J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 4.)
- 4. The land of Judah, note; so Habakkuk 2:16, is the Land - there is nothing about Jerusalem in it; so of Gog, in Ezekiel.
- 8. I know not yet what 'after the glory' (akhar-kavod, see Psalm 73:24) is. But note there are three things by which they shall know Jesus sent, Christ sent, only manifested in Spirit, was the Sent One, as so often urged in John, for it was the Spirit of Christ which was in them did, as here, signify - manifested in person in Jesus, His making the nations 'a spoil to their servants' - 'many nations joined to the Lord,' and the Lord dwelling in the midst of the daughter of Zion - and the final finishing of the house among the Jews here; chapters 2:9, 10, 11, chap. 4:9; chap. 6:15.
But there is a further point we must notice. The first (chap. 2:9) is contrasted as servants of the nations, 'Therefore ye shall know' - the second (v. 11, Hebrew 15), 'Thou' (feminine) 'shalt know' - the third (chap. 4:9) (this one is more remarkable) 'Thou' (masculine) 'shalt know.' It seems to me to include the Person of Christ, in which, as a Man, He shall reap the fruit, among the Jews, in the finishing of His Jewish house (as Zerubbabel, not the Temple - it is a symbolical prophecy) of His being sent. Though if it were in Israel the Lord was glorified, He had before to say, 'Then have I laboured in vain, and spent my strength for nought,' but now His hands finished it. He knew, as a Man, in fulfilment, that He was sent as the Christ of God to the Jews. 'Thou, Jesus, the Seed of David, shalt know,' says the Spirit of Christ in the Prophet, 'that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.' The Jews also. There is difference. The general deliverance is evidence of the mission - 'Ye shall know' (the fact) 'that the Lord hath sent me.' Zion shall know, by the Lord's dwelling in the midst of her, that the Lord had sent Him unto her. But He shall know that the Lord sent Him to the Jews, rejecting Him as they did, on the finishing of His house. There, I think also, we have evidence, herein, that it was not as 'Jesus,' simply, He is spoken of as sent, but in His divine Person, as justified in Spirit, and so properly, and not as Man. It was recognising Him as the sent Son of God, though He was also Jesus, that was the point of faith. This was what the Lord required. They would have taken Him by force and made Him a King, if that had been what He required. They knew, even the rulers, that He was a Teacher come from God, but He was, and as the God of truth required, as being Truth was bound to, as the Son for the Father's glory was faithful to require - yea! as the only truth of and for blessing, the Freemaker - having this as His full title, 'The Heir of the world,' to require to put forth this title 'The Son of God.' This was made practicable for Jesus by the miraculous conception. He was condemned, showing the Jews' rejection of Him and of the truth, for, as they said, making Himself so. He was so, and this was the point in question. He was rejected by the Gentiles (with the knowledge of this, for they were concerned in it) for being King of the Jews, throwing the utter rebuke upon them - the last grand act of treading them down as Gentile wicked ones, even we by nature - in natural wickedness, till the last great act of presumptuous wickedness be enacted, as described in this Prophet. The death of the Man was pardonable, though the uttermost sin - the rejection of the Son testified by the Spirit, made known in the resurrection, there is no way of pardon for. The Lord keep us loving Him always!
216 Zechariah 3
- 1-7. Note the word omed (standing) and om-dim (those standing); all through this it is a leading word.
- 8. Probably "as observed men," to be observed as types or signs, as 1 Corinthians 10:6.
This chapter appears to me to represent, as far as any partial thing fulfils it, the perfection of the Jewish system or ministration of God with him in that day, as in the hands of Christ Himself. There was one candlestick, the pure bearer of God's light in its perfect, God-formed order. There was the perfect supply of ministering grace from the double witness of divine grace and presence - spiritual grace, and existing power - priesthood, and royalty. In Revelation, the witness of these things is kept up, in disorder, which is the force of the distinction of that passage, 'also shall then the eyes of the Lord,' the energy of His judging power, 'pass through the whole earth,' not the Spirit, nor the providential power of empire; compare Revelation 5:6, and ante, 1:8, and post 6; compare also the office of Joshua, in which they, the Jews as a Remnant, are personally represented. The iniquity is removed, and the righteous brotherhood introduced. Here, in the royalty of Christ, the full building of the house is, and I think it involves and must include the gathering of all unto Him, for He could not dispensatively set the earth right in sovereign power, until the source of all order and power, the heavenlies, were set right. But, as regards the nation, etc., below, the priestly office must be exercised towards them before the scene of order is exercised thereon below in the hands of Zerubbabel.
