The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Zechariah 10

Zec 10:1

Zec 10: The restoration of the true people: The first part of this oracle focused particularly on the true King who would come and exercise sovereignty over the nations (Zec 9). Now the emphasis changes to the people of the King, the Israelites, who will return to the Promised Land and rule with the King (Zec 10). Like the revelation in Zec 9, this chapter also has a near and a far fulfillment, the near being the revival of Israel's power under Judas Maccabeus in the second century BC and the far being the return and reign of Messiah.

"Zec 9 presents the victory of God's people from the positive side for the most part, showing how the true Israel shall be made strong by the LORD and shall prevail. Without abandoning this point of view, Zec 10 brings greater emphasis to bear upon the negative side of the victory, namely, how the enemies shall be brought low. Yet particular stress is at the same time laid upon the gathering of the scattered Israelites" (Leupold).

ASK THE LORD FOR RAIN IN THE SPRINGTIME; IT IS THE LORD WHO MAKES THE STORM CLOUDS, HE GIVES SHOWERS OF RAIN TO MEN, AND PLANTS OF THE FIELD TO EVERYONE: Cp Zec 9:11; Deu 11:13,14; 32:1,2. Asking Him is only reasonable since He is the One who creates storm clouds. The Canaanites gave credit to Baal for sending rain and producing fertility, but Yahweh was the true rain-maker (cp Jer 14:22; Amos 5:8). Since rain is often a symbol of many types of blessing in the OT, spiritual as well as physical blessing is probably in view here (cp Isa 55:10-12; Hos 6:1-3; Joel 2:21-32).

RAIN IN THE SPRINGTIME: More lit, "the latter rain" (as AV).

STORM CLOUDS: "Bright clouds" (AV). That is, clouds with lightning (AV mg) -- signaling rain (Jer 10:13; Psa 135:7; Eze 11:19).

Zec 10:2

THE IDOLS SPEAK DECEIT, DIVINERS SEE VISIONS THAT LIE; THEY TELL DREAMS THAT ARE FALSE, THEY GIVE COMFORT IN VAIN: These were household idols (cp Gen 31:19,34; Jdg 17:5; 18:5; 1Sa 15:23; Eze 21:21; Hos 3:4), which only led people into iniquity, and diviners or fortune-tellers who saw misleading visions and dreams (cp Deu 18:9-14; Jer 23:30-32; 27:9,10). Their comfort was worthless.

A modern parallel is the renewed interest in magic, good-luck charms, spiritism, horoscopes, and other survivals of primitive times. The even more widespread modern equivalent is to ignore God altogether and blithely assume that no problem is beyond man's unaided power to solve.

THEREFORE THE PEOPLE WANDER LIKE SHEEP OPPRESSED FOR LACK OF A SHEPHERD: Consequently the people who rely on these false indicators of God's will wander like shepherdless sheep and experience much needless trouble (cp Eze 34:5; ct Eze 34:23; cp also John 10:1,8; Mark 6:34).

"In Zechariah's days the leaders of the people led them in any direction they could, as long as they did not lead them in the direction of God... It is exactly the same for the people of our day. Governments allow us free speech to speak out for any cause we like -- we can take up the cause for witchcraft, homosexuality, abortion or any other topic we fancy -- unless it happens to be Christianity. If we speak about Christ or try to turn people back to God we are labelled as brainwashing and trying to influence people against their will. No longer is the Bible read at school or prayers offered as governments prepare to discuss legislation. God has been kicked out of the lives of the people. So it is up to us, who still know God, to be leaders -- even against the opposition -- to lead people to God. In doing so we will save ourselves and, with God's blessing, those who follow us" (RP).

Zec 10:3

MY ANGER BURNS AGAINST THE SHEPHERDS, AND I WILL PUNISH THE LEADERS: The LORD was angry with these false shepherds (rulers, ie, kings, princes, nobles, prophets, and priests) and the other leaders who led His sheep astray like rams (cp 1Sa 28:3-7; 1Ki 16:31; 22:6-12; 2Ki 1:2; 16:15; 21:6; Jer 50:8; Eze 34:2,17). (More broadly, the foreign rulers under whom Israel was forced to live might also be included here.)

