John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
INTRODUCTION TO ZECHARIAH 10
This chapter is a prophecy of the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, when the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, spoken of in the preceding chapter Zechariah 9:1. It begins with an exhortation to ask rain of the Lord; denounces wrath upon his enemies; and consists of various promises to his people. The exhortation to ask rain is in Zechariah 10:1 to which encouragement is given from its being of the Lord, from his willingness to grant it, and from the fruitfulness occasioned by it. The vanity of idols, and idolaters, who can not give it, is exposed; and the distress and confusion they were thrown into is observed, Zechariah 10:2. The anger of the Lord against the principal of them is declared; and his gracious visitation of the people of the Jews, whom he will honour and glorify, is taken notice of, Zechariah 10:3 from whom the Messiah sprung, than which a greater glory can not be enjoyed, Zechariah 10:4 and then follow various promises, relating to them; as of victory over their enemies, through the presence of the Lord with them, Zechariah 10:5 of strength and salvation to them, as owing to his free grace and mercy, Zechariah 10:6 of inward spiritual joy in them and theirs, Zechariah 10:7 of their effectual calling and spiritual increase, in consequence of redeeming grace, Zechariah 10:8 of their having a name and a place in Gospel churches, where they will remember the Lord, and live with their children, being converted, Zechariah 10:9 which conversion of theirs is represented in terms alluding to their deliverance from Egypt and Babylon, Zechariah 10:10 and the chapter is concluded with a promise of spiritual strength, so that they shall continue in their profession of faith in Christ, and persevere therein to the end, Zechariah 10:12.
Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain,.... There was the former and the latter rain, of which see Hosea 6:3. The former rain was in autumn, a little before or about seed time; the latter was in the spring, and a little before harvest, which is here referred to. So Hesiod
"The first rains (he observes) fall here some years in September, in others a month later; after which the Arabs break up their ground, in order to sow wheat, and plant beans: this commonly falls out about the middle of October.'
If the latter rains fall as usual in the middle of April, (in the holy land we find they were a month sooner, Joel 2:23.) the crop is reckoned secure; the harvest coming on in the latter end of May, or in the beginning of June, according to the heat and quality of the preceding seasons: wherefore, since there was so little rain fell in these countries, and particularly in Judea; if these former and latter rains failed, a scarcity followed; for, for want of the former rain, the earth was hard, and not easily ploughed up; and for want of the latter the grain withered away in the blade, and did not ear, at least did not produce ears plump and good; so that these rains were great temporal blessings, and to be asked for, as they were by the Jews, when they were wanted; and for which they appointed fasts
so the Lord shall make bright clouds; by which may be meant the ministers of the Gospel, who are of God's making, and not man's: these may be compared to "clouds" for their number, especially as they will be in the latter day; and for their moving to and fro, to communicate spiritual knowledge: and to "bright" ones, such as from whence lightning springs, thunderclouds, full of water; (the same word is used for lightning, Job 38:25;) because full of Gospel truths, and because of that clear light they diffuse to others:
and give them showers of rain: productive, under a divine influence, of large conversions among Jews and Gentiles:
to everyone grass in the field: on whom these showers fall with efficacy, and a divine blessing; everyone of these have a spiritual knowledge of Christ, faith in him, repentance towards God, food and fulness of it; and are filled with the fruits of righteousness, or good works, to the glory of God; see Isaiah 55:10. The Targum is,
"that he may give to them (the children of men) corn to eat, and grass to the beasts in the field;'
taking the words literally.
