The New Land
1 [c]An oracle:
The word of the Lord
is against the land of Hadrach,
and it will come to rest upon Damascus.
For the cities of Aaron belong to the Lord,
as do all the tribes of Israel,
2 as well as Hamath also,
which borders on it,
and on Tyre and Sidon,
even though they are very wise.
3 Tyre has built a stronghold for itself
and heaped up silver like dust
and gold like the dirt of the streets.
4 But the Lord will strip it of its possessions
and destroy its power on the sea,
and the city itself will be consumed by fire.
5 Ashkelon will witness this and be terrified,
as will Gaza who will writhe in anguish;
the same will be true of Ekron
whose hopes will come to naught.
The king will vanish from Gaza,
and Ashkelon will be uninhabited.
6 Foreigners will settle in Ashdod,
and I will demolish the pride of the Philistines.
7 I will snatch the bloody meat from their mouths
and their abominations from between their teeth.
They, too, will be a remnant belonging to our God;
they will be like a clan in Judah,
and Ekron will become like the Jebusites.[d]
8 I will stand guard at my house
so that no one may pass by unchallenged.
No oppressor will ever again overrun them,
for now I am determined to protect them.
Behold, Your King Comes to You[e]
9 Rejoice with all your heart, O daughter Zion.
Shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem.
See, your king is coming to you,
triumphant and victorious,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 He will banish the chariot from Ephraim
and the horses of war from Jerusalem.
The warrior’s bow will be banished,
and he will proclaim peace to the nations.
His dominion will be from sea to sea,
and from the river to the ends of the earth.
The Reestablishment of Israel
11 As for you,
because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set free your prisoners
from the waterless dungeon.
12 Return to the fortress,
you prisoners who have waited in hope.
This very day I promise
that I will reward you twofold.
13 For I have strung Judah as my bow
and made Ephraim its arrow.
I have roused your sons, O Zion,
and have made you like a warrior’s sword
against your sons, O Javan.
14 Then the Lord will appear over them,
and his arrow will flash forth like lightning.
The Lord God will sound the trumpet
and march forth in the stormwinds of the south.
15 The Lord of hosts will protect them,
and they will overcome
as they trample underfoot the slingstones.
They will drink blood like wine,
filled to the brim like a bowl,
drenched like the corners of the altar.
16 The Lord, their God, will save them on that day,
for they are his flock, his own people.
Like the precious stones of a crown
they will sparkle throughout his land.
17 What wealth and what beauty will be theirs,
with grain to make the young men flourish
and with new wine for the maidens!
- Zechariah 9:1 In the second part of the Book, concrete situations and their difficulties are forgotten; the perspectives are vaguer and more distant, the visions more grandiose. The tiny populace of Judah remains the chosen people and becomes the agent of a universal conquest in which God exerts his power and makes his presence felt in the midst of people of every nation; after having conquered the last terrible assaults of evil, he dedicates all of these people to his worship. The only connection these chapters have with the first eight is that they proclaim a promise of salvation. They contain ideas that are at times difficult to understand. They are broken up into a number of short passages, composed of bits from other sources or from writings that date from two or three centuries after the initial restoration. Their basic concern is with the new era that the Messiah will inaugurate and that involves the entire people. This second part of the Book of Zechariah is like a repository of Messianic texts; two rather different portraits of the Messiah himself are sketched. The hope that is roused projects into a still inscrutable future a number of experiences that will, in fact, come together in the person and life of Jesus.
- Zechariah 9:1 The following oracles depict essentially an ideal restoration of Israel and, therefore, a new image of the earth, the king, freedom, fidelity, and so on.
- Zechariah 9:1 The references are to Syria, Phoenicia, and Philistia. Hadrach was the capital of a small Syrian state. Damascus: literally, “the pearl of Aram.” The cities in verses 5-6 are in Philistia.
- Zechariah 9:7 The reference is to the custom of eating meat with blood in it, contrary to the practice in Israel. The Jebusites were the former inhabitants of Jerusalem, before it was captured by David.
- Zechariah 9:9 The plan of God will be brought to fulfillment not amid military and political greatness but in humility and peace. When Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he will fulfill this prediction to the letter (see Mt 21:4f). Ephraim stands for the entire kingdom of Israel, of which it was the principal tribe. The prophet is thinking, therefore, of a gathering of all the nations. From sea to sea: from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. The river is the Euphrates.