The Coming Peace and Prosperity of Zion
8 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came [to me], saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I am [a]jealous for Zion with great jealousy [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine], and I am jealous for her with great wrath [against her enemies].’ 3 Thus says the Lord, ‘I shall return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the [faithful] City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’ 4 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Old men and old women will again sit in the [b]streets (public places) of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of his advanced age. 5 And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.’ 6 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If it is difficult in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days [in which this comes to pass], will it also be difficult in My sight?’ declares the Lord of hosts.(A) 7 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, I am going to save My people from the east country and from the west,(B) 8 and I will bring them home and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth (faithfulness) and in righteousness.’
9 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Let your hands be strong, you who in these days hear these words from the mouths of the prophets who, on the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, foretold that the temple might be rebuilt. 10 For before those days there were no wages for man or animal; nor was there any peace or success for him who went out or came in because of his enemies, for I set all men against one another. 11 But now [in this time since you began to build] I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days,’ declares the Lord of hosts. 12 ‘For there the seed will produce peace and prosperity; the vine will yield its fruit, and the ground will produce its increase, and the heavens will give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit and possess all these things. 13 And as you have been a curse among the nations, O house of Judah (Southern Kingdom) and house of Israel (Northern Kingdom), so I will save you, that you may be a blessing. Fear not; let your hands be strong.’(C)
14 “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Just as I planned to do harm to you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I did not relent, 15 so I have again planned in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear! 16 These are the things which you should do: speak the truth with one another; judge with truth and pronounce the judgment that brings peace in [the courts at] your gates.(D) 17 And let none of you devise or even imagine evil in your heart against another, and do not love lying or half-truths; for all these things I hate,’ declares the Lord.”
18 Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me (Zechariah), saying, 19 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘The fast of the fourth [month to mourn the breaching of Jerusalem’s walls], the fast of the fifth [month to mourn the temple’s destruction], the fast of the seventh [month to mourn Gedaliah’s assassination], and the fast of the tenth [month to mourn the siege of Jerusalem] will become times of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah; so [to bring this about] love truth and peace.’(E)
20 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘It will come to pass that peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will come [to Jerusalem]. 21 The inhabitants of one [city] will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to ask the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts. I will go also.” 22 So many peoples and powerful nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to ask the Lord for His favor.’ 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men [as representatives] from all the nations will grasp the robe of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”
Prophecies against Neighboring Nations
9 The [c]oracle (a burdensome message) of the word of the Lord is against the land of Hadrach [in Syria], with Damascus as its resting place (for the eyes of men, especially of all the tribes of Israel, are toward the Lord),(F)
And Hamath also, which borders on it (Damascus),
Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.
For Tyre built herself an [impregnable] stronghold [on an island offshore],
And she has heaped up silver like dust
And gold like the mire of the streets.
Behold, the Lord will [d]dispossess her
And throw her wealth into the sea;
And Tyre will be devoured by fire.
[e]Ashkelon will see it and fear;
Gaza will writhe in pain,
And Ekron, for her hope and expectation, has been ruined.
The king will perish from Gaza,
And Ashkelon will not be inhabited.
And a mongrel race will live in Ashdod,
And I will put an end to the pride and arrogance of the Philistines.
I will take the blood from their mouths
And their detestable things from between their teeth [those repulsive, idolatrous sacrifices eaten with the blood].
Then they too will be a remnant for our God,
And be like a clan in Judah,
And Ekron will be like one of the [f]Jebusites.
Then I will camp around My house [as a guard] because of an army,
Because of him who passes by and returns;
And no oppressor will again overrun them (Israel),
For now My eyes are upon them [providentially protecting them].
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O Daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King (Messianic King) is coming to you;
He is righteous and endowed with salvation,
[g]Humble and unassuming [in submission to the will of the Father] and riding on a [h]donkey,
Upon a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the [war] chariot from Ephraim
And the [war] horse from Jerusalem,
And the bow of war will be cut off.
And He will speak [words of] peace to the nations,
And His dominion shall be from sea to sea [absolutely endless],
And from the River [Euphrates] to the ends of the earth.(G)
Salvation of Judah and Ephraim
As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you [My chosen people, the covenant that was sealed with blood]
I have freed your prisoners from the waterless pit.(H)
Return to the stronghold [of security and prosperity], O prisoners who have the hope;
Even today I am declaring that I will restore double [your former prosperity] to you [as firstborn among nations].(I)
For I will bend Judah as My bow,
I will fit the bow with Ephraim [as My arrow].
And I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece,
And will make you [Israel] like the sword of a warrior.