For the idols have spoken vanity,.... The vanities of the Gentiles cannot give rain; if they promise it, they speak vain things; God only can give it, and therefore it must, be asked of him, Jeremiah 14:22. The word for idols is "teraphim", the same as in Genesis 31:19 and here signifies worshippers of idols, as the Targum interprets it; and may be understood of the idolatrous Papists who worship idols of gold, silver, brass, and wood, Revelation 9:20 and who speak lies in hypocrisy, great swelling words of vanity, and even blasphemy against God, his name, his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven, 1 Timothy 4:1. Jarchi on 2 Kings 23:24, says, the teraphim are images that speak by sorcerers or sorceries; and to such evils the followers of the man of sin are addicted, Revelation 9:21 and the Jews
and the diviners have seen a lie; delivered it out, and others believed it, being given up to judicial blindness, because they received not the love of the truth, 2 Thessalonians 2:10. The Targum is,
"the diviners prophesy falsehood;'
or preach false doctrine, as the Romish clergy do, who are meant by the diviners:
and have told false dreams; about transubstantiation, purgatory, &c. which are visionary things; false doctrines are compared to dreams, Jeremiah 23:25,
they comfort in vain; by works of supererogation, by selling pardons, and praying souls out of purgatory:
therefore they went their way as a flock; as a flock of sheep straying from the fold. The Targum is,
"they are scattered as sheep are scattered;'
that is, the Jews, being hardened against the Christian religion, by the idolatry, lies, and dreams of the Papists, wander about in their mistakes and errors concerning the Messiah; which is their case to this day, and will be until the man of sin is destroyed:
they were troubled, because there was no shepherd; or, "no king", as the Targum paraphrases it; that is, the King Messiah, according to them, is not yet come; which is their affliction and trouble, that they are as sheep without a shepherd: or, "they answered", that there "is no shepherd"
Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds,.... The Targum interprets it of "kings"; as the "goats" of "princes", in the next clause; by whom, according to Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Abarbinel, are meant the kings of Greece; but rather the antichristian kings are designed, the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication with the whore of Rome, which is the cause of the anger of the Lord being kindled: or else ecclesiastical rulers are meant, the Romish clergy, the chief of them, as cardinals, archbishops, bishops, &c. who may fitly be represented by the shepherds of Israel in the times of the prophets for their name, professing to be of Israel, or to be Christians; and by them for their ignorance, covetousness, luxury, disregard to the flock, tyranny and cruelty over it, and murder of it; see Isaiah 56:10, against these the fire of God's wrath will be kindled, and with it will they be destroyed:
and I punished the goats; not the Seleucidae, as the above Jewish writers; though they may with propriety be so called, since they were the successors of Alexander, signified by the he goat in Daniel 8:5 rather the monks and friars, comparable to these for their filthiness and uncleanness; and because they pretend to be guides of the people, and to go before them, and yet use them ill, and push them with their horns of power; wherefore God will punish them, and kill those children of Jezebel with death, Revelation 2:22,
for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock, the house of Judah; by sending the Gospel to them, and his Spirit with it, to make it effectual to their conversion; which will be at the time that the antichristian hierarchy will be destroyed; then the Lord's flock, who have gone astray, shall be returned to the true Shepherd and Bishop of souls, and shall seek the Lord their God, and David their King, and shall be saved by him: a gracious visitation this will be!
and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle; this denotes that the Jews, when converted, will be bold in their God; valiant for the truth on earth; courageously fight the good fight of faith, and be victorious over their enemies; and that they will be in great honour and esteem among the saints, though so mean and justly despicable now: the sense is, that as the horse shows its strength and courage in battle, so should they; see Job 39:19.
Out of him came forth the corner,.... Or "cornerstone"; by which is meant a king or ruler, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi; and is no other than the King Messiah, who was to come out of Judah, and did spring from that tribe, 1 Chronicles 5:2 and this is a reason why God will visit the house of Judah, or the Jews, in the latter day, because the Messiah was promised and sent unto them, salvation was of them, though they rejected him; but the Lord will have mercy on them; the Redeemer shall come to Zion in a spiritual manner, and turn away iniquity from them, and then all Israel shall be saved by him. The epithet of a "corner" stone well agrees with him, that being not only the ornament, but the strength and support of the building, which knits, cements, and keeps the whole together: Christ is a beautiful and precious cornerstone, which gives glory and lustre to the church, and is the support, yea, the foundation of it; and who joins and unites together men and angels; Jews and Gentiles; Old and New Testament saints; saints above and below; saints in all ages and places, and of all nations and denominations; and is the Head of the corner, being superior to men and angels, to the kings of the earth, and to the church of God; see Ephesians 2:20.
Out of him the nail; the Targum is, "out of him his Messiah"; which shows that this text was formerly understood of Christ by the Jews; Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it of a prince and governor; so Eliakim the governor is said to be "as a nail in a sure place", Isaiah 22:23 who was a type of Christ; and this agrees with Christ himself. The allusion is either to a nail, by which the timber in the building is compacted together, and the whole is strengthened, as the church is by Christ: or to a nail to which the cords of tents are fastened, as those of shepherds, travellers, or soldiers; the church is as such a tent; Christ is the nail to which its cords are fastened, which denotes the stability and security of it: or to a nail fixed in a wall, on which things are hung; on Christ are hung all the vessels of mercy; the covenant of grace, and all its promises and blessings; and all the glory of his Father's house, of his building, the temple, and of the salvation of his people, is to be hung on him.