THE LORD ALMIGHTY WILL CARE FOR HIS FLOCK, THE HOUSE OF JUDAH, AND MAKE THEM LIKE A PROUD HORSE IN BATTLE: In other words, He would empower the Israelites -- this would involve disciplining and humbling, as well as cleansing (cp Zec 12:10; 13:1,9). The weak sheep would become as strong as horses. The battle of Armageddon is probably in view (cp Zec 12:1-9; 14:1-8; cp Rev 19:11-14; Zec 1:8; 6:2-8).

Zec 10:4

FROM JUDAH WILL COME THE CORNERSTONE: That is, the cornerstone of the building (kingdom) that God would build, namely Messiah (cp Zec 3:9; Gen 49:10; Psa 118:22; Isa 28:16; Jer 30:21; Acts 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1Pe 2:1-8). The cornerstone (Heb "pinnah") was a figure of a leader who would stabilize a nation and keep it from sliding down a slippery slope (cp Jdg 20:2; 1Sa 14:38; Isa 19:13).

FROM HIM THE TENT PEG: Messiah would also be like a tent peg (Heb "yathed") in that he would hold the tent (kingdom) firmly in place (cp Jdg 4:21-22; Isa 22:23,24; Acts 15:16). The Heb word also describes a peg INSIDE a tent on which people hung beautiful things that glorified their homes (cp Ezra 9:8; Zec 6:13; Isa 22:22-25; Eze 15:3).

FROM HIM THE BATTLE BOW: Messiah would also be Yahweh's bow by which He would destroy His enemies (cp Zec 9:13; Psa 45:5; 64:7; Rev 19:11-16).

FROM HIM EVERY RULER: If understood negatively, this would mean that from the house of Judah would DEPART every oppressing ruler (Heb "noges": cp Zec 9:8; Exo 3:7; Isa 3:12; 14:2; 60:17; Dan 11:20). If understood positively, this would refer to the glorified saints, the King-rulers with Christ in the Age to come: Rev 5:9,10.

Zec 10:5

TOGETHER THEY WILL BE LIKE MIGHTY MEN TRAMPLING THE MUDDLE STREETS IN BATTLE. BECAUSE THE LORD IS WITH THEM, THEY WILL FIGHT AND OVERTHROW THE HORSEMEN: They will be like David's mighty men. They will subdue the LORD's enemies in battle successfully because Yahweh will be with them. The opposing adversaries would be defeated and shamed even though they fought from positions of strength. The LORD's infantry would defeat the world's apparently superior cavalry.

MIGHTY MEN: Heb "gibborim": sw Isa 9:6.

Zec 10:6


I WILL RESTORE THEM BECAUSE I HAVE COMPASSION ON THEM: He would do this simply because He had compassion on them, not because they deserved His blessing.

THEY WILL BE AS THOUGH I HAD NOT REJECTED THEM, FOR I AM THE LORD THEIR GOD: He would restore the Israelites to a condition similar to the one they enjoyed before He sent them into captivity -- this restoration will include sovereignty within their own homeland. He would do this because He is Yahweh, their God, who has made covenant promises to their forefathers.

AND I WILL ANSWER THEM: He would answer their prayers for His help. This implies their conversion, not just nationally but individually (see Zec 13:1-4; Rom 11:23; Mic 7:18-20).

Zec 10:7

THEIR HEARTS WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD: Again, this implies conversion (cp Eze 20:37,38; 37:26; Psa 32:11; Phi 4:4).

Zec 10:8

I WILL SIGNAL FOR THEM AND GATHER THEM IN. SURELY I WILL REDEEM THEM: The LORD, the true shepherd of His flock, would simply call for them and His people would follow Him because He had redeemed them (Exo 12; Isa 35:10; Mic 6:4; John 10:11-16; 1Pe 1:18,19.

