Zechariah 9:1-4 – A new line of thought is introduced in Zechariah 9. This is the first of two portions that begin with the words, “The burden of the word of the Lord.” The second is found in Zechariah 12:1. These two major portions go together. We think of a burden as something heavy that must be lifted or carried. In Scripture however it is often related to a message laid on the heart of a prophet, one that he had to unload or share. Burdens were generally declarations of judgment on a nation or a people. The judgment Zechariah speaks of was on Hadrach, Damascus, and other cities listed in Zechariah 9.
Two themes are the central focus of the last six chapters of this book: The rejection and then the acceptance of, the shepherd of Israel, and the final downfall of the nations and the setting up of the Messiah’s kingdom in the end times. As the prophecy unfolds we need to understand basic principles of prophetic Scripture. The writers often recorded several prophetic truths in the same section. Events may or may not follow chronologically and may contain great leaps in time, sometimes within a single verse. We see this here.
Often when the Lord gave a prophecy of end-time events, He also gave various prophecies that will be fulfilled along the way. As we see those prophecies fulfilled, we are reassured that the promises of the end times will be fulfilled as well. An example is traveling, on a trip from Chicago to Miami you will not see any signs for Miami telling you how far it is. What you do see are signs telling you the distance to Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta. Although you see no signs for Miami, you know that when you reach Nashville you are well on your way.
Although there will be many signs along the way, you probably will not see one for Miami until you get into Florida, just above Ocala. But you will find signs for other cities that you know you must pass on the way to Miami. Signs along the way are reminders that you are progressing toward your ultimate goal, Miami. So it is with prophecy.
Events along the way are revealed in advance and assure us that future promises will also literally come to pass. On the basis of such fulfilled prophecy, we can depend on the fulfillment of that which is promised for the future. The first burden, in Zechariah 9-11, deals with the First Coming of the Messiah. The second burden, in Zechariah 12-14, deals with the Second Coming of the Messiah.
To prepare his readers for the First Coming of the Lord, the writer referred to the exploits of a great king, Alexander the Great. In so doing, he provided the first sign of a road map for the coming of the Messiah. Most commentators interpret this portion of Zechariah as showing the judgment of nations. I believe they are correct, but I also believe that the signs along the way show Alexander the Great, as a giant of an historical figure to point people to the Messiah who is to come.
While it is not as clear as in Daniel 2 and 7. From an historical perspective, we can look back and recognize him to indeed be Alexander the Great. As related in Zechariah 9:8, Alexander passed by Jerusalem without attacking the city. This was history written before it occurred. The biblical details are amazingly accurate.
Alexander’s conquest is a picture of a far greater leader who will come in the end times and conquer this area and the entire world as well. This is confirmed at the conclusion of Zechariah 9:8, where reference is made to the fact that “no oppressor shall pass through them any more.” Since many oppressors did pass through after Alexander, the reference can only be to the coming Messiah, whose presence would assure no further oppressors.
Archaeologists are not sure exactly where Hadrach was located. The Bible says “the land of Hadrach” (Zechariah 9:1), which seems to indicate a much larger area than a city. Judgment also fell on Damascus, an ancient city now located in Syria. From the earliest times Damascus was an enemy of Israel. Today it is the capital of Syria and still among Israel’s most dedicated enemies.
Sidon was a small city, but it was close to Tyre and was often linked with Tyre. The two cities formed the capital of Phoenicia, a country noted for its sailors and fleets in the ancient world. The Phoenicians were great warriors and proved difficult to conquer. When Babylon conquered them after years of struggle, they relocated their city one-half mile out to sea and built what was considered an impregnable fortress around it. The Phoenicians believed that no one would be able to conquer them.
Because of its world trade on the seas the nation was very wealthy.The king of Tyre was evil and according to Ezekiel was possessed by Satan (see Ezekiel 28:1-19). God responded to Tyre’s evil by using the military Alexander to bring down their supposed stronghold. Using slave labor from the areas he had already conquered, he built a causeway out of the rubble over which his army could reach the city, and Tyre was defeated.
God used a human instrument, as He often does to accomplish His will as described in Zechariah 9:4. The passage in Ezekiel goes far beyond the king of Tyre, and presents a picture of Satan himself. If God could cause the impregnable city of Tyre to fall to Alexander, He can do much more through His King-Messiah, who will come at a later time. The Lord is in control, and man can do nothing to change that fact. This is one of the early signposts along the way to the coming of God’s King.
Zechariah 9:5-8 Following the fall of Tyre, which was to the ancient world a seemingly impregnable city, fear came upon the surrounding nations. If Tyre could fall would could possible defend them with their inferior defenses? From Zechariah 9:5 we see that in their mind and hearts these Philistine cities were already defeated, even though the military action had not yet taken place. The Philistines had 5 chief cities but only four are recorded because Gath had become part of Judah by that time. These battles led by Alexander the Great focus on what took place at Gaza.