Out of him the battle bow; or "warrior", as Jarchi interprets it; the Lord is a man of war; Christ makes war in righteousness; the armies of heaven follow him; he is at the head of them, and fights the battles of his people, and is victorious, and makes them more than conquerors; their spiritual armour is from him, and they are armed by him, Revelation 19:11
out of him every oppressor together: or "exactor"
And they shall be as mighty men,.... That is, the converted Jews shall be such; they shall be strong in faith, giving glory to the Messiah; they shall be strong in the grace that is in him; they shall be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; his strength shall be made perfect in their weakness:
which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle; being victorious over sin, Satan, and the world, through Christ, in whom they will believe:
and they shall fight; against all their inward and outward enemies, the good fight of faith, with great valour and courage:
because the Lord is with them; who is the Lord of hosts or armies; his presence gives boldness and intrepidity; for, if he is for them, who can be against them? the battle is theirs, success is certain:
and the riders on horses shall be confounded; such that come up against them on them, and trust in them, shall be beaten by them, and so made ashamed; and the flesh, both of the horses and their riders, shall be the food of the fowls of the air, Revelation 19:18 perhaps the Turkish cavalry is meant, who may attempt to hinder the settlement of the Jews in their own land; the armies of the Turks consisting greatly of horsemen, Revelation 9:16.
And I wilt strengthen the house of Judah,.... Both with internal and external strength, so that they shall be able to stand their ground against enemies of every sort:
and I will save the house of Joseph: the ten tribes, such of them that shall be found, for all Israel shall be saved, Romans 11:26 not only temporally, but spiritually, with an everlasting salvation:
and I will bring them again to place them; there is but one word in the original text; it is composed of two words, as Kimchi observes, of שוב, "to return", and ישב, "to sit" or "dwell"
for I have mercy upon them; which is the spring and source of all the above benefits promised, or that are after mentioned; even of the covenant and its blessings; the mission of Christ, and salvation by him; regeneration, pardon, and eternal life; hence they that had a "loammi" upon them, and were not the people of God, now will be his people; and those who had not obtained mercy shall obtain it, even those that were concluded in unbelief:
and they shall be as though I had not cast them off; or rejected them from being his people; which was done when the natural branches, the Jews, were broken off, and the Gentiles of the wild olive tree were grafted in; when their civil and church state were dissolved, and their city and temple destroyed:
for I am the Lord their God; covenant interest always remains, and is the source of all the blessings of grace, and will be of the conversion of the Jews, Romans 11:26,
and will hear them; when, the Spirit of grace and supplication being poured upon them, they shall cry unto the Lord, and look to him for salvation. The Targum is,
"and I will receive their prayer.'
And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man,.... What remain, and shall be found of the ten tribes, shall be as is said of Judah, or the Jews of the two tribes, Zechariah 10:5,
and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: they shall be filled with inward and spiritual joy, through the love of God shed abroad in their heart; and through the Gospel of Christ having a place there; and through the blessings of divine grace, those streams of love, and which flow in the Gospel, and make glad the hearts of God's people; all which are comparable to wine:
yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; they shall see the strength, victory, and salvation of their fathers, and the joy they shall be possessed of, and join with them in it, having a share in the same blessings they are partakers of:
their heart shall rejoice in the Lord; in the person and offices of Christ, who will now be known by the spiritual seed and offspring of the church, and in the great salvation wrought out by him, and in all the blessings of grace that accompany it. The Targum is,
"their heart shall rejoice in the word of the Lord;'
the essential Word, the Son of God.
I will hiss for them,.... Or "whistle for them"
and gather them; from the places where they are scattered, into their land; or, by effectual calling, out from the state and condition in which they are, and from among the men of the world, to the Lord himself, as their Redeemer and Saviour; and to him for pardon and righteousness; and into his churches, and communion with him there: Kimchi observes, that some interpret this verse of future time; and Jarchi says it relates to it; and in the Talmud
For I have redeemed them; from sin, Satan, the law, death, and hell, and every enemy, by his precious blood, and the sacrifice of himself when here on earth; and this is the foundation of the effectual calling of any and every sinner; and will be the reason of the conversion and ingathering of the Jews in the latter day; they being a people redeemed and purchased by the blood of Christ, Isaiah 43:1,
and they shall increase as they have increased; either when in Egypt, or in the days of Solomon; their number shall be as the sand of the sea, Hosea 1:10 a nation shall be born at once; they shall be multiplied, and not be few, and glorified, and not be small; yea, the place shall be too strait for them to dwell in, Jeremiah 31:18.
And I will sow them among the people, The people of God in the Gentile world: this is to be understood of the conversion of the Jews, when they will become the good seed that hear the word, and understand it, and bring forth fruit; and of their being known, acknowledged, and reckoned among the people of God, who now are not; and of their being planted in Gospel churches, where the word is truly preached; the ordinances are faithfully administered; the Lord grants his presence, and saints have communion one with another; to be in such a fruitful soil, and in such sacred enclosures, fenced by the power and grace of God, is a great happiness:
and they shall remember me in far countries; they shall call to mind what their ancestors did to Christ, and mourn on account of a pierced Saviour; they shall remember him in the ordinance of the supper, being in a Gospel church state; they shall remember what he did and suffered for them, and his love to them in all, and that with faith, affection, and thankfulness:
and they shall live with their children; a very happy, comfortable, temporal life; and they shall live a spiritual life; a life of faith on Christ; of communion with him, and of holiness from him, and to his glory: and their children also shall live the same life, being regenerated and quickened by the same grace; these are the church's children:
and turn again; that is, when they shall turn again, either to the Lord, shall be converted unto him; or return to their own land.