Then the Lord will be seen [hovering] over them [protecting His people],
And His arrow will go forth like lightning;
And the Lord God will blow the trumpet
And will march in the windstorms of the south.
The Lord of hosts shall defend and protect them;
And they will devour [the enemy] and trample down the slingstones [that have missed their mark],
And they will drink [of victory] and be boisterous as with wine;
And they shall be filled like sacrificial bowls [used to catch the blood],
Drenched like the corners of the [sacrificial] altar.
And the Lord their God shall save them on that day
As the flock of His people;
For they are like the [precious] jewels of a crown,
Displayed and glittering in His land.
For how great is God’s goodness and how great is His beauty! And how great [He will make Israel’s] goodliness and [Israel’s] beauty!
Grain and new wine will make the young men and virgins flourish.
God Will Bless Judah and Ephraim
10 Ask for rain from the Lord at the time of the spring rain.
It is the Lord who makes the thunder clouds;
And He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field to everyone.
For the teraphim (household idols) speak wickedness (emptiness, worthlessness),
And the diviners see lying visions
And tell false dreams;
They comfort in vain.
Therefore the people wander like sheep,
They are afflicted and suffer because there is no shepherd.
“My anger is kindled against the shepherds [who are not true shepherds],
And I shall punish the male goats (leaders);
For the Lord of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah (the Southern Kingdom),
And will make them like His beautiful and majestic horse in the battle.(J)
“From them (Judah) shall come the [i]Cornerstone,
From them the tent peg,
From them the bow of battle,
From them every ruler, all of them together.(K)
“They will be like mighty men
Trampling down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle;
And they will fight because the Lord is with them,
And the [enemies’] riders on horses will be shamed.
“I will strengthen the house of Judah [making it superior],
And I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back [and allow them to live securely],
Because I have had compassion on them.
They will be as though I had not rejected them,
For I am the Lord their God, and I will listen and answer them.
“Then [j]Ephraim will be like a mighty warrior,
And their heart will rejoice as if from wine;
Yes, their children will see it and rejoice;
Their heart will rejoice and shout triumphantly in the Lord.
“I will [k]whistle for them and gather them together,
For I have redeemed them;
And they will increase [again] as they have increased before [in Egypt].(L)
“When I scatter them among the nations,
They will remember Me in far countries,
And with their children they will live and come back [to Me and the land I gave them].
“I will bring them (all Israel) back home again from the land of Egypt
And gather them from Assyria,
And I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon [the land on the east and on the west of the Jordan]
Until no room can be found for them.
“And they will pass through the sea of distress and anxiety [with the Lord leading His people, as at the Red Sea]
And He will strike the waves in the sea,
So that all the depths of the Nile will dry up;
And the pride of Assyria will be brought down
And the scepter [of the taskmasters] of Egypt will pass away.
“And I will strengthen Israel in the Lord,
And they will walk [and glory] in His name,” declares the Lord.
The Doomed Flock
11 Open your doors, O Lebanon,
That fire may devour your cedars.
Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen,
Because the magnificent trees have been destroyed;
Wail, O oaks of Bashan,
For the inaccessible forest [on the steep mountainside] has come down.
There is a sound of the shepherds’ wail,
For their splendor (grazing land) is ruined;
There is a sound of the young lions’ roar,
For the pride of the Jordan is ruined.
4 Thus says the Lord my God, “Pasture the flock doomed for slaughter, 5 whose buyers slay them and go unpunished, and those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for I have become rich!’ And their own shepherds have no pity on them nor protect them [from the wolves]. 6 For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the land,” declares the Lord; “but behold, I will cause the men to fall, each into the hand of another and into the hands of his [foreign] king. And the enemy will strike the land, and I will not rescue the people from their hand.”
7 So I [Zechariah] pastured the flock doomed for slaughter, truly [as the name implies] the most miserable of sheep. And I took two [shepherd’s] staffs, the one I called Favor (Grace) and the other I called Union (Bonds); so I pastured the flock. 8 Then I eliminated the three [incompetent, unfit] shepherds [the civil rulers, the priests, and the prophets] in one month, for I was impatient with them, and they also were tired of me and despised me.(M) 9 So I said, “I will not pasture you. What is to die, let it die, and what is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed; and let the survivors devour one another’s flesh.” 10 I took my staff, Favor, and broke it in pieces, breaking the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So the covenant was broken on that day, and thus the most wretched of the flock who were watching me realized that it was the word of the Lord. 12 I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, do not.” So they weighed out [l]thirty pieces of silver as my wages. 13 [m]Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter [as if to the dogs]—that magnificent sum at which I am valued by them!” So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.(N) 14 Then I broke my second staff, Union, into pieces to break the brotherhood between Judah (the Southern Kingdom) and Israel (the Northern Kingdom).
