I will bring them back out of the land of Egypt, and will gather them from among the Assyrians: and will bring them to the land of Galaad, and Libanus, and place shall not be found for them.
11 And he shall pass over the strait of the sea, and shall strike the waves in the sea, and all the depths of the river shall be confounded, and the pride of Assyria shall be humbled, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart. 12 I will strengthen them in the Lord, and they shall walk in his name, saith the Lord.
The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. God's dealings with the Jews, and their reprobation.
1 Open thy gates, O Libanus, and let fire devour thy cedars. 2 Howl, thou fir tree, for the cedar is fallen, for the mighty are laid waste: howl, ye oaks of Basan, because the fenced forest is cut down. 3 The voice of the howling of the shepherds, because their glory is laid waste: the voice of the roaring of the lions, because the pride of the Jordan is spoiled. 4 Thus saith the Lord my God: Feed the flock of the slaughter, 5 Which they that possessed, slew, and repented not, and they sold them, saying: Blessed be the Lord, we are become rich: and their shepherds spared them not.
1 "O Libanus"... So Jerusalem, and more particularly the temple, is called by the prophets, from its height, and from its being built of the cedars of Libanus.-- Ibid.
1 "Thy cedars"... Thy princes and chief men.
6 And I will no more spare the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord: behold I will deliver the men, every one into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall destroy the land, and I will not deliver it out of their hand. 7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter for this, O ye poor of the flock. And I took unto me two rods, one I called Beauty, and the other I called a Cord, and I fed the flock. 8 And I cut off three shepherds in one month, and my soul was straitened in their regard: for their soul also varied in my regard. 9 And I said: I will not feed you: that which dieth, let it die: and that which is cut off, let it be cut off: and let the rest devour every one the flesh of his neighbour. 10 And I took my rod that was called Beauty, and I cut it asunder to make void my covenant, which I had made with all people.
6 "Every one into his neighbour's hand"... This alludes to the last siege of Jerusalem, in which the different factions of the Jews destroyed one another; and they that remained fell into the hands of their king, that is, of the Roman emperor, of whom they had said, John 19. 15, we have no king but Caesar.
7 "Two rods"... Or shepherd's staves, meaning the different ways of God's dealing with his people; the one, by sweet means, called the rod of Beauty: the other, by bands and punishments, called the Cord. And where both these rods are made of no use or effect by the obstinacy of sinners, the rods are broken, and such sinners are given up to a reprobate sense, as the Jews were.
8 "Three shepherds in one month"... That is, in a very short time. By these three shepherds probably are meant the latter princes and high priests of the Jews, whose reign was short.
11 And it was made void in that day: and so the poor of the flock that keep for me, understood that it is the word of the Lord. 12 And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the statuary, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast them into the house of the Lord to the statuary. 14 And I cut off my second rod that was called a Cord, that I might break the brotherhood between Juda and Israel. 15 And the Lord said to me: Take to thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd.
13 "The statuary"... The Hebrew word signifies also a potter.
15 "A foolish shepherd"... This was to represent the foolish, that is, the wicked princes and priests that should rule the people, before their utter desolation.
16 For behold I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not visit what is forsaken, nor seek what is scattered, nor heal what is broken, nor nourish that which standeth, and he shall eat the flesh of the fat ones, and break their hoofs. 17 O shepherd, and idol, that forsaketh the flock: the sword upon his arm and upon his right eye: his arm shall quite wither away, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.
God shall protect his church against her persecutors. The mourning of Jerusalem.
1 The burden of the word of the Lord upon Israel. Thus saith the Lord, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man in him: 2 Behold I will make Jerusalem a lintel of surfeiting to all the people round about: and Juda also shall be in the siege against Jerusalem. 3 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone to all people: all that shall lift it up shall be rent and torn, and all the kingdoms of the earth shall be gathered together against her. 4 In that day, saith the Lord, I will strike every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open my eyes upon the house of Juda, and will strike every horse of the nations with blindness. 5 And the governors of Juda shall say in their heart: Let the inhabitants of Jerusalem be strengthened for me in the Lord of hosts, their God.
2 "A lintel of surfeiting"... That is, a door into which they shall seek to enter, to glut themselves with blood; but they shall stumble, and fall like men stupefied with wine. It seems to allude to the times of Antiochus, and to the victories of the Machabees.
6 In that day I will make the governors of Juda like a furnace of fire amongst wood, and as a firebrand amongst hay: and they shall devour all the people round about, to the right hand, and to the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place in Jerusalem. 7 And the Lord shall save the tabernacles of Juda, as in the beginning: that the house of David, and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, may not boast and magnify themselves against Juda. 8 In that day shall the Lord protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and he that hath offended among them in that day shall be as David: and the house of David, as that of God, as an angel of the Lord in their sight. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.
11 In that day there shall be a great lamentation in Jerusalem like the lamentation of Adadremmon in the plain of Mageddon. 12 And the land shall mourn: families and families apart: the families of the house of David apart, and their women apart: 13 The families of the house of Nathan apart, and their women apart: the families of the house of Levi apart, and their women apart: the families of Semei apart, and their women apart. 14 All the rest of the families, families and families apart, and their women apart.
11 "Adadremmon"... A place near Mageddon, where the good king Josias was slain, and much lamented by his people.
The fountain of Christ. Idols and false prophets shall be extirpated: Christ shall suffer: his people shall be tried by fire.