I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt,.... The Targum paraphrases it,
"and as I brought them out of the land of Egypt, so will gather their captivity out of Assyria;'
suggesting there would be a likeness between the one and the other. Egypt may denote the state of distance and bondage in which all men are by nature; and the Jews, at their conversion, will be brought out of it, into the glorious liberty of the children of God, by the mighty arm of the Lord, according to his purposes and promises. Moreover, as Cocceius observes, Egypt may signify Rome, or the Romish jurisdiction, which is spiritually called Egypt and Sodom, Revelation 11:8 for darkness, idolatry, tyranny, and cruelty; and out of which the Jews, as many of them as are there, will be brought at the time of their conversion:
and gather them out of Assyria; which may design the Turkish or Persian dominions, or both, as the above commentator suggests; from whence the Jews, as many as are in those parts, will be brought into their own land, as follows; see Isaiah 11:11,
and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; Gilead was a land of pasture, and signifies "a heap of testimonies"; and may mystically intend the Scriptures, which testify of Christ, and direct to green pastures, beside the still waters: and Lebanon, that goodly mountain, and hill of frankincense, and where cedars grew, may design the church, whither the converted Jews will be brought, and worship before it, Revelation 3:9 or both may literally be understood, which they shall return unto; Gilead being, as Kimchi observes, beyond Jordan eastward; and Lebanon, comprehending the whole land of Israel, on this side of it:
and place shall not be found for them; they will be so numerous; see Isaiah 49:20 the Targum is,
"and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and the sanctuary, and it shall not be sufficient for them;'
that is, to hold them. The Septuagint render it, "and not one of them shall be left": all Israel shall now be converted and saved, though their number will be as the sand of the sea, Hosea 1:10.
And he shall pass through the sea with affliction,.... Either the people of the Jews, as Israel of old did, when they came out of Egypt, to which the allusion is; or the wind shall pass through the sea, as Aben Ezra supplies it, and it shall become dry; that is, the river of Egypt: or "affliction"
and shall smite the waves in the sea: that is, the Lord shall smite them; repress afflictions, which are like the proud waves, not suffering them to proceed further than is for his glory and his people's good, and remove all obstacles in their way; see Isaiah 11:15 or destroy their enemies, which are like the proud waters, that otherwise would go over their souls, and overwhelm them; and particularly the antichristian states, at the pouring out of the vials, signified by the sea, and by fountains and rivers, Revelation 16:3. Kimchi explains it of the multitude of the people:
and all the deeps of the river shall dry up; not Nile, the river of Egypt, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra
"all the kings of the people shall be confounded:'
and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down; the pride of the Ottoman empire, of which the old Assyria is a part, and which has been large and powerful, that shall be destroyed; this will be at the passing away of the second woe; and then quickly comes the third, which is as follows, Revelation 11:14,
and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away; all rule and government shall cease; see Genesis 49:10 meaning that the kingdom of the antichristian beast of Rome, called Egypt, Revelation 11:8 shall be at an end; which will be at the blowing of the seventh trumpet, and upon and through the pouring out of the seven vials. So the Targum, the dominion of the Egyptians shall be taken away; or its rod, with which it has smote, hurt, and greatly oppressed and afflicted the saints; persecution shall now cease; it will not be in the power of the Romish antichrist to persecute any more.
And I will strengthen them in the Lord,.... Not the Egyptians and Assyrians, but the Jews, as in Zechariah 10:5, the Targum is,
"I will strengthen them in the word of the Lord;'
in the Messiah, by his power, and in the grace that is in him; and their faith and hope in him, and love to him: or "by"
and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the Lord; walk in him, the way to the Father, to heaven and happiness; walk by faith on him, in his strength, and in imitation of him; walk according to his Gospel, calling on his name, professing and worshipping him; and walk in his church and ordinances, agreeably to his will; see Micah 4:5. Kimchi owns that this whole chapter belongs to the times of the Messiah, as well as the former. The words may be considered as a testimony to the doctrine of the Trinity; that I, Jehovah the Father, will strengthen them in Jehovah the Son; and they shall walk up and down in the name of the Son of God, saith Jehovah the Spirit. Moreover, as a promise of the saints' final perseverance, very peremptorily expressed; I "will" strengthen them, and they "shall" walk, &c.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Zechariah 10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25