« EdellinenJatka »
We have read the character of the Roman Nineveh ; we must now attend to the prophetic account of her joint destruction with her Antichristian colleague, a destruction which Zephaniah represents as being contemporary with the restoration of the Jews, a destruction therefore which plainly shews that we are not here to understand the literal Nineveh. The saints may well be supposed to be weary at beholding the lengthened tyranny of the harlot church, and to be struck with horror at viewing the dreadful impieties and extensive ravages of Antichrist. God therefore calls upon them to wait patiently for him, until the day that he rises up to the prey. Sooner or later that awful day will surely come. Then will the Lord gather together the nations, and assemble the kingdoms: then will he collect, to the tremendous vintage of his wrath, the Roman beast under his last head, his tool the false prophet, and the vassal kings that constitute the federal members of his empire. He will bring them together into the land of Palestine, to the valley of Megiddo: and there will he pour upon them the fierceness of his indignation, and devour them with the fire of his jealousy.
Yet this period of unexampled trouble shall at length introduce the happiness of the Millennium. After the destruction of his enemies God will turn unto the nations a pure religious confession, and cause them all to serve him with one consent.
Meanwhile, obedient to the divine command, some powerful maritime nation of faithful worshippers will go forth as swift messengers to the scattered of Judah. Unconquered by Antichrist because servants of the living
Babylon, and not Ferusalem. It may further be remarked, that the nations, mentioned plurally in the 6th verse, can scarcely mean the single nation of the Fews : on the contrary, they seem evidently to be the same as the nations that are to be gathered together in the 8th verse. After having been cut off and made desolate by the merciless tyranny of Antichrist, they will at length be gathered together by his agency and compelled to embark in his final mad crusade. Mr. Lowth thinks that Jerusalem is spoken of in the beginning of the third chapter, yet he supposes that the nations, mentioned in ver. 6. mean Nineveh and her allies. Such being the case, the context seems to me plainly to require that by the city we should understand Nineveh, not Jerusalem. Though, like myself, hé refers the prophecy primarily to the literal Nineveh, yet he thinks very justly that the assembling of the nations, mentioned in the 8th verse, is the same as the gathering together of the nations to the oalley of Jehoshaphat, predicted in Joel iii. 2, 12.
God, they will suddenly launch their feets, and will bring an offering unto the holy mountain, even the long-afflicted daughter of the dispersion. From beyond the Cushan streams of the Nile, from the western isles of the Gentiles, will their navy rapidly come upon the wings of the wind. Then shall the daughter of Judah be no more ashamed: for, although the Lord will restore her during a period of great tribulation, and will punish such of her children as rejoice in their pride and have stayed themselves upon the arm of Antichrist rather than upon the arm of God; yet will he leave in the midst of her a humble and contrite people who shall trust in his holy name. Then will he' be her king, so that she shall behold evil no more. Then will he undo all that afflict her, and give her praise and renown in every land where she hath been put to shame. Then will he bring her back from all the ends of the earth, and restore her captivity, before her eyes.
The various dispersions of Israel by four kingdoms of the Gen
tiles—The final restoration and prosperity of the Jews--The miraculous overthrow of Antichrist.
Zechariah i. 12. 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 ? 13. And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words—16. 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
18. Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold, four horns. 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. 20. And the Lord shewed me four artificers.
21. Then said I, What come these to do? And he spake, saying, Those were the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man did lift
his head : but these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles which lifted
the horn over the land of Judah to scatter it. ii. 1. I lifted up mine eyes again, and looked, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2. Then said I, Whither goest thou ? And he said unto me, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof, and what is the length thereof. 3. And behold, the angel that talked with me went forth, and another angel went out to meet him, 4. And said unto him, Run, speak to this young man, saying, Jerusalem shall inhabit towns without walls for the multitude of men and cattle within her *. 5. For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about her, and will be for glory in the midst of her. 6. Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the Lord : for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of heaven t, saith the Lord. 7. Ho Zion, be thou delivered, thou that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. 8. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you : for he, that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye. 9. For behold, I will shake my hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants : and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me. 10. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. 11. And many nations shall be joined unto the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee. 12. And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land* and shall choose Jerusalem again. 13. Be silent, О all flesh, before the Lord : for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.
Jerusalem shall inhabit.] Jerusalem is here personified under the symbol of a woman, by which cities and countries are often figuratively repre. sented-Under this character, Jerusalem may be understood to occupy of inhabit, not only the houses within ber walls, but the open villages round about, on account of her enlarged population.” Dr. Blayney's Trans. of Zechar. in loc.
f I have spread yaz abroad as the four winds of heaven.] " As I have scat. tered you and your brethren of the ten tribes all the world over, so in due time I will gather you from your several dispersions, of which your present restoration from Babylon shall be an earnest.” Mr. Lowth in loc.