15 The Lord said to me, “Take again for yourself the equipment [of a shepherd, but this time] of a foolish shepherd.(O) 16 For behold, I am going to raise up a [false] shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or feed the healthy; but will eat the flesh of the fat ones and tear off their hoofs [to consume everything].
“Woe (judgment is coming) to the worthless and foolish shepherd
Who deserts the flock!
The sword will strike his arm
And his right eye!
His arm shall be totally withered
And his right eye completely blinded.”(P)
Jerusalem to Be Attacked
12 The [n]oracle (a burdensome message) of the word of the Lord concerning Israel.
Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundation of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him: 2 “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling (staggering) to all the surrounding peoples; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. 3 And in that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will come and be gathered against it. 4 In that day,” declares the Lord, “I will strike every horse with panic and his rider with madness; but I will open My eyes and watch over the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the [opposing] nations with blindness. 5 Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are our strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.’
6 “In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, and like a flaming torch among sheaves [of grain]. They will devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left; and the people of Jerusalem will again live [securely] in their own place, in Jerusalem. 7 The Lord shall save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not be magnified above Judah. 8 In that day the Lord will defend the people of Jerusalem, and the one who is impaired among them in that day [of persecution] will become [strong and noble] like David; and the house of David [o]will be like God, like the [p]Angel of the Lord [who is] before them. 9 And in that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the people of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace (unmerited favor) and supplication. And they will look at Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him as one who weeps bitterly over a firstborn.(Q) 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of [the city of] Hadadrimmon in the Valley of [q]Megiddo [over beloved King [r]Josiah].(R) 12 The land will mourn, every family by itself; the [royal] family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan [David’s son] by itself and their wives by themselves; 13 the [priestly] family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei [grandson of Levi] by itself and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, each by itself, and their wives by themselves [each with an overwhelming individual regret for having blindly rejected their Messiah].
False Prophets Ashamed
13 “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the people of Jerusalem for [cleansing from] sin and impurity.
2 “In that day,” declares the Lord of hosts, “I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered. I will also remove the [false] prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. 3 And if anyone still [appears as a prophet and falsely] prophesies, then his father and his mother who gave birth to him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you have spoken lies in the name of the Lord’; and his father and his mother who gave birth to him shall pierce him through when he prophesies. 4 And in that day the [false] prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not wear a hairy robe [of true prophets] in order to deceive, 5 but he will [deny his identity and] say, ‘I am no prophet. I work the ground, because a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’ 6 And one will say to him, ‘What are these [s]wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those wounds I received in the house of my friends.’
“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the Man, My Associate,”
Declares the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd so that the sheep [of the flock] may be scattered;
And I will turn My hand and stretch it out against the little ones [of the flock].(S)
“It will come about in all the land,”
Declares the Lord,
“Two parts in it will be cut off and perish,
But the third will be left alive.(T)
“And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will listen and answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
God Will Battle Jerusalem’s Foes
14 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you (Jerusalem) will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured and the houses plundered and the women ravished; and half of the city will be exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4 In that day His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in half from the east to the west by a very large valley, and half of the mountain will move toward the north and half of it toward the south.(U) 5 You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; and you will flee just as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my [t]God will come, and all the holy ones (believers, angels) with Him.(V)
6 In that day there will be no light; the glorious ones (heavenly bodies) shall be darkened. 7 But it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord—not day and not night, but at evening time there will be light.
8 And in that day living waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea (Dead Sea) and half of them to the western sea (the Mediterranean); it will be in summer as well as in winter.
God Will Be King over All
9 And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord shall be the only one [worshiped], and His name the only one.
10 All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon, [the Rimmon that is] south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain [lifted up] on its site from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11 It will be inhabited, for there will no longer be a curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.(W)
12 Now this will be the plague with which the Lord shall strike all the peoples that have warred against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. 13 In that day a great panic and dismay from the Lord will fall on them; and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other. 14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered together—gold and silver and garments in great abundance. 15 So like this plague [on men] there will be the plague on the horses, mules, camels, donkeys, and all the livestock in those camps.
16 Then everyone who is left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and celebrate the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles). 17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18 If the family of Egypt does not go up [to Jerusalem] and present themselves, then no rain will fall on them. It will be the plague with which the Lord will strike the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles). 19 This will be the [consequent] punishment [for the sin] of Egypt, and the [consequent] punishment [for the sin] of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles).