"Just as redemption... preceded the actual exodus escape from Egypt (Exo 2:24; 3:7,8; 4:22-23; 6:2-8), so it is on the basis of an already effected redemption that YHWH's people will enter into the eschatological land of promise" (Merrill). This may imply that some at least of the Jews in Israel today will be taken out of their land and carried away in another captivity, which will culminate in their conversion and return (again) to the Land (cp Isa 11:11-16; 19:18-25; 27:12,13; etc).

SIGNAL: The KJV has "hiss"; the word may imply to blow a small pipe, or horn, or whistle -- some suggest a rough bamboo reed was used by shepherds for this purpose.

Zec 10:9

THOUGH I SCATTER THEM AMONG THE PEOPLES, YET IN DISTANT LANDS THEY WILL REMEMBER ME. THEY AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL SURVIVE, AND THEY WILL RETURN: When the LORD scattered -- or "sowed" -- His people like seed among the other peoples of the world, they would remember Him even though they lived far from the Promised Land (cp John 12:24; 1Co 15:36). Not only would the LORD remember them (the meaning of Zechariah's name), but they would remember Him. Through the work of "Elijah" (Mal 4), they and their children would enter into new life and return to the land. ("Sowing" implies reaping a harvest and so conveys hope: cp Psa 126:5,6.)

Zec 10:10

I WILL BRING THEM BACK FROM EGYPT AND GATHER THEM FROM ASSYRIA: Yahweh would bring the Israelites back from the land of Egypt to Israel's south, where they had been slaves, and from the land of Assyria (or Babylon: see Lesson, Babylon = Assyria) to its north, where they had been exiles (cp Isa 11:11-16; 19:23; 27:12,13; Hos 11:10).

I WILL BRING THEM TO GILEAD AND LEBANON: He would bring them back into the fruitful Promised Land, into Gilead with its rich pastures east of the Jordan River and Lebanon with its mighty forests west of the Jordan. Again, the whole land is in view. Lebanon is referred to in the OT as a symbol of strength, dignity and splendor (eg, 2Ki 19:23; Isa 35:2), as are the mountains of Gilead. Hence the two are sometimes also mentioned together to denote power and pride (Jer 22:6). Here their combination may be intended to demonstrate the future power and glory of the Messianic kingdom of Israel.

AND THERE WILL NOT BE ROOM FOR THEM: Hyperbole: cp Mic 4:8; Isa 49:19-21; 54:2-3.

Zec 10:11

THEY WILL PASS THROUGH THE SEA OF TROUBLE; THE SURGING SEA WILL BE SUBDUED AND ALL THE DEPTHS OF THE NILE WILL DRY UP. ASSYRIA'S PRIDE WILL BE BROUGHT DOWN AND EGYPT'S SCEPTER WILL PASS AWAY: "They" is translated "he" in the KJV: if "they" is correct, this would be the nation in exile; if "he" is correct, it could refer to Christ or to "Elijah", or to the "Angel of Yahweh's presence" -- who, like the pillar of fire and cloud -- led Israel out of Egypt.

As they had done to the Red Sea when the Israelites left Egypt in the Exodus (and as Jesus did when He calmed the Sea of Galilee). (This may suggest a "baptism" in the Red Sea or the Euphrates -- either nationally or individually -- as in 1Co 10:2).

In addition, God would humble ALL Israel's enemies, of which Egypt and Assyria were only representatives. The Gentile leaders of the world, symbolized by Egypt's scepter, would no longer hold sway over Israel in the world.

Zec 10:12

I WILL STRENGTHEN THEM IN THE LORD: Implying the complete conversion of Israel after the flesh: Eze 36:26,27; Zec 13:9; Hos 2:23; 3:5; Rom 11:26.

AND IN HIS NAME THEY WILL WALK: The complete conversion of Israel will be recognized throughout the world -- becoming a powerful testimony to all nations, and encouraging them to do the same (cp Zec 8:23; Jer 33:9).

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