New English Translation
The Sovereignty of the Lord
14 A day of the Lord[a] is about to come when your possessions[b] will be divided as plunder in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to wage war; the city will be taken, its houses plundered, and the women raped. Then half of the city will go into exile, but the remainder of the people will not be taken away.[c]
3 Then the Lord will go to battle[d] and fight against those nations, just as he fought battles in ancient days.[e] 4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives that lies to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from east to west, leaving a great valley. Half the mountain will move northward and the other half southward.[f] 5 Then you will escape[g] through my mountain valley, for the valley of the mountains will extend to Azal.[h] Indeed, you will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah[i] of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come with all his holy ones with him. 6 On that day there will be no light—the sources of light in the heavens will congeal.[j] 7 It will happen in one day—a day known to the Lord—not in the day or the night, but in the evening there will be light.[k] 8 Moreover, on that day living waters will flow out from Jerusalem,[l] half of them to the eastern sea[m] and half of them to the western sea;[n] it will happen both in summer and in winter.
9 The Lord will then be king over all the earth. In that day the Lord will be seen as one with a single name.[o] 10 All the land will change[p] and become like the rift valley[q] from Geba to Rimmon,[r] south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be raised up and will stay in its own place from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate[s] and on to the Corner Gate,[t] and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses.[u] 11 And people will settle there, and there will no longer be the threat of divine extermination—Jerusalem will dwell in security.
12 But this will be the nature of the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that have fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will decay while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot away in their sockets, and their tongues will dissolve in their mouths. 13 On that day there will be great confusion from the Lord among them; they will seize each other and attack one another violently. 14 Moreover, Judah will fight at[v] Jerusalem, and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered up[w]—gold, silver, and clothing in great abundance. 15 This is the kind of plague that will devastate horses, mules, camels, donkeys, and all the other animals in those camps.
16 Then all who survive from all the nations that came to attack Jerusalem will go up annually to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and to observe the Feast of Shelters.[x] 17 But if any of the nations anywhere on earth refuse to go up to Jerusalem[y] to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, they will get no rain. 18 If the Egyptians will not do so, they will get no rain—instead there will be the kind of plague that the Lord inflicts on any nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Shelters. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and of all nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Shelters.
20 On that day the bells of the horses will bear the inscription “Holy to the Lord.” The cooking pots in the Lord’s temple[z] will be as holy as the bowls in front of the altar.[aa] 21 Every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will become holy in the sight of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, so that all who offer sacrifices may come and use some of them to boil their sacrifices in them. On that day there will no longer be a Canaanite[ab] in the house of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
- Zechariah 14:1 sn The eschatological day of the Lord described here (and through v. 8) is considered by many interpreters to refer to the period known as the great tribulation, a seven year time of great suffering by God’s (Jewish) people culminating in the establishing of the millennial reign of the Lord (vv. 9-21). For other OT and NT references to this aspect of the day of the Lord see Amos 9:8-15; Joel 1:15-2:11; Isa 1:24-31; 2:2-4; 4:2-6; 26:16-27:6; 33:13-24; 59:1-60:22; 65:13-25; Jer 30:7-11; 32:36-44; Ezek 20:33-44; Dan 11:40; 12:1; Matt 24:21, 29; 25:31-46; Rev 19:11-16.
- Zechariah 14:1 tn Heb “your plunder.” Cf. NCV “the wealth you have taken.”
- Zechariah 14:2 tn Heb “not be cut off from the city” (so NRSV); NAB “not be removed.”
- Zechariah 14:3 sn The statement the Lord will go to battle introduces the conflict known elsewhere as the “battle of Armageddon,” a battle in which the Lord delivers his people and establishes his millennial reign (cf. Joel 3:12, 15-16; Ezek 38-39; Rev 16:12-21; 19:19-21).
- Zechariah 14:3 tn Heb “as he fights on a day of battle” (similar NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- Zechariah 14:4 sn This seismic activity provides a means of escape from Jerusalem so that the Messiah (the Lord), whose feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, may destroy the wicked nations in the Kidron Valley (the v. of Jehoshaphat, or of “judgment of the Lord”) without harming the inhabitants of the city.
- Zechariah 14:5 tc For the MT reading נַסְתֶּם (nastem, “you will escape”) the LXX presupposes נִסְתַּם (nistam, “will be stopped up”; this reading is followed by NAB). This appears to derive from a perceived need to eliminate the unexpected “you” as subject. This not only is unnecessary to Hebrew discourse (see “you” in the next clause), but it contradicts the statement in the previous verse that the mountain will be split open, not stopped up.
- Zechariah 14:5 sn Azal is a place otherwise unknown.
- Zechariah 14:5 sn The earthquake in the days of King Uzziah, also mentioned in Amos 1:1, is apparently the one attested to at Hazor in 760 b.c.
- Zechariah 14:6 tn Heb “the splendid will congeal.” This difficult phrase (MT יְקָרוֹת יְקִפָּאוֹן, yeqarot yeqippaʾon) is not clarified by the LXX which presupposes וְקָרוּת וְקִפָּאוֹן (veqarut veqippaʾon, “and cold and ice,” a reading followed by NAB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, TEV). Besides the fact that cold and ice do not necessarily follow the absence of light, the idea here is that day will be night and night day. The heavenly sources of light “freeze up” as it were, and refuse to shine.