20 In that day there will be written on the little bells on the horses, “[u]HOLY TO The Lord.” And the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be [holy to the Lord] like the bowls before the altar. 21 Every cooking pot in [all the houses in] Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the Lord of hosts, and all who sacrifice will come and take them and boil [their sacrifices] in them. And in that day there will no longer be a Canaanite [that is, any godless or spiritually unclean person, whether Jew or Gentile] in the house of the Lord of hosts.(X)
- Zechariah 8:2 “There is no implication of envy in the ‘jealousy’ of God, but rather the boundless enthusiasm of the Lord which loves holiness, hates sin, brings judgment upon sinners, and intervenes on behalf of His godly ones.” Charles Feinberg, God Remembers.
- Zechariah 8:4 The Hebrew word refers to broad, spread-out spaces such as wide streets, squares, plazas, public parks, and so throughout.
- Zechariah 9:1 I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to give.
- Zechariah 9:4 In 332 b.c. after a siege lasting seven months, Tyre was conquered by Alexander the Great. At that time Tyre consisted of two urban sites, one on the mainland and the other on the island a half mile from the shore. In order to conquer Tyre Alexander built a causeway from the mainland to the island. History records that he killed everyone except those who fled to the temples, then he ordered the houses to be set afire. The modern city of Sur, Lebanon, is near the site of ancient Tyre.
- Zechariah 9:5 Ashkelon, one of the five major Philistine cities (Josh 13:3) was the birthplace of Herod the Great, and the home of his sister, Salome. Gath and Ashdod are the major Philistine cities not named in this verse. Zechariah’s prophecy about Ashkelon’s total destruction was fulfilled during the time of the Crusades, (about a.d. 1260-1270), when Sultan Baibars, who was fighting against the Crusaders, reduced the site of ancient Ashkelon to ruins and filled the harbor with stones.
- Zechariah 9:7 An ancient tribal people who lived in the area around Jerusalem before it was captured by King David. They were absorbed by other tribes and lost their identity in Israel.
- Zechariah 9:9 Quoted in the NT to describe the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, see Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-38; John 12:14-16.
- Zechariah 9:9 As a matter of discussion, the ancient rabbis noted an apparent contradiction between the coming of the Messiah with the clouds of heaven in Dan 7:13, and his riding on a donkey as prophesied here. Their solution was that Messiah would come with the clouds if Israel was worthy, but on a donkey if Israel was not.
- Zechariah 10:4 Probably Messianic, see the “Cornerstone” imagery of Ps 118:22, 23; Is 28:16; Matt 21:42; Acts 4:11; Eph 2:19-22; 1 Pet 2:6-8.
- Zechariah 10:7 A reference to the Northern Kingdom.
- Zechariah 10:8 Or hiss. From this verse a rabbinical tradition was invented that if a vulture settles on the ground and hisses, the Messiah will come immediately. It was reported to have happened once, but instead of the Messiah coming, the story went that a stone fell on the vulture’s head and killed it because it was a liar.
- Zechariah 11:12 Since the type of coin is not stated, shekels can be assumed. The shekel was the standard wage for a day of labor, and the payment was weighed because the shekel was actually a unit of weight.
- Zechariah 11:13 At this point the pre-incarnate Christ intervenes and prophetically refers to the payment given by the religious leaders to Judas for his betrayal (Matt 26:15).
- Zechariah 12:1 See note 9:1.
- Zechariah 12:8 I.e. maintain its supremacy.
- Zechariah 12:8 See Ex 14:19; 23:20; 32:34; 33:2, 14, 15, 22; Hos 12:3, 4.
- Zechariah 12:11 Heb Megiddon.
- Zechariah 12:11 King Josiah was mortally wounded at the age of thirty-nine, and his death sparked an extraordinarily deep sense of grief among the people. That same kind of deep grief will characterize the mourning of Israel when they recognize their once-crucified Messiah who has come to reign.
- Zechariah 13:6 False prophets would sometimes cut themselves during emotional idolatrous rites, then deny that they had inflicted the wounds.
- Zechariah 14:5 The second coming of Christ to the earth is taught many times in Scripture. See Deut 30:3; Zech 14:3, 4; Matt 16:27; 24:3-14, 27, 36-39; 25:31, 32; 26:64; Luke 21:25-28; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor 1:7, 8; 4:5; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1; Titus 2:13; Heb 9:28; 1 John 2:28; Rev 3:11; 16:15; 22:7, 20.
- Zechariah 14:20 What had previously been reserved for the most sacred occasions now will adorn common objects, thus eliminating the difference between the sacred and the secular.