The man among the myrtles: Comforting explanation by the angel, an
encouragement to the Jews to build the city and temple: The four horns
and four artificers.
2. God fulfilled His threats against your fathers; beware, then, lest
by disregarding His voice by me, as they did in the case of former
prophets, ye suffer like them. The special object Zechariah aims at
is that they should awake from their selfish negligence to obey God's
command to rebuild His temple
sore displeased--Hebrew, "displeased with a displeasure," that is,
vehemently, with no common displeasure, exhibited in the destruction of
the Jews' city and in their captivity.
3. saith the Lord of hosts--a phrase frequent in Haggai and Zechariah,
implying God's boundless resources and universal power, so as to inspire
the Jews with confidence to work.
Turn ye unto me . . . and I will turn--that is, and then, as the
sure consequence, "I will turn unto you"
Though God hath brought you back from captivity, yet this state will
not last long unless ye are really converted. God has heavier scourges
ready, and has begun to give symptoms of displeasure [CALVIN].
4. Be ye not as your fathers--The Jews boasted of their fathers; but he shows that their fathers were refractory, and that ancient
example and long usage will not justify disobedience
(2Ch 36:15, 16).
the former prophets--those who lived before the captivity. It
aggravated their guilt that, not only had they the law, but they had
been often called to repent by God's prophets.
5. Your fathers . . . and the prophets, do they live for
ever?--In contrast to "My words"
which "endure for ever"
"Your fathers have perished, as was foretold; and their fate ought to
warn you. But you may say, The prophets too are dead. I grant it, but
still My words do not die: though dead, their prophetical words from
Me, fulfilled against your fathers, are not dead with them.
Beware, then, lest ye share their fate."
6. statutes--My determined purposes to punish for sin.
which I commanded my servants--namely, to announce to your fathers.
did they not take hold--that is, overtake, as a foe overtakes one
they returned--Turning from their former self-satisfaction, they
recognized their punishment as that which God's prophets had foretold.
thought to do--that is, decreed to do. Compare with this verse
our ways--evil ways
(Jer 4:18; 17:10; 23:2).
7. The general plan of the nine following visions
is first to present the symbol; then, on a question being put, to
subjoin the interpretation. Though the visions are distinct, they form
one grand whole, presented in one night to the prophet's mind, two or
three months after the prophet's first commission
Sebat--the eleventh month of the Jewish year, from the new moon in
February to the new moon in March. The term is Chaldee, meaning a
"shoot," namely, the month when trees begin to shoot or bud.
8. by night--The Jews begin their day with sunset; therefore the night
which preceded the twenty-fourth day of the month is meant
a man--Jehovah, the second person of the Trinity, manifested in
man's form, an earnest of the incarnation; called the "angel of
(Zec 1:11, 12),
"Jehovah the angel of the covenant"
with Zec 1:13;
with Zec 1:12;
with Zec 1:4).
Being at once divine and human, He must be God and man in one person.
riding--implying swiftness in executing God's will in His providence;
hastening to help His people.
red horse--the color that represents bloodshed: implying vengeance
to be inflicted on the foes of Israel (compare
Isa 63:1, 2;
also fiery zeal.
among the myrtle trees--symbol of the Jewish Church: not a
stately cedar, but a lowly, though fragrant, myrtle. It was its
depressed state that caused the Jews to despond; this vision is
designed to cheer them with better hopes. The uncreated angel of
Jehovah's presence standing (as His abiding place,
among them, is a guarantee for her safety, lowly though she now
in the bottom--in a low place or bottom of a river; alluding to Babylon
near the rivers Euphrates and Tigris, the scene of Judah's captivity.
The myrtle delights in low places and the banks of waters
MAURER translates, from a different root, "in a shady place."
red horses--that is, horsemen mounted on red horses;
Zec 1:10, 11,
confirm this view.
speckled . . . white--The "white" implies triumph and victory for
Judah; "speckled" (from a root "to intertwine"), a combination of the
two colors white and red (bay
[MOORE]), implies a state of
things mixed, partly prosperous, partly otherwise
[HENDERSON]; or, the
connection of the wrath (answering to the "red") about to fall on the
Jews' foes, and triumph (answering to the "white") to the Jews
themselves in God's arrangements for His people
[MOORE]. Some angels
("the red horses") exercised offices of vengeance; others ("the white"),
those of joy; others ("the speckled"), those of a mixed character
Zec 6:2, 3).
