About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

Home Page

This Chapter - Chapter 9

Previous Section - Chapter 8

Next Section - Chapter 10

ch. 9:1-8    ch. 9:9-13   ch. 9:14-17

Judgment On Israel’s Enemies (ch. 9:1 - 8)


The problem with this chapter is that it jumps all over the place in history, or prophetic history.  Within the context of one paragraph, you can see the thoughts jumping around, from past, to present, to near future to end times.  This makes it hard to understand and interpret 


The first 8 verses of this chapter are hard to  understand, with certainty, at least in the light of futuristic prophecy.  Many scholars believe these verses apply to Alexander the Great, but there are many who don’t see it this way.  Alexander was  born in 356 B. C..  In 333 B. C. he defeated the Persians in Greece. This first big victory  came when he was 19 years old.   From Greece he moved eastward until he conquered the whole known world, right over to India.  Tradition has it that when Alexander came to Jerusalem to defeat the city, the high priest quoted from Daniel and showed him how he was prophesied about centuries earlier.  Because of this he did not destroy Jerusalem.  Also, because of what his mother said about him, there was lots of demonic worship associated with him by others.  Many people saw him as a god. Alexander died at the age of 33.


The cities and regions mentioned in these eight verses seem to be in order of Alexander’s conquest until he got to Jerusalem.  He spared Jerusalem because of certain prophetic Biblical passages that were quoted to him, as I’ve said above.


In verse 1 we see the name of a place called Hadach.  This area is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible.  Many people disagree about where this is.  It appears to be a leading city of Syria north of Damascus, which is the capital city of Syria .  These two cities are linked to God’s judgment in this verse.  Many say that after this judgment God’s mercy will rest on this area and be included in the people of God because of what is said in verse 7 and 8. 


Verse 2 mentions Hamath, which is the most northern area of which is known as the promised land, the land promised to Abraham. Also in verse 2 we see Tyre and Sidon. These two cities are farther south, close to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north and west of Jerusalem. 


In verses 1 through  4 we see northern cities that are, or were to be judged. Verses 5 through 8 deals with southern cities. This southern region is filled with Philistines. All these cities and areas have been a constant problem for Israel.


King Nebuchadnezzar  totally wiped out these cities. I see this as God’s fulfilled judgment that is seen here.


In verse 7 we see that these cities, like the northern cities will be included in the people of God.  This may speak of the inclusion of Gentiles into the house of God as seen in the New Testament, or might speak of some future prophetic significance of these places.     


Verse 8 does appear to be futuristic which might well suggest some futuristic aspect to all eight verses.  In verse 8 God says that never again will oppressors overrun His people.   The words “never again” must mean at the end of this age.  Therefore, when Alexander the Great went across the known world back in Old Testament times might well be prophetic of the last day anti-christ who does the same, yet in the final analysis cannot overrun the city of God.  


The Coming Of Zion’s King (ch. 9:9 - 13)


We’ve just seen the entry of Alexander into Jerusalem, or the end time anti-christ, however you view the past verses.   Now in contrast we’ll see the triumphal entry of the Messiah into Jerusalem .  That’s Jesus as seen in the gospel writings.      


In verse 9 we see God telling the Daughter of Zion and the Daughter of Jerusalem, that is, to Israel, that their king is coming with salvation, riding as a gentle man on His donkey.  There’s no debate over what this is speaking about.  In Luke 19:28 and following we see the fulfillment of this prophecy.  The gospel writers quote this verse in Zechariah to note its fulfillment when Jesus rides into Jerusalem that last week of His earthly life.


The Messiah being a king is spoken of by pre-Babylonian exile  prophets, but not so with post-Babylonian prophets, except for here.  Israel had no king at this point. 


Note here that we see the “gentle” king riding a donkey.  Jesus was a gentle man.  The only signs of Jesus being not so gentle was seen with His dealing with the Jewish leadership.  This must be distinguished from Jesus’ second coming to earth, when He will also return as a King, as a general of war, and not a gentle King.  He will return as a King of armies who will defeat all the powers of evil.


Prior to Solomon Jewish kings road on donkeys, but not so after Solomon.  He brought in horses for kings to ride on.


Verse 10 helps us to understand something about prophecy.  Verse 9 is specifically speaking of the time which Jesus entered Jerusalem on His way to the cross. We know this because the New Testament writers say this.  Yet verse 10 jumps into the future.  The contents of verse 10 were not fulfilled at the cross, and have not yet been fulfilled in history.  Therefore, even though verse 10 follows verse 9 it is only related to verse 9 in the sense of who it is talking about, not when it takes place.  Prophecy often jumps around like this which makes it hard for some to understand.


