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little more than a reprint of that of Michaelis, with the omission of whatever did not suit the doctrinal views of the author; Eichhorn, who seems to have compared no other interpreter than Grotius, gives in his work on the Hebrew prophets only his exegetical fancies, which Theiner (die zwölf kleineren Propheten. Leipz. 1828), (also as an unsolicited continuation of the Brentano-Dereserschen Bibelwerkes, which is in many respects praiseworthy,) has for the most part contented himself with transcribing. The neglect of thorough study manifests itself in almost every thing that recent Lexicons and Introductions contain relating to Zechariah.
CHAP. 1: 1 – 6.
The first revelation, imparted to the prophet in the second year and eighth month of the reign of Darius the son of Hystaspes. This prophecy, in which the prophet warns the people not to bring upon themselves the punishment of their fathers by a relapse into their sins, and exhorts them to turn to the Lord in sincerity, may be regarded as a sort of introduction, as well to the whole course of the prophet, as also to the collection of his prophecies. New and suspicious indications of inward apostasy from the Lord already showed themselves among those who had returned. Such particularly was the negligent prosecution of the building of the temple, which must be combated by a true prophet, not separately from its source, but in the deepest root from which it sprung. The prophet in his later predictions had to furnish a succession of consoling views to the troubled and desponding. In order that these might not be appropriated to themselves by those to whom they did not belong, and abused to the promotion of carnal security, it was necessary that true repentance should be prominently exhibited as the condition of the coming prosperity. The threatening of new judgments for those, who would not fulfil this condition, contains already in the germ all that the prophet in chap. 5, and chap. 11, more definitely predicts concerning a new and total desolation and destruction, which would come upon the land, after ungodliness should there have regained the ascendency, and the good shepherd have been rejected ; with this difference only, that here the threatening is conditionally, and there absolutely expressed, since the Lord reveals to the prophet, that the condition of the divine judgments, the developement of the germ of ungodliness already existing in his time, would actually ensue, and the greatest portion of the people would not fulfil the condition of the prosperity by true repentance.
The second revelation, imparted to the prophet in the same year, in the eleventh month and twenty-fourth day, consists of a series of visions which all belong to one night, and furnish a complete image of the future destinies of the people of God.
1. The Vision of the Rider among the Myrtle Trees.
Chap. 1 : v. 7 – 17.
In the stillness of night, when the soul, freed from the bonds imposed by external objects is strengthened for the contemplation of divine things, the prophet, not in a dream, but an ecstasy, sees a proud horseman on a red horse, who halts among the myrtle bushes of a deep valley, surrounded by red, bay, and white horses. He recognises, in the horseman in front, the angel of the Lord; in his companions his ministering angels. He asks an angel, who approaches him, and makes himself known as the angelus interpres, concerning the import of the vision. By his mediation he receives from the angel of the Lord the disclosure, that the horsemen are the servants of the Lord, who traverse the whole earth to execute his commission. For what object, he learns from the account which they render to the angel of the Lord, in his presence, and audible by him, since the angelus interpres has opened his ears. They have found the whole earth quiet and peaceful. From this account, which places the sad condition of the people of the Lord in a stronger light, by contrasting it with the prosperous condition of the heathen, the angel of the Lord takes occasion to offer an
intercession for the former with the Most High God, in which he earnestly inquires, whether, since the seventy years of affliction, destined by him for the people according to the prediction of his prophet Jeremiah, have long since passed away,* there is still no deliverance for them to be expected. He receives from the Lord a consoling answer. This is communicated by the angelus interpres, together with a charge to make its contents publicly known. They
as follows. The vengeance of the Lord shall overtake the nations in his own time, though they are now in a peaceful and prosperous condition, who have executed his commission to punish the covenant people, not from regard to his will, but to gratify their own desires, and at the same time with a malicious cruelty which went beyond his commands. In like manner also shall the promises made to the covenant people be fulfilled, although they seem to be delayed. They shall receive rich proofs of the enduring election of God; the building of the temple shall be completed ; Jerusalem shall arise from its ruins.
The following remarks may promote a nearer insight into the import and object of this vision. It is very important in order to an understanding of this, as well as the following visions, to inquire whether the angelus interpres is identical with the angel of the Lord, or different from him. The former is asserted by the majority of interpreters (Mark, Ch. B. Michaelis, Rosenm.), the latter by Vitringa, with whom we decidedly agree. In favor of their identity the following arguments are urged. 1. Verse 9, where the prophet addresses the angelus interpres by “my Lord," the address must necessarily be directed to the angel of the Lord; since no other person had been mentioned before. But in this it is overlooked, that in the prophecies generally, and specially in the visions agreeably to their dramatic character, persons are very often introduced as speaking, or are spoken to, without being previously mentioned. 2. Verse 9, the angelus interpres promises the prophet a disclosure concerning the import of the vision. This, however, is imparted,
* Vitringa l. c. p. 17: “ Est pulcherrimum Petavii aliorumque observatum, periodum LXX. annorum, decretorum punitioni Judææ gentis ad perfectum implementum prophetiæ bis repræsentatam esse. A quarto Jehojachimi usqeu ad initia Babylonica Cyri, quando dimissi sunt Judæi ex exilio, effluxerunt LXX. anni. Rursus totidem anni effluxerunt ab excidio templi et urbis, quod accidit octodecim post annis, usque ad secundum Darii Hystaspis : intersunt enim rursus inter initia Cyri Babylonica et Darii secundum anni octodecim.”