217 Zechariah 5
- 6. We should notice this expression, 'This is their appearance in all the earth'; so in chapter 4:10, and in Revelation. The anointed ones stand before 'the Lord of the whole earth.' The four chariots of horses are the four spirits, etc., 'before the Lord of the whole earth,' so in verse 3, 'This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth.' I apprehend that the evil in verse 3 marks unrighteousness towards man and God - individual wrong doing. I apprehend this is the abiding principle of divine, righteous judgment when He takes it, for even then the Lord, acting on that which belonged to the Jews, the sinner dying a hundred years old shall be accursed, but the exercise of it will remove them systematically. Chapter 4 is the recognition in the Jews of the principle to which the believing Remnant had borne witness, during the power of evil (as noticed in Revelation). Here is the principle of moral evil which was the real character of the world individually. The ephah and the woman I believe to be the burying the union of the Church in the world. The ephah was the largest measure, and I believe the all-rapacious character of evil is meant in it, and the Church is brought into it. The ephah is their resemblance, but this is wickedness, and it is bound down for ever then however (O Lord, what are our sins!), and built and set in the land of desolation and confusion, out of which the Jews are brought. However, I am sure there is much more in this that I do not understand yet.
I think, too, there must be observed an analogy between the actual efficient power in the previous chapter, the candlestick and the olive trees, and the formal professing Church, the woman in the world, and the two women. I have sometimes thought that, as the removing judgment, the former part of the chapter took the two Tables as against the Jews - the latter, the removal of the useless form (wickedness) of the professing Gentile Church now simply buried in the world. I suspect, however, that the putting the woman into the ephah is putting the Jewish Remnant completely into the world, and settling it in the power of Babylon in that day, as it showed the moral of the previous captivity. There the providence of God was not the least surrendered, and those who, out of the midst of the power of Babylon, came with gifts, and remembered despised Jerusalem (and an unbuilt house) it should be for a memorial to them and a crown. The Branch should be raised up. He should build the Temple, etc.
218 Zechariah 6
- 5. Note, also, there is, I believe, no such thing as the 'Jehovah of all the earth.' It is not a scriptural expression. There is the "God of all the earth," Isaiah 54. Otherwise, it is "King of all the earth" (Psalm 47), and in this Book chapter 14:9. Otherwise, it is "Lord" (Adon) "of all the earth," from Joshua 3:13, Micah 4:13, and here. Hence we shall understand the force of the expression 'O Jehovah, our Adon (Lord), how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!' See the full statement in Micah 4:5.
- 15. It would appear that b'he-khal (A.V., "in the temple") is simply 'at work at the building of'; see Nehemiah 4:4, 11 (or 10, 17, English). The ministration of the r'chokim (A.V., "They that are far off") in the service of the Temple, when the Man, whose name is 'the Branch,' should build it, would be further evidence of the truth of the Spirit of Christ; compare Isaiah 4:2, Jeremiah 23:5, and chapter 33:15. The reference to Christ, in His Melchizedek character, is remarkable here. In both passages it is referred to Joshua, and it is he who has exercised for the Remnant of Israel, i.e., Israel, the office of priest, 'who' etc., as here. He is the tzemakh (Branch) Jehovah, and the tzemakh (Branch) David, and the tzemakh tzaddik (righteous Branch) who 'shall execute.' But here He is to sit on His throne - the iniquity removed in one day, and they, the restored Jewish Remnant, shall know the mission of truth.