Verse 10 says that there is coming a time, and I say, “coming a time”, because it has not yet come, when God will take away all the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem.  Ephraim was the youngest son of Joseph who was born to his Egyptian wife.  Jacob, Joseph’s father adopted Ephraim along with his brother Manassas. Both men’s families were two of the twelve tribes of Israel.  Ephraim represents the northern tribes of Israel, while Jerusalem represents the southern two tribes.      


He goes on to say that “the battle bow will be broken, He’ll proclaim peace to the nations, His rule will extend from sea to sea, and from the River ( Euphrates ) to the end of the earth”.   Clearly, this has not yet happened.  This speaks of the return of Jesus and His rule during the thousand years after His return.  Jesus returns, and with a simple word from His lips ends the last seven years of strife and struggle on earth.


We need to see Jesus at His return as a mighty warier. He comes as a general of a great nation to fight.


We also see in verse 10 that Jesus the Messiah will bring peace, from sea to sea, and from “the River to the ends of the earth”.  The River refers to the Euphrates River. This clearly speaks of Jesus’ thousand year rule of peace after He defeats the nations of the world. He will conquer all nations and bring all nations into submission to Him.  


In verse 11 God promises to free Israel who are prisoners from the waterless pit that they are in.  He will do this because of the blood of His covenant as stated here in verse 11.  The “blood of His covenant” is a specific reference to the Old Testament blood covenant that began with Abraham and ends at the cross of Christ.  It is because of the cross that Israel will eventually find their salvation.  It will not be through obedience to the Law of Moses.  Israel will find salvation in the same way as everyone else. 


The term “waterless pit” refers to wells which had no water.  These were often used as a place to keep prisoners.  Israel is being spoken of here as prisoners in one of thee waterless pits. 


In verse 12 God tells Israel to return to their fortresses, “you prisoners of hope.”  Until that day comes, when there will be no warfare, Israel will be prisoners, but prisoners with a hope, a hope of the future.  It’s clear that Israel will no longer be prisoners of hope when Jesus returns to them and they repent of their sins.  They will experience success as they had in the past, but even more success than that.  


Many commentators suggest that verse 13 is speaking of the time of the Maccabeus, when Israel revolted against Greece and had a certain measure of victory until they were subdued by Rome.  But still, many people see this as yet another illusion to the time of the end. 


The point to be made is that the northern and the southern tribes would come together as one and defeat their enemies.  And of course, that’s the only way an enemy can be defeated.  This is something for the modern day church to think about and learn from.  


The Lord Will Appear (ch. 9:14 - 17)


The closing few verses of chapter 9 speak clearly of  the return of Jesus, the Jew’s Messiah to earth. 


Verse 14 says, “then the Lord will appear over them.”  The word “them” refers to the Jews.   “His arrow will flash like lightening” is the next phrase.  One can’t help think of the New Testament passages that speaks of the return of Jesus as lightening flashing across the sky.


The next phrase says, “the Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet.”  This too is a well known phrase in the New Testament, especially so in the book of Revelation.  We know at the sound of a trumpet, Jesus will return to this earth as lightening flashing across the sky.


The last phrase of verse 14 and the first phrase of verse 15 tells us that our Lord will march in the storms of the south, and the Lord will protect them.  Once again, the word “them” refers to Israel.  They will find protection from their enemies in the last days of the Great Tribulation.


Verse 15 speaks of the fate of Israel’s enemies in the last day.  They will be shot down as with a slingshot.  A slingshot is not a very powerful weapon, but that’s how it will be in the end.  Jesus will return.  He will win the battle, but not with carnal and earthly weapons of warfare.  He will merely say the word of victory with His lips and the battle will be won by Him.  And as this verse says, the enemies of Israel will wander around as if they were drunk.


In verse 16 we see that God will “save them”, that is, “save Israel.”  He will save them on “that day.”   That day refers to the end of this age when Jesus returns to save Israel.


The last half of verse 16 and verse 17 repeats what we have learned in chapter 8.  After Jesus’ return, Israel will sparkle as Jewels.  They will sparkle and shine as no other nation on earth.  They will be an “attractive” nation, and that’s one reason why other nations of the world will come to them as we saw in chapter 8.  Their economy will flourish.  Verse 17 states how well established their grain and wine crops will be.  That’s symbolic of the agricultural and economic  output of Israel.


It is clear from Zechariah’s writings that the thousand years of Jesus’ rule on earth will be mostly about Israel and it’s domination over the rest of the world.  This will finally be their time to shine as they were meant to shine.

Next Section - Chapter 10

Previous Section - Chapter 8

Home Page