1 In that day there shall be a fountain open to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: for the washing of the sinner, and of the unclean woman. 2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will destroy the names of idols out of the earth, and they shall be remembered no more: and I will take away the false prophets, and the unclean spirit out of the earth. 3 And it shall come to pass, that when any man shall prophesy any more, his father and his mother that brought him into the world, shall say to him: Thou shalt not live: because thou hast spoken a lie in the name of the Lord. And his father, and his mother, his parents, shall thrust him through, when he shall prophesy. 4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be confounded, every one by his own vision, when he shall prophesy, neither shall they be clad with a garment of sackcloth, to deceive: 5 But he shall say: I am no prophet, I am a husbandman: for Adam is my example from my youth.
6 And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me. 7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that cleaveth to me, saith the Lord of hosts: strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand to the little ones. 8 And there shall be in all the earth, saith the Lord, two parts in it shall be scattered, and shall perish: but the third part shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined: and I will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say: Thou art my people: and they shall say: The Lord is my God.
After the persecutions of the church shall follow great prosperity. Persecutors shall be punished: so shall all that will not serve God in his church.
1 Behold the days of the Lord shall come, and thy spoils shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 And I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken, and the houses shall be rifled, and the women shall be defiled: and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the rest of the people shall not be taken away out of the city. 3 Then the Lord shall go forth, and shall fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is over against Jerusalem toward the east: and the mount of Olives shall be divided in the midst thereof to the east, and to the west with a very great opening, and half of the mountain shall be separated to the north, and half thereof to the south. 5 And you shall flee to the valley of those mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall be joined even to the next, and you shall flee as you fled from the face of the earthquake in the days of Ozias king of Juda: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with him.
2 "I will gather"... This seems to be a prophecy of what was done by Antiochus.
6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall be no light, but cold and frost. 7 And there shall be one day, which is known to the Lord, not day nor night: and in the time of the evening there shall be light. 8 And it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them to the east sea, and half of them to the last sea: they shall be in summer and in winter. 9 And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and his name shall be one. 10 And all the land shall return even to the desert, from the hill to Remmon to the south of Jerusalem: and she shall be exalted, and shall dwell in her own place, from the gate of Benjamin even to the place of the former gate, and even to the gate of the corners: and from the tower of Hananeel even to the king's winepresses.
6 "No light"... Viz., in that dismal time of persecution of Antiochus, when it was neither day nor night: (ver. 7) because they neither had the comfortable light of the day, nor the repose of the night.
7 "In the time of the evening there shall be light"... An unexpected light shall arise by the means of the Machabees, when things shall seem to be at the worst.
8 "Living waters"... Viz., the gospel of Christ.
10 "All the land shall return"... This, in some measure, was verified by the means of the Machabees: but is rather to be taken in a spiritual sense, as relating to the propagation of the church, and kingdom of Christ, the true Jerusalem, which alone shall never fall under the anathema of destruction, or God's curse.
11 And people shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more an anathema: but Jerusalem shall sit secure. 12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord shall strike all nations that have fought against Jerusalem: the flesh of every one shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 13 In that day there shall be a great tumult from the Lord among them: and a man shall take the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall be clasped upon his neighbour's hand. 14 And even Juda shall fight against Jerusalem: and the riches of all nations round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and garments in great abundance. 15 And the destruction of the horse, and of the mule, and of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts, that shall be in those tents, shall be like this destruction.
12 "The flesh of every one shall consume"... Such judgments as these have often fallen upon the persecutors of God's church, as appears by many instances in history.
14 "Even Juda"... The carnal Jews, and other false brothers, shall join in persecuting the church.
15 "Shall be like this destruction"... That is, the beasts shall be destroyed as well as the men: the common soldiers as well as their leaders.
16 And all they that shall be left of all nations that came against Jerusalem, shall go up from year to year, to adore the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall come to pass, that he that shall not go up of the families of the land to Jerusalem, to adore the King, the Lord of hosts, there shall be no rain upon them. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up nor come: neither shall it be upon them, but there shall be destruction wherewith the Lord will strike all nations that will not go up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the sin of Egypt, and this the sin of all nations, that will not go up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 20 In that day that which is upon the bridle of the horse shall be holy to the Lord: and the caldrons in the house of the Lord shall be as the phials before the altar.
16 "They that shall be left"... That is, many of them that persecuted the church shall be converted to its faith and communion.-- Ibid.
16 "To keep the feast of tabernacles"... This feast was kept by the Jews in memory of their sojourning forty years in the desert, in their way to the land of promise. And in the spiritual sense is duly kept by all such Christians as in their earthly pilgrimage are continually advancing toward their true home, the heavenly Jerusalem; by the help of the sacraments and sacrifice of the church. And they that neglect this must not look for the kind showers of divine grace, to give fruitfulness to their souls.
20 "That which is upon the bridle"... The golden ornaments of the bridles, etc., shall be turned into offerings in the house of God. And there shall be an abundance of caldrons and phials for the sacrifices of the temple; by which is meant, under a figure, the great resort there shall be to the temple, that is, to the church of Christ, and her sacrifice.
21 And every caldron in Jerusalem and Juda shall be sanctified to the Lord of hosts: and all that sacrifice shall come, and take of them, and shall seethe in them: and the merchant shall be no more in the house of the Lord of hosts in that day.
21 "The merchant shall be no more"... Or, as some render it, The Chanaanite shall be no more, that is, the profane and unbelievers shall have no title to be in the house of the Lord. Or there shall be no occasion for buyers or sellers of oxen, or sheep, or doves, in the house of God, such as Jesus Christ cast out of the temple.