Summary: i. There are two prophecies regarding the King of Kings in just two verses. In verse 9 we have a prediction of the First Appearance of Jesus Christ, and beginning in verse 10 we have a prophecy regarding the Return of Jesus Christ.
1. A Prophecy Regarding the Coming of an Earthly King
a. The Destruction of Phoenicia, Syria, and Philistia
i. Our text begins today with an “oracle” or a “burden” describing the Lord’s judgment on Syria, Phoenicia, and Philistia, the traditional enemies of Israel.
ii. Most evangelical scholars agree that the instrument of judgment described here is none other than Alexander the Great.
iii. Without a doubt, Alexander the Great was one of the great military strategists of history. The charismatic Alexander was born in 356 BC, to Philip II of Macedon, who was a great conqueror in his own right.
iv. Philip had united Greece with Macedonia and was planning to attack Persia when he was assassinated in 336 BC. Alexander, educated under the famed Athenian philosopher Aristotle, was only nineteen when he succeeded his father as king.
v. At the age of 20 he launched an attack against the Persians. His attack was to avenge the invasions of the Persian rulers Darius and Xerxes and to put an end to the nations constant quarrelling.
vi. In 334 BC, Alexander crushed the Persian battle at the Battle of Granicus in Asia Minor, thereby bringing an end to the dominance of the Medo-Persia Empire. Incredibly within only three years Alexander conquered the entire Near and Middle East. It was after his victory at Issus that Alexander turned south toward Egypt and invaded Syria, Phoenicia, and the Philistine cities mentioned in our text today.
vii. We could look at each of these cities and the historical context of their defeat by Alexander, but let’s focus in on verse 3.
1. Tyre’s defenses were formidable, and the city felt it was invincible. Actually, Tyre was comprised of two harbors, the old port on the mainland and one on an island about one-half mile out to sea. A wall 150 feet high surrounded the island city. Nebuchadnezzar had besieged the city for thirteen years and succeeded in conquering the mainland city. However, the Tyrians were able to transport most of their wealth to the island city which the frustrated the Babylonian king could not conquer
2. Tyre was well-protected, but it was also very rich. Zechariah vividly portrays this by describing silver and gold as so abundant that they were piled up like dust and dirt on the streets.
3. But in spite of her wealth, in verse 4 the Lord prophesied that Tyre would be stripped of her wealth.
4. In 332, Alexander besieged the island city for seven months. Determined to conquer Tyre, Alexander took the ruins of the mainland city and threw them into the sea, building a causeway to the island that was 2600 feet long and 900 feet wide. His soldiers walked across the causeway with their siege weapons, and the city fell. Alexander’s conquest has been called his greatest military conquest and it was foretold by the prophet Zechariah!
5. Tyre experienced the full fury of the Greek king’s wrath. Ten thousand residents were executed, thirty thousand were sold into slavery, and the city was burned. Alexander’s causeway was never removed and the island became a peninsula.
6. Incredibly, Ezekiel prophesied, “I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock” (Ezekiel 26:4) which is an apt description of the city after Alexander’s soldiers removed the rubble of the mainland and threw it into the sea to create a walkway to an island that was laid bare.
7. God’s Word is amazing. Zechariah’s prophecy was penned about 200 years before the event, and Ezekiel’s was about 250, yet both were fulfilled to the letter!
b. The Deliverance of Judah
i. When Alexander stormed through the area, the Jewish People were, no doubt, very concerned. No one had been able to stand against the mighty king. How would Alexander treat them? Would this be the end?
ii. In verse 8, there is a reassuring prophecy for the people of God. “I will defend my house.” More literally, it meant that the Lord would encamp around his people.
iii. Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian, recorded a fascinating story of Alexander’s first visit to Jerusalem and the city’s deliverance. Although Josephus’s account may be clothed in legendary dress, a visit to Jerusalem by Alexander is not implausible.
iv. The story goes that Alexander sent a letter from Tyre to the high priest in Jerusalem demanding assistance, supplies for his army, and the tribute money formerly sent to Darius, the Persian King. The high priest refused, asserting he had given his oath to Darius not to take up arms against him. Alexander was livid and after Gaza’s defeat, he decided it was time to punish Jerusalem.
v. Jaddus, the Jewish High Priest, called on the people to pray to the Lord for deliverance. In a dream, God instructed the high priest to meet Alexander dressed in his high priestly garments while the priests and other citizens were to don white robes. Learning that Alexander was near the city, the delegation bravely marched out the meet the Greek king.