Zechariah 9:1. The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, —
Or, Syria, —
Zechariah 9:1-2. And Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD. And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, —
That is Tyre, —
Zechariah 9:2-4. And Zidon, though it be very wise. And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.
This prophecy was literally fulfilled. Tyre was attacked by Alexander the Great, and after withstanding a long siege, was destroyed by him. The strength of the city lay in the fact that it was built right out into the sea and that it was protected by a vast, massive hole. Also as a great trading centre it possessed enormous wealth, and so was able to hire mercenary soldiers. But all its power and its wealth could not preserve it from destruction; and although we read of Tyre in the New Testament, it is now only a place for the drying of the nets of a few poor fishermen, even as Ezekiel foretold that it would be (36:14). When God foretells destruction, it always comes; but, blessed be his holy name, when he promises blessing, that comes just as surely.
Zechariah 9:5. Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.
When Alexander invaded the country, the Philistines expected that he would be hindered by the Tyrians; but, when Tyre fell, the Philistines were easily conquered. That shows you the meaning of the prophecy, and how literally it was fulfilled.
Zechariah 9:6. And a bastard —
Or, stranger —
Zechariah 9:6-7. Shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. And I will take away his blood out of his mouth —
That is, the prey that he had caught; “I will snatch it out of his mouth,” —
Zechariah 9:7. And his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite.
There is no doubt that, after the days of Alexander, many Philistines became proselytes to the faith of the Jews, and were absorbed into the Jewish nation, so that an Ekronite became like an Israelite; and this is a symbol of what God is doing all the world over. He takes men, who are strangers and foreigners to the citizenship of Zion, and puts them among his people, and treats the Ekronite as a Jerusalemite. Blessed be his name for this great act of sovereign grace.
Zechariah 9:8. And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.
And so it was. Alexander went to Jerusalem, after destroying Tyre, but he did not attack the city. There was a strange restraint resting upon him, which prevented him from touching the house of the living God. I need not repeat the well-known story of how he was met by the high priest, whom he recognized as the man whom he had seen in a dream, and so, though he smote Tyre and Philistia, he suffered the people of God to go free. But, after that time, something better happened. That great event is marked off by a new paragraph in our Bible, and well it may be: —
Zechariah 9:9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: —
Not Alexander the Great, but “thy King” “Thy King cometh unto thee:
Zechariah 9:9. He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
What a beautiful and faithful description of our Lord Jesus Christ! We wonder that Israel cannot see the Messiah here. Had this verse been written after the coming of Christ, it could not more accurately have described the blessed person and character of our Lord Jesus. His very riding into Jerusalem upon an ass, with her colt trotting by her side, is most plainly foretold here.
Zechariah 9:10. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
This is our glorious King, — the King, whose conquests are not achieved by horses, and chariots, and battle-bows, but by the more powerful panoply of truth and love. Blessed are all who dwell beneath the rule of such a King as he is.
Zechariah 9:11-12. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn ye to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;
Christ has come to set the prisoners free, and to be the stronghold of his people. Therefore turn ye to him, and all manner of precious blessings shall be yours.
Zechariah 9:13. When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.
This is a truly wonderful passage, setting forth how God is going to use his people as the weapons by which he will conquer the world. He will bend Judah, and make her into a bow, and take Ephraim, and make her into an arrow; and then he will shoot his strangely-fashioned shaft against his adversaries and ours! What does this mean but that he is going to use those of us, who are his own saved ones, that he may conquer the world by us? And what a blessed battle this is! “Thy sons O Zion against thy sons, O Greece,” — the simple believer against the cultured man of reason without faith, — the humble truster in the Lord Jesus Christ against the man who proudly boasts of his own learning and eloquence! How will this battle end? We know which side will win, for “the Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
Zechariah 9:14. And the Lord shall be seen over them,
As he was in the midst of his people of old.
Zechariah 9:14. And his arrows shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.
Here you have a foresight of Pentecost, and the grand era which succeeded the outpouring of the Spirit. Oh, that we might once again prove what God’s almighty Spirit can do!
Zechariah 9:15. The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones and they shall drink, and make a noise as, through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar.
You remember that the mockers said, on the day of Pentecost, “These men are full of new wine.” They were not, as Peter plainly declared, “these are not drunken, as ye suppose;” neither does this prophecy mean that they would be so, but that the Spirit of God should fall so copiously upon them as to fill them, like bowls brimming over with precious liquid, or like the corners of the altar drenched for Elijah’s sacrifice. It is a grand thing when believers in Christ are thus filled to overflowing with the Spirit of God, and energy divine; they are the men who will win the battle for the cause of God and truth.
Zechariah 9:16-17. And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.