Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Book Overview - Zechariah
by Matthew Poole
Zechariah is the second prophet who cometh from God to the returned captives, and his errand to them was both to second Haggai's exhortations, and to reveal more fully than he doth all the future revolutions and events; to the final desolation of Jerusalem and the second temple by the Romans, and the rejection of the Jews for their sins against all the mercies of their God, and for their rejecting and murdering of the Messiah; who, rejected of the Jews, taketh in the Gentiles, and establisheth his church amongst them; which is revealed unto Zechariah, and communicated to the Jews by him; with a declaration of the future ruin of the Persian kingdom by the Grecians, and also of the wars of the Seleucidae and Lagidae, and their overthrow by the Romans; during the series of which times, the Jews shall be grown numerous, wealthy, and powerful, and, so long as they keep their covenant with God, shall do wonderful things, and be eminently owned of God, and be either wonderfully secured amidst these troubles, or more wonderfully victorious over those that trouble them. And indeed what Zechariah foretold, or promised to them, was in its time made good amongst them; his predictions were punctually fulfilled; if the promises were not, it was because the Jews by their sins cut themselves off from the promises, which may be observed in those intervals of times between Zechariah's prophesying and the coming of the Messiah. Now the first interval was above two hundred years, to the death of Alexander the Great; during which time the Jews enjoyed the common peace with the subjects of the Persian empire, and the particular favour of Alexander the conqueror during his life. These years were years of growth to the Jews. The next interval, through the wars of Alexander's divided captains, and between the Seleucidaes and the Lagidae, was an interval of some great trouble, and yet of greater preservation to the Jews. The next interval is that of the Maccabees, during which those victories were gotten which do almost exceed our belief. But whilst thus times were changed, the Jews continued much the same, unthankful to God, cold in religion, and added to their sins daily; till at last God delivered them into the hands of the Romans, whose general, Pompey the Great, deposed Hyrcanus from the throne, and restored the high priesthood to him. From henceforth the Jews' sins and miseries grow together, till that was accomplished, Zechariah 14:2, the city Jerusalem taken, the houses rifled, &c. Thus by various intermixture of providences, God did try the Jews, whether they would, as became his people, repent of former sins, amend their future doings, believe his promises, and obey his precepts, that he might bless them; so should all the good foretold by this prophet have crowned them. But if they failed (as they did) in those points of duty, then all the evil threatened should (as it did) overtake them, and, as Zechariah foretold, continue on them, as it doth to this day. This prophecy then contains the revolutions of the Jews, and the empires of Persia and Greece, and the Romans; in whose times the Jews, by killing the Lord of life, filled up their measure, and by whose hands God punished them, destroying their polity, razing their city, burning their temple, and captivating the people, which lasteth to this day. The better to represent all these at once to your view, take this following scheme.
1. Exhort to present repentance and reformation, chaps. 1, 2, 7, 8
B. Future Mercy, and that
A. Joshua, Zec. iii
B. Zerubbabel, chap iv
3. Continued protection of the church of Christ among the Gentiles,
Zechariah 14:3, to end
All which, either in dark, yet significant, types or emblems or else in plain and easily intelligible words, is represented to us by this prophet.
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18