God has ministers of every kind for promoting the interests of His
9. the angel that talked with me--not the "man upon the red horse,"
as is evident from
where he (the Divine Angel) is distinguished from the "angel that
talked with me" (the phrase used of him,
Zec 1:13, 14;
Zec 2:3; 4:1, 4, 5; 5:5, 10; 6:4),
that is, the interpreting angel. The Hebrew for "with
me," or, "in me"
implies internal, intimate communication
show thee--reveal to thy mental vision.
10. answered--The "angel of the covenant" here gives the reply instead
of the interpreting angel, to imply that all communications through the
interpreting angel come from Him as their source.
Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth--If "Satan walks
to and fro in the earth" (implying restless activity) on errands of
mischief to God's people
the Lord sends other angels to "walk to and fro" with unceasing
activity everywhere to counterwork Satan's designs, and to defend His
(Ps 34:7; 91:11; 103:20, 21;
11. The attendant angels report to the Lord of angels, "the
earth . . . is at rest." The flourishing state of the heathen
"earth," while Judah was desolate and its temple not yet restored, is
the powerful plea in the Divine Angel's intercession with God the
When Judah was depressed to the lowest point, and the heathen elated to
the highest, it was time for Jehovah to work for His people.
sitteth still--dwells surely.
12. Not only does Messiah stand among His people (the
but intercedes for them with the Father ("Lord," or "Jehovah of hosts")
Isa 62:6, 7,
as to Judah's restoration in answer to prayer.
answered and said--said in continuation of the discourse:
proceeded to say.
how long--Messiah's people pray similarly to their Head.
"How long," &c. Heretofore it was vain to pray, but now that the
divinely appointed "threescore and ten years"
(Jer 25:11; 29:10)
are elapsed, it is time to pray to Thee for the fulfilment of Thy
promise, seeing that Thy grace is not yet fully manifested, nor Thy
promise fulfilled. God's promises are not to make us slothful, but to
quicken our prayers.
dating the seventy years from the destruction of Jerusalem
supposes two years of the seventy had yet to run
13. the Lord--JEHOVAH, called "the angel of the Lord (Jehovah)"
good words and comfortable words--literally, "words, consolations."
The subject of these consolatory words is stated in
&c.; the promise of full re-establishment,
Jer 29:10, 11
14. Cry--Proclaim so as to be heard clearly by all
(Isa 40:6; 58:1).
I am jealous for Jerusalem--As a husband jealous for his wife, wronged
by others, so Jehovah is for Judah, who has been injured wantonly by the
Nu 25:11, 13;
15. very sore displeased with the heathen--in contrast with "I was
but a little displeased" with My people. God's displeasure with His
people is temporary and for their chastening; with the heathen
oppressors, it is final and fatal
God's instruments for chastising His people, when He has done with
them, He casts into the fire.
are at ease--carnally secure. A stronger phrase than "is at rest"
They are "at ease," but as I am "sore displeased" with them, their ease
is accursed. Judah is in "affliction," but as I love her and am jealous
for her, she has every reason to be encouraged in prosecuting the
helped forward the affliction--afflicted My people more than I desired.
The heathen sought the utter extinction of Judah to gratify their own
ambition and revenge
Eze 25:3, 6;
16. I am returned--whereas in anger I had before withdrawn from her
with mercies--not merely of one kind, nor once only, but repeated
my house shall be built--which at this time
(the second year of Darius,
had only its foundations laid
It was not completed till the sixth year of Darius
The measuring-line for building, not hastily, but with measured
regularity. Not only the temple, but Jerusalem also was to be
Zec 2:1, 2).
Also, as to the future temple and city,
Eze 41:3; 42:1-44:31; 45:6.
17. yet--though heretofore lying in abject prostration.
My cities--not only Jerusalem, but the subordinate cities of Judah.
God claims them all as peculiarly His, and therefore will restore them.
through prosperity . . . spread abroad--or overflow; metaphor from
an overflowing vessel or fountain (compare
Abundance of fruits of the earth, corn and wine, and a large increase
of citizens, are meant; also spiritual prosperity.
(Isa 40:1, 2; 51:3).
(Zec 2:12; 3:2;
Here meaning, "show by acts of loving-kindness that He has
chosen." His immutable choice from everlasting is the fountain
whence flow all such particular acts of love.
The power of the Jews foes shall be dissipated.
18. four horns--To a pastoral people like the Jews the
horns of the strongest in the herd naturally suggested a symbol