Zechariah 14 – “An Eschatological Vision”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Zechariah predicts a time when God will perform miracles, destroy Israel’s enemies, and be worshiped by the nations in Jerusalem.

II. Photo
Zechariah has a prediction: “In that day, there shall be neither sunlight nor moonlight, but there shall be a continuous day.” (v. 6)

III. Select Verses
1-2: Lo, a day of the LORD is coming when your spoil shall be divided in your very midst! For I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for war: The city shall be captured, the houses plundered, and the women violated; and a part of the city shall go into exile. But the rest of the population shall not be uprooted from the city.
3-5: Then the LORD will come forth and make war on those nations as He is wont to make war on a day of battle. On that day, He will set His feet on the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall split across from east to west, and one part of the Mount shall shift to the north and the other to the south, a huge gorge. And the Valley in the Hills shall be stopped up, for the Valley of the Hills shall reach only to Azal; it shall be stopped up as it was stopped up as a result of the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. — And the LORD my God, with all the holy beings, will come to you.
6-7: In that day, there shall be neither sunlight nor cold moonlight, but there shall be a continuous day — only the Lord knows when — of neither day nor night, and there shall be light at eventide.
16-17: All who survive of all those nations that came up against Jerusalem shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts and to observe the Feast of Booths. Any of the earth’s communities that does not make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to bow low to the King LORD of Hosts shall receive no rain.

IV. Outline
1-2. Jerusalem will be plundered
3. God’s approach
4-5. The splitting of the Mount of Olives
6-8. Supernatural events
9. God’s dominion
10-11. Jerusalem’s security
12-15. A plague will defeat Jerusalem’s enemies
16-19. The nations must worship God in Jerusalem
20-21. Everything in Jerusalem will be consecrated to God.

V. Comment
The book of Zechariah ends with an apocalyptic vision. As was noted in the comment to the previous chapter, the nature of prophecy changes with the onset of the postexilic period. Collins writes: “This concluding oracle [= Zechariah 14] is in some ways typical of the anonymous oracles that have survived from the Second Temple period. Increasingly, these oracles are concerned not with the events of the time when they were composed but with the final resolution of history, the end of days. They reflect the dissonance between the glorious promises of the Scriptures and the diminished existence of Judah under the Persians and later the Greeks, and a yearning for a time when the kingship of [the God] of Israel would be revealed in all its splendor. Such oracles are sometimes called ‘proto-apocalyptic,’ and they bear some resemblance to apocalyptic visions.” (415) In other words, prophets begin to speak about major upheavals in the natural world, not specific events or miracles.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://files.myopera.com/J-G/albums/572881/yellow_sky.jpg

Zechariah 13 – “The End of Prophecy”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God will purge the false prophets from the land.

II. Photo
Jerusalem is blessed: “In that day a fountain shall be open to the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for purging and cleansing.” (v. 1)

III. Select Verses
1: In that day a fountain shall be open to the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for purging and cleansing.
2a: In that day, too — declares the LORD of Hosts — I will erase the very names of the idols from the land; they shall not be uttered any more.
2b-6: And I will also make the “prophets” and the unclean spirit vanish from the land.  If anyone “prophesies” thereafter, his own father and mother, who brought him into the world, will say to him, “You shall die, for you have lied in the name of the LORD”; and his own father and mother, who brought him into the world, will put him to death when he “prophesies.” In that day, every “prophet” will be ashamed of the “visions” [he had] when he “prophesied.” In order to deceive, he will not wear a hairy mantle, and he will declare, “I am not a ‘prophet’; I am a tiller of the soil; you see, I was plied with the red stuff from my youth on.” And if he is asked, “What are those sores on your back?” he will reply, “From being beaten in the homes of my friends.”
8: Throughout the land — declares the LORD — Two-thirds shall perish, shall die, And one-third of it shall survive.

IV. Outline
1. A fountain of purity for Jerusalem
2a. Removing idolatry
2b-6. The end of false prophecy
7-9. Oracle: God will punish Israel’s leaders and purge the people of sin

V. Comment
Verses 2b-6, which speak about the end of prophecy, highlight the changing nature of prophecy in Ancient Israel. Prophecies became eschatological (concerned with the distant future, not the present) and were attributed to prophets of bygone eras. Barton writes: “[In the postexilic period any prophet] who believed that God had spoken to him was obliged to dress his message up as the utterance of some ancient prophets, speaking in the time before “the spirit departed from Israel,” as the Talmud expresses it. This is undoubtedly part of the reason for the pseudonymity of apocalyptic works; and it no doubt also explains some of the more improbable additions to the prophetic books, such as those which imply that Isaiah addressed the problems of the Babylonian or Persian periods, or that Zechariah was interested in the Greeks. There is, however, little evidence that prophecy did in fact die out… But the forms of expression did change significantly, and postexilic prophets often expressed their oracles as additions to existing collections, or even as whole new works falsely attributed to figures from the past, rather than speaking in their own persons as earlier prophets had done.” (495)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Barton, John. “Prophecy” Anchor Bible Dictionary, 5:495.
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://newsletter.herrerainc.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/_small_water_drops1.jpg

Zechariah 12 – “Jerusalem Protected”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God will protect Jerusalem from its foes.