The beginning of this two-fold prophecy relates entirely to the 70 years captivity of Judah. The people had now returned from Babylon: and Zechariah encourages them in the erection of the second temple, by declaring that it should be built in Jerusalem. But from this particular captivity he immediately passes to a general view of all the captivities and persecutions both of Israel and Judah. He beholds four horns, which the interpreting angel informs him denote four kingdoms of the Gentiles, that have scattered and afflicted sudah, Israel, and Jerusalem. To know what four kingdoms are here intended, we must consult history. Now the Assyrians led away captive the ten tribes." The Babylonians afterwards carried away the trvo remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Syro-Macedonians most cruelly persecuted them, and Antiochus Epiphanes in particular wreaked his vengeance on Jerusalem; insomuch that, in the reigns of the two first Ptolemies, many of the Jews, as we learn from Josephus t, were slaves in Egypt. Lastly, the Romans utterly dissolved the Jewish polity, and scattered them over the face of the whole earth. These then seem to be the four kingdoms, which scatter Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem: for so the prophet, with reference to their several afflictions, most accurately distinguishes into three divisions the sons of Jacobf. As for the four artificers,
* The Lord shall inherit Fudah his portion in the holy land.] “ God shall give visible tokens, that the land of Fudea and its inhabitants are his peculiar people---This may perhaps be more fully verified at the general restoration of that nation." Mr. Lowth in loc.
† Ant. Jud. Lib. xii. C. 1, 2.
# The four great empires, as they are usually called, cannot, as it appears to me, be intended by the four horns ; because Israel was led into captivity previous to the rise of the Babylonian empire properly so called, and because the Persians were protectors, not persecutors, of Judah. Yet it is proper to observe that the Fews themselves have generally been of opinion, that these four horns symbolize the four great empires described in the seventh chapter of Daniel. See Dr. Blayney in loc. Mr. Lowth thinks the expression four
they are plainly allegorical characters : and this part of the prophecy merely denotes, that the four persecuting horns should be successively broken *.
Having thus sufficiently taught us, that we are to understand the rest of his prediction as referring to the restoration, not merely of the Jews from the 70 years captivity, but of both Israel and Judah from the scattering both of the Assyrian horn and the Roman horn, Zechariah next introduces the imagery, so common among the prophets, of measuring Jerusalem. An angel is then charged to tell him, that Jerusalem shall hereafter overflow with men and with cattle ; and that the Lord will be a wall of fire around her, and for glory in the midst of her. By this glory I think we can only understand the divine Shechinah; which will be the glory of the Millennian church, as it heretofore was of the Levitical church f. At least the subsequent context seems almost to compel us to adopt such an opinion.
Here the Lord raises his voice aloud, and calls to the dispersed of Israel to gather themselves together from the north, and from the four winds of heaven: from Assyria, the dominions of the literal Babylon, through which the ten tribes were scattered ; and from the West, the dominions of the mystical Babylon, through which in a peculiar manner the two tribes are dispersed. The
may perhaps be indefinite, signifying their enemies in general among whom they were dispersed to the four winds of heaven. * Dr. Blayney translates the passage in the following manner.
" And Jehovah shewed me four plowmen. And I said, What come these to do? And he replied, saying, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, so that no man lifted up his head. And these are come, sharpening their coulter, for to use upon the horns of the nations, which lifted up a horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.” The idea however, so far as the general import of the prophecy is concerned, will be the same ; for he supposes the allusion to be to plowmen striking the horns of mischievous oxen with the coulters of their ploughs.
f I cannot but think that Dr. Blayney lowers the sense of this passage in a very unnatural manner, by paraphrasing it to mean nothing more than “I will reside in the midst of her for the purpose of promoting her glory and prosperity.” The glory of the Lord, or the Lord the glory, is frequently used to denote, what I believe it to denote here, the glorious manifestation of the second person of the Trinity See Psalm xxiv. 7. Isaiah xl. 5. 1x. 1, 2. Malachi iv. 2. Ezek. ii. 12. Heb. i. 3. John i. 14. Rom. ix. 4. See Jamieson's Vindi. cation of the doctrine of Scripture. Vol. i. p. 95. Philo Judèus styles the divine Logos the light of the world and the intellectual sun. See Bryant on the sentiments of Philo Jadèus, p. 113, 203. See also Mr. Lowth on Zechar, xiv. 4.