Summary: A prophetic description of Alexander the Great's progress south conquering the traditional enemies of Israel by divine providence & the deliverance of Jerusalem. But the total prophecy does not point to this conquer's success but to another Hero's success
ZECHARIAH 9: 1- 9
A WORLD CONQUEROR AND THE PRINCE OF PEACE
Zechariah does not record for us that the Temple was completed but Ezra (6:13-22) does. However, the completion of the Temple was not the end of the story. With the temple finished Zechariah relays prophecies for the future in Zechariah 9-14.
That a new section of the book is beginning is clear from the new subject matter presented and from a distinct and prominent heading in 9:1. The scope of this third section (chapters 9-14) is similar to the first section (chapters 1-6), though it specifically and directly addressing the future. [The break (about 40 years) at Zechariah 9 is not unlike that occurring at Isaiah 40. The changed style and approach are probably for similar reasons. Both are revelations that were given at a later period and for a different purpose. Zechariah's immediate purpose was to encourage the people to remain true to the LORD by showing them what still lay in the future.]
Chapters 9-14 are prophetic in nature and deal with the overthrow of heathen world powers and the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom. This great prophetic section contains two prophetic oracles or "burdens." The first oracle in chapters 9-11 basically embraces the first advent and the rejection of Messiah, the Shepherd-King. The second oracle in chapters 12-14, deals with the second advent and acceptance of Messiah, the Shepherd-King. The first oracle (9-11) delineates the judgment through which world powers are destroyed and the House of Judah (the Church?) coming into full blessings with strength to overcome all her enemies and sorrows. The second oracle (12-14) deals with the divine purging through which Israel herself is sifted (tribulation period?) in the final great struggle with the nations and is changed into a holy, priestly nation.
In our passage tonight, it is probably correct to understand 9:1-6 as a prophetic description of Alexander the Great's progress south conquering the traditional enemies of Israel by divine providence and verse 8 as the deliverance of Jerusalem. But the total prophecy does not point to this conquer's success but to another Hero's success.
I. THE PROPHECY AGAINST THE LAND OF HADRACK, 1-2a.
II. THE PROPHECY AGAINST TYRE AND SIDON, 2a-4.
III. THE PROPHECY AGAINST PHILISTINE CITIES, 5-7.
IV. THE PROPHECY OF THE COMING KING, 8-9.
Chapter 9 describes two times of deliverance for God's people. First destruction would be divinely sent upon their surrounding countries, but not upon them (9:1-8). Jerusalem alone of the major cities of that region would emerged unscathed. The other deliverance (9:13-17) is set against the background of a conflict with Greece, which is subdued by the LORD going forth like a whirlwind. As a result of God's distinguishing actions His blessed people will shine like a diadem.
Between these two deliverance accounts there is introduced the Peaceful King whose dominion would be worldwide and who would accomplish much (9:9-11). Despite their depressed circumstances, His people should even now be able to capture some of the joy of anticipation that will be realized when their Peaceful King comes.
The ‘Word of the LORD' begins looking forward to its divine message and content being realized in verse 1. "The burden of the Word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach, with Damascus as its resting place (for the eyes of men, especially of all the tribes of Israel, are toward the Lord)."
The word burden (massa - ) is from the root word, nasa, "to lift up or take up." The word has a primary meaning of load, burden, judgment and a secondary understanding of utterance. Thus a prediction of a weighty act is being laid upon or lifted up.
This weighty message of the LORD is pronounced as coming down on Israel's neighbors starting with Hadrach (bordering on the Euphrates River). H dr ch (or Ha-tarika) was an Ar/a/me/an city-state near Damascus and Hamath ("fortress"). It was located in the interior of modern Syria across the Lebanon Mountains near Damascus, which was the leading city of the Arameans. Thus the area of Damascus is the initial resting place of the weighty prophetic burden. Though the strike would fall upon Hadrach, its ultimate goal was the capital city of Damascus. It is from there that it spreads itself out over the area which the passage goes on to describe.
The Arameans were long–standing enemies of Israel (1 Kgs. 20:1; 2 Kgs.10:32-33), and judgment had been pronounced against it by the prophets (Isa. 17:1-3; Jer. 49:23-27; Amos 1:3-5). At this time Damascus was the seat of the Persian governor of the province of Trans–Euphrates. This is judgment to come upon the occupying power. It is clear that Damascus would be unable to resist what the LORD has determined.
So this weighty word foretells the judgment against this area by the Greek armies under the command of young Alexander the Great. Alexander did in fact devastate the city on his way south to Egypt. Damascus was full of Darius' riches and became Alexander's headquarters for a time. [See Burns, Ross (2005), Damascus: A History, Routledge.]