219 At the end of this chapter closes that prophecy, the order of which, as relating to the latter days, is, I think, now pretty plain. Moreover the distinction of the two prophecies is most important. Hitherto, though leadingly occupied with Judah as the place where it centred in operation and result, the prophecy has been mystical and symbolical, taking it as Church order, building God's, or Christ's house, and hence involves the accomplishment of all the co-ordinate purposes of God, the principles on which He has been governing in the Church, on which it has failed, and the clearing (though not directly, as the sphere of present observation) the heavenlies, wherein the blessings, etc., were of all the earth, Christ's right ordering, in a new state of things, being the great subject, and this is the key to all that prophecy. Nor shall we ever see rightly the blessings to the Jews, till we see them as a part of the great scene of New Jerusalem blessings, as in Hosea, when, which explains what I mean, the Lord 'shall hear the heavens, and the heavens shall hear the earth, and the earth shall hear the corn and the wine and the oil, and the corn and the wine and the oil shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy,' etc.
The prophecies which follow are the literal development of the prophecies to the Jews, as a literal nation, fulfilling the promises of God to them as a nation distinctively known as such, and following on the long-known associations which belonged to them as a nation known in a given place upon earth of old.
- 6, 7. 'Hearing the word of prophecy,' not 'fasting in sorrow,' when we have got into its predicted evil, is the way of righteousness.
- 1. There shall be no defrauding of Israel then, when man's (Adam's) eyes are toward the Lord, "as of all the tribes of Israel." Israel shall have God's full rest, so I understand it. The word m'nukhatho (his rest) is plain, from Psalm 95:11 and Deuteronomy 12:9.
220 Zechariah 11
This manifestly begins a new prophecy.
- 7, 8. This is the reply to Sharezer and Regem-melech, i.e., the people in them.
- 9. This, and the following verse, is the general prophecy of the result suggested by that. Here we have Christ personally brought before us, in connection with these results, and the state in which the restored - a new thought - position of blessing would be through the shepherds, and the wickedness of them that dwell therein. Much of this was exemplified at the first coming of our Lord, but there is much that has not its ultimate accomplishment till all the nations are gathered together in the Land of Israel, and the Jews are restored to their pride, and the Lord act upon them at His second coming.
If the Lord had assumed the shepherd-hood of the Jews in that day, His dominion and care should have been over all the earth. Now this would have embraced all the peoples, but, on His refusing the shepherd-hood, to whom the gathering of the nations was to be, He broke the covenant with the am-mim (peoples), and took the children which God had given Him for His portion, till He be the Jehovah of His people, and King (Solomon) over all the earth. It is a case similar to Numbers 14:34, though of larger extent. The Jews stood here as the most favoured representatives of the race, and the only difference was, they would not receive Him, as the others did not know Him. The result of this, however, is the position of the am-mim and goi-im (nations) towards Jerusalem, which was, as it were, unhindered, but whose actings would be different towards it, though in intention a mere prey to both. But this distinction was only brought into illustrated action in the last days.
This chapter cannot be understood without a careful examination of John 10.
- 10. Note this expression am-mim (peoples). It opens out a vast field in the chapter; compare the important analogous language in Deuteronomy 33:3, and Genesis 49:10. I do not think am-mim is ever used for the children of Israel, but that it has always a definite and distinct meaning. Here we may refer to Deuteronomy 32:8, and this seems to me to be the point of the Gospel of John - His Sonship, and the world. Yet, as Son, He was Heir as Solomon, i.e., with the Jews.
221 - 11, 12. These give the question of official agency in which He might be rejected, as between Him and the people.
- 13. How various are the instruments by which the Lord does His acts! We see this illustrated here.
This and the following verse give the personal acts, and that which immediately concerned His Person, with the Lord and His purposes - the sure and certain order, both of His willing character, and sufferings, and exaltation, and manifestation as Jehovah. His suffering and judgment in a higher capacity than men, dispersed relationship to the Jewish nation though including it; you may compare Isaiah 49.
- 16. 'Young one' is rather 'cast out,' 'driven out', the word is na-ar (a wanderer).
- 10. How plain is the Spirit of Christ in the Prophet here!
