Bible Commentary

Zechariah 1

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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Verse 1

[1] In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,

In the eighth month — Two months after Haggai began to encourage the Jews to build the temple.

Zechariah — Probably this is that Zechariah whom the Jews slew between the temple and the altar, Matthew 23:35.

Verse 5

[5] Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

Where are they — But where are your disobedient fathers? Were they not consumed with famine and sword, as I threatened them? Do they live - The prophets died as others; they must not live always to warn you.

Verse 6

[6] But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

My words — The dreadful menaces which I spake.

My statutes — The decreed judgments which I resolved to execute on them, which by my prophets I proclaimed.

Take hold — Overtake as a pursuing enemy overtakes, and seizeth on his enemy.

They returned — By this it should seem that Zechariah gave them time to consider what answer to give.

So hath he dealt — It is true, as God said he would do, so he hath done against us.

Verse 8

[8] I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom; and behind him were there red horses, speckled, and white.

A man — Christ Jesus in the shape of a man.

Riding — In a posture of readiness.

A red horse — This colour is a symbol of his coming to avenge himself on his enemies.

The myrtle-trees — He posted himself in a convenient place to observe and be ready, among verdant, fragrant trees, emblems of the saints of God.

In the bottom — This bottom or valley in which the myrtles grew, is an emblem of the church in a low, afflicted state.

Behind him — Christ was, as becomes a captain, at the head, the rest, as his soldiers, are behind attending on him.

Red horses — Horses and horsemen, and those are angels, verse 10. And the colour of these horses is red, probably denoting the bloody condition of states and kingdoms, by wars one against another when God punisheth his church, or when he avengeth himself.

Speckled — Of a mixt colour; perhaps an emblem of affairs, not all dark, nor all light, such as those during the last seventy prophetic weeks.

White — An emblem of the best days of the church.

Verse 9

[9] Then said I, O my lord, what are these? And the angel that talked with me said unto me, I will shew thee what these be.

O my Lord — This was Christ, the Lord of hosts.

What are these — What is the meaning of these appearances.

The angel — Christ, the angel of the covenant.

Verse 10

[10] And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth.

These — Horsemen, are angels, who are ministers of the Divine Providence in the government of the world.

Verse 11

[11] And they answered the angel of the LORD that stood among the myrtle trees, and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.

Is at rest — All men sit still to take their ease. All is peaceable. This was the state of the empire which at that time ruled all.

Verse 12

[12] Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?

Angel of the Lord — The angel, the Lord Christ.

Verse 14

[14] So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.

Cry thou — Now publish what thou hearest, and assure my poor captive church, that God will do good for her.

Verse 15

[15] And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.

A little displeased — With mine own people, that is, in comparison of the anger I bear against the Heathen.

Helped forward — Attempted to destroy whom I would but correct.

Verse 16

[16] Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.

A line — The builder's measuring line shall be stretched out, to mark out the walls, gates, streets, and houses in Jerusalem.

Verse 17

[17] Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

Through prosperity — Through increase of families, they shall send forth colonies, and plant new cities, and thro' increase of wealth, and cattle, be able to build their cities, and stock their colonies.

Verse 18

[18] Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns.

Four horns — Emblems of the enemies of the Jews.

Verse 19

[19] And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.

The horns — Powers, states, and kingdoms, which have from all sides pushed at, broken and tossed my people.

Judah — The two tribes.

Israel — The ten tribes.

Verse 21

[21] Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man did lift up his head: but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it.

He — Christ.

These — He first points to the four horns.

But these — These carpenters are emblems of those instruments God will employ in breaking those destroyers.

Who lift up — Who employed their arms and strength against the kingdom of Judah, to drive them out of God's inheritance.

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