II. Photo
Jerusalem will mourn its enemy: “They shall lament to me about those who are slain, wailing over them as over a favorite son and showing bitter grief as over a first-born.” (v. 10b)

III. Select Verses
3-6: when all the nations of the earth gather against her. In that day, I will make Jerusalem a stone for all the peoples to lift; all who lift it shall injure themselves. In that day — declares the LORD — I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness. But I will watch over the House of Judah while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the clans of Judah will say to themselves, “The dwellers of Jerusalem are a task set for us by their God, the LORD of Hosts.” In that day, I will make the clans of Judah like a flaming brazier among sticks and like a flaming torch among sheaves. They shall devour all the besieging peoples right and left; and Jerusalem shall continue on its site, in Jerusalem.
7: The LORD will give victory to the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the House of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be too great for Judah.
10: But I will fill the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem with a spirit of pity and compassion; and they shall lament to Me about those who are slain, wailing over them as over a favorite son and showing bitter grief as over a first-born.

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2-6. God will protect Jerusalem from its besiegers
7. Glory for Judah, apart from Jerusalem
8. Glory for the house of David
9-14. Judah will mourn its enemy’s loss

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://www.pbase.com/image/128572447/original.jpg

Zechariah 11 – “Israel’s Worthless Leaders”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Zechariah laments the ravaged landscape and condemns the wicked “shepherds” of Israel.

II. Photo
Zechariah laments: “Throw open your gates, O Lebanon, and let fire consume your cedars!” (v. 1)

III. Select Verses
3: Hark, the wailing of the shepherds, For their rich pastures are ravaged; Hark, the roaring of the great beasts, For the jungle of the Jordan is ravaged.
4-5: Thus said my God the LORD: Tend the sheep meant for slaughter, whose buyers will slaughter them with impunity, whose seller will say, “Praised be the LORD! I’ll get rich,” and whose shepherd will not pity them.
6: For I will pity the inhabitants of the land no more — declares the LORD — but I will place every man at the mercy of every other man and at the mercy of his king; they shall break the country to bits, and I will not rescue it from their hands.
7: So I tended the sheep meant for slaughter, for those poor men of the sheep. I got two staffs, one of which I named Favor and the other Unity, and I proceeded to tend the sheep.
10:  Taking my staff Favor, I cleft it in two, so as to annul the covenant I had made with all the peoples;
14: Then I cleft in two my second staff, Unity, in order to annul the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
17: Oh, the worthless shepherd Who abandons the flock! Let a sword descend upon his arm And upon his right eye! His arm shall shrivel up; His right eye shall go blind.

IV. Outline

1-3. Lament for the landscape
4-6. Oracle: Condemning the pastoral economy
7-17. Metaphor: Condemnation of Israel’s “shepherds”
    7. Zechariah’s two staffs: “pleasantness” and “unity”   
    8-9. Zechariah sends off the shepherds
    10-11. Zechariah breaks the staff of pleasantness
    12-13. The shepherds pay Zechariah who pays the temple
    14. Zechariah grabs the staff of unity to destroy it
    15-16. Metaphor: God tells Zechariah to dress like a crazed shepherd
    17. Curse for the wicked shepherd

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://www.wpclipart.com/weather/weather_scenes/forest_fire.png

Zechariah 10 – “Gathering in the Exiles”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God chastises Israel’s leaders and promises to gather in the exiles.

II. Photo
A note about the rain: “Ask the Lord for rain in the season of late rain. It is the Lord who causes storms and he will provide rainstorms for them, grass in the fields for everyone!” (v. 1)

III. Select Verses
1: Ask the LORD for rain in the season of late rain. It is the LORD who causes storms; And He will provide rainstorms for them, Grass in the fields for everyone.
2-3: For the teraphim spoke delusion, The augurs predicted falsely; And dreamers speak lies And console with illusions. That is why My people have strayed like a flock, They suffer for lack of a shepherd. My anger is roused against the shepherds, And I will punish the he-goats. For the LORD of Hosts has taken thought In behalf of His flock, the House of Judah; He will make them like majestic chargers in battle.
6: I will give victory to the House of Judah, And triumph to the House of Joseph. I will restore them, for I have pardoned them, And they shall be as though I had never disowned them; For I the LORD am their God, And I will answer their prayers.
10-12: I will bring them back from the land of Egypt And gather them from Assyria; And I will bring them to the lands of Gilead and Lebanon, And even they shall not suffice for them.  A hemmed-in force shall pass over the sea And shall stir up waves in the sea; And all the deeps of the Nile shall dry up. Down shall come the pride of Assyria, And the scepter of Egypt shall pass away. But I will make them mighty through the LORD, And they shall march proudly in His name — declares the LORD.