While the other cities fell, the stronghold of Gaza held out for five months against the armies of Alexander. Zechariah accurately foretold that this once powerful stronghold like, Tyre would be broken down and reduced to nothing and their idolatrous practices would be removed. Blood” and “abominations” refer to practices God had forbidden (Leviticus 17:14; Isaiah 65:4;66:3,17). Those who were spared would turn to the Lord, which is an ongoing theme as we will see in Zechariah 12-14.
In the case of survivors of Gaza they embraces the God of Israel absorbed were assimilated into the Israelites just as the surviving Jebusites were after David conquered Jerusalem. V 8 speaks of a near prophecy and a far fulfillment as well. The near prophecy refers to Alexander who according to Josephus (Flavius Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews (trans. by William Whiston), XI, 8,3-5) relates how Alexander because of a dream given to him by God spared Jerusalem, and honored both the priests and the Lord by offering sacrifices to the God of Israel.
Josephus relates how he Alexander in that dream was told that the God of the people who came to greet him in certain garments was the God who gave him his victories. It is because of his dreams that he treated the Jews with kindness. This incident serves as another one of those signs along the road that leads to end times. Also in Zechariah 9:8 we are told that no longer would oppressors come against Jerusalem.
God had protected His people by His work in Alexander. But Alexander is nothing compared to the greatest protector of God’s people, the Messiah. We live in a day when nation after nation has turned their backs on Israel. Even the US seems to be wavering in her support. This is distressing for those believers who love Jewish people and are concerned for the welfare of the nation of Israel. And although we should be disturbed and moved to pray daily for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), we should never forget that the Lord is watching over Israel today, just as He did in the days of Alexander (Psalm 121:4).
Zechariah 9:9-10 – In the midst of this prophecy regarding Alexander Zechariah speaks of another king who would come approximately 150 years later, the king for Israel. He is the King, prophesied and long awaited, the king God has always had in mind for His people Israel. The call to “rejoice greatly” speaks of Israel’s Messiah who unlike pagan kings who honor themselves this One would come humbly for his people.
In the period of the Judges Israel wanted a king. Although God promised to be their king, they wanted a king like the nations around them. God, in His permissive will, allowed Saul to be king, followed by one of His choosing, David. But under a succession of kings, most of whom were wicked, the nation became divided and was on its way to destruction.
God had something better for Israel. It was His Son, Jesus, of the line of David. He would one day come to His people as their King, to rule and reign forever. This passage corresponds with the prophecy of Zephaniah 3:14-15.
The coming King is described as being “just” which means literally “in-the-right.” His nature and character are a display of what “righteousness” and it will be the way of His rule upon Israel and the world. The Messiah is also described as “having salvation.” To be “endowed with salvation” meaning having the ability to save, one who can bring deliverance.
He is also described as lowly. The Hebrew word could be translated as one who has experienced “humility,” “affliction” or the trial of being “stricken.” Which describes how He was brought low through the affliction He bore on our behalf on the Cross (Isaiah 53:7). He also comes “riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey”. In ancient Israel a donkey was not thought of as a lowly, as we might think today.
It actually was the preferred choice of rulers (Judges 5:10;10:4;12:14,2 Samuel 16:1-2), it was a sign of peace (Genesis 49:11;2 Samuel 19:26;1 Kings 1:33). Horses were symbols of war, especially when linked with chariots (Deuteronomy 17:16;Psalm 33:16-17; Isaiah 33:1). So this speaks of his coming not as a warrior. There also is an allusion to Jacob’s prophetic blessing on the line of Judah in Genesis 49:11, where “the One whose right it is” is described as “binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine.” The One from Judah that Jacob speaks of would come on a donkey.
Both Matthew 21:2-7 and John 12:12-15 refer to these verses in their depiction of Yeshua’s entry into Jerusalem on the Sunday before the events of Passover and Resurrection Sunday. Matthew notes that both the donkey and the colt were brought, while John says specifically that Jesus rode on the “young” animal.
Zechariah 9:10 refers to the Messiah’s second coming because three weapons of war are spoken of as being removed the chariot, the horse and bow where they are spoken of as being removed from Ephraim” and “Jerusalem” which speaks of the Northern tribes “Ephraim” and the southern “Jerusalem” restored and united. The northern and southern kingdoms have been divided since 931 B.C. But the work of God would not stop there; peace will come to the whole world. The Messiah will speak to the nations refers to His rule over all of the nations alluded to in Psalm 72:7ff.
Like His entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday 2000 years ago, Yeshua will come once again as King of kings and Lord of lords in order to rule and reign forever and forever, but He is described in that coming as a warrior on horse in Isaiah and Zech, and many other prophecies.
