Summary: In the previous chapters Zechariah was an ambassador sent to promise peace. In this chapter he is a herald sent to declare war.
In the previous chapters Zechariah was an ambassador sent to promise peace. In this chapter he is a herald sent to declare war. Israel will recover its prosperity, and shall flourish for a while. The people will be very happy looking forward to the coming of the long expected Messiah, in the preaching of His gospel, and in the setting up of His standard. But, when a remnant among them are united to Christ, the body of the nation, persisting in unbelief, will be utterly abandoned and given up to ruin, for rejecting Christ; and it is this that is foretold here in this chapter, the rejection of the Messiah and the wrath for that sin came upon them.
The prediction of the destruction that will come upon Israel, Jerusalem, and the temple is foretold so that when it comes to pass the people can not say they weren’t forewarned.
In the announcement of destruction Zechariah uses figurative expressions, a normal practice in the
predictions of things that are in the future. The people will not open the door to let their King in
now they must open them to let the destruction in. There are scholars who believe the doors of the temple are referred to in this call to open the doors because cedars and stones from Lebanon was used to build the temple. It was burnt with fire by the Romans, and its gates were forced open by the fury of the soldiers. To confirm this, they tell a story, that forty years before the destruction of the second temple the gates of it opened of their own accord, upon which prodigy
Rabbi Johanan said, "Now I know that the destruction of the temple is at hand, according to the prophecy of Zechariah.
Others believe it is Jerusalem, or the whole land of Canaan, to which Lebanon was a means of entering the land from the north. All land will be open to the invader, and the cedars, the mighty and eminent men, shall be destroyed, which will cause great alarm to the poor. If the cedars fall how can the cypress escape. The falls of the wise and good into sin, and the falls of the rich and great into trouble, are loud alarms to those that are in every way their inferiors.
Those who have fallen cry and weep because of their grief and shame, and those who see their turn coming cry and weep because they fear what is coming their way. But the powerful men receive the alarm with the utmost confusion. Those who were roaring in the day of their revels and triumphs are crying and weeping in the day of their terrors. These powerful men are the
shepherds who cry and weep because they are tormented more than others. They should have protected the Lord’s flock committed to their charge, but they were as young lions who terrorize the flock with their roaring and the flock is a prey. It is sad when people who should be as shepherds to the Lord’s flock are as young lions to them. Why do the shepherds cry and weep. Their pastures, and the flocks which were the glory of the shepherds are laid waste.
The pride of Jordan was the thickets on the banks, in which the lions rested and when the river
overflowed and spoiled them, the lions came up from them and they came up roaring. When those who have power proudly abuse their power. Instead of being shepherds they are as young lions the righteous God will humble their pride and break their power.
In verses 4-14 Zechariah is made a type of Christ, as the prophet Isaiah sometimes was; and the scope of these verses is to show that for judgment Christ came into this world (John 9:39), for judgment of Israel which was at the time of His coming wretchedly corrupted and degenerated by the worldliness and hypocrisy of their rulers. Christ would have healed them, but they would not be healed. They are therefore left desolate, and abandoned to ruin.
Zechariah is told by the Lord, “Pasture the flock doomed to slaughter. Those who buy them slay them and go unpunished, and each of those who sell them says, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I have become rich!’ And their own shepherds have no pity on them.”
In the days of Zechariah the people, under the tyranny of their own governors, in their own country, were made as miserable as they were in their captivity in strange countries. The rulers and the nobles are justly rebuked for exacting usury of their brethren and the governors, even by their servants, were oppressive (Nehemiah 5:7, 15).
In Christ’s time the chief priests and the elders who were the possessors of the flock, by their