v. 10, by the angel of the Lord, who must therefore be identical with the angelus interpres. But it is said, v. 9, “ I will make thee to see, what these are." This relates to the opening of the spiritual eyes and ears of the prophet. Until this was done by the angelus interpres the prophet would not be able to understand the declaration of the angel of the Lord, and the report made to him by the ministering angels; comp. chap. 4:1, according to which the angelus interpres awakens the prophet, as a man who is awakened from sleep. 3. According to v. 12, the angel of the Lord presents an intercession to the Most High God for the covenant people. According to v. 13, the Lord returns to the angelus interpres, good, consoling words; but now it is not to be supposed, that he who receives the answer is any other than he who makes the inquiry. It may, however, here be assumed, either with Vitringa, that the prophet has only omitted the circumstance, that the answer was in the first place directed to the angel of the Lord, and afterwards conveyed by him to the angelus interpres, or, which is more probable, that the Lord directed the answer immediately to the angelus interpres, because the angel of the Lord had inquired, not indeed on his own account, but only in order to impart consolation and hope through the angelus interpres to the prophet, and through him to the people.
On the contrary the following arguments go to prove the angelus interpres to be different from the angel of the Lord.
1. Even the constant designation of the angelus interpres by “ the angel, who spake with me,” serves to designate him as a different person from the angel of the Lord. This would not be the case, if the designation occurred only where an address of the angel to the prophet had preceded. But its occurrence elsewhere also, comp. e. g. v. 9, 13, shows, that it relates not to a single action, but to the office of the angel, — angelus collocutor or interpres. In order to make the designation known as a name of office, the prophet employs it exclusively, without the smallest deviation, without ever exchanging the construction of the verb 777 with 3, for that with by or nx, elsewhere common, which
be explained by the circumstance, that the words were carefully treasured up in the mind of the hearer.
2. Chap. 2:5-8, is entirely decisive. The prophet there sees a form occupied in measuring the future circumference of Jerusalem. The angelus interpres withdraws himself from the prophet, in order to make inquiries for him concerning the import of the vision. But
he has not yet reached his goal, when another angel meets him with the command ; Run, say to this young man,” &c. The identity of the angelus interpres with the angel of the Lord being assumed, the latter would receive commands in an authoritative tone from an inferior angel, which is entirely irreconcilable with the high dignity, in which he elsewhere constantly appears, and particularly in Zechariah. To this it must be added, that he, who measures Jerusalem, is, in all probability, the angel of the Lord himself. This being assumed, his identity with the angelus interpres becomes the more improbable, since the latter is with the prophet at first, and afterwards withdraws from him, to make inquiries about the vision.
3. It is remarkable, that a divine work or a divine name is never attributed to the angelus interpres, as to the angel of the Lord, that his agency is always confined to communicating higher commands to the prophet, and giving him insight into the visions, which are never through him, but always through the Lord, (comp. 2: 3, 3: 1,) presented to the inward contemplation of the prophet.
4. The result already obtained is confirmed by a comparison of it with what occurs in other writings of the Old Testament. We have already seen, Vol. 1, p. 167, that, Exod. 32 : 34, another angel is associated with the highest revealer of God, the angel of the Lord, as standing to him in the same relation which he sustains to the Most High God. But what is found in Daniel on this subject is peculiarly important in the interpretation of Zechariah. The angel of the Lord, the great Prince, who represents his people, chap. 12: 1, comp. Zech. 1: 12, appears there under the symbolical name of Michael. As a mediator between him (who is present for the most part in silent majesty, and only sometimes, as here, speaking a fef words) and the prophet, Gabriel appears, whose office it is to interpret the visions to Daniel, and enable him to understand them; comp. 8: 16, 9:21. (Beitr. 1, p. 165 ff.) We would already there have directed the attention to the accurate agreement between Daniel and Zechariah in this respect, the more remarkable on account of the manifest independence of both, if we had at that time, as we have been enabled to do since, attained to a certain result in reference to Zechariah.
The angel of the Lord halts on a red horse among the myrtle bushes, in a deep valley. The latter is a striking image of the Theocracy, - not a proud cedar on a high mountain, but a modest,