IV. Outline
1. God brings the rain
2-3a. Israel has been mislead
3b-7. The Israelites will become mighty warriors
8-10. God will ingather the exiles
11. Assyria and Egypt will fall
12. Israel’s future pride

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kzj0EvsWDqc/TJW5tbMVSUI/AAAAAAAAAW8/MBdXnPppMzc/s1600/girl-dancing-rain.jpg

Zechariah 9 – “God’s Expands his Dominion”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God will protect the Israelites and take control of Aram, Phoenicia, and Philistia.

II. Photo
Israel will be saved: “Rejoice greatly, fair Zion, raise a shout, fair Jerusalem! Lo, your king is coming to you. He is victorious, triumphant, yet humble, riding on an ass, on a donkey foaled by a she-ass.” (v. 9)

III. Select Verses
3-4: Tyre has built herself a fortress; She has amassed silver like dust, And gold like the mud in the streets. But my Lord will impoverish her; He will defeat her forces at sea, And she herself shall be consumed by fire.
6b-7: I will uproot the grandeur of Philistia. But I will clean out the blood from its mouth, And the detestable things from between its teeth. Its survivors, too, shall belong to our God: They shall become like a clan in Judah, And Ekron shall be like the Jebusites.
9: Rejoice greatly, Fair Zion; Raise a shout, Fair Jerusalem! Lo, your king is coming to you. He is victorious, triumphant, Yet humble, riding on an ass, On a donkey foaled by a she-ass.
10: He shall banish chariots from Ephraim And horses from Jerusalem; The warrior’s bow shall be banished. He shall call on the nations to surrender, And his rule shall extend from sea to sea And from ocean to land’s end.
16-17: The LORD their God shall prosper them On that day; [He shall pasture] His people like sheep. [They shall be] like crown jewels glittering on His soil. How lovely, how beautiful they shall be, Producing young men like new grain, Young women like new wine!

IV. Outline
1a. Introduction
1b-2. God will have dominion in the northern lands
3-4. Tyre will be destroyed
5-7. The Philistines will be subsumed by Judah
8. God’s protection
9-10. The greatness of Israel’s future king
11-16. Military power
17. Prosperity

V. Comment
Chapter 9 begins the second part of Zechariah, called “Second Zechariah” by some scholars. Collin writes: “The last six chapters of the book of Zechariah are among the most obscure and difficult passages in the Hebrew Bible. Although they have been classified as part of the book of Zechariah since the Middle Ages, the attribution is coincidental. There is no mention of Zechariah in these chapters. They were simply copied after the oracles of Zechariah in ancient manuscripts. Conversely, it is not apparent that the book of Malachi was originally distinguished from the preceding oracles, or that Malachi (“my messenger”) was the name of a prophet. All the material in Zechariah 9-14 and Malachi may be regarded as a collection of anonymous oracles that was appended to the collection of Minor Prophets, although the chapters conventionally attributed to Malachi are more coherent than Zechariah 9-14… Most of these oracles appear to have been written with specific situations in mind, but it is no longer possible to reconstruct with any confidence what these situations were.” (412)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://www.mccullagh.org/db9/1ds-4/man-riding-donkey.jpg

Zechariah 8 – “Peace and Prosperity for Jerusalem”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God will rebuild Jerusalem and the people will prosper with religious fervor.

II. Photo
Jerusalem will flourish: “Thus said the Lord of Hosts: There shall yet be old men and women in the squares of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age.” (v. 4)

III. Select Verses
2-3: Thus said the LORD of Hosts: I am very jealous for Zion, I am fiercely jealous for her. Thus said the LORD: I have returned to Zion, and I will dwell in Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be called the City of Faithfulness, and the mount of the LORD of Hosts the Holy Mount.
4-5: Thus said the LORD of Hosts: There shall yet be old men and women in the squares of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the squares of the city shall be crowded with boys and girls playing in the squares.
7-8: Thus said the LORD of Hosts: I will rescue My people from the lands of the east and from the lands of the west, and I will bring them home to dwell in Jerusalem. They shall be My people, and I will be their God — in truth and sincerity.
19: Thus said the LORD of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth month, the fast of the seventh month, and the fast of the tenth month shall become occasions for joy and gladness, happy festivals for the House of Judah; but you must love honesty and integrity.
23:  Thus said the LORD of Hosts: In those days, ten men from nations of every tongue will take hold — they will take hold of every Jew by a corner of his cloak and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

IV. Outline
1. Introduction
2. God’s passion for Zion
3. God will rebuild Jerusalem
4-5. Jerusalem will be filled with young and old
6. God argues his point
7-8. God will gather in the exiles
9-13. God encourages the people and recommits himself
14-15. God’s pledge to change his ways
16-17. Condition: the people are to act uprightly
18-19. The fast days will become joyous
20-22. Repopulation and commitment to God
23. Judeans will be seeked by foreigners

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Smith, Ralph L. “Micah – Malachi” World Biblical Commentary v. 32 (Word Books: 1984).
Photo taken from http://www.positivelife.ie/dev/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Happy-Old-People.jpg