- Zechariah 14:7 sn In the evening there will be light. The normal pattern is that light breaks through in the morning (Gen 1:3) but in the day of the Lord in judgment it would do so in the evening. In a sense the universe will be “de-created” in order to be “recreated.”
- Zechariah 14:8 sn Living waters will flow out from Jerusalem. Ezekiel sees this same phenomenon in conjunction with the inauguration of the messianic age (Ezek 47; cf. Rev 22:1-5; also John 7:38).
- Zechariah 14:8 sn The eastern sea is a reference to the Dead Sea (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Zechariah 14:8 sn The western sea is a reference to the Mediterranean Sea (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Zechariah 14:9 sn The expression the Lord will be seen as one with a single name is an unmistakable reference to the so-called Shema, the crystallized statement of faith in the Lord as the covenant God of Israel (cf. Deut 6:4-5). Zechariah, however, universalizes the extent of the Lord’s dominion—he will be “king over all the earth.”
- Zechariah 14:10 tn The text reads יִסּוֹב (yissov) from the root סָבַב (savav). Usually this verb means “to turn, to go around,” which does not seem to make sense in this context. Based on Ugaritic use of the term with the preposition כ (kaf), it is suggested that here it means to change into (HALOT 739 s.v.). But the term may also mean “to surround” perhaps referring to the land around Jerusalem. Either way the picture is of an exalted Jerusalem high above the rest of the country, as the hill country is already high above the rift valley.
- Zechariah 14:10 tn The term עֲרָבָה (ʿaravah) refers to the rift valley, running from the Sea of Galilee via the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Some translations use the Hebrew name “Arabah” (ASV, NIV) while others say “like a plain” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NCV, NRSV, NLT). While the plural form of the term refers to the gently sloping basin (plains) of the valley in the region just north of the Dead Sea, the singular elsewhere refers to sections of the rift valley or emphasizes the arid and inhospitable nature of the region (which does not fit here in light of the streams in v. 8). But the point may be simply to paint a picture of Jerusalem towering over everything else, so that Geba and Rimmon, which are themselves above the rift valley will be so far below Jerusalem.
- Zechariah 14:10 sn The expression from Geba to Rimmon may be a way of indicating the extent of all Judah from north (2 Kgs 23:8) to south (Josh 15:21-32). Since Geba (Heb. גֶּבַע) means “hill” and Rimmon resembles the word for height (Heb. רָמָה, ramah), this could also be a play on words suggesting that all the high country will be made low, like the rift valley, in comparison to Jerusalem.
- Zechariah 14:10 tn Or “old gate” (NLT); or “former gate” (NRSV).
- Zechariah 14:10 sn From the Benjamin Gate…on to the Corner Gate marks the northern wall of the city of Jerusalem from east to west.
- Zechariah 14:10 sn From the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses indicates the extent of Jerusalem from north to south.
- Zechariah 14:14 tn The Hebrew phrase בִּירוּשָׁלָם (birushalam) with the verb נִלְחַם (nilkham, “make war”) would ordinarily suggest that Judah is fighting against Jerusalem (so NAB, CEV). While this could happen accidentally, the context here favors the idea that Judah is fighting alongside Jerusalem against a common enemy. The preposition ב (b), then, should be construed as locative (“at”; cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
- Zechariah 14:14 tn The term translated “gathered up” could also be rendered “collected” (so NIV, NCV, NRSV, although this might suggest a form of taxation) or “confiscated” (which might imply seizure of property against someone’s will). The imagery in the context, however, suggests the aftermath of a great battle, where the spoils are being picked up by the victors (cf. NLT “captured”).
- Zechariah 14:16 sn Having imposed his sovereignty over the earth following the Battle of Armageddon, the Lord will receive homage and tribute from all who survive from all the nations. The Feast of Shelters was especially associated with covenant institution and renewal so it will be appropriate for all people to acknowledge that they are vassals to the Lord at that time (cf. Deut 31:9-13; Neh 8:12-18; 9:1-38).
- Zechariah 14:17 sn The reference to any…who refuse to go up to Jerusalem makes clear the fact that the nations are by no means “converted” to the Lord but are under his compulsory domination.
- Zechariah 14:20 tn Heb “house” (also in the following verse).
- Zechariah 14:20 sn In the glory of the messianic age there will be no differences between the sacred (the bowls before the altar) and the profane (the cooking pots in the Lord’s temple)—all will be dedicated to his use.
- Zechariah 14:21 tn Or “merchant”; “trader” (because Canaanites, especially Phoenicians, were merchants and traders; cf. BDB 489 s.v. I and II כְּנַעֲנִי). English versions have rendered the term as “Canaanite” (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV), “trader” (RSV, NEB), “traders” (NRSV, NLT), or “merchant” (NAB), although frequently a note is given explaining the other option. Cf. also John 2:16.sn This is not to preclude the Canaanite (or anyone else) from worship; the point is that in the messianic age all such ethnic and religious distinctions will be erased and all people will be eligible to worship the Lord.