Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Zechariah-Chapter 1

This prophecy concerns the rebuilding of the Temple and will be heavy in Temple imagery. It is a relatively short book but it is loaded with information.  Zechariah means “Yehovah remembers” and these prophecies are dated between 520 and 518 B.C. The visions of Zechariah are meant to encourage the people, especially Joshua the high priest, whose name is Yeshua in Hebrew, an important thing to remember, see Ezra 3.2, and Zerubbabel in their work. The “mountain” of opposition will be removed and their work will be completed. The crowning of Joshua in Chapter 6 is a type of the Messiah. Zechariah is introduced in the line of true prophets and is given eight visions concerning repentance, the building of the Temple and encouragement. He is a contemporary of Ezra, Nehemiah and Haggai.

v 1… In the eighth month (Chesvan, or Bul-1 Kings 6.38. Eight is the number of “new beginnings” and this is two months from the first prophecy of Haggai in Hag 1.1 and a few days after his second-Hag 2.1) of the second year of Darius (Darius II of Persia), the word (of prophecy) of the Lord came to Zechariah (“Yehovah remembers”) the prophet, the son of Berachiah (“Yehovah blesses”), the son of Iddo (“his witness”) saying,

v 2… “The Lord was very angry with your fathers (during the destruction of Judah, the Temple and Jerusalem).

v 3…Therefore say to them (the remnant), ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts (Hebrew “Yehovah Tzava’ot” or “Lord of the armies”-when this is used Yehovah is coming from a military position of power), “Return to me (in repentance from your former sins),” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you (to dwell with them),” says the Lord of hosts (the third time this is used in this verse and this may allude to the three persons of the Godhead).

v 4… Do not be like your fathers (who lived before the destruction and didn’t listen to the prophets), to whom the former prophets (Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others) proclaimed, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return now from your evil ways and from your evil deeds.’ But they did not listen or give heed to me,” declares the Lord.

v 5…Your fathers, where are they (they died by Babylon or in captivity)? And the prophets, do they live forever (they were long since dead)?

v 6… But did not my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your fathers (even though the fathers and the prophets have died, nothing has failed in God’s word as to what would happen)? Then they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so he has dealt with us (Yehovah fulfilled his threats and proof can be found in Psa 126 and 137 and Daniel’s prayers in Dan 9.4 and Ezra in Ezra 9.6).'”

v 7…On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shevat (meaning “scepter, three months after his call and five months after Hag 1.1-15 and the rebuilding of the Temple), in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet, the son of Iddo, as follows:

v 8… I saw at night (this is the first vision-v 8-17 and these visions are meant to encourage the people), and behold a man (had a human form) was riding (swift to the Lord’s will) on a red horse (there will be two red horses), and he was standing among the myrtle trees (Israel) which were in the ravine (in a low place back in the land), with red, sorrel and white horses behind him (the horses may be a certain class of angels giving a report; the colors are different because it may be alluding to the different power and authority each have. These are not to be compared to the horses in Revelation 6 because here they are patrolling the earth and in Revelation they are messengers of judgment, and notice again there are two red horses).

v 9…Then I said, “My Lord, what are these?” And the angel who was speaking with me said to me (his job was to interpret the vision to Zechariah), ” I will show you what these are (explain the vision).”

v 10…And the man (angel of the Lord) who was standing among the myrtle trees (guarding Israel)) answered and said (preempted the angel because he was more qualified to give the answer), “These are those whom the Lord (the Father) has sent to patrol the earth (to counter ha Satan-Job 1.7; 2.1-2).”

v 11… so they (the angels) answered the angel of the Lord (who was close to them and farther off) who was standing among the myrtle trees (Israel)), and said, “We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth is peaceful and quiet (as it was during the reign of Darius. However, Israel still had enemies who hindered the rebuilding of the Temple).”

v 12…Then the angel of the Lord answered (intercedes) and said, “O Lord of hosts (Yehovah Tzavaot), how long will you have no compassion for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with which you have been indignant these seventy years (the time of the Babylonian captivity-Jer 25.1; Dan 9.2)?”

v 13… And the Lord (the Lord of Hosts) answered the angel (in the form of a man) who was speaking with me with gracious words, comforting words.

v 14… So the angel (having an order from the angel of the Lord of hosts) who was speaking with me said to me, “Proclaim (cry out, prophesy, publish), saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts (the Lord of the armies), “I am exceedingly jealous (for their good) for Jerusalem and Zion (his love will restore them and prosper them).

v 15… But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease (in their own power and they had no problem with the cruelty and greed they exhibited and are free from war, prosperous, especially the Babylonians and the Persians), for while I was only a little angry (with Israel for a short time) they furthered the disaster (added to Israel’s problems).”

v 16…Therefore, thus says the Lord, I will return to Jerusalem with compassion (having Israel return from captivity-Zech 2.1); my house (the Temple) will be built in it,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem (to rebuild the city also).”‘

v 17… “Again, proclaim (cry out, prophesy more), saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “My cities (not just Jerusalem but other cities) will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem (for his habitation in building the Temple again).”

v 18…Then I lifted up my eyes (this is the second vision and closely related to the first); and looked, and behold, there were four horns (horns are symbolic of “power” and these are four powers that succeed one another as in Dan 2 and 7-Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome).

v 19…So I said to the angel who was speaking with me, “What are these? And he answered me, “These are the horns (powers) which have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem (This may be prophetic of the four kingdoms in Dan 2.31-45 who are Babylon, Medo-Persia and prophetically Greece, then Rome in full fulfillment).”

v 20…Then the Lord showed me four craftsmen (or carpenters; the “instruments and tools” that Yehovah will use, his divine power, to overthrow the horns and to destroy them for rising up against Yehovah’s people; the Sages say that the craftsmen are the greatest teachers of Torah who “build up” the people, also called “carpenter’s” and were no ordinary workers. They silenced anyone who wanted to argue with them because they were brilliant and the people listened. The Hebrew word for “silence” has the same root as carpenter, alluding to how they “silence” those opposing them. The Tallit has four corners, and on the four corners hang the tzitzit, which symbolize the commandments and brings us back to “carpenter’s” being scholars again. These “craftsmen” according to rabbinical thought are Zerubbabel, Joshua, Ezra and Nehemiah, who stood against those who tried to hinder the rebuilding of the Temple and the city. Tradition has it that Yeshua was a carpenter and learned it from his father. But idiomatically, the noun denoting a carpenter or craftsmen stands for a “scholar” or “learned man”- see the book “Jesus the Jew” by Geza Vermes.  But it seems best the first interpretation is more accurate).

v 21… And I said, “What are these coming to do?” And he said, “These are the horns that have scattered Judah, so that no man lifts up his head (they were depressed, scattered, humiliated); but these craftsmen have come to terrify them (to terrify the four horns, to put fear into their kings, but the vision does not show what powers will be used), to throw down the horns of the nations (Babylon was cast out by Cyrus=Dan 5.25-28; Medo-Persia was cast out by Alexander=Dan 8.21; Greece cast out by Rome at the battle of Corinth by the Roman Consul Lucius Mummius; and Rome/Revived Rome will be cast out by Yeshua the son of David, the Messiah ) who have lifted up their horns against the land of Judah in order to scatter it.”

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Tanak, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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