Zechariah 8

CHAPTER VIII

In this chapter God promises the continuance of his favour to

those who are returned from the captivity; so that upon the

removal of his judgments, the fasts they had observed during

the captivity may now be converted to so many occasions of

rejoicing. He likewise promises in due time a general

restoration of his people, and the enlargement of the Church

by the accession of the Gentiles, 1-20.

The conclusion of the chapter intimates farther that the Jews,

after their restoration, will be instrumental in converting

many other nations, 21-23.

Compare Ro 11:15, 16.

NOTES ON CHAP. VIII

Verse 2. I was jealous] Some refer this to the Jews themselves.

They were as the spouse of Jehovah: but they were unfaithful, and

God punished them as an injured husband might be expected to

punish an unfaithful wife. Others apply it to the enemies of the

Jews. Though I gave them a commission to afflict you, yet they

exceeded their commission: I will therefore deal with them in

fury-in vindictive justice.

Verse 3. I am returned unto Zion] I have restored her from her

captivity. I will dwell among them. The temple shall be rebuilt,

and so shall Jerusalem; and instead of being false, unholy, and

profligate, it shall be the city of truth, and my holy mountain.

TRUTH shall dwell in it.

Verse 4. There shall yet old men and old women] In those happy

times the followers of God shall live out all their days, and the

hoary head be always found in the way of righteousness.

Verse 5. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and

girls] The progeny shall be numerous, healthy, and happy. Their

innocent gambols and useful exercises shall be a means of health,

and a proof of happiness. To be healthy, children must have

exercise. But they cannot take exercise, except in the way of play

and diversion: ergo, such playfulness cannot be sinful. Let them

be kept from evil words, lying, swearing, and scurrility; and all

the rest may be innocent.

Verse 6. If it be marvellous] You may think that this is

impossible, considering your present low condition: but suppose it

be impossible in your eyes, should it be so in mine! saith the

Lord of hosts.

Verse 7. I will save my people from the east country, and from

the west] From every land in which any of them may be found. But

these promises principally regard the Christian Church, or the

bringing in the Jews with the fulness of the Gentiles.

Verse 9. By the mouth of the prophets] The day or time of the

foundation was about two years before, as this discourse of the

prophet was in the fourth year of Darius. After this God raised up

prophets among them.

Verse 10. For before these days there was no hire for man]

Previously to this, ye had no prosperity; ye had nothing but civil

divisions and domestic broils. I abandoned you to your own

spirits, and to your own ways.

Verse 12. For the seed shall be prosperous] Ye shall be a holy

and peaceable people; and God will pour down his blessing on

yourselves, your fields, and your vineyards.

Verse 13. As ye were a curse] Instead of being execrated among

the people, ye shall be blessed; instead of being reproached, ye

shall be commended. Ye shall be a blessing to all the nations

round about. All these promises we may expect to be completely

fulfilled when the Jews acknowledge their Messiah.

O house of Judah, and house of Israel] The restoration shall be

complete, when both Israel and Judah are brought back.

Verse 16. Speak ye every man the truth] See Zec 7:9, 10.

Verse 19. The fast of the fourth month] To commemorate the

taking of Jerusalem; 2Ki 25:3; Jer 39:2; 52:6, 7.

The fast of the fifth] In memory of the ruin of the temple,

2Ki 25:8; Jer 52:12, 13.

The fast of the seventh] For the murder of Gedaliah,

Jer 41:1-17.

The fast of the tenth] In commemoration of the siege of

Jerusalem, which began on the tenth day of the tenth month;

2Ki 25:1; Jer 52:4; Eze 24:1, 2; and see on Zec 7:3, 5.

Cheerful feasts] Ye shall find all your evils so completely

redressed, that these mournful fasts shall be turned into joyful

feasts.

Verse 20. There shall come people] Similar promises to those in

Isa 2:3 and in Mic 4:1, 2. Many

Gentiles, as well as Jews, will then be found devoting

themselves to the Lord.

Verse 21. I will go also.] This is the answer of the person

invited. It is a good work. We must have God for our friend. We

cannot expect this unless we seek him: and as we know not what an

hour may bring forth, let us go speedily.

Verse 22. And strong nations] This may refer to the conversion

of the Mohammedan tribes; especially to those in the vicinity of

Palestine. Perhaps even the Egyptians, inhabitants of Arabia

Petraea, of Syria, &c.

Verse 23. Ten men-shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a

Jew] The converts from among the Gentiles shall be to the Jews as

ten to one. But ten may here signify a great number, without

comparison. And from this scripture it appears as if the Jews,

converted to God, should be the instruments of converting many

Gentiles. See on Isa 3:6.

Catching hold of the skirt is a gesture naturally used to

entreat assistance and protection. This and the three foregoing

verses, says Abp. Newcome, refer to the great accession of

converts which the Jewish Church received between the captivity

and the coming of Christ; to the number of Christian disciples

which the Jewish preachers made, and to the future conversions of

which the restoration of the Jews will be an eminent cause.

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