Note when 'the Spirit of grace and supplication' is poured on Israel, it is after the deliverance, on the families which remain. The Lord will have destroyed the nations come against Jerusalem - the house of David will have been as God, but the day of the Lord on Jerusalem will have been the taking of the city, etc. It is those that remain in all the Land that will mourn apart, having looked on Him whom they had pierced. These are owned as God's people, but there remains the question: what the condition is of this Remnant before? Here the Psalms come in. There we have the desire of the humble, the poor who commits himself to Jehovah - those that seek Him - the righteous who are tried, etc.; see Psalms 9, 12, and compare Isaiah 51. See also Zephaniah 2:1, 2, 3; 3:8, 18, etc.
- 5. I think I have noticed in my interleaved Bible, I cannot but think the English translation has missed the sense. It is Christ taking His lowly place, and amongst men, as Man, man's place, and then His rejection by the Jews, and then God's counsel in it as to the Man, His fellow. I hardly see how kik-na-ni (has acquired me) can be 'taught me to keep cattle.' 'And He said' comes in abruptly. 'And He said I am no Prophet; Adam possessed me,' bought me, 'from my youth.' I was a servant to man from the beginning. 'And he said, What are these wounds in Thy hands?' 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.' Then the blessed counsel of God comes, in His view of Christ's service and His place as the Shepherd of Israel - the Good Shepherd that lays down His life for the sheep. The Shepherd thus out of the way, through wickedness on the part of the people, in needed grace on God's part, yet smiting the Shepherd for the sake of the flock, His hand falls necessarily on the faithful of the flock itself. They must feel the condition of Israel, the sin in which they are all involved, but to them, living through Him, it is passing through the fire for purifying. Isaiah 1:25, and Amos 1:8, and Psalm 81:14, show, I think, that 'turning the hand upon' is in judgment. The Lord Jesus does not quote this last part, because its force is for the latter days. 'The little ones,' if they had a common lot with Him, had hardly, in any sense, a common lot with the Jewish people after His death, but, though eventually separated, they are acted on together at the close; see verses 8 and 9.
222 These last two chapters are very general.
- 7. "I will turn my hand upon the little ones"; compare Isaiah 1:25 - verses 8, 9, I apprehend, explain it. He visits to purify. But "little ones" are brought low, become vile. It is the Jews looked at as having to say to God in the Land, but brought low in it. Note it is the word amithi (My neighbour) found only in Leviticus and here. In Matthew the blessed Lord treats it as God's act "I will smite." This seems to me His perfectness.
It has struck me that the force of this, Christ's statement of Himself as humbled, in contrast to all the ecclesiastical and prophetic false assumption of the nation, 'and He said' or 'shall say, not a Prophet am I - a man tilling the ground' (compare Genesis 3:23) 'am I, for man made me his property from my youth,' i.e., Christ was subjected to the condition and necessities of man from the outset, as the Servant of their good, having come into the sorrow and toil into which man was driven (out of Paradise). Then comes His Jewish rejection - He received His wounds in the house of His friends. Then comes God's part - it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. "Awake, O Sword," etc. Then the consequence, to the Jewish people, of all this, till their millennial reception in verse 9. Then the final result as to all the nations as well as Jerusalem, in the next chapter.
223 - 5. As to the word hik-na-ni (caused me to acquire) it is confirmed, and its force beautifully brought out by comparing Proverbs 8:22. This is the humiliation of Christ, as connected with the Jews - that His title in His Person, and the glory of the Lord's ways.
- 8, 9. All the resulting history of the Jews is in these two verses.
- 1. The, day of the Lord, is always, or involves, earthly judgment.
- 17, 18. "The Lord of hosts." 'Neither shall there be upon them . . . there shall be the plague,' etc., or, neglecting the athnakh, 'shall there not be upon them the plague.'
- 19. After all, I see no proof that khat-tath (sin) means punishment. Proverbs 10:16 is the only passage that can be reasonably alleged, that I can find. It may perhaps, allude to it, as that which represents, and marks the sin, as 'he shall bear his iniquity,' the proof and force of which would be seeing him lie under the judgment it brought. This is the sense of the word (in two forms) in Lamentations 3:39 and chapter 4:6 - bearing the sin on himself in punishment, something as the sense of sin-offering. And, I suppose, it must be so taken here, but so as to charge the measure, and the character of the sin, not merely the fact of punishment. It is governmentally putting the sin upon him, instead of taking it off; compare Lamentations 4:22.