Zechariah 9:11-15 -The phrase “As for you also” that begins Zechariah 9:11-13 link to Zechariah 9:9-10, everything that will happen in that future day—the arrival of the King and the rule and reign of Messiah as absolute Lord over the whole earth, with His throne in Jerusalem will have be made possible by “the blood of your covenant” . This phrase is mentioned only one other time in the Older Testament (Exodus 24:8), though the idea of a blood sacrifice is seen in Genesis 15:9-11, the covenant with Abraham, and with Moses through the daily offerings in the temple. This is the expression Jesus used at his last Passover with His disciples in Mark 14:24.
This blood that imparts life is rooted in Leviticus 17:11. Because of the substituted life that had been offered on our behalf the Lord fulfill His word in Leviticus 17:11 that He would set the prisoners free from the waterless pit, a reference to cisterns that were used as jails as in the case of Joseph and Jeremiah (Genesis 37:24;Jeremiah 38:6-13). When the Lord comes He will set the captives free. These prisoners who are set free are called prisoners of hope who could now return to “the stronghold” which is Jerusalem.
In Zechariah 9:12 God says He would “restore double” to the former prisoners. Which is a reference to Deuteronomy 21:17 and that as God’s “firstborn” they would receive a double share of the inheritance. God would involve Judah and Ephraim in setting free the captives.
God would use both of them as His “bow,” which means “to fill as an arrow on the string. He will use the restored captives to be His warriors for His Kingdom. Earlier in this chapter we learned that Alexander the Great the Greek conqueror was a picture of a far greater and more permanent conqueror which we saw was Yeshua our Messiah. The battle against the Greeks speaks initially of the Hellenistic kingdom forced on them by Antiochus a type of the Antichrist (Daniel 9:26, Matthew 24:15). The Antichrist will seek to destroy God’s chosen people, just as Antiochus attempted to, but Israel with the coming of the Lord overcome the Antichrist.
The Lord compared Himself to a warrior fight for Israel. He used Judah as His bow and Ephraim as His arrow in the Maccabean revolt of 175–163 b.c., when Antiochus Epiphanes entered the Temple and desecrated it. The Jews were led by Mattathias when he sacrificed a pig on the altar of the Temple. They started a rebellion against Greece because of Antiochus’ actions. God raised up an army to fight against Greece, and they regained their freedom for a brief time.
The victory over Greece points to a day when God will give victory to Israel over all the nations that gather against her forcing her to forsake the God of Israel. This will take place during the era of the Antichrist, who will once again desecrate the Temple. As God enabled Israel to defeat the Greeks, He will also deliver her from a satanically inspired enemy, the Antichrist.
At the end of the Tribulation period, the Lord will defend the Jewish people as He has done so many times before. When the Lord was on the side of Israel, they always won the battle, no matter how great the odds. In Zechariah 9:15 The Lord of hosts shall defend them; and they will conquer like David over Goliath with a sling stone, and they will rejoice and make noise as though they were filled with wine.
So much blood will be spilled that Israel will be like the bowls at the corners of the altar filled with the blood of animals sacrificed there. This expression is related to the priest’s activities, and indicates that this is a holy war (Isaiah 63;Revelation 14:19-20). They present a picture of victory. Just as the Maccabees were victorious against Greece, God will triumph in the end times against the Antichrist and his forces at Armageddon.
Zechariah 9:16-17 – Throughout the Scriptures, Israel’s Messiah is often depicted as the Shepherd-King. We see this applied here as Israel is described “as the flock of his people”. As the Shepherd, He gives His life for His sheep. He feeds them and tenderly watches over them. He is said to “save them in that day.” Israel will be born again as a nation that is holy to the Lord when the Shepherd-King returns to deliver Israel at the end of the Tribulation period.
As King, He will lead them in battle, rule over them, and destroy their enemies. Not only will they be saved and delivered from their enemies, they will be as stones or jewels in a crown. They will be His treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7:6). They will become sparkling jewels in the crown of the Shepherd-King, the Messiah of Israel. Zechariah 9 closes with praise speaking of the goodness of the Lord who will save Israel at the end of the Tribulation.
Israel will realize that He has kept all of His promises to her. King David spoke of this in (Psalm 31:19). When Israel experiences her redemption in the end times, she will finally realize just how good God is. Zechariah also declares that God’s “beauty” will be on them. When Israel is filled with the Spirit of the LORD They will reflect His beauty even as Believers today do when they are fully yielded and filled with God’s Spirit. declared to be great. Psalm 45 is a messianic Psalm, and Psalm 45:2 states of Him, “Thou art fairer than the children of men.” Isaiah recorded it this way: “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off” (Isaiah 33:17).
About His First Coming, the same writer declared, “and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2b). What a change at His Second Coming! To the redeemed of Israel He will no longer be despised and rejected but declared by them to be both good and beautiful. Corn and wine are symbols of the blessings of the Lord. They will be symbols of prosperity in the millennial period and speak of both the physical and spiritual blessings of that day. Praising the Lord for who He is and what He has done will be the attitude of everyone who knows Him.